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Is it "safe" to get on the Outlaw 950 list now?


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#21 of 39 Guest_Will_*

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Posted April 24 2002 - 07:00 AM

Quote:
In addition to no more dropouts and no more S-Video problem on a couple of monitors, the Cirrus Logic has been updated a bit (don't know what parameters, but chips are always being tweaked to improve surround algorithms).

Also, at the last moment Outlaw was able to tweak the composite<->S-Video conversion so that now this has remained in the feature set.
Are any details available about the Cirrus Logic update?

#22 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 24 2002 - 06:29 PM

Quote:
Are any details available about the Cirrus Logic update?

I'm not sure exactly what they did, Will, (hopefully they'll explain the technology involved at some point if it isn't proprietary) but the resulting sound is even better than before. My original unit sounded very nice and I actually like the sound of the new unit even more. It's hard to put into words. You have to hear it to understand it.

Sorry I can't be more specific. Perhaps stating that the surround modes seem even more realistic to me might help. For example, I now find a greater difference in DTS and DTS ES than before. And DPL2 handling of DPL soundtracks on LD's takes on additional sonic "life." There seems to be some additional sound steering going on and the sounds blend together more seamlessly. And 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO doesn't sound as contrived as previously.

I hope this isn't too obtuse. Like I said, hard to explain on paper.
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#23 of 39 Guest_Will_*

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Posted April 24 2002 - 08:22 PM

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And 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO doesn't sound as contrived as previously.
How contrived did it use to sound, before? And if it still sounds contrived, at least, somewhat, could you give an example or greater detail of how it sounds contrived?

#24 of 39 Gil D

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Posted April 25 2002 - 01:22 AM

John Morris,

Do you have the production 950 with the updated firmware for the dropouts? I got on the list around when the betas were released. I received an email from Outlaw on 4/11 describing the problems and the additional delay required for the proper fix. Personally I was impressed how Outlaw handled the situation. In the email it said:

Quote:
Very shortly we will have a Model 950 in your hands to go with that manual.


Any guess as to when I really will be getting one? The key words are very shortly.


Also, could you please post an accurate description how the bass management works for both digital sources and analog (stereo & external ch inputs).

I'm particularly interested in how the 950 works with stereo inputs and external channel inputs for my Sony C555es SACD player and sub/monitor setup. I have all 2-way stand mounted speakers that have response only down to around 45-50Hz. The sub always does the last 1-2 octaves, so bass management is very important for me.

Idealy I would like to have:
1) Analog xover for both the sub and mains (80 Hz is fine) in stereo analog bypass mode. The ability to switch the xover/sub on/off of course.
2) An analog xover on the external inputs that is lower than the 120Hz setting on the C555es.
3) Adjustable digital xover for all channels independantly for digital sources.

Can the 950 do all I am asking for?
Thanks,
Gil

#25 of 39 Gil D

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Posted April 25 2002 - 01:24 AM

Quote:
7 STEREO and 5 STEREO


Is the 5/7 channel stereo implementation as good as on the Denon's? The Denon is quite good at this.

#26 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 25 2002 - 04:31 AM

A clarification on my 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO comments.

These two modes send, as far as I can tell, identical signals to all the left and right speakers to create a "pseudo-surround" effect, if you will. That is, if you choose 5 STEREO, the L signal is sent to LS as well and the R signal is sent to RS as well and the C channel receives L+R. With 7 STEREO the L is also sent to the LRear and the R is sent to the RRear. At least that's my guess regarding what's going on. All the manual tells you for these modes is "Creates a 5/7 program from any Stereo source" (p.12)

The volume from all 5 or 7 speakers sounded to be approximately the same in the original beta model and, while this might have sounded impressive to the casual listener (since all 5 or 7 speakers are active) it's not really surround. I'm guessing that this is because a lot of people who purchase surround systems often complain that they can't always hear something from all speakers. (A common misconception about the nature of surround sound.) These 5/7 modes address that for those who prefer to hear the sound all around them.

The only thing I use these modes for are some regular TV watching since the effect sometimes makes it easier to hear what's going on (I usually use the 5 Stereo Mode for this even though I realize I'm not getting true surround.)

To answer the Denon/950 comparison question - Yes, the effect of Outlaw's implementation of this 5 Stereo is, as far as I can tell, similar. I used the 5 Stereo on my 5700 (didn't have 7 channels then) for the same effect.

