I accepted the fact that I deserve to listen to crappy-sounding music (my dad taught me that if you can’t take care of something, you don’t deserve to have it). In fact, I embraced the fuzziness and limited volume of drugstore headphones until the day I met Boomstick.
Boomstick ($29.99, Amazon.com) is a small, featherweight device about the size of a bottle of nail polish (but much flatter—maybe half an inch) that plugs into your phone and then into your headphones to amplify the sound. Using a series of algorithms I’ll never understand, the sidepiece manipulates the sound waves to magnify the bass, add clarity, and bring out musical undertones you didn’t even know were there. It literally makes even the cheapest buds sound like a $600 pair of Bose headphones. I know this because I actually compared the sound to my dad’s (apparently he takes care of his things).
Because the Boomstick is so lightweight (it clocks in at about an ounce), I hardly notice it when I’m running or banging out lunges at the gym. It’s also durable as heck—I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell on it once and it didn’t even dent.
I love my Boomstick so much that I keep it plugged into my phone half the time, in my best effort to never lose it. But at such a friendly price point that’s about the price of most half-decent headphones, I’d happily replace it. Someone’s gotta keep those drugstore brands in business, after all.