• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

StormAudio ISP MK2 24-ch processor (Review by Audioholics)

sweetchaos

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
The Curator
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Messages
2,840
Likes
7,686
Location
BC, Canada
Gene DellaSala (from Audioholics) just posted the review of the StormAudio ISP MK2 24-ch processor:

image

image_large2

Retails for US$24,000.

Specs (taken from audioholics):
HDMI IN / OUT
  • 7 IN / 2 OUT (ARC/eARC)
  • HDMI2.0b/HDCP2.2
  • 4K UHD 18 Gbps on all ports
  • HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
AUDIO OUTPUTS
  • 16ch, 24ch or 32ch analog (XLR) - optional
  • 32ch digital (AES/EBU or AES67) - optional
  • 1x XLR Analog (Stereo downmix)
AUDIO INPUTS

  • 16ch digital (AES/EBU) - optional
  • 4x RCA analog (7.1 or stereo)
  • 1x XLR analog (stereo)
  • 3x Coaxial SPDIF
  • 3x Optical Toslink
DECODING

  • 24 decoding/upmixing channels
  • Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D
  • DTS:X Pro, IMAX Enhanced Ready
  • All legacy codecs up to 192 kHz
PROCESSING

  • Up to 32ch
  • Multi-theater & multi-room
  • Multi-way speakers
  • Multi-subwoofer
  • 20 PEQ per channel

ROOM CORRECTION

  • Dirac Live with Bass Control module
  • REW plugin
STREAMING

  • ROON Ready
CONTROL

  • TCP/IP (ETHERNET), IR
  • StormRemote iOS/Android Tablet and Smartphone Applications
  • Web based configuration
  • Control4, Crestron, RTI, Savant, ELAN drivers

Full measurements are on the website.

Gene's Conclusion:
The StormAudio ISP MK2 is a technological marvel for cost-no-object AV processor. I am still in awe at the sophistication of its bass management system that can handle any type of speaker and subwoofer combination you could ever think to conceive. The speaker configurability ranges from modest all the way to SOTA 24-channel native immersive speaker layouts and up to 32 processed channels to build the very best large scale home theaters. The digital outputs allow the end user to integrate the bleeding edge in active speaker technology with a straight digital path to external processing with no analog to digital conversion like you would have with conventional processors. This is such a big deal that I can’t overstate it. The end result is sonic perfection that enables you to build the system on your dreams rivaling the best cineplexes while also treating music with equal veracity. I like the fact that StormAudio builds this processor with upgradeability in mind (ie. HDMI 2.1, DTS Pro, etc). This ensures obsolescence won’t be an issue the way it is with most AV products that are not modular based like the ISP MK2. As much as I loved experiencing Dolby Atmos movies processed by the ISP MK2, the real treat for me was listening to Atmos music through Apple Music and Tidal. I felt that the ISP MK2 really let me dial in the “audiophile” in my system with all of the infinite adjustability that you just don’t get in a mass produced AV processor. Because of the level of configurability and associated performance I was able to achieve in my theater room, the StormAudio ISP MK2 is our 2021 Product of the Year Award winner in the AV Processor category. I am looking forward to the future upgrades that will enhance the performance and features of this product and plan to continue on my home theater journey in the AH SmartHome with StormAudio at the helm.

Discuss!
 

Sancus

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
2,431
Likes
6,123
Location
Canada
Retails for US$24,000.
Casual more-than-my-entire-system cost including the TV :p

The Storm ISP MK2 does have a basic OSD that displays volume level, audio stream and input selected.

This is good and IMO one of the most annoying things about the Monoprice HTP-1. Not having an OSD for volume is quite inconvenient in many setups.

Speaker configuration is the most elaborate I've ever encountered in a home theater processor. The graphical interface is very helpful in visualizing your speaker allocations.

I'm not 100% sure, but it looks to me like this unit only has a 2D configuration system, not a full 3D one like Trinnov offers where the processor knows the position of every speaker in 3D space and can even be used to perceptually adjust those positions.

I've always got the impression that Storm Audio was a bit less advanced than Trinnov in many areas, and at these prices, that seems like a downside.

he Storm ISP MK2 has lots of output drive and I was unable to make it clip even at max level with a 0dBFS input. The graph above shows SINAD and THD plotted on the Y-axis vs output drive in volts. We see between 91dB to 97dB depending on which channel is driven vs output.

The noise/thd complainers are gonna be out in force about that at this price but I don't actually care about this lol. Does not look obviously broken and no clipping with 0dBFS input as well as clean output up to 8V is nice to see.

