Audio Xciter Studio ($7.99) by Aphex is an audiophile’s best friend. Are you tired of the mediocre sound that comes out of your iPhone when you play your music? If you answered yes, then this is the app for you.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Aphex brand, this is the short version of what the company does: they have the technology to produce professional sounding audio. If you're already an audiophile, then you may have heard of them. Regardless, this is a quality company, and Audio Xciter is an app that proves what they are capable of.
Audio Xciter will basically serve as a Music.app replacement, though it won't be channeling the audio through Music.app at all, unlike other apps such as Groove 2 and My Artists. Audio Xciter will appear instead of Music.app in the media playback portion of the multitasking tray. It will have access to all of your iPhone's local media, which means music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
Once you find what you want to listen to, just tap on it to start playing. A Shuffle option can be found at the top of whatever view you’re in, if you are in the mood of random background audio.
With the Now Playing screen, it’s pretty much your standard music player fare: artist, song, and album information displayed at the top, album artwork in the middle of the screen, and playback buttons along the bottom. A double-tap on the album artwork will hide or reveal all other elements.
There is one thing that makes it stand out apart from the others, and that’s the “X” button on top of the album artwork. Tapping on the button will toggle the enhanced audio that the app features. If you toggle it on and off, you should be able to hear the difference immediately.
With my V-MODA Crossfade M-80s, I was able to hear more from my music. This includes bass, highs, lows, and any other muffled or lost sound in the audio. It's incredibly fun to discover each song as though you've never heard it before, since Audio Xciter really brings out every little detail.
The magic for audiophiles will be the ability to customize the enhanced audio to what you want. There are Low, Medium, and High settings, with each working better for different situations. These audio settings are not changeable, though you can go the Custom route and adjust the sliders to what you want. If you do this, you can instantly hear the difference as you modify it. Additionally, you can see when the audio is through the left or right drives while the enhancements are on.
The only thing that is missing from the app is the ability to show album artwork on the lock screen. For an $8 app, you would kind of expect that to be there, but for some reason, it’s not. But your audio will never sound better, so it’s a tradeoff for now.
There is also a free version of the app, but you are limited to 15 minutes of Xciter-enhanced audio listening a day, with two in-app purchases to remove the limitation ($4.99) and access the custom settings ($9.99). Personally, I would just spring for the Studio version ($7.99) of the app to begin with.
If you care at all about sound quality, then Audio Xciter is for you. If you’re unsure, you can always give the free version a spin. If you don’t, I suggest you try out the app and see what a difference it can make.
Of course, the app works best with a pair of quality headphones or earbuds, but if you’re already reading this, then I have some great news for you …
GIVEAWAY: We've teamed up with the folks at Aphex to give away a pair of Beats Solo HD by Dr. Dre headphones (MSRP: $199.95) to one lucky AppAdvice reader! For your chance to win the headphones, leave a comment with what your favorite album of all time is and what headphones or earbuds you are currently using by Friday, July 13 at 8 p.m. PDT. I will pick the winner randomly, who will then be contacted for their shipping information. Good luck!