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Outlaw 950 News... here is the newsletter I just received!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Morris, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Below is the newsletter I just received via email from Outlaw... and it contains some fantastic news! [​IMG] For the sake of simplicity and accuracy, I've cut and pasted the whole newsletter below. Enjoy!
    DECEMBER 2001
    Although this is the time of the year when things begin to slow down with
    the coming of the "holiday season" and the end of the year, things are
    busier than ever in the Outlaw's Hideout. It should come as no surprise
    that getting the Model 950 into your hands as quickly as possible is
    consuming virtually all of our time. However, we realize that keeping you
    informed is as important as working on our products. Thus, we are pleased
    to deliver the December edition of our electronic newsletter. Time
    permitting we'll have some additional news for you before the end of the
    year, but just in case we get caught up in some last minute priorities
    we'll cover as much of the latest news from the Outlaws as we can in this
    MODEL 950 NEWS
    We know that this is what you are all waiting for, so we'll get to the
    Model 950 right at the start.
    As of December 10th, testing still continues on a variety of fronts in
    multiple locations on what are called the "FTMS", or "Final Tool-Made
    Samples" of the Model 950. For those not conversant in production-speak, it
    means that we have about a dozen samples that were made on the final
    circuit boards, mechanical parts and front/rear panel metal work. The
    hardware side of the testing has gone well enough that we are releasing the
    hardware for production this week. All of our goals for this product that
    relate to hardware issues have been met or exceeded.
    However, we are still testing the software and at this point it is not
    ready to match up with the hardware. Initial testing has revealed a number
    of issues that should be fixed in the next spin which we will receive on
    Thursday. If the lab check certifies that software we will release it to
    the beta group for their comments, and if all goes well it will be burned
    into e-proms so that we may complete the units, put them through final
    acceptance testing and get them over for shipment.
    OK, we know you'll ask the question, so we'll address it right here: Will
    the Model 950 ship before Christmas, or not? To be honest, at this point we
    simply can't say. If all goes well with the software revisions, the
    acceptance tests at Dolby and elsewhere, if late arriving parts such as the
    remote control arrive as planned AND if nothing else crops up it is still
    possible that we may be able to get some units out to go under a few select
    trees. However, that is still only an estimate. We REALLY are close, but
    despite the intense pressure to ship we will stick to our long stated
    policy of not shipping this product until it is 100% right. The doubters
    can scoff all they want, but shipping a product before it is ready just to
    meet a certain date is silly. To do so would be an extreme disservice to
    all those who have waited so long to get a Model 950. If it means losing a
    few orders, so be it. We ain't gonna ship this baby until it is ready.
    The bottom line: We're still hopeful that all remaining issues will be
    cleared and that all needed certifications obtained within the next two
    weeks. If they are, we'll ship for Christmas. If they're not, we'll ship
    as soon as we are ready. Given that the hardware has been released for
    production, we know we're very close.
    In fact, we're now close enough to introduction that we are ready to accept
    reservations for the Model 950. We expect that there will be a great
    demand for the Model 950, and our initial supplies will be limited. Thus,
    to treat everyone equally and fairly, the reservation process will work as
    · We will begin taking reservations this Thursday, December 13th at
    10:00PM EST (7:00 PM PDT). The timing was selected so that those on both
    the East and West coasts will be home from work in most cases with access
    to their computers.
    · Reservations will be taken by completing a form that will be posted
    on our web site. To access it you will need to go to our home page at
    http://www.outlawaudio.com and click on the button that will be posted on
    the site at the appointed time. That will take you to the page with the
    reservation form.
    o HINT: The click-through button to the reservations page WILL NOT
    appear until 10PM EST on Thursday. If you try to sign on and "hang" on the
    home page you will not see the button. You MUST access the home page on or
    after 10PM EST in order to see the button.
    · The reservations list will take your name and address information,
    and you will then be placed on the list, prioritized by the time recorded
    by our server system.
    · We will maintain the list and contact you approximately seven days
    before we are ready to ship your order. At that time we will take your
    credit card information and details about shipping specifics.
    · Our acceptance of a reservation does not indicate a binding
    agreement on your part to purchase a Model 950 or on our part to sell them.
    You may decline to purchase when we contact you and we reserve the right to
    decline any order or ship products as the needs of our business dictate.
    · As we expect initial quantities to be limited, at this time we will
    only able to accept orders for one unit per family or shipping address.
    Once we have the units in stock we will be pleased to ship additional units
    to you.
    · Reservations are valid ONLY for the person placing their name on
    our list for shipment to the address entered. We monitor auction sites such
    as eBay and reserve the right to cancel any reservation space that we
