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Outlaw 950: review and discussions. (1 Viewer)

Bill Polley

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
252
David, wait until you have had the Outlaws for awhile. I was also at first delighted. Now I am giddy almost to the point of constant celebration. Having always been a 2-channel aficionado, I find my 950 outstanding in all sonic respects. Being new to surround sound, I am awestruck at what I have been missing.
 

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2000
Messages
5,726
Sometimes I wish stuff like this was never posted.
What is that supposed to mean? :) Go look at the 950 Saloon on Outlaw's site. I think I have counted at least 5 people now that have had the problem (that have actually posted), and at least 2 of them are returning their units.
The whole idea behind separates is that you are *suppoosed* to be able to mix and match.
If I can't use an $899 pre/pro with amplification with an original retail cost of $3000 (and with performance comensurate with that price), then the fault is with the 950, not the amps.
Those same amps did *not* present a problem either with a Sony pre/pro or a Yamaha receiver used as a pre/pro.
Remember, the 950 tested poorly for noise in the Sound & Vision's review too. Worse than a $300 Technics receiver in the same issue.
There is a problem with the 950. It is better now than it was. It affects some people's systems more than others. But that information should definately be available for others to to judge whether it's the right component for them or not.
BTW, I also believe that when I hit the 6.1 analog button on the remote, it should give me all 6.1 channels of sound, *regardless* of the prior state of the 950.
 

David Sim

Agent
Joined
Aug 21, 2002
Messages
42
What it means is ignorance is (sometimes) bliss.:)
If you don't hear a problem why go looking for one?
You know what I mean?
 

Mike Knapp

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 4, 1997
Messages
644
Real Name
Mike
Here is my simple view.... dont want the machine to make any decisions for me. I want to make them myself. If that means I need to push an extra button, so be it.
Hell, I have to get up from my chair to adjust the volume on my audio rig. You guys are just a bunch of lazy asses! :)
Mike
 

BruceD

Screenwriter
Joined
Apr 12, 1999
Messages
1,220
After all is said and done, meaning lots of various HTF member reviews/opinions, it boils down to deciding if the unit meets your own expectations.

For me the bass management and noise (hiss) problems that still haven't been solved caused me to refuse my order when I received the email from Outlaw 2-weeks ago.

My personal experience with HW design from Taiwan (Ethernet switch products) follows a similiar line, mostly there but always lacking (or poorly implemeted) features/operations.

Most likely I'll be looking at an AVM-20, which means saving more $$ and waiting a bit longer.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2002
Messages
34
First thing I wanted to mention, please take any "review" from Sound & Vision with a grain of salt. That is one of the weakest magazines I've read (a direct decendent of Stereo Review, nuff said). If Perfect Vision or Stereophile's Guide to Home Theater does a review, I'd take it more seriously.

I'm in the same boat as a lot of people. I own a Marantz 780 receiver, and would like to upgrade to either seperates or a big receiver with all the new surround options. Since there is such an electric pace of software changes going on, here's what I've decided to do once I pool together some money (may have to wait for next spring's tax refund): I'm going to buy a used Lexicon DC-1 with version 4 upgrade and a used 5-channel amp (like Rotel, but very hard to find a used one, may get a Parasound). Ths will give me Lexicon's Logic 7 (my friend has this piece, and it is sweet) and a nice power increase with a separate amp. And maybe in a few years, I can get something current.

The one thing I'll be blocked out of is being able to buy an SACD or DVD Audio player. But since I don't really listen to jazz or classical, I'm not missing much. When I start to see U2, Dave Matthew's, REM, Crystal Method, etc... CD's come out in this format, then I'll jump on the bandwagon.
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,664
Here's my cursory user review of the 950:

Now that I've worked most of the bugs out of my understanding of the unit, it's not too shabby.

The DPL II is pretty good, you can change the depth of the front soundstage, and you can control the amount of the center channel info that's mixed into the left/right speaker or funnel it back into the center speaker. Pretty nifty. It's a definite improvement over the old DPL for TV shows. 5-channel stereo is a bit gimmicky in that the rear channels always sound too loud if you sit near them.

The 2-channel analog bypass works pretty well. I was listening to Sarah McLachlan's FTE, and got to the point where I forgot I was listening to a CD and was transported into the musical experience itself (or maybe I fell asleep and dreamt it).

Being able to assign the digital inputs is a well-needed feature for me now, though I will have to manually change from the usual optical input for the LD to the coax input when I listen to AC-3 LD tracks - but it's rather simple to do with the remote control.

I'm digging the ability to have different xover points for the bass management for the front, center, and rear speakers.

