Monday, August 11, 2014

Enhancing My Laptop's Audio: A Review

Last week I decided I wanted to improve the sound I get from my laptop so I went looking for audio enhancers. The first one I downloaded was DFX Audio Enhancer by FXSound. The free trial version was somewhat stripped down, but still usable. I found it preformed at the levels I wanted even given the limitations. The sound it delivered was good. Overall, I was pleased with its performance and would have continued using it save for some annoyances. It had this popup that would come up every 30 minutes or so asking me to order the full version. You could not minimize the software's window either. The ability to minimize it to the taksbar only came with the full version. Worse yet, I found I could not use my laptop's audio without it running. Even still I might have bought the full version, but at $39.99 it was a no go. There was no way I was going to pay that for something that did not behave like a full equalizer and only gave me five items I could adjust to customize my sound.

I had seen mentioned in a review of DFX Audio Enhancer a program called ProfoundSound Audio. While ripping DFX Audio Enhancer (which the reviewer was justified to do IMO) the reviewer praised ProfoundSound Audio. So after uninstalling DFX Audio Enhancer I decided to give it a go. There are two versions. There is ProfoundSound Lite which is a 5 band graphic equalizer that has presets for music, movies, and voice. It has outputs for headphones, internal speakers, and external speakers. Then there is ProfoundSound CSharp. It is a 10 band graphic equalizer with (and I am directly quoting from the website): "variable loudness, auto volume leveling, variable dynamic surround sound, variable dynamic virtual bass, variable high frequency restoration, a 20 band spectral analyzer, variable dynamic bass and dynamic voice, plus the ability to customize and save your settings" I went whole hog and downloaded the free trial of ProfoundSound CSharp.

It was unbelievable. Not only did it give better sound than DFX Audio Enhancer but it was also fully customizable allowing you to decided how you wanted something to sound. Yet at the same time there was a variety of presets for different genres of music, as well as movies, and voice if you did not want to fiddle with the sliders. You could also save your own presets so once you had something sounding as you liked it you did not have to go adjusting things again. A big plus was you could still use your computer's own audio when you shut ProfoundSound down. I was blown away by how useful this software was and by the sound it delivered through my headphones and speakers.  Further it is only $4.96 for CSharp. The stripped down Lite which would do for most music listeners and video viewers is only $1.99.

My advice for anyone wanting to enhance their computer's audio is avoid DFX Audio Enhancer like the plague and go straight to ProfoundSound. It is by far the better choice. A word of warning though, with both audio enhancing programs YouTube videos are jerky or out of sequence with the audio. There is nothing you can do about this with DFX Audio Enhancer that I could see. With ProfoundSound you just shut it down and use your computer's own native software do its job.