Outlaw 950 Amp strategy???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeffrey_S, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks to everyone for input into my B&K AVR307 vs separates dilema from my last thread!

    OK,

    I think I'm going to give separates a try. As I will mainly use this setup for hometheater (about 70% movies/30% music), should I go for the Outlaw 770 amp as a package deal with the 950, or should I alternatively go for a separate 5-channel/2-channel amp combo? Being pretty new to the concept of separates, I'm making the assumption that by doing a 5/2 channel amp split, I can be pickier about the quality of amp I get for listening to music.

    If you think that the 5/2 channel amps are the way to go, please suggest some amps you would consider so that I can begin my research.

    Thanks again for all the help and advice!

    Jeff
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Jeff, I would go with the flexibility of the 2/5 channel format over one 7 channel amp.

    you can get a nice 5 channel amp to drive the center and surrounds and then get a killer 2 channel amp for music applications.

    For two channel, you can consider...

    Parasound HCA-1500, Odyssey Audio Stratos, Bryston 4BST or 3BST, Rotel RB-991, ATI AT1502.

    For 5 channel you can consider the Anthem MCA 5II, Parasound HCA-2205, Rotel 1095, ATI 1505, Outlaw Audio 750, Sherbourne 1500.

    Cinepro makes some nice amps too...might want to check those out.
     
  3. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Depending on the speakers you want to use, if you want a warmer/lusher sound then Parasound makes pretty good 5 channel and 2 channel amps.

    If you like a more revealing top end then ATI makes solid 5 and 2 channel amps as well.

    Another choice is Sherbourn. They also offer XLR balanced inputs (you would need a pre-amp with XLR outputs, of course) besides the standard single ended RCA unbalanced jacks on all their new amps and offer true monoblock amps as well. Again solid construction for the money. They tend to be revealing on the top end frequencies, but also have a little tighter bottom end than the ATI's.

    It seems to be very difficult to get "neutral" sounding amps in this price range. The Theta Dreadnaught and Krell amps tend to get mentioned when you talk of "neutral" sound reproduction, but these products are very expensive and demand the use of high end speakers to get the most of them.

    Just be sure that if you go with multiple sets of amps instead of one big box, that you match manufacturers and power output. If a two channel amp is 200 watts/channel be sure your other amps are 200 watts/channel too.

    However, with all extremes of the spectrum being represented here I highly advise that you listen to them first to gauge how your hearing reacts to them in combination with the speakers you want to use. You may not agree with the descriptions of the sound qualities of these various amps.

    Bring a wide selection of music and movies you are familiar with when you do any auditioning. Don't just bring pop recordings as they tend not to have the same quality standards as an audiophile label's recording of a symphonic, operatic, or choral work.

    Dan
     
  4. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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  5. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    In a follow up to Scott's question, if you put a higher emphasis on 2 channel stereo, would NOT matching manufacturers kill any HT applications? Like getting a Rotel for the two main channels and say a Parasound for the other 5? Assuming the wattages are very similar?
     
  6. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Evan S, I tried using the McCormack 2 channel with the Sherwood 5 channel..This was not a good idea, it really messup up things in regard to the front sounstage. Pans were no where near as seemless as with using a mated amp, at least up front. As far as backs go..??
     
  7. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    John, what about using a three channel for the front L/R/C then using a 5 channel to power two sets of surrounds leaving one free channel to drive a subwoofer? Would that provide better integration?

    I got an Anthem MCA-5II due to cost constraints and would like a better amp for 2 channel music representation but don't want to sell the Anthem if I don't have to as I still feel it's a very adequate performer but I've heard I can probably do better for music.
     
  8. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Evan, I would say that that would work great.Front 3 are more critical. But when you get down to it theres just not THAT much of a difference to be a problem using a different brand amp for your rear channels.... Maybe if you got two TOTALLY different sounding amps, Say an amp that has a tubelike sound mated with an amp that has a sharp SS sound..if that makes sense
    [​IMG]
     
  9. GuyCrawford

    GuyCrawford Auditioning

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    Someday, when my 950 arrives [​IMG] I will use my Sherwood AM9080 for the front 3 and side surrounds. I have a Rotel RB951 MkII for the two rear channels. I don't think using a different brand for the rears will be an issue.
     