    suspect is being offered for sale to a third party.
    · While we are happy to accept reservations from Outlaws residing
    anywhere in the world, initial shipments will be for product destined for
    US and Canadian addresses only. Reservations from Outlaws outside the US
    and Canada will be placed on a separate list for notification when the
    "international" version of the Model 950 is available.
    · When we contact you for shipping and credit card information we
    will inform you of the shipping options and their costs as well as any
    "Outlaw Family" discounts that may be available.
    everyone's shipment. We'll contact you as soon as we can once your order is
    ready to ship.
    While we're on the subject of the Model 950, we'd like to address a number
    of the questions raised about the Model 950 in the on-line forums, in our
    own "Outlaw Saloon" and in e-mail questions we have received:
    · The Model 950 will use a different remote control than the one used
    with the Model 1050. The 950's remote will also be a backlit, eight-device
    model, but it will also include learning capability as well as four macro
    · The Model 950 WILL include a tuner. Yes, to be accurate we could
    have called it a "preamp/processor/tuner", but that just got too long. The
    tuner has been the subject of extensive engineering work and we think you
    will be pleased with its performance.
    · The Model 950 does include a complete multi-zone control system.
    You may not only select a separate source for the second zone, but also
    control its volume remotely.
    · The Model 950 does include "5 Channel Stereo" and "7 Channel
    Stereo" modes.
    · Thanks to changes in certain components and circuit design, the
    bandwidth in the Y/Pr/Pb component video switching section has been
    increased to 45 MHz. As noted in a previous edition of this newsletter,
    that offers 50% headroom over the 30 MHz bandwidth limitation of HDTV
    signals per the applicable SMPTE and EIA standards. We feel that going much
    beyond that would degrade signal quality due to potential interference
    A few final notes on the Model 950 before we move on to other subjects.
    First, we know that everyone is anxious to see some pictures of the final
    unit. However, at this point we have not received a production sample with
    the final artwork on the front panel. Due to last minute changes on some of
    the logos, our samples are not accurate, and we're holding off on the
    high-priced photography until we have the right units to shoot. We'll post
    some additional photos as soon as possible.
    Finally, we appreciate the fact that there has been a great deal of comment
    about the 950 throughout the forums. Rather than address each message
    thread individually we will continue to hold to our policy of letting the
    forums be a place for consumers to talk without interference from
    manufacturers. Where necessary, we'll answer forum issues questions
    directly via e-mail to the individuals involved, or comment in these
    monthly newsletters. Other companies may choose to operate differently, and
    we respect that. We only ask that you understand our respect for the forums
    by refusing to clog their bandwidth to promote our business.
    MODEL 1050 NEWS
    We're pleased to announce that the Model 1050 has been awarded another
    laurel. In the January 2002 issue of Stereophile Guide to Home Theater, the
    Model 1050 was named as a "2002 Editor's Choice Gold Award". We thank Tom
    Norton and the staff at SGHT for this honor.
    The Model 1050 remains as one of the best values in the AV Receiver market
    today, over one year after its introduction. In fact, our sales for the
    Model 1050 are at record levels, with significant double digit percentage
    increases in each of the last three months, despite a general softness in
    the home theater market. This is the best validation we have that the 1050
    is a solid performer, and we thank all of our fellow Outlaws for their support.
    While we are working on future receiver products, there are no plans to
    discontinue the Model 1050. It is in stock for immediate delivery and we
    can't think of a better holiday gift for anyone looking to upgrade to a
    digital receiver or 6.1 channel surround.
    MODEL 770
    We're close to final production on the Model 770 amplifier, which will be
    the companion to the Model 950. We will send out a special e-mail as soon
    as the 770 is ready for shipment. A check box will be available on the
    reservation page to indicate your interest in a Model 770, though it may
    not ship at the same time as the Model 950.
    Yes, there WILL be a package price that will include a Model 950, a Model
    770 and our PCA interconnect cables.
    The Model 1050 isn't the only Outlaw product to win an award this month. In
    the December, 2001 issue of Sound & Vision, the ICBM was named as the
    recipient of a Reviewer's Choice Award. The ICBM was created to fill a very
    specific need, and we're pleased to see that reviewers and consumers alike
    agree that the ICBM was right on target.
    We're also pleased to announce that we will soon be shipping a special
    edition of the ICBM specifically for use with Magneplanar speakers.
    Designed in consultation with Magnepan, this special edition of the ICBM is
    custom tailored to accommodate the requirements of ribbon speaker designs
    in general and Magneplanar speakers in particular.
    Factory recommended for use when Magneplanars are used in multi-channel
    systems, this special ICBM will be priced at $325. Please send us an e-mail
    if you are interested in reserving this product, as it will not appear on
    the order form page for a week or two.
    The initial response to our first two cable products has been very
    satisfying. Thanks to all of those who have purchased our PDO and PCA
    interconnects. Our next interconnect product will be a high quality coaxial
    cable that will meet the most demanding requirements for use in both