As to why the 5/7 STEREO on the new 950 I'm testing sounds better, I think what they did was to slightly tone down the volume of the "surround" channels which makes these two modes slightly less contrived sounding. I'm willing to bet that there's a bit of psycho-acoustics going on here which prompted my original comment on this.

In any case, the 5/7 STEREO modes are there for those who wish to use them and I feel that they are now set up in a bit more useful fashion. Not steered surround, but they do serve a purpose for some sound sources that one might wish to enhance. You can use it or ignore it.

Hope this clarifies things.
RAF
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#27 of 39 Guest_John Morris_*

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Posted April 25 2002 - 04:52 AM

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A clarification on my 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO comments.
To me, this mode is best explained as disco mode. If you've ever been on a dancefloor in a high tech club, you already know what this sounds like, although probably every speaker in the club is actually a mono signal, not stereo as it is here. IMO, these modes are best used for casual listening where alot of volume is desired, aka rowdy Party Time.

#28 of 39 Guest_Will_*

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Posted April 25 2002 - 06:11 AM

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if you choose 5 STEREO, the L signal is sent to LS as well and the R signal is sent to RS as well and the C channel receives L+R. With 7 STEREO the L is also sent to the LRear and the R is sent to the RRear. At least that's my guess regarding what's going on.
Is it possible to verify with the Outlaws that that's in fact what's going on, with 5 stereo and 7 stereo? In other words, is the L signal identical to the LS and LRear signals, except perhaps for having different volume levels?

#29 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 25 2002 - 09:02 AM

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Is it possible to verify with the Outlaws that that's in fact what's going on, with 5 stereo and 7 stereo? In other words, is the L signal identical to the LS and LRear signals, except perhaps for having different volume levels?


I'll ask the next time I'm on the phone with them. At the moment this is far down their priority list as they are preparing these units to get out the door.

I base my assumptions on the fact that I still get stereo imaging in what John Morris so aptly caused "disco mode" (good analogy.) It's just that the stereo imaging also extends to the back of the room as well.

But a definitive answer? I'd either need the schematics or a talk with a designer. Like I said, this mode has its uses, but none of them are, in my opinion, for serious listening. They are interesting for party time and for those times when you want to hear some non DTS or DD sources a little clearer (like most regular TV). 5 Stereo brings the sound closer to the listener. 7 Stereo tends to put you in the middle of the sound. Which you use (if any) depends a lot on the environment of the program you are watching.

Make sense?
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#30 of 39 Guest_Will_*

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Posted April 26 2002 - 06:57 AM

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I'll ask the next time I'm on the phone with them.
--
Make sense?
Yes it does. Look forward to hearing their response. Sounds like you and Morris are full time busy now with new beta tests. Posted Image

#31 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 26 2002 - 03:31 PM

Will,

Outlaw has informed me that the 5 Stereo and 7 Stereo modes work just as I had guessed. Left front information is sent to the LS and LR channels and Right Front information is sent to the RS and RR channels. That's why the stereo imaging is maintained.

It's not a true surround situation but some people find it a nice effect for certain non-surround situations. Some dialog (like on regular TV) is clearer, but let's not think that it's surround sound in any true meaning of the word. "Disco Sound", as merc said, is an appropriate term for this. Some will like it and others will avoid it.
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#32 of 39 Guest_Will_*

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Posted April 27 2002 - 05:06 AM

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Sorry I can't be more specific. Perhaps stating that the surround modes seem even more realistic to me might help. For example, I now find a greater difference in DTS and DTS ES than before. And DPL2 handling of DPL soundtracks on LD's takes on additional sonic "life." There seems to be some additional sound steering going on and the sounds blend together more seamlessly. And 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO doesn't sound as contrived as previously.

I hope this isn't too obtuse. Like I said, hard to explain on paper.
Could you maybe ask the Outlaws how the Cirrus Logic has changed? Also I'm not sure I understand what has changed in 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO from before, to make it sound better other than maybe (?) changes to various volume levels?

#33 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 27 2002 - 09:01 AM

I think that volume level changes are exactly what we are dealing with here. The early 950 had to be turned down when I switched to 7 STEREO and 5 STEREO. Now it's more in line with the other settings.

