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Commentary: Audyssey provides clear, strong sound quality with amp application

I can’t have nice headphones. I just can’t.
It’s not because I don’t want the high-quality sound. It’s because I know if I were to get nice headphones, I would break or lose them within a week. Like pens and umbrellas, headphones just seem destined to be lost within the depths of my life.
Enter Audyssey’s amp application. Released in December, the app (Audyssey Media Player) takes any pair of headphones, of any quality, and makes music sound better through them. Or at least in theory.
In action, Audyssey’s amp does improve the quality of sound through your headphones, but it also depends on which headphones you are using.
I tried them on my Philips ActionFit Earhook headphones, and the app did raise the sound quality. Turning the amp on and off made me realize the tinny quality of my sound.
With a nicer pair of headphones, the difference was nearly indistinguishable. With JVC Flats, I couldn’t tell any change when turning the amp on and off.
Now, on the cheaper end of the spectrum, when used with my JVC Gumy headphones that are worth less than $5, but have also taken up residence at the bottom of my bag for five months, the app worked wonders. Turning the amp on and off was such a massive change in the sound quality.  
Without the app, it became clear how metallic and distorted the music was. The cruddy and garbled sound was eliminated. With the app, my less-than-$5 headphones emitted music with a deeper tone, and made them sound as if they were worth way more than what I had paid.  
The Audyssey amp also detects each time you plug in a new pair of headphones, allows you to pick from 34 brands and specify the exact headphones you’re using. Also, if you are like me and enjoy more bass than headphones traditionally give, the app allows you to customize bass, treble and highs versus lows in the sound.  
The app also pulls all of your music from your iTunes library when you turn it on, but takes away the ability to shuffle songs.
The bottom line is the cheaper the headphones, the more improvement you will hear by using the app. For earbuds, the amp actually has distinct benefits, and is well-worth the 99 cents. On the other hand, if you’ve already splurged for the high-end, over-the-ear headphones, the app won’t do much for the sound quality.    
Grade: A

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