    composite or component video and S-P/DIF digital audio connections. It will
    use the same "OCC" copper construction that has delivered such phenomenal
    performance in our PCA products. Look for further details on this next month.
    We'd like to take this opportunity to address some of the comments in the
    forums about our "no returns" policy for cables. In keeping with our "no
    nonsense" way of doing business, we thought long and hard about this. On
    one hand, we could allow returns, but cover the cost of returns either by
    raising the price to everyone or adding a "restocking fee" for returned
    cables. On the other hand, we could make cable sales final, but offer the
    products at a significant price reduction.
    Keep in mind that there is a significant cost associated with handling
    returns, and once a product is returned it cannot legally be sold as new.
    Unlike higher priced electronics products, there is no practical market for
    "B Stock" cables, and we would basically have to trash any returned cables
    beyond those that we might give to friends and family. We thought that was
    simply not appropriate, and that raising prices was not the way to go either.
    Thus, for the time being we will stick to the no returns policy, unless we
    hear back from the Outlaw community that you would be willing to accept an
    "audition fee" for returned cables, or a higher price on all cables to
    accommodate the returns. We're always open to suggestions, but that's our
    decision for now.
    In response to the perennial questions concerning our DVD and Video
    Projector plans, we don't have very much to report at this time. We're
    still researching both fields, but the DVD project is still on hold until
    we see a resolution of copy protection issues so that we may include a
    digital output for DVD-A and SACD, as well as the availability of
    components that would enable us to economically build a "universal"
    DVD-A/SACD" combo player. It just doesn't make sense for a company of our
    size to risk introducing a DVD player when we know that the areas of the
    format that are of greatest interest to our customers are still not settled.
    We also remain committed to a video projector, but at the moment we've put
    that aside to concentrate on the Model 950, Model 770 and some other audio
    products. Pricing and technology for projectors continues to shift and our
    video team is working on the best way to integrate the latest DLP chips
    into an affordable product. At the same time, we continue to look at LCoS,
    but at the moment we have not seen LCoS chips that meet our requirements.
    We'll keep you posted as we continue to research this area.
    Questions continue to come in about our future plans for processors and
    receivers, and we are working on both. However, at this point our efforts
    are concentrated on the Model 950, and it is too early to provide any
    details on our plans.
    We are still committed to a high end processor, but it will not be
    available until about this time next year. Once the Model 950 is complete
    and shipping we will have the opportunity to work with our engineers and
    component suppliers to determine the feature set for this product. We'll
    more than likely take the pulse of the Outlaw family on this, as well. It
    is worth noting again that this product is way off in the distance, and if
    you are looking for the best value in a high-performance
    preamp/processor/tuner, the Model 950 will be our answer for the
    foreseeable future.
    As mentioned above, we're also planning some receiver products. However,
    the continued success of the Model 1050 allows us to take a bit of
    breathing room before we say anything further on that subject. At this
    point, any new receiver is at least six months away.
    Some of you may recall that the Outlaws were in Las Vegas last January
    during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in a hotel suite accessible to
    those who did not have CES badges. This year our plans are different in
    that we will have an "official" CES presence.
    DON'T WORRY! This does NOT signal any change in our "internet-only" sales
    model. We are NOT going to CES to sign up dealers or anything remotely like
    that. Rather, we have decided to take a room in the high-end area at the
    Alexis Park Hotel so that it will be easier for us to meet with the press,
    with component suppliers and with our international distribution partners.
    As an official CES exhibitor we are also entitled to have a press
    conference, and we're doing just that. As you will see in the post-show
    reports, we will be making the formal introduction of the Model 950 to the
    press, and we will announce one new product that will ship some time in
    late winter or early spring of 2002. . We'll post the releases from the
    press conference in the Saloon concurrent with their announcement at CES.
    For those who want to visit us at CES, we need to say that a CES badge is
    required. Security is expected to be very tight this year, so please don't
    ask us to "sneak you in". We'd love to, but that is a violation of show
    rules that even the Outlaws can't break. However, if you DO have a CES
    badge due to some other business affiliation, please stop in and see us.
    Scott will be there to man the fort, and some of the other Outlaws may be
    lurking around, as well.
    This is the place where we get to offer an opinion piece, in response to
    the topics we've seen in the various on-line discussion groups and in our
    own Saloon. Over the past few weeks it seems that other than the Model
    950's status, the most hotly debated topic seems to be discussions about
    our logo. Without meaning to fan the flames any further, it's probably
    appropriate for us to offer some of our thoughts on that subject.
    First, we appreciate the interest in our company, and all of the Outlaws