Also, I like being able to calibrate per speaker, and it includes the trim feature to correct individual speaker output for soundtracks that aren't mastered correctly.

There are some quirks:

The remote is better used strictly for the 950, don't hold out hope that it'll be a good multi-device remote control.

You will probably have to turn up the volume level to anywhere from -20dB to -5dB depending on how loud you want to listen to the different sources: TV/CD/DVD/LDs. You could go for reference levels (probably just around 0dB depending on how far you seat from the speakers, but you only have 10dB more of headroom for the volume ouptut after the 0dB level). But that's plenty loud for my room.

To listen to the DVD-A or SACD 6-channel analog input, you must push the 6-channel button on the remote (there is no other way to turn on the 6-channel annel input on the face of the 950). Its 6-channel analog input performance is quite enjoyable. There is a toggle switch on the backside to help in the bass management.

Hiss level for me is a faint 51 dB with the SPL meter right next to the tweeter, as I move over 18" away with my ear, I heard no more hiss. The hiss doesn't get louder as you turn up the volume level on the 950, it's a very constant low low hiss. I didn't find it objectionable at the seats at all because I couldn't hear it from the seats. Bear in mind I'm using *gasp* $5 Radio Shack interconnects and the HK PA5800 5-channel amp. I have no idea what the hiss level would be with other interconnects and amps.
 

Erik_C

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 15, 2000
Messages
186
Here's an update on my hissy 950. I contacted Outlaw, and they agreed to send me out another (but only by UPS ground, which takes a week). We'll see whether my current 950 is especially noisy. I hope the new 950 fixes the problem, because the adjustable crossover is great, and after fine tuning the adjustable parameters, it sounds very good (except for the hiss).
-Erik
 

Bill Polley

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
252
Patrick, I agree with your assessment of the 950 almost totally. I also have a low hiss level. I also love the sound. However, I also like the remote. I have not had a remote controllable audio system before (older NAD classic system for years) and I am really enjoying the remote. At this time, it controls my digital cable box, turns on my TV (used only as a monitor), controls my Panasonic DVD, my NAD tape deck, my NAD CD player, my Panasonic VCR, the 950 itself, and when I switch to SAT, I have programmed it to dim the lights via an IR dimmer. It all works flawlessly.
 

Brian O

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 27, 1999
Messages
284
Patrick -

I have a similar setup to you with Radio Shack Gold Interconnects and two HK PA5800 Amps. I have Monitor Audio Silver 5 Mains and 10 Center up front. I concur with everything you stated other than the volume level. I find I listen to mine between -10 and -35 depending on the source and format.

I have a relatively smaller room(11'Wx20'L). My listening chair is about 11' from the front speakers. Being in a condo with common walls, I have to listen at lower levels. One of the biggest pluses with the 950 is the incredible amount of detail at low volume levels. I hadn't really counted on that and it really has enhanced my enjoyment.

The low end extension, warmth, and punch are much better than the Denon 3300 that the 950 replaced. I was using the 3300 as a Pre/Pro.

Hiss is a non-issue in my setup. I am using the Monster Powercenter 2500 also.

The remote controls all my equipment no problem including menus. JVC TVs, JVC VCR, Toshiba DVD player(had to program the disc menu controls though), and Scientific Atlanta Digital Cable Box. The only remote negative so far for me is the vary wide range of the transmitter compared to other remotes I have had. Having two JVC TVs and two Cable boxes of the same make, I really have to aim the remote far away from the other TV/Box to keep from affecting the other one.
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,664
Just FYI: Here's what I have hooked up to the 950:
Panasonic RP91 DVD player
JVC XV65GD DVD player (I use this for Non-R1 DVDs)
Pioneer CLD-D704 LD player
Panasonic VCR
Philips VCR
(I'm a time-shifting fool with another VCR in the bedroom as well).
The 950 remote control was not made for a guy like me. :D
I can only use the DVD, VCR, and TV buttons. That's it. I've already bitched about not being able to use the other device buttons to control my other DVD player, LD player, or 2nd VCR.
I have no idea which device button I'm supposed to use in order to program it to control a LD player. The SAT/V1 device button won't accept any non-SAT program code, same with the CBL/V2(Cable) device button. I don't have need for the CD or AUX inputs (since I use my LD player for my CD transport).
I think I'm using those Gold Series Radio Shack interconnects.
 

Bill Polley

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
252
Patrick, the SAT source can be programmed manually to accept any command from any remote. Follow the 950 manual's instructions on manual learning of commands.

