What's new

Outlaw 950: review and discussions. (1 Viewer)

Mary M S

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Messages
1,544
Patrick: I have not had time to train my 4 or 5 new remotes into one unit. Figured I’d sit down for a weekend which has not come available yet. I have noted discussions at Outlaw on some specific remote tweaks but have not registered what those concern, I’ll try to look this weekend, or maybe someone will see and reply.
Wait to see how things shake out…get what you want now. I do both; I always allow myself the option of being mercurial. The Outlaw was a deliberate considered purchase like when I plot on a summer sale, with the addition of a ‘discount applies to all sales items’ for 2 days’ customer appreciation card.
The 60” LCD was one of my ‘live now’ moments (scene from an old favorite movie) “you’ve made your choice, - the only choice you could make: you’ve chosen life. And whether you meet fair winds or foul – find your own way to harbor in the end” The same mood I can get into which finds release by actions like jumping out of airplanes a few years ago. I still maintain practicality at all times, I was wearing a parachute. :)
Actually not confirmed until I had hours on it to compare, the Outlaw was a no-brainer. While I could ‘see” a light year leap forward in video upgrading my display, I could not hear a difference worth the 10K plus I thought I’d have to go, before I passed negligible advances. I went on an assumption my past buying habits would hold. Regardless of the new units coming I will be more likely not to replace a display quickly. With the Outlaw, everything I’ve heard its bested, so I can foresee sitting on it for quite some time happily, or -. deciding it really was such a good deal, I can afford to turn it over quicker (I like to bank excuses as future ammo for self-justification) …if I continue hard on the audio warpath.
Forgive me for not worrying about the model details, there has been more information and acronyms to learn (so I discard details, till all is more familiar).
When I purchased my Kimber wire, and ordered speakers it was at a local boutique geared to wards installing whole house custom systems. I have not gone back, since even though I wanted to be ‘guided’ at the time (this was in my first couple months) I did not appreciate the rail-roading actions he preformed on me. Two conversational gambits he pulled, which had me secretly laughing in the private region of my mind. The first was when he jumped on his computer to read some rave AV rag reviews for the model Marantz he wanted to sell me. Unfortunate timing for him, I had just read those same reviews, he literally jerked and sputtered sentences, when I mentioned since that particular review was written about a different model entirely, it possibly might not apply? The second was a condescending 5 minutes, - detailing that as I learned about AV, - I would find that all professionals in the industry knew Marantz was the top of the heap (above all other hi-end). Don’t get me wrong, I like Marantz and respect it highly, but I had already heard of Levison, and Krell and Madrigal etc so I took these moments with a grain of salt at the time. I’m not entirely sure of the range of products this place promotes, hi-end badges were new territory then. In the front foyer was a particular pair of speakers I could buy on looks alone (forget about sonics) they were so beautiful, a work of art as seductive as any great architecture. (I am a girl after all). Cant’ remember the brand, salesman commented I had good taste, I believe they were 35K apiece? But all demo rooms on site, - the setups were Marantz, separates and receivers. The EX’s and I believe the 9200, does the 92 have crossovers? It may have been the 8200, which did not. My sister just had a 4 zone system installed by an old customhouse in town, - Marantz on the receivers, (don’t recall models she has 2, with monoblocks etc, B & K).
I would have laid money, my personality would have leaned to the warmer sound of the Marantz line, but I still prefer my 950. However remember, I have not compared under the meticulous guidelines you mention.
My husband who thought it was a hoot when I started gangbusters in this, is now raising the eyebrow of moderation at me….(does everyone have this problem, with your sig. Others?) In future he might but currently would not appreciate me dragging products home for demos; - he’d rather I listened on-site. My time is too valuable to him right now. As I matter of fact, I will bug out now and catch up on some work loads, or he might just confiscate my keyboard and A/V remotes. Ouch! I will leave you in peace for a bit, and remove my long post storyteller tendencies for a while. My husband fondly refers to it as ‘my circle the airport 3 times before I land’ methodology of discussion…..but he loves me anyway.
 

Bill Polley

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
252
RAF, nice to see you posting again. I am sorry to hear of your loss.

Patrick, I also had a problem getting my Panasonic DVD to work with the 950 remote. I solved this by manually learning each command from the DVD remote. It took about 15 minutes to program the 950 remote after I got used to the procedure. Now the remote is laid out the way I like it, not the way a 3 digit code says it should be, and everything works well. You can't program any of the source keys, but if you set the 950 remote to AUX and then program it manually, you can teach it all of the functions, including "power".
 

Gary Stevens

Auditioning
Joined
Mar 3, 1999
Messages
10
OK, I'll chime in. I've been playing with the 950 for almost two weeks now. No 7.1 for me yet, but I've tried out almost all flavors of processing and non-processing on mono through 5.1 DD & DTS.