And all I know at this point in regards to the Cirrus settings is that, according to Outlaw, they have been "refined" some more, whatever that means. They sounded fine to me before and the only difference I notice is a bit of a difference in volume from before as well. I can't practically A/B the old 950 and the new ones so any changes in the surround fields are probably very subtle.

My guessimate on this is that, since the 950 doesn't offer the 7.1 processor user tweak-ability of a MC-12's Logic 7 that we are a bit at the mercy of the programmers for what appears on the chip. (But, then again, that's one of the reasons you pay up to 10 times as much for an MC-12). From what I understand tweaking of these chips is something that is going on all the time and when the Cirrus people heard of the down time to fix the dropout problem they suggested adding the new algorithms during the bench time.

However, at some point, you have to cut bait and make a decision to move the process along. So waiting forever is not an option since the product would never be released. One of the things I've suggested to Outlaw over and over, if they decide to go ahead with a more upscale pre/pro somewhere down the line is allowing for this changing environment in a way that the users can actually upgrade - and not the promise of an upgrade that never seems to materialize. This, to me, would be a worthwhile reason to pay more for a pre/pro - assuming that it was backed by some real support. They need a little of the Lexicon mentality in this regard.

I'm hoping that once everything settles down and 950s are in a lot of customers' hands Outlaw will be providing links to other information regarding the inner workings of these processors. Right now let's get them out the door.
RAF
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#34 of 39 Ron Reda

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Posted April 27 2002 - 10:52 AM

RAF,

I know this is a toughy, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I joined the 950 list on 4/23...in your best estimation, when do you suppose I'll get the e-mail to order my unit? I'm thinking by summer's end.
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#35 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 27 2002 - 04:42 PM

Ron,

I have absolutely no idea when this would take place. Hopefully, once the initial units are released you will get some indication of how fast units are being delivered and some sense of how quickly the waiting list is being exhausted.

Normally, I would say that your estimate is a good one, but this whole Outlaw situation has been anything but normal.

You can take solace in the fact that you have added yourself to the queue. If, when people start talking about their 950's and if this causes increased interest in the product at least you are following the advice of the NY State lottery, "You have to be in it to win it."

Posted Image
RAF
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#36 of 39 Guest_Will_*

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Posted April 28 2002 - 07:33 AM

Quote:
However, at some point, you have to cut bait and make a decision to move the process along. So waiting forever is not an option since the product would never be released. One of the things I've suggested to Outlaw over and over, if they decide to go ahead with a more upscale pre/pro somewhere down the line is allowing for this changing environment in a way that the users can actually upgrade
--
This, to me, would be a worthwhile reason to pay more for a pre/pro - assuming that it was backed by some real support. They need a little of the Lexicon mentality in this regard.
--
Right now let's get them out the door.
I'm not sure it's necessary to pay much more for upgradability since upgradability is in the manufacturer's interest too, and not just in the consumers interest. With upgradability the manufacturer can get it out the door quick and upgrade it at any time in the future, maybe multiple times in the future.

Products like the Rotel pre/pro that cost just a few hundred dollars more than Outlaw (and far less than what Lexicon costs) currently offer upgradability.

#37 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 28 2002 - 02:54 PM

Quote:
I'm not sure it's necessary to pay much more for upgradability since upgradability is in the manufacturer's interest too, and not just in the consumers interest. With upgradability the manufacturer can get it out the door quick and upgrade it at any time in the future, maybe multiple times in the future.


With the recent turn of events I agree with you, Will. (Gasp!!) Posted Image

Makes a lot of sense as long as the upgrade path becomes supported rather than just a never used "feature" that is added to pad the specifications list. And if the pathway is provided chances are good that someone, even if it's an after-market concern, will support it if the product is popular enough.
RAF
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#38 of 39 Guest_Will_*

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Posted April 29 2002 - 09:04 AM

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Makes a lot of sense as long as the upgrade path becomes supported rather than just a never used "feature"
An upgrade to the Rotel 1066 pre/pro is already available for download by customers who have access to the internet.

#39 of 39 RAF

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Posted April 29 2002 - 12:49 PM

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An upgrade to the Rotel 1066 pre/pro is already available for download by customers who have access to the internet.


Yes, I'm aware of this.
RAF
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