  10. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    When I get a little more coin I may look on the used market for an Aragon 8008x3. Anyone have any experience with this amp for music purposes? It puts out 200 WPC to match my Anthem (although the Anthem drops to 170 with all channels driven).

    Thanks John!
     
  11. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Evan S, Man you just missed a great deal on the aragon 8008X3 over at saturdayaudio, they sold one a couple of weeks ago for 1099.00!! sweet deal, I looked at their web page about a thousand times with my finger hovering above the purchase button..
     
  12. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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  13. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I wouldn't have been able to get it now anyway...you missed the key words in my post...When I save enough coin That's why I had to go with the Anthem in the first place. I just don't have it right now (and probably won't for another 3-6 months actually).[​IMG]
     
  14. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Evan, Read your signature and use the big ole credit card you got in your wallet[​IMG] NOW is the time
    Just kidding as Im in the same boat!
     
  15. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    John, LOL, I've followed my signature and done exactly that. Gone from $0 on the old CC to about $4K in about two months...with another $1K coming soon in the form of an Outlaw 950. Seeing as I'm going to be buying a home in early 2003, this is about the degree of credit extention I am willing to deal with for the time being. I want to make sure I get a mortgage!!!!

    I am coming into quite a bit of money in the early summer so maybe I can get impetuous again then:b
     
  16. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks again for all the great info!

    I think I'm leaning in the direction of getting an Outlaw 950 paired with either a Parasound HCA-2205 or a Rotel 1095. Now I know these are 5 channel amps, but I am currently only set up for 5.1 sound. The plan would be that when I finally get/build two more speakers, I would then get a good two channel amp to drive the mains. So all in all, I will be spending about the same as I would for a B&K AVR307 but getting separates. True, I'd only be equipt for 5 channel sound but those would be 200 watt channels.

    How does this sound to you guys?

    Also, I was wondering, how important is it to get a 200wpc amp. Could I do just as well with a 125w or 165w per channel amp? My speakers are all DIY home built ones. My mains will be NorthCreek Music Rhythms, my center is a modified NorthCreek Music Rhythm, my surrounds are ACI Sapphire III's (currently being used as mains).

    Any input would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  17. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Jeff: I found that buying a comparable two channel amp from the same manufacturer was about 2/3 the cost of their 5 channel amps, so I bought two 5 channel amps. It gives you options for bi-amping your front channels and for that future expansion to 9.1 sound...[​IMG]
     
  18. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    John, that's a great point. I was thinking along those exact same lines and wondering if anyone else was doing this too.
     
  19. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    Count me in as someone who was also giving consideration to buying two 5-channel amps instead of one 5-ch and one 2-ch.

    What I'm not sure about is if there is some performance-based reason to buy a 2-channel amp; i.e. some higher-quality components that yield better sound. Example is the Parasound HCA-1500A vs. HCA-2205AT. The 2-channel 1500 has 205 WPC and SRP is about $1000 (about $500/channel). The 5-channel 2205 has 220 WPC and SRP is about $2000 (about $400/channel). If the higher per-channel cost of the 1500 is due to some quality and sound improvements that differentiate it from the 2205, that's one thing. If not, it makes a lot more sense to me to consider buying two 2205's and, like John said, get ready for 9.1 sound!

    (Note that in the above example the 2-channel amp has lower wattage than the 5-channel. This may be another reason to use the 5-channel amp for the mains since the WPC is higher. Better to have more wattage to the front soundstage, right?)
     
  20. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    Since I'm using a Rotel 1095(200x5) amp. If/when I go to a 7.1 setup I think I would add a Rotel 1080 amp(200x2). The 1095 is $2000 and the 1080 is $1000. I could pick up the 1080 new for $850 though. That way I would have 200x7 or I could bi-amp the fronts. I just don't have the space for a 9.1 setup, but 7 200watt channels would be nice.[​IMG]
    I'm trying to remember where, but there was an article that mentioned having equal wattage for entire front soundstage( l/c/r) is ideal, not just the l/r. I've got to admit it. This is the first time I had read that anywhere, but it seems to make sense.
     

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