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Pump UP The Volume!

Pump UP The Volume
by Gary Woods

If you use a portable MP3 player like an iPod or other such device you know some times you just need to turn it up. I mean, how can you find your groove, if you can't hear it? Okay let's get the disclaimer out of the way first. High volumes can definitely damage your hearing so if you're worried about that stop reading right now and put this column at the bottom of the bird cage.

So if you're still reading let's push on. Most MP3 players are equipped with a relatively low-powered amp to conserve battery life. And most headphones have a pretty high impedance level which requires you to turn up the volume.

One option to this dilemma I found was the iAsus Concepts Mobile Amp. The device sells for $65 and provides a maximum output of 70 milliwatts, but the thing is, you don't have to use all 70 milliwatts. People who deal with professional audio all talk about head room. This means if you have an amplifier that is capable of an extraordinary amount of volume, but you run it at a lower level you get much less distortion and the music sounds better.

Now, if you combine the amplifier with some pretty decent headphones like the Ultrasone ProLine 750s that go for about $400 or Shure's E4g earphones for about $300 you're going to hear sounds out of your MP3s that you never knew were there.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. You can hear Gary on the Radio at 1290 AM Monday 9-10 AM and he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc