Despite the growing abundance of evidence singling out earbuds as a leading cause of hearing loss among young adults, they are still an immensely popular adaptation to our noise-polluted world. In fact, earbuds actually filter less ambient noise than their bulkier cousins, prompting many to bump up the volume beyond prudence; given this state of aural emergency, it might be easy to write off the BoomStick as part of the problem (if not on the sole basis of name, then on its designation as a “headphone supercharger”). However, one would be wise to give the audio engineers at BoomCloud 360 the benefit of the doubt: the utility of this particular device is better heard than described. Far from simply cranking the decibels or boosting up the bass, the Boomstick features a surprisingly subtle suite of algorithms designed to enact such fantastic-sounding protocols as “high frequency contouring,” “soundfield expansion” and “psychoacoustic bass enhancement.” If that’s not enough buzz for you, its CTO Alan Kraemer says of the BoomStick that it “unlock[s] the power of the ear/brain system in order to present music and cinema content in an entirely new and much more emotionally impactful way.” Many weary skeptics will raise an eye (millennials remember chasing the alleged highs of binaural beats named “cocaine” and “orgasm”), but BoomCloud 360 has an easily accessible demo on their website that ought to make things clear. Yes, the difference is noticeable: the soundfield was indeed expanded, the high frequencies undeniably.. contoured. More specifically, each individual instrument seemed crisper and a little more well-defined; the bass was brighter yet unmuddied and the sound as a whole seemed to occupy a bit more space around the head. Furthermore, this effect was accomplished without a significant increase in volume; in a word, quality over quantity. Audiophiles rejoice!