SRS takes the iWow universal at Macworld | iWorld 2012

SRS Labs hosted a booth at Macworld | iWorld 2012 last week for two main reasons. First, the company wanted to show off the iPad version of MyTunes, its music player app that incorporates the company's patented sound enhancement algorithm. Second, it wanted to introduce an update to the iWow hardware itself, called the iWowU, that allows listeners to plug in to any source at all, from anywhere, straight through the headphone port.

MyTunes has been out on iPhone for a while, but SRS showed me the iPad version, which is pretty slick as an "outside of iTunes" music player. Not only can you play all of the audio in your iTunes library, you can use SRS' iWow processing on it. MyTunes has a few different equalizers to play around with, including a 10-band, a 3-band, and a series of music genre settings. There are also a few transition options, an option to raise or lower a recording's speed without changing the pitch (handy for listening to lots of podcasts as quickly as you can), and a "TruVolume" setting which keeps all of the music in your library at the same volume.

The SRS rep said the company's biggest issue with the app is that because of Apple's API limits, they can't apply the iWow processing to anything but the music in your iTunes library. Unfortunately that means MyTunes won't improve the sound coming out of streaming services like Pandora or Slacker. But the app seems like a solid alternative to iTunes, with the added bonus of all of SRS' technology. It should be available in about two weeks for free, with all features unlocked as a US$4.99 purchase.

The new iWowU is a little unit that plugs into the headphone adapter on your iDevice -- or any headphone adapter anywhere, as it will also work on a PC, Mac, or any music player with a headphone plug. Your headphones plug into the other end (the iPhone's white mic cord will work), and the iWow processing is sent along through the cable. Older models had to use the iPhone and iPod touch's dock connector to power the iWow unit, but the iWowU actually charges up with a microUSB cable, so it'll process the music wherever you want for about 5-6 hours before needing charging again.

SRS didn't have a price for the unit yet, but they said it'll be "similar to the current iWow," which is available for $59.99. The smaller size is nice, and the adapter for just a common headphone jack should mean listeners will have the chance to hear the iWow processing in all kinds of new places. The iWowU is due out later this year.