Digital box promises easy audio enhancement that won't break the bank
The Aftermaster Pro is a small, fairly affordable box that's designed to give everyday audio a kick, upping TV dialogue volume and clarity, while improving the listening experience as a whole. Currently available for pre-order via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, the box is designed to be very simple to use, and providing it performs as advertised, is rather compelling.
If the Aftermaster seems familiar,that's because it's actually been around a little while. Theproject's already been through successful Kickstarter and Indiegogocampaigns, and the offering has been trimmed down from three optionsto just a single box along the way. It's back on Indiegogoright now, allowing potential customers to reserve a unit ahead ofthe planned launch later this year.
The Aftermaster Pro's creators aremaking some big claims about the little box, stating that it can make"any audio source sound incredible." Those are big words, butthey don't say a whole lot about what the little box actually does.In practice, the idea is fairly simple – the data from theHDMI is split into sound and video, with the audio beingautomatically remastered by the box in real time. Everything is thenrecombined and sent out via the second HDMI port.
The hardware itself packs two HDMI-inports and a single HDMI-out, as well as in and out for 3.5-mm audiojacks. Since it's designed to be portable, there's a battery onboard, which the product's creators claim will be good for abouteight hours before it'll need recharging. For more long-term use,there's a power adapter included in the box.
Despite its focus, the company claimsthat the product isn't aimed squarely at audiophiles, but thateveryday users should get a kick out of using it with theirentertainment systems as well. As the port offering suggests, it'sdesigned to sit between your TV or other audio source and yourexisting speakers, connecting via either HDMI or the 3.5-mm jacks.
The company isn't keen to talk in-depthabout how the remastering processes is actually handled, though we doknow that it makes use of proprietary algorithms that work across theentire frequency range. While it will work with any audio source, theemphasis is on cleaning up the sound coming from your TV.
It's designed to increase dialoguevolume and clarity, while giving the whole listening experience moredepth, balance and fullness. It's also geared towards smoothing outthe transition between programs and commercials, where the volumechange can be a little jarring, to say the least.
The product is designed to be extremelysimple, with a single button to switch it on and off. Without havinga listen ourselves, it's difficult to know whether it'll live up toits lofty ambitions. There is some confidence in the technologythough, with it winning an award for Envisioneering Innovation andDesign at CES 2016 in January.
The pledge pricing for the little boxis quite reasonable, with US$150 reserving a single unit – aslight reduction on the planned $170 retail point. The AftermasterPro is set to be available in a choice of black, grey and goldfinishes, with the company planning to ship units to backers in Julythis year.