I am VERY favorably impressed. Even for straight two channel listening (relative to my Conrad Johnson PV-5) the 950 is quite good. I think it really shines for home theater, though.

Even given all that, I'm still probably going to send it back. It has two "usability" issues that just bug me. The first is acquisition time. My 950 can take over 5 seconds to recognize an incoming stream, "do the right thing" with it, and then unmute. By judiciously setting the default format for an input, I can greatly reduce the acquisition time, but this only works if I can predict the upcoming format and the stream doesn't change. DVDs which switch between different audio streams as they transition from menu to studio intro to feature show significant (to me, anyway) muting gaps. Most of the time, this is just a minor annoyance, especially if I remember to double check the default setting for an input before I want to listen to something.

The second issue is either a pop or a chirp when I switch between any two inputs. I find this one really annoying and particularly inexcusable. Is it a big pop causing me to fear for my speakers? No, it is not at a level that would be harmful, but it shouldn't be there at all.

Both of these "features" were described to me as normal, "to be expected in any pre-pro", and within the range of acceptable 950 behavior by Outlaw customer service, so I have to assume that other 950's exhibit similar behavior.

Once it gets going though, it does sound great and that is why I am on the fence.

-Gary
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,675
Bill, thanks for the info. I really was hoping this SL-9000 remote variation would allow for re-assignment of devices on each of the device buttons. I have printed out the SL-9000 remote owner's manual, so I'll see if I can do it without that fancy dancy LCD that the real SL-9000 has.

I just got my 950 last night, and spent a good part of the evening marking cable groupings (taping/bundling each set of input cables together) to make the transistion easier, and it did. It was late, so I didn't get to do much listening, but I will by the end of this weekend.
 

Bill Polley

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
252
YW Patrick.

Gary, my 950 does not make any sound when switching sources. Also, I have a Panasonic RP51 dvd player and have always acquired sound in about a second, even when the trailers are in Dolby Digital 2.0 and then the movie comes on in 3.2.1.

Patrick, do not use the SL9000 manual. I was not able to program anything while following the SL9000 manual. The Outlaw 950 manual very plainly explains how to program the remote manually and it worked flawlessly. Also, I am not sure that the 3 digit codes between the 2 are exactly the same.

BTW, on the Outlaw 950 forum at their website, there is a current thread on the remote. One of the posters writes about changing the source buttons, but I have not tried it. I thought I read in the manual that those are the only 8 buttons that could not be changed by manually programming them. Either way, pressing a source button only changes the 950 to that selected input. If you manually program the power button to turn on and off your LD while the remote is in AUX mode, switching to AUX and pressing "power" will always turn on the LD.
 

dave alan

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
256
while waiting for my 950 i had plenty of time to search for an alternative. in hindsight it was a good thing, as i got to hear the competitors and compare endless purchase prices and source options.

i have to say that the ones who would compare an hk 520 or denon 3802 receiver as a prepro to the outlaw 950 simply have kept me from posting any sort of review. what do you say to that sort of nonsense?

if you must compare the 950 to a receiver, please step up a bit so as not to make me cringe so. and, of course one wouldn't do that because they are all over $1,200.00.

i brought home at different times over the 6 month search:
onkyo txds 898 ($1,285), marantz sr 8200 ($1,200) and integra 8.2 (1,300). when the rotel arrived, i e-mailed them and they explained the ridiculous "dealer must place it in your hands" policy. this dealer quoted me $1,600, and he didn't have one to see or hear. i did eventually listen to one after a long drive to the "nearest" dealer.

i liked them all in some way or another, but they all had gliches of some sort that i won't go into here. the only other prepros that exist (unless you count adcom...i don't) are much more expensive...MUCH more than the $899 i spent on my 950.

i'm using 4 matched 3-way towers, a decent center 2 smaller 3 ways for rear surround and a quite awesome sub. 7-260 watt monoblocks and a 1,200 watt sub amp. it's not super high end but it is a very revealing system.

my 950 has no gliches. it does what it's supposed to do. it is very crystal clear and has the smoothest low end i ever heard from a solid state/ digital preamp. i almost never listen to 2-channel cds, so i haven't much of an opinion there. sacd multi-channel is so good through this pre i have listened to entire cds with the lights out just smiling the whole time. it's been ages since i have done that. dts and dts es are as good as it gets. i'm no poet so the usual depth, soundstage, clarity adjectives, i'll leave to someone who uses them more ably than i could. but be assured...they all apply to this outlaw 950 prepro.

a/b comparisons are meaningless to me in this case. it was simple: $899.00, 30 days in home audition, 5 years parts and labor warranty (included, not an extended warranty for more dough), every format that matters, 2 channel bypass WITHOUT double bass and a 6 channel bypass that is superb.

