Familiarity breeds con-tent-ment: With shipments under way steadily, I was hoping to get a permanent site for 950 user reviews and comments under one heading. (Is this alright Mods, sorry if I err -come on guys, take the time to bring em all into one spot, - it really makes a difference! Please?) I was watching for a single thread under which these are collected but to date the generated discussions seem to be posted with actual reviews scattered willy-nilly. When I have surf time HTF is a site I like to follow a products life cycle on, it would be great to have these organized into one topic. I’ll try and start this out, in hopes, (I’m new I don’t know what the protocol is for this) that prior reviews to date can be copied into a single location. Not sure if I’m allowed to collect these together myself, or each reviewer should copy his own to one header. To have the on-going reviews and discussions easily accessed in one location would help as I try to learn from others experiences with the 950. HTF intimidates the hell out of me. Early Dec of last year, I went to purchase a subw. for a gift, and got hooked. My entire collection of knowledge surrounding anything in A/V up to that date was focused on on/off power buttons. I have acquired some knowledge since then, but lets say it’s the equivalent of a saran wrap coating, whereas I see many of you here in full metal flak jackets. Therefore this review is covering more of the ‘big picture’ behind my purchase; I won’t attempt the technical details that you of the ‘body armor’ types are capable of submitting. But I have also discovered if I just ‘lurk’ and don’t interact, my learning curve precedes at a slower pace. Ever since I started following the 950’s progress on the forums, I have noticed serious amounts of interest. As soon as an Outlaw topic was posted, people bombarded into pre-production discussions. I think the biggest story for now is what’s no longer perceived as new. (950’s being - long discussed) If you’re a seasoned buyer familiar with products releases in years past, you’ll notice quite a few familiar range of differences/improvements on recently released and upcoming models which are to be desired/expected to cause you to push the temptation of wanting to upgrade over into an actual purchase decision. This seems to cover the normal range of each years offering which siren song an upgrader to spend his dollars, I see the Outlaw as absolutely unique in what it offers. In A/V nearly a decade of rapid advancements in electronics most noticeably sound altrograms and digital audio/video advancements, materials, and manufacturing have resulted in radically more capable HT setups. The trickle-down of these advances even effects the non-audiophile with the little corner of the HTIB offerings now available in Low-fi stores. Duplicating the experience of a theaters big screen and sound at home would have been considered unattainable just a few years ago. Homes have reached parity in performance and quite easily best the sound in most theaters now. . So thoroughly have the fundamentals of AV systems been revised in the past 10 years that to maintain pace is difficult unless you’re blessed with unlimited budget. Since I surfed ‘out’ behind the scene with the semi-conductor manufactories and Asian market trends, I see some huge upheavals coming in AV. Take ‘Digital’, for example, The upcoming advancement towards producing an all digital chain looming, 100% from the pre/pro/ receiver to the speaker post itself, eliminating analog entirely. Some of the latest offerings in all or partially digital amps which are succeeding in sonically resolving some of the demons which plague tube and solid state technology. Major upheavals in the areas of firewire, DVI, a firm approval on a standard for encrypting piracy protection, the price and complexities of de-bugging and finalizing Mid-fi to Hi-fi (upgrades or fixes) whether factory installed or consumer downloaded. The upheaval and uncertainty and lack of finalization in the hardware and encoding for upgrade ports and digital connections. I was astounded to find the 950, with its cutting edge capabilities offered at 899. (a cost which is equal to certain upgrades on other models). I like to ‘dig’ deep into big issues when time allows, what I ran into months ago…very old stuff, which boggled the mind with the complexities and stakes involved and the list heavy players/big hitters affecting every portion of the current A/V showdown issues. HDTV alone has the ability to impact and spin off audio hardware/software into specs as yet not even engineered. Broad changeovers like terrestrial digital conversion, and the battle between the European and US Senate voted resolution for Americas adaptation of our own standard. The Great Spectrum Auction accounting for income projections which are already depended upon to balance the national budget