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Entry-level Amp (budget) (1 Viewer)


Sep 7, 2002
I caught the upgrade bug and it's looking like maybe I should start trying separates, and I'm looking at an amp, especially for 7.1. I look at the ad on this forum for the Outlaw 7100, sounds like a great price, but I wonder if I can find one used. Anyway, where should I start? What should I look for? Just how low of a price can I go? Thanks for any advice.

Chu Gai

Senior HTF Member
Jun 29, 2001
Where to start...a really good question. I think it begins by a lot of careful insight into oneself and asking some probing questions followed by developing a plan and sticking to it.
Moving from a receiver to separates can mean a variety of things to people and is also done for a variety of reasons. To me anyways, going the route of separates allows one future flexibility and the ability to build and create more complex systems. For some, going separates might mean moving towards an integrated amp. For some, it might be as you're considering, the Outlaw 7100, a 7 channel amp. For some, it's a matter of moving strictly towards monoblocks. That particular option perhaps provides the greatest flexibility. For example, in a 7 or a 3 channel amp, if one channel blows it may or may not take the rest of the amp down with it, rendering it useless. This might not happen for some time but likely if and when it does, you'll be faced with the choice of does the repair outweigh the cost of the amp? Because 1/7 or 1/3 of the amp isn't working you'll now likely be faced with the possibility of junking it and getting a new one. But maybe now we've moved towards something like 11.1 or 11.2 or who the hell knows?
You also need to consider the speakers you have now, their specifications such as sensitivity, nominal ohm ratings, the room that they're playing in, whether you believe you'll be moving and buying new speakers, etc. Outlaw says they'll do 4 ohms and meet specs with all channels driven. However if you think you're going to find yourself moving to say 4 ohm speakers that have frequency drops approaching 2 ohms or perhaps electrostatics that can have an impedance drop bordering on below 2 ohms in the upper frequency regions then likely the Outlaw and a variety of other amps no longer are on the short list. It is quite one thing for an amp manufacturer to say their unit is stable into 2 ohms and quite another to say it can drive a 2 ohm load and meet its specifications. The former tells you nothing much more than their amp probably won't blow up. The latter tells you the amp is not going to introduce artifacts into the signal.
Make sense?
Some people go out and buy one amp after another, searching for what's right to them. If they're selling what they previously bought, they're taking a financial hit each time although it can be good for those shopping the used market. Personally I consider that poor financial planning and it's not the way I'd run a business. After all, your life, your security, your long range plans don't get furthered by constantly losing 40% of the value of an investment (the amp), upgrading, which in certain cases is a euphamistic term for 'honey, i f**cked up, but I'm not going to tell you that' (i.e. sinking another 40% into amp #2), repeating the process.
So I guess I haven't answered your question. However think about what you want to do and what your present and future needs are. If you find you don't have enough cash well then figure out how much you do need and set up a reasonable plan to get what you need. Other options in the low cost, but high performance amps might be to consider the professional amp marketplace where vendors such as Crown and QSC exist. The latter I believe has a HT line that's got some balls to it.

Chris Tsutsui

Feb 1, 2002
Preach on....

I'd just get an entry level amp like a 5 channel amp by like Parasound. Maybe the 5x85w model HCA-855A? Which goes for like $400 new. It's not like they're going to phase out 5.1 and you will have "separates" if u get a pre/pro. If you do decide to upgrade, amps have good resale value, or you could always use the amp for a spare HT in the bedroom or something.

If you want a 7.1 receiver in the near future or have one now, then it may be better to go with the $800 7 channel amp. I just wouldn't think too far ahead because you know there'll be improved models of amps and receivers in the future.

David Lorenzo

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 12, 2002
I agree with everything that has been said. One really hard decision is which pre/pro to get. You have to consider how fast it may become obsolete. The amp you choose can last over the life of several processors, so you will generally get your moneys worth from it. The amp you get depends greatly on your room, listening habits, and the impedence and sensitivity of your speakers, as well as the speakers power handling capabilities.

Kevin. W

Oct 27, 1999
ShawnK, I have been pleasnatly pleased with my Rotel RMB-1066. Here are the specs:

Model RMB-1066
Power Configurations 6 x 60 Watts
3 x 150 Watts Bridged
all channels driven, unbridged,
8 ohm load, 20 - 20 kHz, 0.06% THD 60 watts
THD (20 - 20kHz)
cont. rated power
one-half rated power
one watt per channel

0.03% maximum
0.03% maximum
0.05% maximum

Intermodulation Distortion
(60 Hz: 7 kHz, 4:1) 0.03% maximum
Frequency Response 15 Hz - 100 kHz (±1dB)
Damping Factor
(20 - 20,000 Hz, 8 ohms) 150
Input Overload Level 5V
Signal to Noise Ratio
(IHF A network) 116 dB
Input Impedance/Sensitivity 1.5 V, 22 kohms
Power Requirements:

115 volts, 60 Hz (U.S. version)
230 Volts, 50 Hz (European version)
Power Consumption: 700 Watts
Dimensions (W x H x D): 430 x 121 x 435 mm
16 15/16 x 4 3/4 x 17 1/8 inches

Weight (net): 13.5 kg, 29.75 lbs.


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