The vast majority of my music collection is stored on my PowerBook, ((The CDs are archived back in Massachusetts)) and when I’m in my apartment I listen to it using iTunes. (I either use headphones or stream it via WiFi to my home theatre system.) The whole setup has been very satisfactory, but there was room for improvement. After a tip-off from Gene, I downloaded a plugin for iTunes called iWOW, from SRS Labs. I’d come across this company before; I have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones from Sharper Image which incorporate SRS technology.
I was blown away. The plugin allows you to manipulate the stereo separation, position, and definition in various ways; there are presets for various kinds of music and output devices. Try this: set iWOW up the way you want, then turn it off, start playing a familiar track, and turn iWOW on half way through. The effect is remarkable: a vast improvement over unmodified iTunes. There are also some cute tricks you can play: by turning down the “virtual centre speaker” you can eliminate most of the vocals, creating a kind of karaoke mode!
I used the free trial for a week, then shelled out $19.99 to register it. Well worth the money. Now if only I had an iWOW plugin for my iPod…