There are home cinema amplifiers, and there are home cinema amplifiers like the new Focal Astral 16.
At £20k (and 20kg), this AV behemoth is aimed squarely at ultra-high-end installations and is Focal's first ever 16-channel multi-room AV processor and amplifier. It has been designed in collaboration with Immersive Audio Technologies, a specialist in high-end electronics.
Out of those 16 channels, 12 are amplified so you can hook them straight up to a surround sound package. All the main object-based surround formats are covered including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. And with power rated at 200 watts per channel, you shouldn’t be short of muscle even when faced with the most testing of movie scenes.
The remaining four channels are pre-amplified (with balanced XLR outputs) so they can be used to help create additional multi-room stereo systems. They’re dedicated entirely to audio, with their own filtering, equalisation and bass management.
Room calibration is done through the Focal’s built-in Dirac Live software. The amp is equipped with seven HDMI inputs and two 4K outputs, all supporting 4K Ultra HD content, plus HDR 10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR.
The Astral 16 is completely customisable and comes with its own dedicated app for the Apple iPad which allows complete control, the ability to access technical support, and carry out equipment diagnostics.
Aimed at the custom install market, Focal has also included full compatibility with Crestron, Control4, Savant and RTI home installation systems.
The Focal Astral 16 goes on sale this month for £20,000/€20,000.