Last year, audio engineer John Kasha revealed plans to release a pocket-sized sound massager designed to radically improve a mobile music lover's listening experience. The m.e. – or Master Enhancer – then spent a little time on Kickstarter and has now been made available to buy, boasting a much-improved design and a wallet-friendlier price point.
Kasha sent us a very raw prototype to try out in August 2016, which lacked much of the functionality promised for Kickstarter backers but included the all-important audio massaging circuit. The 3D-printed black box impressed us with its source device battery-saving volume boost, but the enhanced audio magic was much less pronounced when using flagship gear, a bit more so when using budget audio tech.
The reworked and redesigned m.e. is promised to deliver depth, dimension and definition to digital music playback. Its makers say that listeners can look forward to a much improved audio from all headphones, sound bars, car stereos, in-flight systems and TVs when using the "VR audio device."
"When you add the m.e. in the audio stream, it's like you removed a film of filters that were blocking all the notes and vocals from being heard in their entirety," said Kasha. "The m.e. brings life back into audio and makes the listening experience active all over again."
As well as the distortion-free volume boost we experienced with the prototype, the 4.3 x 2.9 x 1.7 in (109 x 74 x 43 mm), 3.7 oz (105 g) production m.e. is reported to make source audio sound bigger, wider and have more body. The listening experience is said to be similar to being on stage at a gig or hearing playback through pro equipment in a recording studio.
The device has simple one button operation and is claimed good for up to 50 hours in power-save mode or 9 hours in continuous play mode. The battery does charge in just 15 minutes though, so enhanced playback interruption should be fairly brief.
We'd have to give the new m.e. a listen before commenting on the production unit's audio enhancing prowess, but if you're heading to Las Vegas for CES in January next year you could see and hear it for yourself at the company's booth.
Meanwhile, the m.e. is currently available for a pre-order price of US$59.95 direct from the manufacturer, just over $15 off the suggested retail price of $75. An animated overview of how the system works can be seen in the video below.
Source: KAI Technologies