How to Make Your MacBook Air Loud Enough

I don't imagine this comes as news to many, but Apple's newish aluminum unibody laptops are magnificent machines. I used a 13-inch MacBook Pro for a while, and would have been delighted to stay with that forever had they not rolled out the tiny new 11-inch MacBook Air -- a nearly perfect little word-making, idea-sharing, and media consumption device. (Full disclosure: I own Apple stock.)

There are so few real flaws left in these machines that the faults really stick out. My biggest pet peeve, by far, now that I watch a lot of Hulu and Netflix, is how low the sound is. Not the speakers -- the speakers are fine. But Apple has for some reason put a strict limit on the volume.

Now I've discovered an easy fix. For $32, you can buy Audio Hijack Pro. (Download it as a free demo first.) Then follow these steps:

1. For whatever application you want to boost (browser, DVD player, etc), you add it as a source on the left-hand side.

2. Once added, highlight that source, go to the "effects" tab, click on "Click here to insert effect," choose 4FX Effect>10 Band EQ.

3. Crank the EQ up nearly to the top.

4. Click on the "Hijack" button on the top left corner.

5. Go to your application and start playing your movie. You'll notice the sound is much louder than before. And yet, it still doesn't distort at all. Very impressive. Volume problem solved.

Presented by

David Shenk is a writer on genetics, talent and intelligence. He is the author of Data Smog, The Forgetting, and most recently, The Genius In All of Us. More

David Shenk is the author of six books, including Data Smog ("indispensable"—The New York Times), The Immortal Game ("superb"—The Wall Street Journal), and the bestselling The Forgetting ("a remarkable addition to the literature of the science of the mind."—The Los Angeles Times ). He has contributed to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, Gourmet, Harper's, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, and National Public Radio. Shenk's work inspired the Emmy-award winning PBS documentary The Forgetting and was featured in the Oscar-nominated feature Away From Her. His latest book, The Genius In All Of Us, was published in March 2010. Shenk has advised the President's Council on Bioethics and is a popular speaker. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

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