Last year, we took a look at the Aftermaster, a small black box that aimed to solve one of the biggest headaches associated with TVs: uneven sound. Inaudible dialog leads to turning up the volume, which often leads to being chased out of the room by the thundering explosion or loud commercial that follows — and that’s exactly what the company claims to fix.
Last December, it followed up an initially successful crowdfunding effort with an Indiegogo campaign for the Aftermaster Pro, which it calls an “audio remastering system.” The campaign pulled in over $400,000, and starting today, the product is available for pre-order.
Plenty of TVs offer a built-in sound mode to boost dialog, as do many A/V receivers and sound bars. Could Aftermaster really be doing anything that different from what these products we already own are doing? CEO Larry Ryckman sure thinks so.
“We do not use processing techniques anything like a basic compressor found in a television or an ‘effects’ DSP in a receiver,” Ryckman told Digital Trends. “Our proprietary and patent-pending audio process is deployed on a high-speed 24-bit custom DSP with multiple unique functions and our proprietary Adaptive Intuitive Response algorithms.”
While the company obviously doesn’t want the share the secrets behind its patents, Aftermaster says the process has its roots in professional audio mastering. Ryckman himself has been involved in various aspects of audio technology since 1986, and co-founder Shelly Yakus was formerly the chief engineer and vice president of A&M Records, so it would seem they know what they’re talking about.
“Aftermaster is a full-frequency range audio remastering system which ensures that elements like dialogue, special effects and music are all properly enhanced and balanced,” Ryckman says. “Whereas a basic compressor will react very aggressively and the resulting audio is harsh, unpleasing to the ear, and tends to give the effect of smearing all the elements together.”
Ryckman claims the product will improve the sound of any device, from television to game console to mobile phone. To make all this work, it’s equipped with two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, as well as 3.5mm stereo in and out jacks for headphones or any devices lacking HDMI. A power jack is located on the back of the device, but it is also equipped with a battery for portable use.
Units are available in black, gray, and gold, and pre-orders start at $150, which gets you one Aftermaster Pro as well as a custom case and cables. You can buy two units for $280, but a limited-time offer knocks the price down to $250 for those who pre-order within the first 24 hours of availability.
Units are expected to begin shipping in July of this year. For more information, see the pre-order page on Indiegogo.