    read every comment. We monitor half a dozen forum groups and all the
    incoming queries are circulated to the Outlaws. Scott does his best to
    respond to all product and technical questions by the next business day,
    and we have no doubt that he's the best customer service director in the
    business. However, there are some questions that we'd prefer to answer in
    this manner, and the "logo thing" is one of them.
    By way of background, the Outlaws have well over a hundred years of
    collective experience in both the retail and manufacturer side of the
    consumer and professional electronics business. Many famous brands have
    benefited from their product development, industrial design and marketing
    experience. We've also got way too many advanced degrees hanging on the
    walls of the Outlaw's Hideout, so we are also familiar with the academic
    take some of you have taken on the logo. We've not only taken more than our
    fair share of marketing and advertising courses, we've taught them, as well.
    The reason for making that statement is to say that we are not ignorant of
    the various points made about the logo. In fact, our internal discussions
    on design philosophy closely mirror the points made by those who like the
    logo and those who, well, would rather see it changed.
    Our response at this time is to say that the logo was designed for a
    specific reason: To establish the Outlaw brand and identity. It is part of
    the phase of our business that requires more than high-performance,
    high-value products. We are still in the very early stages of our plans to
    evolve into a significant player as a supplier of a broad spectrum of home
    entertainment products. The logo, our industrial design and our branding
    identity were developed to capture the attention of consumers without
    having access to them via traditional "bricks and mortar" dealers and
    without the benefit of million dollar advertising budget.
    We think we did the right thing. We accomplished our goal of getting your
    attention, getting you to try our products and of building a community of
    satisfied and loyal customers. Where other "dot com" companies have
    disappeared, merged or greatly reduced their presence, we can report that
    Outlaw is healthy and growing. As noted above, our sales are strong and at
    record levels each month.
    Pragmatically, we know that the logo is a bit funky, but that appears to be
    ok with the vast majority of our customers. Is it possible that me may lose
    some business because of the design of the logo or the color of the power
    switch? Sure. On the other hand, we can also point to the many customers
    around the world who enjoy the superior audio performance of the Model 750,
    the Model 1050, the ICBM and our cables. Believe it or not, many of them
    even like the logo.
    There is one other metric to be used here, as we've seen mention in a
    number of messages about the "high percentage of complaints about the
    logo". In a vacuum it might appear that the number of Outlaws who would
    like to see the logo changed is great. However, one of the fun things about
    running a privately-held company indeed, one of the reasons the Outlaws
    initially banded together is that we don't have to report unit sales to
    the SEC or anyone else. We've counted the number of those who say they like
    the logo and the number of those who don't. We've run those numbers against
    the total unit sales of Outlaw products and we can assure you that the
    "nays" are a very small percentage of total Outlaw customers. On top of
    that, since we sold the first Model 750 we can only think of one or two
    customers who disliked the logo so much that they returned the product.
    The bottom line is that we are very comfortable with where we are, what we
    are and how our products look. Does this mean we don't listen? Of course
    not! Does this mean that we won't evolve the logo over time? No, not at
    all. It simply means that for a variety of reasons, including those
    mentioned here and others not appropriate for discussion here we will keep
    the current logo and basic industrial design for our products as is for the
    time being.
    WHEW! Enough of that!
    With all the work to be done it's time to wrap this up and get back to work
    on the Model 950, Model 770 and our other new product plans. Before we
    leave, a few parting comments.
    · The Model 1050, Model 750, ICBM and PCA/PDO cables are all in stock
    for immediate shipment throughout the holiday season. As the end of the
    month gets closer, please let us know if you have any special shipping
    requirements or delivery date requirements. We ask that you bear with us,
    as we will do our best to accommodate any special requests, but at this
    time of year all shipments are subject to delays from the shippers that are
    outside of our control.
    · Please bear with us during the week of December 24th as the Outlaws
    take time off to be with their families. We'll do our best to cover the
    phones and answer customer service inquiries, but there may be some delays.
    Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for
    your support during the past year. This has been a challenging year in many
    respects, but it has also been a rewarding one. We appreciate your loyal
    support and we are grateful for having had the opportunity to meet with,
    talk to or correspond with many of you during the year. From all of the
    Outlaws, our sincere best wishes to all for a happy, enjoyable, musical,
    healthy, prosperous, and above all, peaceful year ahead.
    The Outlaws
  2. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    And, I just read on the Outlaw Saloon forum, a post by Scott of Outlaw, that said that the 950 will NOT have 96/24 DTS. I don't know what this is(96/24DTS), but I had read a few posts on this mode and wanted those who were concerned about this to know the latest.
  3. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

