Working with fun. and Justin Timberlake, ASU alumni plans to revolutionize sound

Imagine being able to watch your favorite movie or TV show at home, but with the sound quality of being in a state-of-the-art theater. 

Thanks to two ASU alumni, this possibility is now a reality — and it was developed in ASU’s own backyard.

Business and communications alumnus Aaron Ryckman and business and marketing alumnus Bradley Davis work for AfterMaster Audio, a Scottsdale-based audio company with studios in Los Angeles that has developed a chip that will help make music, sound and dialogue fuller and more balanced.

“When you see a movie in theaters, the sound is designed to be pushed through however many speakers are in the auditorium,” Davis, senior vice president of business development, said.

“When you watch it at home, it doesn’t get remixed so all that sound just gets pushed through two or three speakers. The technology we’ve developed helps balance that out,” he said.

The company also has Justin Timberlake and hit producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins as partners. Jerkins has been involved with the company for more than six years, while Timberlake came on board last year.

“Getting to work with guys like that is just incredible,” Davis said. “They both bring so much to the table."  

Co-founded by Ryckman's father, Larry and Shelly Yakus in 2006, the company has a Scottsdale office as well as a state-of-the-art Los Angeles-based recording studio. Tracks like Ricky Martin’s 2014 FIFA World Cup song “Vida” and fun.’s Grammy Award Winning “We Are Young” have been made with the help of the AfterMaster Audio Labs.

AfterMaster paired with ON Semiconductor last spring in order to create the chip that will revolutionize the way sound is heard. Larry Ryckman and Yakus had been working on developing the algorithm necessary for the chip years prior to the two companies teaming up.

“Having a company like ON (Semiconductor) come and work with us has been awesome,” Ryckman, senior executive vice president, said. “It was just what we needed for all of our hard work to come together.”

The company places the chip in AfterMaster TV, a small device which connects to a TV with an HDMI cable, that balances the sound and helps make dialogue louder and clearer.

“So often when people watch TV they have to turn the volume up because the dialogue is too low and then they have to turn it back down when the action starts,” Ryckman said. “With AfterMaster TV, you won’t have to do that.”

AfterMaster launched the product’s Kickstarter campaign last week, reaching nearly half of their goal in just five days. They are hoping to reach $200,000 by Dec. 21.

Davis says that AfterMaster TV is just the beginning, and the company plans to continue innovating with their technology in new ways.

“Like Beats (Electronics), it’s our hope that AfterMaster becomes the next big thing as far as audio and audio technology,” Davis said.

Both alums feel like their time at ASU greatly prepared them for their future and helped them both with AfterMaster and elsewhere.

“President Crow really talks about innovation, and that was one of my biggest takeaways from my time in school,” Davis said. “Being innovative and creative and taking chances has helped me immensely.”

Ryckman agrees with Davis about how the University stressing the importance of innovation has helped him greatly.

“We live in an area where more and more innovation is happening and more and more companies are starting up and coming out here, and it’s a really cool thing to see,” Aaron said. 

For more information on AfterMaster Audio and its Kickstarter, click here.

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Reach the reporter at seweinst@asu.edu or follow @S_Weinstein95 on Twitter.

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