Boostaroo Portable Amplifier and Splitter
Get more sound from your portable music
and plug up to three sets of headphones into the player
The Boostaroo is a simple battery powered device, enabling up to three different sets of
headphones or speakers to share the same music source, and
feeding louder volume music to them.
The Boostaroo is compact,
light, inexpensive, and simple to use - a great gadget to
enhance your (and your friends') listening experience.
The Boostaroo measures 4.5" x 0.9" x 1.2" and weighs 3.7
oz with two AA batteries inside.
It has a 15" cord that plugs
into the audio output of any typical personal audio device such
as a CD player, Walkman, MP3 player, laptop computer, etc.
An alternate model is available with a longer 3' cord.
switch turns the unit on and off. When turned on, a red
LED inside illuminates. The unit is built out of
semi-transparent plastic, so you can see some of the internal
On the side of the Boostaroo
are three sockets, into which you can plug mini speaker systems,
headphones, or whatever else you might want to use to play the
music back through.
The unit is powered by two
AA batteries, and does not come with batteries included. A
single sheet of instructions tells you all you need to know
about using the unit.
The Boostaroo amplifier has
a 90 day no questions asked return policy, and a generous one
year warranty, enabling you to buy the product with confidence.
The Boostaroo contains three
pre-set stereo amplifiers. These take the sometimes
too-low sound levels from personal audio devices and amplify
them to a higher level. The unit seems capable of handling
fairly high audio input levels without overloading.
There is nothing to adjust and
no volume or other controls, apart from a master on/off switch.
The manufacturers sensibly point out that you should simply
adjust the volume on the player unit, and therefore no further
adjustment is needed on the Boostaroo unit.
The best way to manage the
volume that you hear is, if your headphones or speakers also
have a volume control on them, set this volume control to
maximum. The volume control in these units - unless they
have their own built in amplifier - works so that if you turn
the volume down, you are wasting some of the (battery) power
from the amplifier. But, on the amplifier, you only use as
much battery power as is needed to amplify the sound - if you
turn down the volume, you reduce battery consumption at the same
So, always have the volume
control on any unpowered speakers or headphones at the max level
and rely on the volume control on personal music player.
Remembering that the Boostaroo will make the sound much
louder than before, you should, of course, start with the volume
set to a low level and then carefully turn it up as may be
Testing indicated that the
Boostaroo adds about 16 dB of extra sound to any given input.
This is 30 times more power, and sufficient as to make all the
difference between 'too quiet' and definitely loud enough.
There was no appreciable
sound coloring or other impact on the quality of the amplified
sound. Indeed, any change was probably for the better -
because the personal audio device wasn't having to be driven so
hard, it was not overloading its circuitry and so distortion
levels remained low.
The manufacturers claim that
the Boostaroo will last about 35 hours on a set of two AA
batteries (note their website says 20 hours but this apparently
relates to an earlier model). This claim is of course very
usage dependent - if you have three sets of speakers/headphones
plugged in, and are playing high level music, then your battery
life will be massively less than if you are just playing a
single set of headphones through the Boostaroo.
Boostaroo also offer an
interesting suggestion. They suggest that batteries in a
typical audio device with moving parts (ie CD player or tape
player, but not a solid state memory MP3 player) are driven
hardest by the need to power the moving parts (spinning the CD
or turning the tape). Many times when the batteries become
too low to perform this task, they still have enough power to
work in the Boostaroo and give some more hours of useful life
while doing the relatively 'easy' job of just amplifying the
sound. And so Boostaroo suggests you recycle your 'dead'
batteries into the Boostaroo, where they will give several more
hours of work before completely dying.
The Boostaroo comes in two
models. The standard model has a 15" cord and costs
$29.95. The other model has a longer, 3' cord, and costs
$1 more. They can be purchased through
Pro Travel Gear
(the manufacturers of the
Plane Quiet noise cancelling headphones) and if you use the
discount code Travelinsider you'll get a 5% discount.
This is a simple and easy
way of boosting the audio level when playing portable music
devices through small speakers. It is also a great way to
enable two or three people to all listen to the same music (or
film soundtrack or whatever) simultaneously.
If either of these scenarios
applies to you, then this $30 gadget is probably something
you'll want to own.
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26 Mar 2004, last update
28 May 2011
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.