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Flagship Receiver vs the Outlaw 950??? (1 Viewer)

Jeffrey_S

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Jan 17, 2002
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206
Hi,

Since many of us, including myself, decided to move to separates as a result of the now lower cost of admission, wouldn't it be interesting if someone with a 950 and a 7 channel amp could test it against a Denon 5803, B&K AVR307 or the Pioneer 49TX? The cost of an Outlaw and a 7 channel amp is now comparable with or lower than the cost of one of these flagships. I've understandably seen calls for a comparison between the 950 and the Rotel 1066 or the Anthem AVM-20, and I'm interested in that kind of a face-off as well, but since many here made a decision to go to separates based on the appearance of the 950, I for one would find that kind of a face-off very interesting.

I know that RAF compared the 950 to a Denon 5700 but that wasn't a current model flagship so I don't think it's a fair comparison. What do you all think??? Do any of you fortunate enough to have received your 950 have access to a flagship? Has anyone already made this comparison? If so, could you post your impressions.

Thanks,

Jeff
 

BobRoulier

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
347
Jeff,
I currently own a 49tx and I am still on the outlaw reservation list(got sick of waiting honestly) but I did recently home compare the 49tx to the anthem amv 20 as well as the rotel 1066 and found the 49tx to offer more and sound compares to these models although Im sure the 950 is a great buy for 1k I would be suprised if it would sound better than the anthem or the 49tx for that matter. I did add a parasound 2205 for my mains (paradigm studio 100s) center and svs sub cause they needed the extra punch!;)
Im considering purchacing the 950 to compare to my 49tx just for the heck of it since you can return it anyways Im sure a lot of people would love to hear another comparison
I will post again some time in the near future or distant future depending on availability:D
see ya Bob
 

Thomas_Berg

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Feb 28, 2001
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i would think that a flagship receiver, such as the new Denon 5803, would be superior to the Outlaw 950, but that should be expected. the Denon costs over 3x more! manufacturers will pull out all the stops on their top-of-the-line receivers, and the Outlaw (from a smaller company) should not be expected to surpass something in the Denon's class. i would be very suprised if someone found the 950 to be better than the 5803. (but i like surprises like those!) :)
 

Russell _T

Supporting Actor
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Aug 26, 2001
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579
It seems to me that if you were to take out the Denon amps, and make allowances for internet direct marketing vs Denon's B&M operation and massive ad campaigns, the 950 could easily have as high or higher quality components than the 5803.
 

Tony Lai

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 22, 2000
Messages
244
You get less 'frills'.

I admit the Denon has some cool features like THX and dual differential mode but you're comparing a base or even entry level preamp with one of those receivers with a million features that are frankly stuff that complicates things with little benefit.

My philosophy is to do what is needed with excellence, not a 'statement' piece from a big corporate that has a heaps of mega features (that you pay for!) that will hardly ever be used. I refuse to pay for a receiver (that will be obsolete soon) that costs more than many of the great 'boutique' preamps out there.

I think one of the reasons one goes to separates is for the simplicity strange as that may seem.

Like, mp3 capability, dolby headphone, million and one dsp modes, etc. etc. who the hell needs it?

T.
 

Jeffrey_S

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Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
206
I agree that when it comes to features, there is no comparison between a flagship and a 950. But I'm talking about a sound quality shoot-out here. And it is an excellent point that when you take out Denon's amps and remove the B&M markup and the price of THX certification, subtract the cost of some of the features you will never use, etc..., the amount spent in the production of a 950 might just be pretty similar to that spent on just those components in a 5803 or other flagship.

I also agree that the "simplicity" of separates is one of the reasons people go that route. When its time to upgrade, why get a new amp if it's only the pre/pro that has new features that interest you?

Jeff
 

Geo

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 15, 2001
Messages
245
Connectivity.....

The 5803's sheer number of inputs both audio and video is the 5803's biggest advantage over the 950. The 5803 practically doubles both the audio and video connections of pre/pro's like the 950.

After that, I believe things equal out a bit with flagship receivers holding an advantage in features, some useless in the real world, and separate pre/pros holding an advantage in overall sound quality, especially if mated with a good power amp.

I have both the 5803 and the 950 in the house right now.

I plan on doing some sound comparisons in the next couple of weeks to see for myself how they compare sound wise.

The 950 is mated with the Outlaw 770. The 5803 will use a separate amp, the 770, to drive the front stage with the 5803's internal amps driving the 4 rear channels.

geo
 

Aslam Imran

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
286
I have both the 5803 and the 950 in the house right now. I plan on doing some sound comparisons in the next couple of weeks to see for myself how they compare sound wise.

