Pulse Cinemas is very proud to be the UK distributor for StormAudio, a seriously innovative AV and home cinema maker which has had an extremely impressive 12 months. The new ISP MK2 products were released last year and are already winning many fans and picking up rave reviews and awards. The brand is keeping the innovation flowing with its latest software update, Firmware 4.1 which delivers DTS:X Pro on all ISP MK2 and adds advanced Expert Bass Management to all ISP generations. Available from the StormAudio website this new release makes the best home cinema processing platforms on the planet, even better. 

Kapes Patel, our Technical Director, enthuses, "The StormAudio platform is already very, very good, with this new addition to its capabilities, performance goes to another level. Check out these new capabilities and if you have any questions at all, just get in touch."

DTS:X Pro

For all ISP MK2 owners, this software up-date will automatically unlock DTS:X Pro decoding up to 24 discrete channels including multiple side surround speakers. Firmware 4.1 also brings to the whole ISP family a completely rewritten and optimised Expert Bass Management that enables the creation of different bass routes in a room. Owners of ISP Digital AES/EBU (MK1 and MK2), will also now be able to choose and assign the type of output for each individual channel.

 DTS:X Pro is an extension of the DTS:X object oriented immersive audio decoder, offering full backward compatibility for any content mixed in DTS:X and extending the 11.1 channel capability of DTS:X to 32 channels. 

The update means DTS:X Pro is now available on StormAudio ISP MK2, decoding up to 24 discrete channels, with the ability to go up to 32 channels on the same hardware in the future. 

For DTS:X Pro, the DTS Neural:X up-mixer and remapping engine has been re-designed to take full advantage of the higher channel count, identifying the channels encoded in the bitstream and comparing it to the user selected speaker layout to intelligently up-mix to address all available speakers. This up-mixed content is then mixed with the rendered objects for immersive playback.

Highly Flexible Expert Bass Management

On top of the standard bass management and the automated bass management provided by Dirac Live Bass Control Add-on already included in every ISP, the platform now includes a new Expert Bass Management.

All the bass management algorithms were completely rewritten by StormAudio’s engineers to enable greater flexibility to installers to achieve best possible performance in any installation. This new Expert mode enables the user to create up to six different bass routes in a room with selectable bass extraction for each channel. These re-directed low frequencies can then be sent to any bass reproducer in the room, subwoofers or large speakers. Some routes can be configured to reproduce only LFE and others LFE and re-directed low frequencies, offering complete control on these settings to the calibrator.

Per Channel Analogue vs Digital Assignment for ISP Digital AES/EBU

The new MK2 platform also boasts a new DAC board with proprietary hybrid volume adjustment to guarantee high dynamic range at any level while keeping low residual noise (as low as 4µVrms). When equipped with a Digital AES/EBU option adding 32 AES/EBU outputs, the user will now have the choice for each channel to choose between two modes- Digital or Analogue. In Digital mode, both outputs (digital and analogue) will work simultaneously, with the full dynamic range on the digital and analogue outputs, thus not using the hybrid volume adjustment of the DAC board. In Analogue mode, the channel will go through the DAC board only and have lower residual noise as it will get attenuated with the volume, thanks to the hybrid volume adjustment function.

Multiple rendered side surround channels and optimized eARC

The new software update also comes with other significant improvements. To help provide the best spatial resolution for multiple rows of seats in a big cinema, it is now possible to define speaker layout with multiple discretely rendered surround speakers, namely Surround 1 and Surround 2, thus enabling the best experience whichever seat chosen in the theater. 

Firmware 4.1 also optimises the eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) functionality on all MK2 and MK1 equipped with StormAudio’s HDMI 7+2 eARC board co-developed with partner CYP to cope with newer TV implementations in the field. With this board, the entire line is compatible with most HDMI 2.1 devices and thanks to this feature, users can connect their equipment to their HDMI 2.1 compatible display and the audio stream will be transferred to the ISP through the HDMI cable and decoded in the ISP.