Which of these scenarios has happened to you? You’re playing a movie from a Blu-ray player and the speakers on the flat panel TV just can’t seem to key the dialogue so that you can hear what the actors are saying. You turn up the volume but that just makes everything louder: it doesn’t solve the problem one bit. And that goes double for when you’re playing a musical.

Or you’re playing a video game on the TV and just know that it can sound better than what you are getting, but haven’t got a clue as to how to get “there.”

Aftermaster HD Audio Labs feels your pain.  Or make that they know what’s not getting to your brain.  Or perhaps a better way to say it is that they know exactly what is wrong and have a way to fix it.  What there is that needs fixing is the real issue, so a visit to their offices in Hollywood seems a safe bet.  That’s where Ari Blitz, Aftermaster’s Senior Audio Engineer sits down before an audio mixing console and begins to play a series of stereo recordings, from pop to classical, from years gone by and on up to today.  It all sounds fine, but it could be a lot better, Blitz says — pointing to the fact that so much of the aural detail is being “buried” because the frequencies just aren’t playing nice with one another.  He then repeats this but now we’re listening to the sound coming out from a 40” flat panel. It sounds OK too, but there’s a sneaking suspicion that it could sound better. Blitz agrees.

So is there a solution?  Turns out there is, and it’s called the Aftermaster TV Box.  This little guy (about the size of that old videocassette of ET that you couldn’t part with) has a lot of electronics inside, backed by some serious audio algorithms.  The core is a chip designed for hearing aid use, which makes sense as that means it is a power sipper, not gulper, and has as its core the purpose of taking sound and modifying it so it can be heard better. Blitz takes a HDMI cable and runs it from the source into the Aftermaster TV box. He then connects another HDMI cable from the box to the TV. and connects the audio source to the HDMI input, with an HDMI output going to the flat panel TV (there’s also a power port that takes a wall outlet for power). As Blitz points out, the value of the Aftermaster TV Box is that it can take and work these tiny, tiny speakers that TVs now have and render not just sound out of them — but a sound that has nuances and details that otherwise are glossed over and just not heard. But they are now.

The Aftermaster TV Box does a great job at taking audio that sounds like it went through a hamburger grinder and turning it into steak. Couple that with the sensibility off making its use so simple that anyone who has ever connected a DVD player to a flat panel TV can figure out how to use it, and anybody can figure out that this will be a winner. Designed to work with the stereo speakers of the TV to radically improve on the audio output, it doesn’t matter what the audio coming in is either –it can be a movie or some talking head or music, it all benefits.  A KickStart campaign is being wrapped up, and examples can be had at the company’s website.

The Aftermaster TV Box is due out in February of next year at a price of $129.00 and will be about the size of an iPhone 6/6S. There will also be a Limited Edition model that adds a 3.5mm audio jack in/out for use with portable and mobile devices and a rechargeable battery inside ($149.00). The PRO edition ($159.00) is the same as the Limited but will add an extra HDMI input as well as being signed by the founders.