Storm Audio PA 16 MK2 16-Channel Power Amplifier Review & Comments

BriD

Well-known Member
Not sure if just me, but on Chrome (with no zoom or anything) the score is rendering like this...

1617193271654.png
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
So I've seen comments akin to "if you want this but need a one-box solution" or "are limited for space" a fair few times now but left them.

Is there actually a market that needs 16 channels of top end amplification and has £10k to spend on it (granted, the per channel cost is pretty reasonable), but can't find more than 3u of rack space to put it in?

I'm thinking maybe for very clean, integrated installs, but then we're talking about a "build", and hidey spaces for electronics would (should) have been considered.

It's like this is perfect for popping next to your processor for a clean install in your Ikea TV unit (okay, maybe not Ikea), but I don't understand who is doing that.

I get it for convenience/simplicity - one and done. But I've seen the space saving value point made a few times (not in this review, mind), and don't follow that one.
 
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Steve Withers

Reviewer
So I've seen comments akin to "if you want this but need a one-box solution" or "are limited for space" a fair few times now but left them.

Is there actually a market that needs 16 channels of top end amplification and has £10k to spend on it (granted, the per channel cost is pretty reasonable), but can't find more than 3u of rack space to put it in?

I'm thinking maybe for very clean, integrated installs, but then we're talking about a "build", and hidey spaces for electronics would (should) have been considered.

It's like this is perfect for popping next to your processor for a clean install in your Ikea TV unit (okay, maybe not Ikea), but I don't understand who is doing that.

I get it for convenience/simplicity - one and done. But I've seen the space saving value point made a few times (not in this review, mind), and don't follow that one.
I totally get your point, but if someone is planning a relatively simple and tidy 16-channel install of their own, this amp is perfect. That's certainly the case for me, where I have minimal space and electrical sockets, so the PA16 slots in nicely beneath my Altitude16.

I'll also say that after a month of solid use, this is an absolutely superb Class D amp, and the convenience of its design hasn't negatively impacted on sound quality or its ability to deliver large amounts of continuous power to my system.
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
To me 16 speakers sounds like the antithesis of tidy, unless we're talking about the aforementioned in-wall, in which case the in-wall electronics should be a consideration too.

Is the imbalance of speakers to places for electronics to live in your case a matter of the channel-count organically growing over the years, whereas the rack space/location has remained static? I could get my head around that.

I'd not even thought of sockets, that makes sense too - I'm currently watching a 30-way 32A power strip on ebay so that I may banish plug extension bars forever.
 

Red tape

Standard Member
Why is it bad thing that the amp is basic-looking?
Should it have blinking lights or what?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Is the imbalance of speakers to places for electronics to live in your case a matter of the channel-count organically growing over the years, whereas the rack space/location has remained static? I could get my head around that.
Exactly.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Why is it bad thing that the amp is basic-looking?
Should it have blinking lights or what?
That's a good point. I think I was trust trying to come up with some possible negatives, but personally I prefer a plain amp that doesn't have any lights on the front. In fact, I'm going to remove that particular con!
 

VGzilla

Member
So, max rated power is 3600w into 4 ohms, and 3200w into 8 ohms, even though the power supply is rated at 3200w max. I know Class D is efficient but even assuming 100% efficiency not only does it seem the power supplies could not meet the max power requirements into 4 ohms but what typical home receptacle can even provide 3200w? In Canada, electricians will often say anything more than 1500w will quickly trip the circuit breaker. Or, do all these ratings rely on the source material never being anything but very, very short bursts to a few channels at a time? In the past, didn't power amplifiers have to run continuously at 70% of rated power for one full hour into a dummy load before power output tests were run? Just curious.
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
So, max rated power is 3600w into 4 ohms, and 3200w into 8 ohms, even though the power supply is rated at 3200w max. I know Class D is efficient but even assuming 100% efficiency not only does it seem the power supplies could not meet the max power requirements into 4 ohms but what typical home receptacle can even provide 3200w? In Canada, electricians will often say anything more than 1500w will quickly trip the circuit breaker. Or, do all these ratings rely on the source material never being anything but very, very short bursts to a few channels at a time? In the past, didn't power amplifiers have to run continuously at 70% of rated power for one full hour into a dummy load before power output tests were run? Just curious.

In the UK and a variety of other countries with 220V, any garden variety outlet will happily give you that sort of juice.

I also believe the number printed on the back of a chassis for power supply relates to a nominal rating, peak or short term use can be a fair bit higher.

But outside of running all-channel bench tests, I can't see anyone even approaching that sort of usage anyway.
 