what do you a/b that to??? there isn't anything. oh, and the remote is just fine to me. a bit cumbersome, i hear, but it is simple to operate and does what it should with all the options i need. short of having a prepro that you bark orders to verbally and it humbly complies, this remote is fine, to me, because when i do punch in what i want, i know what i'm about to hear.

i only want one more thing from outlaw audio...i want designation 0001 for the 950's Big Brother wait list.

one final thing...the people at outlaw have treated me truthfully and promptly in every communication i had with them. when the e-mail to order finally came, i responded as instructed and the prepro was delivered in less than 24 hours. i highly recommend doing business with them.
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,675
Is it just my unit, but I have to really crank up the volume to get acceptable loudness when watching anything through either of my VCRs. I've heard the new units have 0.5V less gain (from 1.5v to 1.0), but is this what's causing the low gain? I've got the volume indicator at around -12dB to get okay loudness. My old receiver (a Sony DB930) didn't require me to turn up the volume knob too high to get the volume up to "normal" listening levels.

Is this like one of my older JVC receivers that required you to play it near 0dB gain for it sound loud enough for normal listening?
 

David S

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 2, 1999
Messages
166
Wow, I must say I take back my sour puss post from before. Its really great to see actual reviews and feedback on the 950 here at the HTF. To everyone, I apologize, now lets see if we can catch up with that 1066 thread:D
 

Patrick D

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 13, 2001
Messages
65
As to the volume, the Outlaw 1050 FAQ (on their site) states:

"How come I have to turn the 1050 up so much?"

The Model 1050 uses a linear volume control. You will find 54-60 on the dial to be average listening. Most people are more accustomed to logarithmic volume controls. This type typically outputs 90% if its power capabilities by 11:00 on the dial! This is not the case with linear controls. They offer greater accuracy in setting the desired level, and use virtually all of its volume range.
 

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2000
Messages
5,726
I will necessarily add some of some of my observations with my 950 of 2 days now: :)
o It has more hiss than my TA-E9000ES Sony pre/pro. If I turn my head towards my rear speaker *at normal listening levels*, I can hear it.
o It also has more hiss than the Yamaha RX-V793 receiver, receiver-as-a-pre/pro, I had before that. That was 4 years ago.
o The remote sucks. Why aren't the AM/FM (tuner) and 6.1 analog input buttons up near the source buttons? Why do I have to hit AUD before every action I want to perform with the 950 after selecting a different source? Why do I have to hit the surround mode choice buttons more than once to change the surround mode?
o The tuner is so-so quality.
o If I watch a DVD in DD mode, and then play a CD, it switches to DPL II mode (multichannel to multichannel). I still haven't found a way to do DVD in DD to CD to PCM in stereo.
But...
o I haven't found any issues with lock on delay, or "pops" when I switch inputs. (But my TA-E9000ES had no issues with these either.)
o The sound quality is quite nice.
o It cost $899.
o I get DPL II, DD EX, DTS-ES, and the CES modes to expand 2.0 -5.1 sources to 6.1/7.1, and 5.1 analog inputs *with* bass management. The TA-E9000ES has none of those.
I'm just trying to point out that the 950 *isn't* the best thing since sliced bread. It has flaws. It only cost $899. I will probably stick with it until something better comes along. I had the Sony TA-E9000ES for almost 4 years. I will not have the 950 that long.
I like Outlaw's business model and the customer service they have. I hate Sony. But time and place, I was/am more happy with the Sony pre/pro than the Outlaw.
 

Erik_C

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 15, 2000
Messages
186
I've had my 950 for 2 days, and I'm not as thrilled as I thought I would be. The 2-channel sound quality is good, but lacks some depth I thought would have been there. Mine's got hiss, but it's not noticeable from where I listen/watch stuff. It's more detailed, and smoother sounding, than my old Yahama 2092 receiver (with outbord amps), but not much more so. Certainly not as much as I expected. I noticed a *much* bigger difference when adding an ATI 1505 5-channel amp to my receiver than I did when switching the receiver/ATI combo for the 950/ATI combo.
For $899, the 950 is a good, but not great value. Nevertheless, I'm keeping mine until I find something I like more.
-Erik
 

Tony Genovese

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 5, 2000
Messages
811
When you say yours has hiss, how much? I can hear a slight hiss at reference level with my ear two inches away from the tweeter, but have never owned a piece of audio equipment for which this was not the case.
 

Mike Knapp

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 4, 1997
Messages
644
Real Name
Mike
I would guess that those experiencing hiss issues are either using under powered amps or in-efficient speakers causing the pre-amp to be played at an unusually high gain.

