Why Justin Timberlake is at CES

Justin Timberlake
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Justin Timberlake

You can use a filter to make just about any image look good. And now there's a company that wants to do the same for audio.

The company AfterMaster, an audio technology company partly owned by Justin Timberlake, has launched a tiny chip at CES that can be built into any piece of hardware to greatly enhance the sound quality for any device.

"We set out to do something big, we set out to change audio in a big way," said company CEO Larry Ryckman, president and CEO.

Dozens of audio enhancements have been made over the years, but every audio enhancement available today hurts something about the sound in some way, Ryckman said. AfterMaster, though, set out to find the perfect filter for sound, Ryckman said.

"We found what we think is the secret sauce. We found a way to take any kind of audio and make it sound better," he said.

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The Los Angeles-based company spent six years developing its audio technology and has partnered with ON Semiconductor to create a microchip that can be put into anything from a hearing aid or earbud to a TV.

AfterMaster's technology can also be embedded via code into any computing device, Ryckman said.

"Audio is really becoming a buzzword with everything going on with sound bars and what Apple is doing," he said. "Audio has trailed (compared to TV displays) and was kind of the forgotten piece, but there are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent now on promoting audio."

AfterMaster attracted the attention of Timberlake late last year, and he's helping take the company to the next level, Ryckman said.

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"We didn't pay Justin; he is an owner in the company. So he has a vested interest in making it work. And he is so well respected, and he has so many connections," Ryckman said.

Timberlake made his way out to CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday to help promote the company and meet with audio company execs to discuss AfterMaster, Ryckman said.

"Justin is friends with these guys, he's friends with the CEO of Sony and Panasonic and that's valuable for us," he said. "His help for us is his desire to move the company forward and use his relationships to bring us business."

The company wasn't ready to announce any partnerships with audio makers, but did say that it was also going to be getting into the hardware space with its own products later this year. The company will announce its devices midyear and won't launch until the holiday season.