Whoever said money can't buy happiness never had a Perlisten/Dirac home theater

Top Gun: Maverick on a high-end home theater at High End Munich
(Image credit: Future)

I have heard the most high-performing and immersive home theater demo ever delivered at High End Munich and 20 minutes in that dark, speaker-and-screen-filled room wasn't long enough. 

I haven't felt this way since I saw Elvis in an elite Dolby Atmos cinema, or heard L-Acoustics' 18.1.12 setup in Highgate. It's just that good – and it's only here for a short while.

The 15-seat demo room combines the intelligence of the new Dirac Live Active Room Treatment software with StormAudio’s powerful ISP Elite MK3 Immersive Sound Processor and a THX Certified Dominus home theater-quality Perlisten 11.7.6 surround sound system, for the first time ever at High End Munich. The speakers? That'd be Perlisten's premium S Series In-Wall Speakers and seven (seven!) subwoofers from its acclaimed D Series.

To clarify: what's happened is that Swedish audio pioneer Dirac (famed most recently for its Dolby partnership in OnePlus' most recent earbuds and in-car audio, but that's just for starters) has teamed up with luxury audio heavyweights StormAudio and Perlisten, to create a custom-built home theater room that really showcases what each brand can do – even in a room devoid of an enclosed ceiling, at a temporary trade show. 

The StormAudio ISP Elite MK3 Immersive Sound Processor featured in the High End Show demo provides up to 24 channels of decoding and upmixing for the most sought-after immersive surround formats, including Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Pro, and IMAX Enhanced, while also offering 32 channels of post-processing, the most advanced version of Dirac Live, and the state-of-the-art StormAudio Expert Bass Management. 

Opinion: whether Maverick or Lo'ak is at the wheel, these flights of passage never felt so exciting or real 

Avatar: The Way of Water on a home theater setup at High End Audio

Home theater soaring to new heights thanks to StormAudio, Perlisten and Dirac (Image credit: Future)

Over the course of the next 20 minutes in this jointly-delivered custom home theater, jet engines propelled me and afterburners rumbled the seat beneath me as Maverick (aka Pete Mitchell, aka Tom Cruise) swerved his F/A-18E Super Hornet through the most difficult mission he's ever attempted, in Top Gun: Maverick

Then, we were soaring through the Pandora skies as Lo'ak tries to help out during the invasion of his home, gripping tightly to his Ikran in Avatar: The Way of Water

The photos don't do it justice, of course. The Perlisten speakers, while stunning, are largely built into the walls – you're not supposed to see them; it's all about the movie; the visuals and the soundscape. And this home theater room is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of sitting in. 

Pricing? I don't know, because installation costs and other variables come into play. But it won't come cheap when you consider that a pair of Perlisten's S7t speakers come in at $15,990 / £16,000 / around AU$24,000 – certainly more expensive than any of the best home theater systems of 2023 in our roundup. 

Suffice to say I want to go back again – and ultimately, I'm going to need one of my own. 

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.