Outlaw 950 vs rotel rsp 1066

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Jul 24, 2002
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I am looking to go the separate route (with a lower end pre/amp) since they are so expensive. I will only be running 5.1 in my tv room but would like to have audio multizone capability.

Any comments on these 2 and any amp suggestions to go along with these (I would like to stay below 2500) if possible and I know the Rotel is 1500 and the Outlaw is about 900.

I have definitive technology procinema 100 satelite speakers all around and a powered sub.

thanks
 

Russell _T

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Aug 26, 2001
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The Rotel doesn't do anything useful that the Outlaw can't do, and costs about 400.00 more street. The Outlaw has gotten a pretty bad rap, but the units they have been shipping lately sound great. I love mine, and feel it is a real bargain for what you get. It sounds great, and Cirris surround does an excellent job of decoding 2 channel material as well as extracting the extra two rear stereo channels from DD and DTS material.
 

DanaA

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Russell,

To say that the Rotel doesn't do anything useful that the Outlaw can't do is not the case. Being firmware upgradeable is very important and Rotel has already issued several firmware upgrades. In other words, their product continues to become more refined. I won't put the Outlaw down at all though. It is simply a huge bargain at its price point. If it wasn't for Outlaw's reputation for being somewhat brighter, I would have been very tempted to move in that direction. Also, again, the upgradability was a huge factor in Rotel's favor, as was the price of the Outlaw in its favor. Both companies seem extremely responsive in dealing with their users.
 

Kevin C Brown

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The Rotel has the "double bass" problem on the 5.1 inputs. There is absolutely no way around that, unless you go get yourself the $249 Outlaw (hee, hee) ICBM. Look for posts by Dre J.
The 950 has the same problem (they both use the same Cirrus DSP engine), except that you can get rid of it by simply engaging the 80 Hz analog crossover. The Rotel has no bass management on the 5.1 inputs (except for the summing to the sub which creates the double bass in the 1st place.)
Outlaw has 24/192 DACs and the Rotel has 24/96's, for whatever that's worth. Outlaw has a tuner, the Rotel doesn't.
Also, the Rotel requires it to be hooked up to your display for navigating the menus. With the 950, you can use the display on the unit itself. (I go direct from my DVD player to my display for the shortest route/best quality. I don't want or need an "extra" connection there.)
But on some where between 1-2-5% of systems, the Outlaw hisses. High sensitivity speakers make it worse (Klipsch for example), and some types of amplification (I have Acurus and I have hiss). But, and this has amazed me to some degree, Outlaw seems committed to fixing the last vestiges of the hiss problem, and at some time soon (I'm guessing within 2 months, and that's very conservative), somehow that will be "made right."
Plus, the 950 has a 30 day money back guarentee. Don't think most dealers would give you that for the Rotel. So I say, get the 950 1st, try it out. Don't like it? Send it back and get a 1066.
 

Daniel Lindgren

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RSP 1066 has been in a lot of reviews lately and always get high points, saying it is a super bargain (when compared to much more expensive units from TAG McLaren, Thule Audio, Primare, Classé). I haven't seen a head to head review with the Outlaw though.

I decided to steer clear of the Outlaw because of the hiss problem, which always seems to be fixed "next month" ... has been like that for the best part of this year now ...

The "double bass" problem is only a problem if you listen to DVD Audio or SACD via the 5.1-inputs. And even then you could use internal bass management in the DVD-A/SACD-player, so it might not be that big a deal. And Rotel are working on a fix for it.

I haven't heard the Outlaw, but I know the Rotel sounds great both for music and movies. Try both and make your own decision if the extra money for the Rotel is worth it.

If you decide to get a Rotel, make sure it's an updated model since Rotel has upgraded the video bandwidth from 10 MHz (=not that good) to 200 MHz (=no problems at all) very recently.
 

Philip Hamm

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I just got an Outlaw 950 and in my first day of ownership I'm very impressed. I may be imagining things but I think it may sound a bit better than the Sherwood Newcastle AV-P9080 it replaced.
 

Andrew Pratt

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I will only be running 5.1 in my tv room but would like to have audio multizone capability
Doesn't the 950's second zone opperation come with some issues? I remember hearing something about that months ago when the 950 was the flavor of the month but haven't heard anything on the second zone opperation since.