1. press SAT and SEL buttons simultaneously until the orange LED and the SAT button turn on and remain lit

2. on the 950 remote, press the button that is to be taught the new command (if done correctly the orange LED will begin to flash and the SAT button will no longer be lit)

3. hold the 2 remotes so that the infrared beams face each other (best to just set them face to face on a table and leave them together through step 5)

4. on the OTHER remote, press and hold the button to be memorized until the LED on the 950 remote turns green, then release the button

5. press the same button on the OTHER remote again and hold until the LED on the 950 remote flashes green 2 times (verification). The 950 LED will then turn yellow and the SAT button will light up

6. If you want to teach commands to other buttons, repeat steps 2-5

7. When done programming the buttons you desire, press and hold the SAT and the SEL buttons on the 950 remote, holding them until the orange LED flashes 2 times. The SAT button will no longer be lit

I know this is almost right out of the manual and seems pretty simple, but I had to re-read the instructions, then keep them in front of me to get the sequence right. I kept trying to verify by hitting the button on the 950 (wrong) instead of pressing and holding the button on the other remote until verification was done. After I figured it out, it was very simple to program all 3 of my older components that do not have a setup code listed.

I hope this helps because I think this is a very good remote.(at least way better than the 5 remotes I used to have on the coffee table!)
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,664
Step 5 is not in the Outlaw manual, and thus I failed miserably trying to copy buttons from an original remote to the 950 remote before reading Bill's post (so I will have to give it try once more tonight). Thanks for the write-up.
But I did figure out how to "map" a device to another device button (this is in the SL9000 manual that I printed out yesterday).
If you want VCR capability on the SAT device, you have to hold the SAT button and the Mute button simultaneously, and then hit the VCR button, and then enter the VCR code(s) for the VCR you want to control. Once the code works, then hit the SAT button to save the code. This works for any device that has a device button (CBL, VCR, DVD, TV, SAT, AUX, TAPE), but I ran into problems when I tried to figure out how to map the LD device to one of the buttons, the TV/V2 button. I have no idea how to map that device mode to any of the device buttons.
I still need to save a few buttons from my original VCR remote to the 950 remote (like MENU, etc). Hoping Bill's write-up will help in that department.
I guess if I have to manual copy over the pertinent LD buttons, I will give it a shot.
I did get the volume punch-through for all of the devices, so that's a convenient feature.
 

Brian O

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 27, 1999
Messages
284
Anyone having success programming the DVD changer- change disc button for a Toshiba 3109 to the 950 remote?

I was able to get it to open the tray but it wont change to the other tray, being a 2 disc system on the 3109. Basically, keeping you from accessing the other disc/tray from your seat.

The button on the 950 remote that this control is mapped to is the "T/V" button which also has "multi" written above it too.

Is there a special sequence to maybe do it manually from the original remote that would have it work as it does from the original remote?
 

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2000
Messages
5,726
The head Outlaw, Peter called me today.

The hiss that some of us are experiencing is real. (A much smaller subset now than originally.)

They are continuing to work on it. More info over at Outlaw's site...
 

dave alan

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
256
KCB: that's GREAT news! i sure hope there is a solution at the end of your tunnel. keep us informed.

p.s. the phase info posted elsewhere was informative. some who reported lackluster bass may benefit. it's good to have someone with your ability to diagnose and find possible solutions posting regularly. it helps us all toward better sound/enjoyment.
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,664
Brian, you can teach any button (except the 8 DEVICE buttons on the top of the remote) on the 950 remote to act like another button, so you should be able to teach the T/V button to act like the "Multi" button. Don't rely on the remote codes to provide button mapping for your particular remote/player.

I am finally getting the 950 remote to act like a multi-function remote. I've been able to re-program many of the programs to get a lot more usability from it, so I'm getting happier with the remote.

My next few tasks is to standardize (for me) where the 2 sets of VCRs functions have been programmed in the 2 rows of buttons above the Macro buttons. Currently I didn't put much thought in where I put what function for either VCR (I have 2 VCRs), so use the same buttons for the same functions for both VCRs will alleviate confusion.

Then I will manually teach the 950 remote to act like my LD remote, and that should be the end of my remote programming journey.

Thanks for the tips along the way.
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
Messages
39,664
Quick question:

Where have my other soundfields gone?

When I play a DVD with a DD 5.1 track (using the optical 1 input), I am stuck with only DD 3/2.1. In the manual, it says I should be able to press the "Dolby" button, or the "dts" button, or the "Cr Surr" button to cycle through the other forms of sound processing of a 5.1 bitstream.

Did I turn something off inadvertently?
 

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