I have large room and I find the unit at reference level will drive me out. My average listening level is about -13db from reference. I am using the Outlaw 770 amp and 4 ohm speakers so each speaker is being driven by 200 watts. I can barely hear a hiss at reference with my ear 2 feet from the tweeter.

Mike
 

RAF

Senior HTF Member
Deceased Member
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
7,061
Hi Mike.
I'm in the same boat (using 4 ohm speakers driven by 200W - actually ~300W into 4 ohms - each via the Outlaw 755 and Marantz Monoblock MA700s)
No hiss at all in my case either, just as you described.
BTW, what did you do with the MA500 amps? Are they now part of your "music only" system? Those were sweet amps and I would imagine you would always find a place for them.
Incidentally, I found the amps in the 755/770 Outlaws a nice match for my MA700s.
Take care and thanks for the kind words. (For those of you lurking and wondering what the side comments to me were - My wife, Therese, passed away last month after battling a brain tumor and I'm just now getting back into the flow of things. Everything is fine and life goes on. I just wanted to clarify this and don't mean to bring down the thread. Please continue with the on-going discussion of 950 related issues. There is some very good information being disseminated here and it should help others who are considering such equipment. And that's what this forum is all about.)
:emoji_thumbsup: :emoji_thumbsup:
 

Erik_C

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 15, 2000
Messages
186
The hiss is noticable from up to 3 feet away. My speakers are NEARs, which are 4ohm, and pretty inefficient, but they have 300 watts per channel to feed them. Plus, the hiss is gain-independent: it's there there when the 950 is muted, and there, at the same level, when the 950's volume control is turned to max on an input with nothing playing through it. I'm stumped, and a little pissed, but have resolved to try to live with it, at least until the 30-day money back guarantee period runs out.
 

Serge Breton

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Messages
528
Robert,

not the best place for such a post but i would like to say that i'm glad you are doing well considering...Sorry about the loss and am happy life is moving forward (hopefully fairly smoothly) for you...
 

Mary M S

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Messages
1,544
I’m running the 950/770, with a set of what I fondly call ‘Mini Me’ speakers. Def; Tech, Cinema Pro 100’s with a one step upgrade on center and sub. (This was my 1st purchase and I was a heinous wife type at that time, --- requesting the salesman to show me your ‘tiny’ cabinets, when I had narrowed (at that time) to E. Take 5 and DT’s)
The hiss level, I experienced on my 1st 950, was not enough for me to want to send that unit back for exchange, although I could hear it as far out as any documented in forced situations, under certain inputs.
Of the many listeners who have passed through, (except one) none could hear it unless I brought it to their attention. But I’m known around here for hearing ‘noises’ in the distance both low & high frequency and bringing it to others attention, always before audibility level for anyone else.
My second unit, has greatly reduced hiss, (of the ear to fabric variety) and while requiring a few dB higher adjustment in calibration over the first, both units have ample reserve in volume to run us out of the room.

I have had an occasional tiny chirp when switching modes, but this is very infrequent and inconsistent, not bothersome enough to track exactly what set of circumstances it occurs in.

I have noticed one interesting fact about both my 950’s. When I received the first I know I perceived it’s acquisition time to be slow, verified quickly by the visual confirmation of this occurrence when my source was Satellite, the display would lock onto the video before the 950 acquired audio. On both units now, I have verified that the audio locks in most of the time just before video. I have no explanation for this and no concept of what could have affected a shortened delay. The 950 was my first power plug to menu’s, hands on setup, I had so much going on, and have mucked with the system enough, I’m not sure what I could have done, which could logically or feasibly impacted acquisition time. Maybe someone could enlighten me on the possibilities? Or is it they just ‘warm up’ after a few weeks.

RAF, I posted at Outlaw in Aug/early Sept. to you. Very good to see you back, - Fare thee well
 

Gary Stevens

Auditioning
Joined
Mar 3, 1999
Messages
10
Erik_C,
The hiss you are experiencing sounds a lot like that described by Prefect back in May here that essentially kicked off the whole hiss hunt. Could they have possibly given you a non-modified unit by accident? Things like this DO happen.
Mary,
Thank you for your observations (as always). The only thing I have found which affects the acquisition time is setting the "default" mode for an input in the config menu. If this setting matches the stream that is about to arrive on that input, then the acquisition time is minimal. BTW, I also get the occasional, random chirp. Unfortunately, I also get a significant pop about 90% of the time when I switch between inputs. Sigh.
-Gary
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Sign up for our newsletter

and receive essential news, curated deals, and much more







You will only receive emails from us. We will never sell or distribute your email address to third party companies at any time.

Forum statistics

Threads
357,344
Messages
5,136,147
Members
144,359
Latest member
ciuycjsgfvbn
Recent bookmarks
0
SVS Outlet Sale
Top