I'm a Rotel guy and proud of it so take from this what you will but both models are very good bang for the buck pre pros that offer similar features. There's a few things each does better then the other so its up to you to decide which is the one for you...that said many of the "issues" people have with the Rotel are being fixed as we speak (firmware's in beta). If you don't think having firmware upgrades is important ask any Sony 9000ES pre amp owner what they think...new firmware for that model extended its life by years...diddo for Lexicon.
 

Rich Malloy

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There's an excellent (and very positive) review of the Rotel 1066 in the January issue of "Stereophile GTHT". Subscribers should have their issues by now (got mine last week!), but I'm not sure if it's yet on the newstand.

Is it worth $4-500 more than the Outlaw? That's a helluva tough question. Short of auditioning both in your system, I don't know how you're gonna determine whether it's worth it. Do you know of a Rotel dealer that will let you have an in-home audition?
 

Levesque

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Mar 21, 2002
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I choose the Rotel over the Outlaw because of the firmware upgradability. I got the new batch with HDTV bandwith. My DVD-player is performing bass management internally, so it's not an issue. And, Rotel is working on a new firmware upgrade to solve a lot of minor problems, or tweak some others. Rotel is one of the only company out there listening to what customers want, and then they put it in a firmware upgrade.
If Andrew is telling us that the fix is coming, you can believe him.
He's a passionnate Rotel lover!
 

Mary M S

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I have definitive technology procinema 100 satelite speakers all around and a powered sub.

That is the speaker setup (Pro-C 100 with upgrade on center and sub) I was running when I first received my 950/770. I was very impressed with the 950 running them. I was even more impressed when I upgraded to Vienna Acoustics, Beethoven’s and Maestro center, that the Outlaw setup pushed this more demanding line better than the top of the line Pioneer Elite receiver and the B&K separates that they were run with at 2 demos I heard.

As far as the bright mentioned, I am often beginning to equate that term when I hear people use that description regarding speakers/prepro/receivers and then later hear them myself as bright=harsh. I do not find the Outlaw harsh or ‘bright’ in that sense of the word at all. My ears tend to silk dome tweeters which are often described as being very ‘smooth’ (not bright) on higher frequencies, if that gives you a baseline for how I hear?
I would Not call the 950 bright, Just straight through accuracy to all sources.

Regarding the Rotel, I have seen countless posters who seem to enjoy theirs immensely. I have never heard one at a dealer so cannot compare its sound with the 950. I may be wrong but am not uncomfortable at all with the ‘upgradeablity’ of the Rotel Vs the 950 perceived ‘lack of’. When I first followed the 1066 the ‘fixes’ were for problems the Outlaw did not exhibit. The ‘hiss’ issue just in my own personal musings has been a ‘put off’ for potential purchasers. But it is VERY interesting to note that even with the Outlaws early hiss, exhibited to varying degree, that posters stated after hearing X or X product in comparison to the 950, hiss unfixed they would not exchange for another choice. If the ‘hiss’ (which Outlaw is still working on) was never resolved, they still posted a comment that the 950 sound was a standout over other products (various units named by each poster) they demoed…..Therefore I have formed the IMPO theory that hiss should not put off potential purchasers from demo’s of the 950’s.

I really contemplated this upgradeability (and connectivity) ‘issue’ across the board, in Displays, STB’s and Prepro’s/receivers. I have stated before that I see many who shop by this criteria still posting thoughts out-loud about purchasing X new product over having a upgrade added to their current unit. (free fixes for glitcheness are one thing, - adding other features a whole new issue). My 950 has not ‘needed’ fixing it performs flawlessness to date. (8 months). I note with great interest that Rotel has already announced the big brother release next year replacing their 1066. This is illustrative of my conviction that ‘upgradablity’ just does not often pan out in the way I might expect it too, in the current AV market. (I assume Outlaw has a ‘big brother’ in the works, as does every other manuf. out there).

I looked at my 950 purchase from 2 sides. Does it currently have every feature I feel I would be content with for an extended length, (years) if my interests (and pocketbook) turn to other pursuits? Is the purchase price reasonable if I become ‘unreasonable’ about acquiring the latest and greatest every couple of years?