    Feb 11, 2001
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    Thanks for the post. I had actually checked my email 10 minutes before they sent it out so didn't know it was out until I saw this post.
    Sure hope they can deliver the unit no later than the week of Xmas, as I should have all my other new equipment and a vacation week to play. I currently have nothing more than an old DPL receiver to use as the pre until the 950 shows up, and given that the receiver has no digital audio in, my low end Pioneer DVD player comes into play to audition my equipment, including $3K mains that I have yet to hear. [​IMG]
    Two things (at least) concern me with the newsletter. The first is the Outlaw math:
  4. Razvan V

    Razvan V Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 28, 2000
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    John - I myself don't care much about 96/24 DTS, no big deal.

    Doug - yes, their math is certainly wrong, I don't see how anyone could get a 950 by Christmas. I think that the 950 will be available in January/February.

    Anthony - I don't think that Outlaw manipulated us into waiting for the 950 so that they wouldn't lose sales. There hasn't been any competition for the 950 yet, there's nothing else to buy. Maybe that's how things work in the electronics world - release dates are very relative. The guys at Outlaw seem trustworthy to me. No reason to think otherwise.

  5. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

    Jun 11, 1999
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    According to Outlaw the hold up has been the changing of their proprietary Crystal "Matrix 6.1" to official Dolby Digital EX decoding (they were always going to include DTS-ES Discrete, DTS-ES Matrix, Neo:6, and Dolby PL II in the Model 950), which was only available for THX EX certified product until recently. Also, Cirrus came out with their new "7.1 mode" for many of their chipsets. The latter doesn't seem all that thrilling since it only splits the center back channel into two outputs; nothing like Logic7's new mode for DTS-ES and DD EX decoding, which creates a stereo-like effect in the center back speakers.

    They would have to retool the hardware to take advantage of these upgrades, change the silk screen logos on the front panel, and then submit the final product to probably Cirrus, DTS, and Dolby Labs for final approval of their software codes' (which were provided by the different companies) implementation into the EPROM for the licensing go-ahead.

    A logistics nightmare I'm sure. Especially since there are many new products awaiting licensing by these various entities.

