Creative Labs says it can spice spice up dull MP3s with its new Xmod module. The external candy-bar sized unit up-converts audio files from 16-bit to 24-bit and promises to enhance low and high frequencies giving "beyond the original CD quality" sound. Xmod doesn't require any drivers and connects between the computer or MP3 player and speakers.
According to Creative, the unit will work with any audio file on CDs, MP3 and/or WMA collection or on a DVD. The Xmod uses Creative's X-Fi sound technology to essentially undo compression. Typical compression technology reduces file sizes by shrinking the dynamic range or the range between the highest and lowest notes.
This compression is usually done on a ratio basis, so every 3dB rise in audio is reduced to 1dB. Xmod claims to intelligently figure out where this compression started and expands the low and high notes back to their original studio recording quality. The unit even claims to convert regular stereo sound into surround sound, even when using only two speakers.
Creative has been selling X-Fi technology sound cards for a while, but this is the first external module. The Xmod is currently shipping for about $80.