I don't care what kind of math the acoustic boffins trot out. MP3s sound bad when put up against CDs or vinyl. I hear a harshness in the high end. The compression induces listener fatigue. And I have a theory (based in real neuroscience) that acoustic masking principles used in the MP3 algorithm reduce the emotional impact of music.
That's why I spent part of the afternoon roadtesting Bongiovoni Acoustics' DPS app on my iPhone.
Here's their blurb:
Bongiovi DPS improves the clarity of your mobile library* across all frequencies and provides cleaner, deeper bass response. You will hear detail that you never heard before. DPS analyzes the audio signal in real-time and optimizes it for playback through any device connected to your headphone or line-out jacks**. It also compensates for differences in volume between songs and enhances dialogue and sound effects for personal videos and podcasts.
Sounds like a big promise for a free app (99 cents for the ad-free upgrade). So I thought I'd try it out.
My results have been mixed to good using standard Apple earbuds. FIrst, I listened to a song I know inside and out as an untreated MP3. Then I listened to the same song through the Bongiovoni app. I heard nuances in the Who's "Who Are You" that had been buried in MP3 murk. Same thing for the Stone Roses' "She Bangs the Drums" and Dire Straits' "Telegraph Road." Some NIN sounded pretty good, too.
However, when using the setting "earbuds with microphone" (because that's what I was using), I thought I detected some bass distortion. Changing the setting to "earbuds without microphone" seemed to solve that.
If you get a chance, try out the free app. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion. Download it here. And if you want to read more about the technology created by Bon Jovi's cousin (no, really), go here.