The 950 is mated with the Outlaw 770. The 5803 will use a separate amp, the 770, to drive the front stage with the 5803's internal amps driving the 4 rear channels.

It would be interesting to see how the 5803 by itself stacks up to the Outlaw combo soundwise since they are at similar price points. I want to know how much better the much touted dual differential 24/192 DACs in the Denon sound when compared to the analog stereo of the Outlaw combo. This would give people a choice when shopping for a Flagship vs. separates combo.
 

AntonS

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Dec 18, 2001
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164
I want to know how much better the much touted dual differential 24/192 DACs in the Denon sound when compared to the analog stereo of the Outlaw combo.
It will not make sense comparing analog stereo on 950 to dual differential DACs of Denon. You have to be comparing digital inputs of both units running in pure (but not analog bypass) stereo. In you case you'll be comapring Denon's DACs to your CD player's DACs.
 

Aslam Imran

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
286
Does the 950 have a direct bypass mode like the Denon for stereo listening? If so I would be interested in a comparison of stereo listening in that mode. Never mind the analog/digital, all I am interested is in the sound that comes out of the two for pure two channel listening.

Keep us posted Geo.
 

Vu Nguyen

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Joined
May 19, 2000
Messages
6
gentlemen,

all this conjecture can be laid to rest. at least in my opinion and ears.

i have extensively auditioned the denon avrs -5700 and -5800. i have also previously used the denon avr-3300. unequivocally, i can attest that the outlaw 950 sonically sounds many levels above the denon flagships. the outlaw 950, in my opinion, is clearly the supperior product.

after several hundreds of hours on the avr-3300, i was a bit impressed moving up to audition the 5700 then 5800. while dynamically superior to the 3300, these flagships still did not put the "wow" factor vs. separates such as lexicon or meridian or even integra.

enter the outlaw 950. i can, without a doubt, say that i no longer walk into show rooms and have audio envy - even with the likes of a lexicon mc-1 or mc-12. and certainly not when compared to "flagship receivers."

just for curiosity sake, i did borrow a friend's avr-5800 and intended to perform a 2 hour comparison. after only 30 minutes i could not even listen to any more of the 5800. compared to the 950, the 5800 just sounds nasely and compressed. absent from the 5800 were the overwhelming soundstage and presence exhibted in the 950. the processing from the outlaw's cirrus logic (latest) chip is far superior vs. denon's SHARC chips.

on a features stand point...yes the 5800 has more inputs and a more sound effect modes. but who wants to deal with the plethora of inputs from such a unit; the 950's unit provide more than adequate inputs/outputs. additonally, i can say that the 950 provides several real world and useful dsp modes such as dd and ex, dplII, dts es and neo 6, cirrus extra surround, etc; these modes are MORE than enough for the serious audiophile.

in closing, i must say that in the best of my opinion, the outlaw 950 when combined with an appropriate amp (mine is the now vernable outlaw 750) is a far and above superior product than any flagship receivers. and, just like "there is no substitute for cubic inches" in cars, there is no substitute for separates in audio.

hope this helps.
 

Jeffrey_S

Stunt Coordinator
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Jan 17, 2002
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206
Vu,

Thank you for taking the time to post your impressions. That was just the kind of head to head comparison I've been looking for.

Anyone else with such an experience, please post your observations as well.

Thanks,

Jeff
 

Aslam Imran

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
286
just for curiosity sake, i did borrow a friend's avr-5800 and intended to perform a 2 hour comparison. after only 30 minutes i could not even listen to any more of the 5800. compared to the 950, the 5800 just sounds nasely and compressed. absent from the 5800 were the overwhelming soundstage and presence exhibted in the 950. the processing from the outlaw's cirrus logic (latest) chip is far superior vs. denon's SHARC chips.
Thank you Vu for making that comparison. I was expecting something similar. So my next upgrade would definetly be into separates while saving a few $$$ along the way as I am leary of buying anything above a few hundred $$ over the internet. Thanks again.
 

