Serial investor and entrepreneur Martin-Luc Archambault is receiving attention for his newest creation: an app that helps sync the audio outputs of multiple mobile phones in unison, called AmpMe.
According to the company, the app, which works with both iOS and Android, has been downloaded more than a million times now.
The free AmpMe app uses audio-matching technology to synchronize music across mobile devices, creating distributed surround sound on mobile phones, tablets and bluetooth speakers. The app allows a host to sync either their own music library or music from SoundCloud on their smartphone, to multiple phones, giving the effect of a “giant, distributed speaker that surrounds the users.”
“Achieving a million downloads in four months is just the beginning of what we’re hoping to accomplish at AmpMe,” said Archambault, who stars on the French Canadian version of the hit show Dragons’ Den, or ‘Dans l’œil du dragon.’ “We love seeing people use our app and love it even more when they post their videos and experiences online. We need the community’s feedback on the product!”
AmpMe uses a server-centric proprietary audio matching technology to create the audio synchronization, not bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, it will also work with bluetooth speakers that include a microphone. Everyone involved needs to have the app installed, and anyone joining in needs to request a passkey for the music party before receiving a unique audio code.
According to Gregg Delman, a San Francisco-based PR consultant for AmpMe (of DRS Media), the idea struck Archambault while he was on a skiing trip in Whistler.
At a friend’s brand new apartment that didn’t have audio setup yet, the group of friends wanted to listen to music and dance. They put someones cell phone in the middle and streamed music, but it wasn’t good enough to turn it into a party. They tried all the tricks, but Archambault thought at the time, “This is terrible.”
“So he seized upon this idea and he wanted to find a way to play music across multiple devices at once, louder,” said Delman.
A year later, and about $1 million worth of Archambault’s own money, his development team came up with AmpMe.
Delman said he’s used the technology everywhere from the beach in the Caribbean to pool-side in Las Vegas.
“Now we’re on a quest to get as many users as possible. Its great because it’s viral by nature. You can’t use it alone, the whole point of it is you use it together with friends,” said Delman, who was in Las Vegas repping AmpMe for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) in early January . “We’re seeing a lot of love out there. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response and the adoption.”
Interestingly, The Verge’s Sean O’Kane wrote in September that “While the company is certainly pushing the ‘dance party with your friends’ angle, it’s easy to see that the app’s value might truly materialize from the proprietary technology that makes it all work.”
Archambault, according to O’Kane, said during a live demo that his company’s lawyers were particularly interested in it for teleconferencing, for example.
Meanwhile, EnGagdget’s Dana Wollman raised the point that while the idea may be unique, it’s really the “terrible” sound quality of cell phones that could ultimately hold AmpMe back.
“Unless you happen to have, say, an HTC phone with BoomSound, you’re probably working with tinny, contained audio that only gets more distorted as you crank the volume. It’s great to know that the technology has evolved such that it’s possible to daisy-chain phones like this and have them stream music perfectly in sync. Now we just need phone makers to catch up,” wrote Wollman.