Focal Astral 16 processor/amp £20,000 review

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The new UHD Blu-ray of Waterworld impresses with a full-bodied DTS:X remix. The attack on the atoll illustrates the kind of bold and cinematic soundscapes the Focal can produce. As the Smokers encircle the atoll, their machine-gun fire has a thrillingly percussive kick, and bullets rip through the metallic structure. Jet skis roar convincingly overhead and explosions are delivered with gusto.

There’s plenty of bass running through the entire film, in part because of James Newton Howard’s drum-dominated score. This is given a solid foundation by the Astral 16, while the built-in amplification showcases reserves of power, easily driving all the channels at once. Subtle effects generate the feeling of being isolated and at sea – water laps and wind rustles through sails – and once again the EQ brings these effects to the fore. Meanwhile, the all-channel soundscapes of the film’s underwater sequences are presented with water-logged realism.




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