creating increasing pressure brought to bear by the US Senate on all aspects of AV and passed on by the FCC. Example: The FCC’s latest attempt, August 8, 2002 to speed up the digital conversion by requiring television manufacturers to include digital tuners on all new sets by July 2007. Tauzin, (House Energy and Commerce Committee head) stating an intent to possibly introduce more new DTV legislation in the fall connected with the ‘flag’ issue and other transition matters. Once I had delved into these ‘wars’, and saw the heavy players in D-TV audio/video, - before you even trickle down to the studios and piracy fears- and the high stakes involved, - I had small hope of the hardware connections themselves and encryption being settled with any surety in this upcoming year or even two. I did not want to have purchased a pre/pro in the last year or so and felt like I had just thrown a lot of money at a product that under current conditions could very suddenly become obsolete The issues: Sony, Toshiba, RCA, and Mitsubishi, and the Grand Alliance battling Microsoft, Intel and Compaq on the HDTV Vs PC-TV front. An estimated trillion-dollar grab bag at stake in analog Vs digital. Broadcasters Vs the government. Studios Vs consumer rights to fair use. Fantastic sums at stake And at the end of this mess manufactures of AV products trying to second guess the winners and engineer projected products releases during the next 2 –4 years amidst these uncertain times. I was scared to buy an interconnect, (next year there may be some nifty wireless method of passing the signal between units). Much less a whole new home system. What’s a newbie to do? Out of this storm of information overload and convoluted purchasing considerations rose a hardening conviction, I could have my cake and eat it too. The 950, a product touted by its manufactor to have a modernized feature list, and versatility at a price I couldn’t believe. But wait I thought after surfing for months, this has gotta be ‘too good to be true’ PR. The almost violent reaction at HTF whenever the 950 was discussed threatened to rip the eye of my storm to shreds. Features at that price: gotta be a catch. Delayed: uh oh Shipping halted: eek, what does that mean. Internet Only purchase: scary Reputed sound as reported by Beta Testers: attacked and microscoped I bought one: (received in May) I tested a hiss fixed: (about to purchase second 950, - for a second system, if I can sneak in the husbands wallet again) I bought an Sony LCD 60”, (a splurge, partially possible by the savings realized on the 950/770 system) I bought a Panasonic RP-91 with DVD-A capabilities and a RCA DCT-100 HD set top. (Ditto) In my humble, unseasoned opinion my audio/video experience is currently incredibly satisfying. Features: as advertised and better in reality. The so-named ‘Double bass’ issue prob. which seems to create controversy with some users seems documented by many to be the idea setup for (a guess) 90% of the speakers owned, (I know you guys are proud of your speaker specs but really, the reality of load is just that) and work arounds exist for the other 10%. Those who want to spend more for less, especially during this transition time in this industry, - Well, should probably be locked up for their own protection. Delayed: even Sherbourn and Atlantic, haven’t they all missed their ‘dates’, not to name countless other manufactories advertising a simple upgrade (just PL2) for their futureproof units, still not debugged. Shipping halted: they improved it more! I will not complain. Internet only Purchase: The best service I have received during years of electronics purchases and documented to be a longstanding track record for this co., by previous ICBM and 1050 owners, absolutely stellar treatment compared to any service prior at B&M’s, boutiques and tech lines manned by the big guns. Sound: From the reviews I’ve surfed quickly moving into the #1 recommended HT setup slot. Punch, clarity, clear distinction (no collapse into muddy blending) and flawless execution of busy passages in high impact movie sound tracks. For me, the 950 has not been bested in 2-channel or 6-ch direct, against any I have compared yet, (limited current experience in that area). A tiny but major plus for a ‘newbie’ separates, - with a manual that makes the most sense of any I have read to date. With enough tweak room and variety in the unit itself to keep even the most hardened AV’ers happy, and placing me in the terrific position of owning something I can run right out of the crate but with much greater potential I can tap into as I stretch my wings into expanded user capabilities. Outlaw has got a future ‘hook’ in me, with the success of the ICBM and 1050 and the just released 950, they appear to be solidly positioned to keep turning this market on its head. I can’t wait to see what they do when they shop for their next OEM to work with.