Review: UpBeat Audio Boostaroo Revolution

by on January 27, 2006

Audio splitters have existed for years, and offered an easy way to share audio between two or more users. Unfortunately, depending on the headphones and the device, the volume might not be up to snuff. UpBeat Audio’s Boostaroo Revolution is a compact amplifier and splitter—a device designed for any iPod, MP3 player, DVD player, or laptop.

Boostaroo Revolution

Boostaroo Revolution + Cables

Boostaroo Revolution (Battery Compartment)

Priced around $80, the Boostaroo Revolution is a small device about the size of an iPod shuffle, and features 3 minijacks—one input and two outputs. It comes with two small audio cables (one is 4″ and the other is 7″) and is powered by two AAAA batteries. A red LED indicates power.

The Revolution is described as “an audio amplifier that separates the signal into individual stereo channels to drive two separate headsets or speakers, and images surround sound into 3 channels. Depending on the ohm rating (electrical resistance) of your headphones, the Revolution will provide an 11.5 dB boost with no more than 1% harmonic distortion.” Although headphones with ratings above 60 ohms are recommended, the Boostaroo Revolution will work with other models.

The amplification aspect of the Revolution can bring up your device’s volume to 4x the original, and will allow you to drive headphones rated up to 300 ohms portable devices (the built-in amplifier on iPods and other portable devices really have a hard time driving these headphones normally).

In our tests, our Sennheiser HD280 Pros sounded beautiful with a 5G iPod and Boostaroo Revolution. The standard iPod headphones distorted a bit at higher volumes, but they were almost too loud to listen to anyway.

It’s worth noting that you should turn the volume all the way down on your device before using the Revolution, as the volume increase could damage your hearing.

There are only a few downsides to the Revolution: the price, use of AAAA batteries, and compatibility with certain headphones. At $80, it’s not for everyone, especially if you’re using cheap headphones. Furthermore, those who use headphones that are rated at 32 ohms or less will find that the Revolution creates too much distortion—not its fault, as it is designed for “better” headphones. Finally, the use of harder-to-find AAAA batteries is something we find annoying. Supposedly (we’re not confirming or denying this) there are cheaper sources for AAAA batteries. The device has a 20 hour rated battery life, so you might be changing batteries frequently. We would’ve settled for a larger device if it could use AAA batteries.

Overall, the Revolution is a good device for those who need amplified audio for higher-end headphones, or want to split an audio signal between two people. It provides better sound than an average splitter and even is able to give the illusion of a fuller, richer sound.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The Boostaroo Revolution is a great device for anyone who cares about audio, or wants to share the audio with their friends.

Pros: Compact, provides excellent sound for mid- and high-end headphones, splits audio signal, too
Cons: AAAA batteries, no power switch
Rating: 7/10

The Facts

Product: Boostaroo Revolution
Company: UpBeat Audio
Platform: Mac/Win/iPod (1 2 3 4 4+ 5 M N S)
Price: $79.95

This post has been filed in iPod, Mobile Devices, Reviews, Speakers/Audio