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Need to turn up the volume on your portable speakers?  Or maybe you want to share your music with a friend or two?

This small light and simple gadget might be just what you need.

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Boostaroo Portable Amplifier and Splitter

Get more sound from your portable music and plug up to three sets of headphones into the player

The Boostaroo is a simple battery powered device, enabling up to three different sets of headphones or speakers to share the same music source, and feeding louder volume music to them.



The Boostaroo is compact, light, inexpensive, and simple to use - a great gadget to enhance your (and your friends') listening experience.


The Boostaroo measures 4.5" x 0.9" x 1.2" and weighs 3.7 oz with two AA batteries inside.

It has a 15" cord that plugs into the audio output of any typical personal audio device such as a CD player, Walkman, MP3 player, laptop computer, etc.  An alternate model is available with a longer 3' cord.

A slide switch turns the unit on and off.  When turned on, a red LED inside illuminates.  The unit is built out of semi-transparent plastic, so you can see some of the internal electronics.

On the side of the Boostaroo are three sockets, into which you can plug mini speaker systems, headphones, or whatever else you might want to use to play the music back through.

The unit is powered by two AA batteries, and does not come with batteries included.  A single sheet of instructions tells you all you need to know about using the unit.

The Boostaroo amplifier has a 90 day no questions asked return policy, and a generous one year warranty, enabling you to buy the product with confidence.


The Boostaroo contains three pre-set stereo amplifiers.  These take the sometimes too-low sound levels from personal audio devices and amplify them to a higher level.  The unit seems capable of handling fairly high audio input levels without overloading.

There is nothing to adjust and no volume or other controls, apart from a master on/off switch.  The manufacturers sensibly point out that you should simply adjust the volume on the player unit, and therefore no further adjustment is needed on the Boostaroo unit.

The best way to manage the volume that you hear is, if your headphones or speakers also have a volume control on them, set this volume control to maximum.  The volume control in these units - unless they have their own built in amplifier - works so that if you turn the volume down, you are wasting some of the (battery) power from the amplifier.  But, on the amplifier, you only use as much battery power as is needed to amplify the sound - if you turn down the volume, you reduce battery consumption at the same time.

So, always have the volume control on any unpowered speakers or headphones at the max level and rely on the volume control on personal music player.  Remembering that the Boostaroo will make  the sound much louder than before, you should, of course, start with the volume set to a low level and then carefully turn it up as may be needed.

Testing indicated that the Boostaroo adds about 16 dB of extra sound to any given input.  This is 30 times more power, and sufficient as to make all the difference between 'too quiet' and definitely loud enough.

There was no appreciable sound coloring or other impact on the quality of the amplified sound.  Indeed, any change was probably for the better - because the personal audio device wasn't having to be driven so hard, it was not overloading its circuitry and so distortion levels remained low.

Battery Life

The manufacturers claim that the Boostaroo will last about 35 hours on a set of two AA batteries (note their website says 20 hours but this apparently relates to an earlier model).  This claim is of course very usage dependent - if you have three sets of speakers/headphones plugged in, and are playing high level music, then your battery life will be massively less than if you are just playing a single set of headphones through the Boostaroo.

Boostaroo also offer an interesting suggestion.  They suggest that batteries in a typical audio device with moving parts (ie CD player or tape player, but not a solid state memory MP3 player) are driven hardest by the need to power the moving parts (spinning the CD or turning the tape).  Many times when the batteries become too low to perform this task, they still have enough power to work in the Boostaroo and give some more hours of useful life while doing the relatively 'easy' job of just amplifying the sound.  And so Boostaroo suggests you recycle your 'dead' batteries into the Boostaroo, where they will give several more hours of work before completely dying.


The Boostaroo comes in two models.  The standard model has a 15" cord and costs $29.95.  The other model has a longer, 3' cord, and costs $1 more.  They can be purchased through Pro Travel Gear (the manufacturers of the Plane Quiet noise cancelling headphones) and if you use the discount code Travelinsider you'll get a 5% discount.


This is a simple and easy way of boosting the audio level when playing portable music devices through small speakers.  It is also a great way to enable two or three people to all listen to the same music (or film soundtrack or whatever) simultaneously.

If either of these scenarios applies to you, then this $30 gadget is probably something you'll want to own.

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Originally published 26 Mar 2004, last update 21 Jul 2020

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.



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