  6. Will

    Will Guest

  7. Matthew Anderson

    Matthew Anderson Second Unit

    Sep 24, 2000
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    Real Name:
    Matthew Anderson
    With the recent news on the 950 it should not be long now. If the 950 performs anywhere near its potential, it will be well worth waiting for a quality component considering it's price. The Outlaws are doing a good job of keeping customers informed even though the product may not come out as soon as everyone would like. I think that Outlaw will only continue to get better. Patience can pay off in the long run.
  8. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Matthew: I agree wholeheartedly. I'm waiting for my 950...
  9. Razvan V

    Razvan V Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 28, 2000
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    I think that the Outlaws really planned on having the 950 preamp released in December, maybe even earlier than that. They would have sold A LOT of units had the 950 would have been available then, when there was no competition. Now, because of the delays, they have to compete with the preamps that will be announced at the CES show in January. In a way that's good news for us, their potential customers, because that means that they can't afford to release a so-so product: if the 950 doesn't live up to its hype and doesn't sound as good as a $2000-$3000 preamp that can hurt Outlaw a lot. The 950 must be very good soundwise or else people might decide to wait a little more and get the new Sherwood Newcastle, Marantz or Sony instead. The very first reviews from customers and magazines will be crucial.

  10. Will

    Will Guest

  11. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Jul 28, 1999
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    I doubt that any of those companies mentioned would put out anything in that price range[below $1000],that can remotely compete with the Outlaw feature wise.Sound wise that's a whole new subject.[​IMG]
  12. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

  13. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

    Apr 4, 2000
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    You won't get any flames from me. I'm also curious to see if the 950 sounds any better than a $1000.00 receiver without the amps, but with more features. I'm wondering if all the money went into the features and not the sound.

    I've gone to seperates for the sound. I can already get the features in SOME of the new receivers.

    For me it's sound first, features second. What good are all these cool features, if it just sounds "OK."
  14. Christian Speights

    Christian Speights Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 14, 1999
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    Let's make that 3 in a row shall we?

    Until I start seeing a reaction to the SOUND QUALITY of the 950, I'll wait.

    I may pass. Outlaw seems to have done some great things so far, and if they nail this then I dont think they can be stopped.

    But that's kind of a big "if."

    My 2¢
  15. Will

    Will Guest

    To their credit, the Outlaws are providing a product the
    big boys of audio have all but abandoned: a new pre/pro
    for under $1000.
    If they succeed, and I hope they do with the 950, some
    of the big boys may decide to provide a similar product
    at a similar price point.
    The big boys make receivers at that price point today.
    But for some reason, they don't make many pre/pro's under $1000.
    And they certainly don't make pre/pro's with DPL II for
    that price.
    Maybe companies like Sherwood Newcastle will. But not today. [​IMG]
    The best we can hope from Sherwood Newcastle is a "prototype"
    pre/pro at CES, with a delivery date many months away. Outlaw
    to their credit will ship their 950 soon.
  16. TomH

    TomH Second Unit

    Jun 13, 2001
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    I wanted to keep my budget for a pre/pro or high end receiver under $2000. I would rather have seen a full featured, higher end, more expensive product from Outlaw but the 950 might be OK. Its certainly worth a try with the 30 day satisfaction guarantee. I would expect the Sherwood to be in the same quality class. Do you think that a used ref 30 or MC1 will be head and shoulders above the 950?

  17. Razvan V

    Razvan V Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 28, 2000
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    Well, this is what the Outlaws wrote about their preamp: "Our initial testing tells us that the noise floor is incredibly low and that all other "techy" specs are equal to, or better than, products costing two to three times as much as the 950 in both analog and digital performance". In light of this statement of course that the expectations are high. The 950 should sound at least as good as the Sony 9000ES ( 2 times the price of the 950) and maybe even as good as the B&K REf 30 ( 3 times the price of the 950).

  18. Johnny Lerner

    Nov 10, 2001
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    What's the hype about Sherwood? I've listened to their 'higher priced' receivers and the bass was slushy and loose just like almost all Far East stuff. Nothing clean or crisp (referring also to upper freqs). The Outlaw 1050 far out-performed them.

    Now the Koreans are supposed to be coming up with some kind of good-sounding stuff? How can they try to play both sides of the street like that?

    Frankly I do not trust that approach AT ALL! A factory than can churn out 'whatever' $99 stuff just will not have the discipline to be professional on what is supposed to be 'audio.'

    OK - you say Sony plays the same game - RIGHT! To sell billions of dollars of K-Mart crap they 'invest' a few 100K to set up a team to make some kind of 'flagship' item and get the 'high' rep - but actually you will find VERY FEW Sony's that ever pass the listening test.

    And Sony has far more resources than the Koreans.

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