(September 3, 2021) During a recent interview with StormAudio’s Gary Blouse, National Sales Manager - US and Canada, AV NIRVANA was given the green light to discuss several of the company’s exciting new products. The headliner is a new entry-level processor called the ISP Core 16. Core 16 is destined to be a boon to enthusiasts that want true high-end technologies but are gun shy when it comes to gear that costs more than $15,000 or $16,000. Unlike some manufacturers that spruce up lower-end gear to insert a product in the $9,000 to $11,000 category, Storm’s ISP Core 16 is the beneficiary of impressive trickle-down technologies found in its elite ISP MK2 line (read a full review of Storm's ISP 32 MK2 Processor, here)
Tagged with an MSRP of $11,999, Core 16 is a 16-channel processor loaded with 16 XLR outputs and 16 unique channels of processing for Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D immersive arrangements. It also carries a “core” subset of MK2 features. Those include Dirac Live, ROON, PEQs, active crossovers, multi-zone audio/video with separate calibrations in all zones, channel-based digital delays, and others. As a trade-off for its more affordable price, Core 16 reserves features such as Dirac Bass Control, Storm’s proprietary Expert Bass Management with Flexible Bass Routing, and the brand’s HDMI video matrix feature as optional upgrades for a fee.
Unlike Storm’s fully upgradeable ISP MK2 platform, Core 16 will only offer access to video upgrades. While not as versatile as the 16 channel ISP MK2 model, this still presents owners with impressive future-proofing capabilities, especially considering that video hardware advancements roll out far more frequently than those associated with audio. Conversely, Core 16 will carry a brand-new color display. Unlike the display found on MK2 models, the Core 16’s display can show graphics and important functionality information previously accessible only through Storm’s web-based user interface; this feature will streamline quick, on-the-spot troubleshooting performed by installers and enthusiasts, alike.
Another exciting development is StormAudio’s new Channel Ambiance Expander or StormXT. This feature allows a system to take advantage of all speakers deployed in a theater room. For example, owners with a high channel count, such as 13.1.10 tailored to satisfy Dolby Atmos content, will get a wider number of speakers used when playing Auro-3D content, natively limited to a 7.1.4 channel rendering. StormXT will be offered as a paid license to Core 16 buyers and a free upgrade to MK1/MK2 owners.
Blouse says that StormAudio’s sales have been exceptionally strong in recent quarters, and the company has remained relatively unscathed by parts shortages. Storm is actively tooling a new France-based factory to manufacture Core 16. The processor currently exists as an operational prototype, so we don’t have pictures to share (we’ll update this article as soon as images are released). Shipping is expected to begin sometime during Q4 of 2021, however, pre-orders can be placed now.