The BassJump portable subwoofer from Twelve South beefs up your MacBook's sound.

Here’s an interesting solution for rounding out the sound quality on your Apple MacBook. The BassJump from Twelve South is a portable subwoofer that, like any good subwoofer, enhances the bass response of your sound system by splitting out the bass frequencies from your music and pumping them through a speaker and enclosure capable of some deep low end.

Please watch the YouTube video linked below for a full rundown of the device and some audio sampling so you can hear it for yourself.

Here are the basics:

  • Very high quality construction with a solid aluminium enclosure, durable metal grille over the speaker and a thick rubber foot on the bottom to prevent unwanted vibration.
  • Simple connection to the computer via one USB cable that handles both the connection to the MacBook and power supply for the BassJump.
  • Software side of the solution installs easily and integrates fully with your system preferences and optional menu bar icon to let you turn the BassJump on and off as well as select from preset sonic profiles. You can also use the software to easily set a custom profile.

As you can hear in the YouTube video, the BassJump definitely enhances the bass response of your music. Unless you’ve got another computer with better sound to compare it to, you might not even realize what you’ve been missing. But once you hear the full range of sound the BassJump allows for, you’ll probably wonder how you enjoyed your music without it.

Here are a few tips:

  • Subwoofers generally work better when they are placed near a wall. I found the same to be true with the BassJump, so try and stick it near the edge of your desk and close to a wall if at all possible. With bass frequencies, volume isn’t as important as just having that low end frequency be able to make it around the room.
  • Very rarely, I noticed that the sound coming from the BassJump seemed to be slightly out of sync with the higher end sounds coming from the MacBook speakers. Given that the BassJump relies on software to split out the bass frequency and send it out to the device via USB, I chalked it up to some kind of latency and was generally able to correct it by stopping and starting the music or reducing the load on the processor. Like I said, it was very rare, but hopefully something that Twelve South can correct with software improvements.
  • I don’t know about you, but with an iPhone, iPad and keyboard/trackball combination already monopolizing all two of my MacBook’s USB ports, I tend to spend a lot of time playing musical plugs. The BassJump adds to that. I’ve asked Twelve South about whether or not the BassJump will work from a powered USB hub and will update you here when they respond.
  • The only other quibble I have is that while the BassJump works with sound from iTunes and sounds pumping in from Safari, there were a few applications like GarageBand that didn’t seem to be able to capitalize on the BassJump system. It would be nice to see compatibility enhanced a bit there.

Overall, the BassJump really enhances the enjoyment of music from your iTunes library and content streamed in over the Web. Will it replace a set of good studio monitors for someone working on an audio engineering project? Probably not… but compared to the $200+ you’d pay for a decent set of studio monitors plus the fact that it is extremely portable, $79.99 for the BassJump is a pretty good deal.

For more information or to purchase the BassJump, visit the Twelve South Website.

Don’t forget to check out the YouTube video.