A few weeks ago I got the same e-mail as Sean did about a new plug-in for Windows Media Player that I might be interesting in. So, I decided to download the trial that the e-mail linked me to and give it a shot. To my surprise, the plug-in works, extremely well!
I will say this upfront, I hate 99.99% of DSP plug-in’s that I have seen for Windows Media Player. In my honest opinion they do not do what they advertise and they make any audio that you play, no matter the source, sound much worse. MaxxPlayer was a completely different experience and produce better sounding audio to my ears. One thing I will say now is that you can argue all day and night about audio processing, compression, and output and get little to no where with most people. Why? Because everyone has different ears, everyone has a different listening environment, everyone has different hardware, and so on..
Having said that, in my testing of MaxxPlayer I would recommend everyone to check it out and see what you hear, you might be surprised too. Mainly I used this plug-in for listening to MP3 encoded at least 192kbps and WMA Lossless encoded tracks. Currently hooked up to my PC are a set of Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1's and then a pair of Sony MDR-EX71SL earphones that I mainly use with my Creative PMC, iRiver H120, and Creative Nomad MuVo TX. I also hook them up and listen on my PC when listing to music at 3a.m. in the morning so I don’t drive those living around me nuts.
When using the earphones hooked up to my speaker’s headphone out the audio out of the PC doesn’t produce near enough bass. It sounds way to light and the EQ in Windows Media Player just doesn’t do it for me. While on that note the SRS WOW Effects in Windows Media Player plain suck to me. I can’t stand having them on at any time, it just makes any audio sound must worse. After I installed MaxxPlayer the first thing I thought I would do is listen using the earphones to see if the audio had a bit more bass response to it. Sure enough, it did! I really was shocked that it didn’t sound like crap, judging by my previous experiences with DSP plug-in’s. I listened to a few tracks in completely different genres to see what they sounded like with MaxxPlayer on with it’s default settings with the earphones. A few tracks from Bjork, Outkast, Eric Clapton, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes; all of which are clearly in completely different genres and sound extremely different. Every single one of the tracks had a richer sound and much better bass response. The most notable sound difference came in the Clapton tracks, which were live tracks from the album One More Car, One More Rider. Much richer audio and bass making it sound closer to the DVD which has the audio encoded with Dolby Digital 5.1. Needless to say, I am very impressed with MaxxPlayer for listing to audio with earphones/headphones.
The story was basically the same with playing audio output to the Klipsch Promedia’s. I noticed the richer bass response again at night when going to bed. I always make sure to set the subwoofer gain at 0db before going to sleep, since the position of my bed and sub make the bass sound extremely boomy bass (Way above what I want it to be). I always have music playing in my room, so I don’t want to be woken up by some random song in the middle of the night that has too much bass. Since installing MaxxPlayer, I now set the subwoofer gain to -2db. That’s not a bad thing, it just shows it is doing what they say it should, “MaxxBass® extends and enhances your bass response”.
I have one single bad thing to say about this plug-in however. When you have it turn on it takes about 2 seconds to start playing a song in Windows Media Player. Kind of gets annoying at first, but I did get used to it and feel I gain more from the plug-in then having faster playback starts.
I could go on for while, but rather then doing so I just want you to go download the free trial of the plug-in and give it a shot. I can say that my ears find it to make the audio sound better all day, but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone reading this doesn’t have my ears! You can download the trial from MaxxPlayer.com it works with Windows Media Player 9 on Windows 2000/XP and 10 on Windows XP. The cost of the plug-in after the trial is $30. I would highly suggest checking it out and see if it makes any difference your audio experience at your PC!