Bass Management

This was really interesting and I'd love to see comparison against other processors at the same price level. The level of configurability is very cool.

In the end though, my biggest problem is the onwards march of HDMI/Atmos/etc. One thing these reviews never talk about that I've seen is -- what is the vendor's long term support story and history? If software upgrades are guaranteed to keep you at the bleeding edge for 10+ years, and hardware upgrades will be available in a timely manner and reasonably priced, then I could see justifying a purchase here.

But if you're gonna be forced to replace this thing every 5-10 years like your average Denon, then it's really hard to see the value.
 
Last edited:

Soundmixer

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
432
Likes
279
If software upgrades are guaranteed to keep you at the bleeding edge for 10+ years, and hardware upgrades will be available in a timely manner and reasonably priced, then I could see justifying a purchase here.
My brother purchased the Altitude32 just for this reason.
 

HammerSandwich

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
1,137
Likes
1,456
There have been issues where HDMI would lock up and I couldn't restore the picture or sound even with a power cycle.
If I understand correctly, Gene means that a normal off/on won't fix this but unplugging will.

Guess it's like expecting & accepting weird stuff in a $500k Ferrari that a $30k Toyota could not get away with...
 

Tangband

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 3, 2019
Messages
1,664
Likes
1,502
Location
Sweden
Gene DellaSala (from Audioholics) just posted the review of the StormAudio ISP MK2 24-ch processor:

image

image_large2

Retails for US$24,000.

Specs (taken from audioholics):


Full measurements are on the website.

Gene's Conclusion:


Discuss!
Interesting review.:)
Making all the loudspeaker in a home theathre active is a very good idea.
Thou I must say that a maybe similar result can be done with loudspeakers with already inbuilt dsp crossover.
For instance, the GLM in Genelecs monitors does roomcorrection and it does this individualy in each speaker. This is a big advantage.

Three Genelec 8340 for fronts and two 8030 or two 8330 for rear and a Denon receiver with 5.1 analog pre out is probably the cheapest way to make an active audiophile homecinema with roomcorrection that works for real for less than 10000 dollars.
 

Dj7675

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
1,672
Likes
1,965
This is good and IMO one of the most annoying things about the Monoprice HTP-1. Not having an OSD for volume is quite inconvenient in many setups.
Not knowing the what your volume is at is a big deal to me. I prefer to use a regular remote when watching movies/tv, so it is nice to have volume and other info on the screen. Even better is to have the volume info on the remote. The Stormaudio is compatible with Control4 and systems that provide 2 way info to the remote. So the volume info is on the remote which is even better to me so when I need to adjust the volume it isn’t always showing up on the screen which can interrupt the movie/tv show for others.
 

HighImpactAV

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
89
Likes
160
The "as configured" price listed is weird because nobody would by a 32 channel analog processor and then add the 32 channel digital AES output board. Current MSRP for a 16 analog channel unit with the 32 digital channel AES board is $19,999 and for the 16 channel with 32 digital channels of AES67 in/out it is $21,999.
 

apgood

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
72
Likes
51
Not knowing the what your volume is at is a big deal to me. I prefer to use a regular remote when watching movies/tv, so it is nice to have volume and other info on the screen. Even better is to have the volume info on the remote. The Stormaudio is compatible with Control4 and systems that provide 2 way info to the remote. So the volume info is on the remote which is even better to me so when I need to adjust the volume it isn’t always showing up on the screen which can interrupt the movie/tv show for others.
The StormAudio TCP/IP api is really good to program for even if you your own solution like Homa Assistance etc.. I created a UCI in Q-Sys and it works very reliably and you can control pretty much everything.
 

apgood

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
72
Likes
51
If I understand correctly, Gene means that a normal off/on won't fix this but unplugging will.

Guess it's like expecting & accepting weird stuff in a $500k Ferrari that a $30k Toyota could not get away with...
I have never had any of these sorts of HDMI issues on mine and I use it with ATV 4K, HTPC, Zidoo, Dune, Chromecast with Google TV, Oppo 205 & Fire TV stick 4K Max and connect to a 4K LED TV and a 1080p DLP Projector
 

Slayer

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
540
Likes
779
Is it just me, or should we not expect or demand better SINAD for 24k?
 

Dj7675

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
1,672
Likes
1,965
What is the voltage this was taken at? I tried to find it but couldn’t see it. One of the other measurements was taken at 8V. Was the one below taken at 8V?