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nimman

Standard Member
That's a good point. I think I was trust trying to come up with some possible negatives, but personally I prefer a plain amp that doesn't have any lights on the front. In fact, I'm going to remove that particular con!
I would say that its nice to match amps with pre-amps.
Like the Arcam av40 with the their 7-channel amp etc.
But I also prefer a black box :)
 

VGzilla

Member
In the UK and a variety of other countries with 220V, any garden variety outlet will happily give you that sort of juice.

I also believe the number printed on the back of a chassis for power supply relates to a nominal rating, peak or short term use can be a fair bit higher.

But outside of running all-channel bench tests, I can't see anyone even approaching that sort of usage anyway.
Thanks, that makes sense.
 

sammy the squid

Distinguished Member
So I've seen comments akin to "if you want this but need a one-box solution" or "are limited for space" a fair few times now but left them.

Is there actually a market that needs 16 channels of top end amplification and has £10k to spend on it (granted, the per channel cost is pretty reasonable), but can't find more than 3u of rack space to put it in?

I'm thinking maybe for very clean, integrated installs, but then we're talking about a "build", and hidey spaces for electronics would (should) have been considered.

It's like this is perfect for popping next to your processor for a clean install in your Ikea TV unit (okay, maybe not Ikea), but I don't understand who is doing that.

I get it for convenience/simplicity - one and done. But I've seen the space saving value point made a few times (not in this review, mind), and don't follow that one.


Have to agree with the point you make here. If you’re dropping almost £11,000 on an amp, it’s unlikely you’ve got concerns about saving space and need a single box solution.

Storm are an Uber niche brand, I suspect their primary audience will be owners of the Storm processors that may desire the matching power amp. And those are most likely to be installed as part of a custom installation in a dedicated space.
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
The best upgrade I ever made to my setup was a dedicated space hidden away with a full height rack
 

Paleape

Novice Member
Have to agree with the point you make here. If you’re dropping almost £11,000 on an amp, it’s unlikely you’ve got concerns about saving space and need a single box solution.

Storm are an Uber niche brand, I suspect their primary audience will be owners of the Storm processors that may desire the matching power amp. And those are most likely to be installed as part of a custom installation in a dedicated space.
These may be targetted at things like the luxury yacht market segment where space is at a premium. I know their ISP processors are used in that market segment.
 

chiro81

Active Member
To me 16 speakers sounds like the antithesis of tidy, unless we're talking about the aforementioned in-wall, in which case the in-wall electronics should be a consideration too.

Is the imbalance of speakers to places for electronics to live in your case a matter of the channel-count organically growing over the years, whereas the rack space/location has remained static? I could get my head around that.

I'd not even thought of sockets, that makes sense too - I'm currently watching a 30-way 32A power strip on ebay so that I may banish plug extension bars forever.
What would be the benefit or use case for those power strips? Should everyone get that for 7.1.4 setups?
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
What would be the benefit or use case for those power strips? Should everyone get that for 7.1.4 setups?
It's a vertical rackmount, with a 2m long row of plugs up the back side and one plug into the wall.
For me it will tidy power cabling massively, as every component in the rack will plug into whatever socket happens to be right next to it.

Everyone with a full height rack and a 32A socket available should get one.
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Space can often be limited even in higher end installations. We have often installed £50-£100k plus cinema rooms in smaller spaces where the equipment has to remain within that room.

Some of these rooms are mixed use and not dedicated with smaller racks installed into bespoke cabinetry.
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
@Steve Withers Tally-ho, Mr Withers! You'll immediately realise that this is a fantasy question from me, but aw shucks. Consider someone who didn't need quite as many as 16 channels, say "only" 14 channels for a 9.1.4 or 7.1.6 arrangement of speakers. Consider also that neither the number of boxes, nor cost, was a problem and concentrating on sound quality alone. How would this excellent Storm PA16 compare with using two of the also excellent NAD M28 7-channel amplifier (which as it happens is also Class D, since that seems to matter to some people, but not to me)?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
@Steve Withers Tally-ho, Mr Withers! You'll immediately realise that this is a fantasy question from me, but aw shucks. Consider someone who didn't need quite as many as 16 channels, say "only" 14 channels for a 9.1.4 or 7.1.6 arrangement of speakers. Consider also that neither the number of boxes, nor cost, was a problem and concentrating on sound quality alone. How would this excellent Storm PA16 compare with using two of the also excellent NAD M28 7-channel amplifier (which as it happens is also Class D, since that seems to matter to some people, but not to me)?
As much as I love the PA16, the M28 is an awesome amp. Since you 'only' need the 14 channels you might as well (hypothetically) buy two M28s and save yourself a couple of grand.
 

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