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StormAudio AV Immersive Sound Processors and Multi-Channel Amplifiers Preview

Storm Audio w Yves Trelohan

Storm Audio w Yves Trelohan


  • Product Name: ISP 3D.32 ELITE Reference Edition 32 Channel Analog and Digital Output Immersive AV Preamp Processor
  • Manufacturer: StormAudio
  • Review Date: January 18, 2018 16:00
  • MSRP: $6,900 for an entry level amp up to $19,000 for the ISP 3D.32 ELITE Reference Edition 32 Channel Analog and Digital Output Immersive AV Preamp Processor
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

ISP 3D.32 ELITE Reference Edition 32 Channel Analog and Digital Output Immersive AV Preamp Processor

  • AC power:    240W
  • Type:    SMPS
  • 3D Sound formats supported:  Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X
  • Room Calibration:     StormOptimizer powered by Dirac Live
  • Immersive sound for headphones: Yes- SphereAudio binaural immersive sound
  • Remote monitoring:  StormMonitoring
  • Output:    32 channel AES/EBU digital output (RJ45)
  • Input:     16 channel AES/EBU digital cinema input (RJ45)
  • Output connectivity:   16 channel duplicated (balanced) output connectivity (DB25), which allows managing a 2nd theater zone
  • Flexible channel mapping and routing
  • Unlimited multi-subwoofer channels
  • Multi-way active and passive speaker management
  • 8 inputs / 2 outputs HDMI sockets with 4K UHD and HDCP2.2 | HDMI2.0 support
  • 16 channels immersive sound decoding and upmixing
  • Up to 32 channels post-processing
  • High quality analog audio with high-grade ADC/DAC
  • Network and Internet based control (over Wi-Fi or wired network)
  • Dimensions-Home/Rack Pro (L x W x H)inches:    19.29 x 18.86 x 7.52
  • Weight:  30.9 lb

For the last three years high end immersive audio company StormAudio was owned by Auro Technologies, maker of Auro-3D, an immersive sound format for music and home theater like Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. On December 1, 2017, StormAudio made its final transition to become part of the Immersive Audio Technologies group. This buyout overseen by Yves Trelohan & Saffelberg Investments gives the luxury immersive hardware line the power to stand on its own and diversify its technology.

stormaudio lineup.png

The StormAudio line is designed and manufactured in France and consists of 5 preamp/processors from 16- to 32-channels, 3 power amplifiers ranging from 8- to 16-channels, and a 16-channel processor/amp AVR.  With prices ranging from $6,900 for their PA 8 Elite 8 channel 200 watt amplifier to over $20,000 for their 32 channel ISP 3D.32 Elite Pre/Pro, the products are definitely designed to serve the upper end of the custom residential home theater category. The processors all feature built-in compatibility with Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X and integrate category-leading solutions including Dirac Live Room Calibration and StormMonitoring remote web-based monitoring tool.

StormAudio isp_elite__front.jpg     StromAudio isp_3d32reference_edition__back.jpg

To give you an idea of what StormAudio is offering, the $19,000 ISP 3D.32 ELITE Reference Edition has 32 output channels and is packed with key options to fulfill heavy home cinema installs such as a dual theater feature and connectivity with a DCP audio server. This 32-channel preamp/processor offers an Alternate Theater output on the first 16 channels, which allows for multiple theater experiences to be alternatively selected, as well as offering multi-channel Digital Input that supports connectivity to video servers (such as a DCP cinema server) for original soundtrack experiences.  All of this, of course, can be heard in immersive sound formats such as Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X.

storm audio bass management.jpg

Screenshot of Storm Audio Web Interface for Speaker Management

Trading Bells and Whistles for Custom Flexibility

The StormAudio lineup is much different than normal consumer products. There is NO OSD, no remote control. Everything is controlled via the web interface and/or an iOS App. At this point in time, StormAudio has the most flexible bass management system we've seen. Period.

One of the cool things about these StormAudio products is that you can route LFE to the main L/R channels even if you have a subwoofer channel present. In addition, the LFE can be routed to any large declared speaker of the bed layer, even when a subwoofer is declared! It's very hard to find a consumer product that allows this and its useful for people running very large bass capable full range towers. You can even create an HP subsonic filter if your speakers/subs can't handle ultra low LFE below 20Hz.  They also have a 10 band fully adjustable PEQ with shelving options for those that want to manually fine-tune their set ups. If not, you can buy a license to Dirac room correction and utilize that. Getting the bass right is one of the biggest impacts you can make on your home theater system and is also where so many AV receivers and preamp/processors fall short due to lack of configurability and EQ options like the Storm Audio products offer.

Note: In Q2 of 2018,  StormAudio is expected to launch a major software upgrade that will also allow mapping the locations of the speakers acoustically.

The lineup is able to accommodate virtually any speaker and subwoofer combination, unlike most other consumer products we've seen. Their amplifiers are Class D, Pascal module utilizing an SMPS power supply. This looks like one of the best Class D amplifiers on the market as from what we've read as it's rated at full power bandwidth and doesn't drastically alter frequency response based on loudspeaker load impedance.  We are definitely interested in getting one of these amplifiers on our test bench to confirm.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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