I am awaiting delivery of my backordered Sony STB HD200, and surfing AVS forum has me second-guessing myself on that one. I will have to say that of all the recent purchases I have made, the 950 is the single unit I have been the most satisfied by, -as regards how much time I feel that 'urge' to watch what other people might be posting about its competition or be speculating about near future releases on the horizon. (I just don’t have second-guess ittis regarding my 950, so I would have to label it a 10 in my setup.) I cannot say that about any other purchase I have recently acquired, although my new speakers follow a close second in this regard. Yet, - I still have full intentions of demoing speakers whenever opportunity arises for years.

I just walked through my thought process’s but yours will on a physiological basis alone, be ONLY yours.

Good luck! Making these choices can be …….torture.
 

Andrew Pratt

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I note with great interest that Rotel has already announced the big brother release next year replacing their 1066
Just to point out the 1098 model is not a replacement for the 1066 is a completely new product that will be about twice the cost and is intended to compete with the likes of the Ref 50 etc's.

As to the comment about the firmwares fixing bugs that the 950 didn't have...that's not entirely fair or true. Some of the issues we've had fixed weren't bugs to begin with but settings that we wished could be changed. For example on the early versions of the firmware the 1066's display displayed what source was being send to the record outs...while seemingly useful no one really used it and it was confusing to have two sources displayed at once. This type of fix is pretty easy to tweak in a firmware and has been taken care of. There were a host of other tweaks such as changing the OSD color, fixing issues with the DD-EX flags etc. The fact is Rotel has continued to tweak and improve this pre amp over the model year...all for free. There's a lot to be said when the VP of the company calls you up to chat about how they can make the product better for their users.
 

Bob-N

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Just to throw out my 2 cents. I did a head to head comparison a few months ago and chose the 1066. Not including some useability issues which I'll mention below, I found the 950 a bit fatiguing in my system. I used TPM and the Matrix as well as lots of classis rock (which tends to be bright) to compare the two pre/pros and thought that the extra $400 was worth the difference in sound.

My two beefs with the 1066 are:

- the OSD and set up capabilities. I wish you could use the unit's display to set up the parameters. You have to use the OSD to run the setup. I like to fiddle with them a bit to hear which sounds better. It's a pain to use the OSD as I'm out of inputs to my TV.

- It would be nice to have saved settings per input. Often I have to turn up the volume for TV watching. Then I move to CD/DVD and it blasts. Gives everyone a rude wake up call.

My set up is B&W CDM1NTs, CNT, 600's, 20-39PC w/imp driver, rotel 985mk2 amp, Panny RV31 DVD, 1066.

Bob
 
Joined
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Mary,

You are more satisfied with your 950 than even the VA Beethovens????? Gosh.....whodathought...

Thank You for taking the time to express your experiences and your thoughts. They are well thought out and articulated. I'm getting VA Mozarts for mains with Hyden surrounds. Will probably drive them with an ATI 2505 as I ahve a large room to fill. I'm still undecided about the pre/pro. This thread is good reading. Thanks all.

Cheers,
Robert
 

Kevin C Brown

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I don't think using a DVD-A/SACD player's bass management can fully compensate for the double bass in the 1066.
If you try the same trick as the ICBM, set all speakers as large with no sub, then you have to rely on your speakers natural roll off for the high pass filter in relationship to the low pass on the 1066 for the summed bass from the mains to the sub output. (If that makes sense.)
If you try to use full bass management on a player, that should help, but then you have the low pass crossover of the player "cascaded" with the low pass of the summed bass in the 1066. That might be worse than the original problem. (Phase issues.)
I do hope they fix it someday. (Although I certainly don't understand why it's taking so long.
8 months at least by now?) This is *the* reason why I chose the 950 over the 1066.
 

kevitra

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Apr 24, 2002
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Plus, the 950 has a 30 day money back guarentee. Don't think most dealers would give you that for the Rotel.
Every Rotel dealer I know has a 30 day money back guarantee. I can't imagine a 'high end' store that didn't have that policy (I know there are a few, I just don't goto them).
 

Kevin C Brown

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I know for a fact that there were complaints when the 1066 first came out, that some dealers would only order them if you put the cash out up front, and that there was no 30 day money back guarentee in a lot of cases. 7 days maybe if you were lucky. Remember, to a very large degree, a dealer's policy is up to each individual dealer, and isn't necessarily dictated by the manufacturer.
BTW, I don't personally consider Rotel "high end", more like "value oriented".
 

Larry B

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Newbie question regarding the "double bass" issue:

Is this audible, or is it more of a theoretical problem?

Thanks.

Larry
 

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