Dirac is a major player in the field of digital sound processing, working with partners like Rolls Royce and Bentley to provide optimized sound through customized digital processing. You don’t have to shell out $200,000 to get Dirac-enhanced sound, however; the Dirac HD Player app is custom designed to enhance the sound coming from your Apple-standard earbuds or EarPods. If you’ll pardon the vernacular, this app can deliver damn good sound from a $30 pair of earbuds.
How does it work?
In a word, simply. The Dirac HD app displays your iDevice’s music library as playlists, artists, songs or albums, and it lets you toggle the Dirac HD Sound on/off. That’s it. But that’s more than enough, as this app takes dull tracks and massages them into full-on sonic amazingness. Bass reappears where it previously lacked, midrange is deliciously warm and smooth, and high notes sparkle free of unwanted resonance.
Dirac’s secret lies in custom acoustic measurements made of Apple’s earbuds and EarPod models, and accompanying digital processing software that delivers superior sound tailored to the unique abilities/constraints of just these two models. This intense focus on Apple’s bundled earbuds makes Dirac’s correction software incredibly precise, as they built a targeted correction rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.
Though it sounds too good to be true, the app can actually turn Apple’s stock EarPods into a valid competitor against headphones well over $100 no matter what type of music you listen to, because the app/hardware integration simply can’t be matched by hardware alone.
Is it contagious?
There are free and paid versions of the Dirac HD player app; both offer the sound correction, but the paid version also includes the ability to search, shuffle, and create new playlists (pretty crucial features). Download the free version if you just want to test the water, but the app’s $2.99 price tag is easily justifiable when you consider the phenomenal improvement it offers the standard EarPods. The EarPod+Dirac combo is now my favorite headphone setup, and I’ve had the opportunity to listen to a number of impressive models.
Dirac’s value proposition is compelling—spend upwards of $100 on new headphones for your iPhone/iPod/iPad, or grab a $3 app and use the included EarPods. Life’s full of tough choices…
If you’ve got a stable and DRM-free music library on your iDevice, the Dirac HD app will be a pretty seamless substitute for the bundled music app. Unfortunately, it can’t play DRM-protected tracks, and so far there’s no support for iTunes Match or pulling purchased content from iCloud, though Dirac’s app description says they’re working on that.