D3DD5D46-EC82-4797-A592-B47B8BC4FF38.jpeg
 

apgood

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
72
Likes
51
Is it just me, or should we not expect or demand better SINAD for 24k?
Based on amirm's review the SINAD is good enough for me. Prefer them to focus on other areas and just maintain what they have. If they can tweak it a little bit great but not invest loads of time in it. Things like the HDMI matrix switching, getting their Expert Base management to work with Dirac and 3D Speaker Remapping are things I'm more interested in (even if I'm unlikely to use the 3D remapping in the immediate future).
 

Dj7675

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
1,672
Likes
1,965
What is the voltage this was taken at? I tried to find it but couldn’t see it. One of the other measurements was taken at 8V. Was the one below taken at 8V?

View attachment 171666
Asked Gene and this one the reply the forum thread:
"So if you look at the RMS level on the vertical scale for this measurement, it's around 5.6dbV.
To convert dBv to Volts(rms) you do alog(dbV/20) which in this case would be alog (5.6/20) or 1.9Vrms."
I am copy/pasting from that thread because I believe Gene stated he wasn't going to read/post here any longer.
 

jhaider

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
2,049
Likes
3,031
Not many mortals can afford $24k processor.

We need this technology below $10k.
Make it happen!

Feature wise everything* except the ability to use the SSP for multi-way speaker crossovers, preout voltage sufficient to drive super low gain amps (nice on paper but of questionable real world relevance), and multichannel digital outputs are in Monoprice HTP-1. I think the current price of that, when available, is $4500 for box and DLBC license.

*[edit - not quite: see @Dj7675's comprehensive post immediately following this one.] Storm’s native manual bass management is far superior to HTP-1’s. However, if you use DLBC that is no longer an advantage, as Dirac automates bass management.
 
Last edited:

Dj7675

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
1,672
Likes
1,965
Feature wise everything* except the ability to use the SSP for multi-way speaker crossovers, preout voltage sufficient to drive super low gain amps (nice on paper but of questionable real world relevance), and multichannel digital outputs are in Monoprice HTP-1. I think the current price of that, when available, is $4500 for box and DLBC license.

*Storm’s native manual bass management is far superior to HTP-1’s. However, if you use DLBC that is no longer an advantage, as Dirac automates bass management.
The HTP-1 does a lot, but still does not have everything the Storm does..some may find important/useful, others may not
-Ability to go beyond 16 channels. For example a 9.4.6 system can’t be done without resorting to MiniDSP for subs. And in this scenario you can’t use DLBC of course
-Ability to use speakers outside of surround format. For example, with their XD feature, you can use center height and VOG speaker with a Dolby atmos source.
-DTSX Pro-MIA still with HTP-1. Neural x in my opinion is the best upmixer for movie/tv content
-No multiple zones. Can use DIRAC on all zones (limited to stereo and mono)
-No 3rd party remote integration such as control4 etc
-Import REW filters directly (I don’t know if the HTP-1 does this or not)

There are also some things the HTP-1 does that the Storm cannot (I’m sure there are more but a few)
-Loudness compensation
-BEQ (I believe that is what it is called), uploading bass boost based on movies that cut off frequency response below 20hz

In the end just know what features you want as they all aren’t the same.
 

jhaider

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
2,049
Likes
3,031
The HTP-1 does a lot, but still does not have everything the Storm does..some may find important/useful, others may not
-Ability to go beyond 16 channels. For example a 9.4.6 system can’t be done without resorting to MiniDSP for subs. And in this scenario you can’t use DLBC of course
-Ability to use speakers outside of surround format. For example, with their XD feature, you can use center height and VOG speaker with a Dolby atmos source.
-DTSX Pro-MIA still with HTP-1. Neural x in my opinion is the best upmixer for movie/tv content
-No multiple zones. Can use DIRAC on all zones (limited to stereo and mono)
-No 3rd party remote integration such as control4 etc
-Import REW filters directly (I don’t know if the HTP-1 does this or not)

Fair points all. I did notably forget about/omit HTP-1's odd VOG handling and lack of center height. As to the last one I don't know offhand, either. As for remote, has Storm finally sorted out IR control? When I had the Bryston SP4 it did not play well with our Harmony remote. That's why I never inquired about buying the review sample. Other than that it was the most capable SSP I had ever used.

There are also some things the HTP-1 does that the Storm cannot (I’m sure there are more but a few)
-Loudness compensation

Great point! That's possibly the best unique feature of HTP-1 and a feature with extremely high real world relevance regardless of system configuration.
 
Top Bottom