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Twelve SouthBassJump Sound System review


If you're disappointed by the quality of the MacBook's speakers, the BassJump is a good investment.

Review Date: 9 Feb 2010

Price when reviewed: (about

Reviewed By: Alan Stonebridge

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

Your MacBook's built-in speakers are far from the best way to listen to music. Songs that should rock and roll sound underwhelming, and although you can overcome that by plugging in a dedicated 2.1 speaker system, most aren't portable and will remain firmly in place on your desk at home. The BassJump is a compact alternative that can travel with you. It requires only a spare USB port and it doesn't oust the MacBook's speakers from the listening experience. They're retained for mid and high frequencies, while bass is passed to the external subwoofer.

The accompanying software processes sound to feed the correct parts to each speaker. It installs as a new pane in System Preferences and adds a shortcut as an icon in the menu bar, although this can be removed if you find it distracting. The settings are straightforward. You're given a short list of presets (default, classical, pop, R&B and rock) and if they don't do the job, you simply drag sliders for the subwoofer's volume and crossover frequency to limit the range it handles. However, switching back to a preset loses the customisations as there's no way to save a new preset.

The subwoofer weighs only 0.64kg, just under a third of the weight of a 13in MacBook Pro, and is 12.7cm wide and deep, and 5.7cm high, which is a touch smaller than its Mac mini styling implies. Twelve South has included an essential soft carrying case to protect the hardware, and you'll find a pouch on the interior for stowing away the USB cable.

The BassJump makes a significant difference to music on a MacBook that's noticeable even in casual listening. Tracks gain a satisfying weight rather than sounding tinny and lifeless. It won't replace your high-quality desktop speakers, but BassJump is a sound investment to slip into your laptop bag.

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