Vu Nguyen

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May 19, 2000
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6
jeff and aslam,

glad i could chime in. with the presence of the 950 (and it's amp line), i truly believe the landscape of home theater will change in the coming years. it is now just not financially wise to buy retail products that clearly is marked up from passing through multiple distribution hands. and it makes less sense when products such as the 950 are clearly superior and actually cost less!

i visited the goods guys (a west coast retailer) yesterday just to view what new video products is on the market. i was in a showcase room that they happened to being demoing. the equipment consisted of boston "high end" speakers, denon avr-5803, etc...i could see many other customers being awed at the quality of the dvd-audio sound but was quoted a $15-20K to obtain this type of sound (a sound that i personally thought was mediocre at best). i could not believe the retail mentality about this. it's a changing landscape and retail mfgs. should take note.

diatribe aside, it's just a no brainer once you listen to the 950 with it's $900 price tag. add $1100 for a separate 5-ch amp. that's ~$2K for a unit that has no peer in the $1K-4K range; this is just mind bogling when one compares this to a $3-4K Receiver unit (flagship or not).

go separate gentlemen. i guarantee you will NEVER go back.
 

AntonS

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Dec 18, 2001
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Vu Nguyen, did you do your comparison with 950 and 5800 hooked to the same amp? If not, it's hard to tell what exactly did you compare. If amplifiers (200wpc 770 or 750 vs 170wpc Denon's built-in), then the result was probably quite predictable.
 

Jeffrey_S

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Jan 17, 2002
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206
Anton,

I think Vu did exactly the test he should have. After all we are comparing what you can get at a specific price point. If you had to purchase a separate 5 channel amp along with a 5800 to get the sound you get from a 950 plus a 5 channel amp then the Denon plus amp would really be cost prohibitive. It already costs more by itself than the Outlaw 950 plus its amp. We aren't comparing the pre/pro capabilities of the 5800 to those of the 950. We are trying to determine if the decision to go with separates at this price point is justified by the sound obtained for the dollars spent.

Jeff
 

Vu Nguyen

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May 19, 2000
Messages
6
did you do your comparison with 950 and 5800 hooked to the same amp? If not, it's hard to tell what exactly did you compare. If amplifiers (200wpc 770 or 750 vs 170wpc Denon's built-in), then the result was probably quite predictable.
anton,

i used the 5800 as a pre/pro (with the outlaw 750) and as a sole receiver. as a pre/pro, it's not bad but definitely NOT a 950 processor.

using it as a receiver yielded worst results.

but let me ask you this - why would one want to buy a $3-4K receiver as a pre/pro? think if it this way: $2K-$3K for a 950 and 770 (200w x 7) separates vs. $3-4K receiver with integrated amp (170w x 7).

btw, the outlaw 750 amp outputs 165wpc.
 

Shawn O

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Jan 31, 1999
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191
but let me ask you this - why would one want to buy a $3-4K receiver as a pre/pro? $2-3K for a 950 and 770 (200w x 7) separates vs. $3-4K receiver with integrated amp (170w x 7).
I don't think many people would,but quite a few of us may want to add an external amp to our flagship receivers that we already own.
 

Vu Nguyen

Auditioning
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May 19, 2000
Messages
6
I don't think many people would,but quite a few of us may want to add an external amp to our flagship receivers that we already own.
shawn,

ahh. i see your point. i guess my logic would apply to only new purchases. but you're correct, it would be more difficult for people with existing flagship receivers to just plop new money when thousands have been spent already.

it's a toughy.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 1998
Messages
34
One thing to keep in mind when comparing the Outlaw and Denon and true "high end" pre amps like Lexicon..as you move up the scale in amplifier and speaker qualities the performance gap will widen considerably between them. Although I'm certain you are not getting 4 or 6 grand of "quality" sound in a Lexicon or AVP, and you most likely are getting 950 bucks of quality sound out of the Outlaw, there still is better, higher quality components and assembly processes in the high end lines. That extra money is buying you alot more than just feature sets.

All this will make for better sounding preamps, but you must also have the complementing amps and speakers to hear the improvements. Thats why you eventually get to the "point of diminishing returns", or in my case, where you just can't hear a damn difference! I moved up from a Lexicon MC-1 to the MC-12, and during the upgrade used my original Parasound amps that I used with my MC-1.

There was a definite difference, but not what I'd call earthshaking. Recently, I moved up to the Lexicon amps (rebadged Brystons) and man..now its like night and day. It really made a difference in the sound of the MC-12..and I have been a Parasound fan for years.

Even my wife (who knows nothing of HT, and could care less) walked in and commented on how much better it sounded.

Of course, this certainly isn't to say that the Outlaw or Denon units aren't any good..they are excellent performers. I just think that if you set up a high end HT preamp with complementing (I.E. high end amps) equipment you are not going to find many people who will say "oh my outlawDenonOnkyo blah blah sounds better than a LexiconMeridian blah blah" .

Just my opinion of course.
 

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