Outlaw Audio ICBM Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gregg Loewen, Oct 4, 2001.

  1. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    Contained within are my thoughts about Outlaw Audio’s Integrated Controlled Bass Management (ICBM) unit. I have read much about DVD-Audio and the short comings of DVD-A players related to bass management. It was this reason that has kept me from further exploring the new format. Once hearing of the upcoming release of the ICBM I decided to upgrade to a DVD-A capable player to take advantage of the new audio format (in addition to automatic zooming of non anamorphic material [​IMG] ). I purchased the Panasonic RP-91, which retails for $699 and found it online at Etronics for $419.
    It is no secret that I am a fan of Outlaw Audio. I own the 1050 receiver and 750 amp. I will also be purchasing the new 950 preamp which is to be available by Thanksgiving. I have no reservations about the quality of Outlaw products and found the ICBM to live up to my expectations. The ICBM has an introductory price of $249.
    The ICBM is relatively simple to setup. I am running a 5.1 set up. The ICBM can accommodate up to 7.1. For 7.1 you must use a y connection splitter for the rear 2 channels. The 5.1 channels of the Panny connected to the 6 channels of inputs on the ICBM. The 6 channels of output are then connected to the 5.1 on the receiver. There are dual sub outputs if required. I set the front mains to a cross over of 6o and all other channels to a cross over of 80. I turned the LFE Mix to 0 db and set the sub woofer level to the Reference mark. Later I had to reduce the sub woofer level substantially to find a suitable level.
    The negatives of the ICBM included a very bright power-on light. I have been told this has been corrected in the production units. This unit runs off a 14 V power source and you can not turn the unit off. However, you can easily plug it into a switched outlet or X–10 switch. Because the mixing is done in the analogue domain, delay settings should be set to zero. If delay settings are set there could theoretically be some bass cancellation effects. I could not distinguish any. However, my speakers are very close to being equal distant.
    My first DVD-A title for demo was Bare Naked Ladies: Maroon. I love BNL and have followed their music for a full decade. This DVD-A mix is past terrible and that’s all Im going to say about it. Your view may vary. The second title I demoed was Tigerlilly by Natalie Merchant. It was nice to hear a 6 channel mix where some thought was put into the mixing. The ICBM handled the bass management well and I thoroughly enjoyed the title. The third title was Core by Stone Temple Pilots. Coincidentally, STP is also the name of an IV anesthetic agent. By Naked Sunday, I was smiling broadly and thoroughly enjoying my purchase of the ICBM. Without the ICBM the bass is mis proportioned and very weak. With the ICBM I heard great balance with no loss of imaging. There are limited DVD-A titles available at present. Amazon.com has about 50 titles. Lasersedge.com has about 12. However, if you are a fan of the “something different” and want to be on the cutting edge of technology the ICBM unit is a “needed buy” if you want to delve into the world of DVD-A.
    My equipment used to reviewing:
    Video:
    Toshiba 65H80, Panasonic RP-91, Pioneer CLD-606, Sencore II Color Analyzer, Accupril HD Signal generator. RPTV calibrated by Michael TLV, and further tweeked by myself. Video interconnects by Chris White.
    Audio:
    Outlaw 1050 receiver (preamp), Outlaw 750 amp, Paradigm Studio 100v2, CC, 40s for rears. 2 sonotube subs (2 12 “ and 2 15” drivers) powered by a Peavey 1300 WPC amp at 2 ohms. 6 channel audio interconnects by Bettercables.
    Gregg Loewen
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  2. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Gregg,
    I feel that it might be "too little, too late".
    The latest round of DVD-A player introductions (Kenwood, Denon, EAD et al) have bass management options.
    The Meridian 598, true to form, will do bass management in the digital domain.
    So, now purchasers might (or might not) need the ICBM.
    Regards,
    ------------------
    John Kotches
    Contributing Writer
    Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
     
  3. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Gregg: Thanks for the review. It's my understanding that Sound & Vision will publish a review in their next issue.
    I am anxiously awaiting my own ICBM. The ability to set different crossover points for my speakers is something I've wanted to do for several years.
    John: Your point is well taken. In my own case, I want (and really need) to be able to set different crossover points for my 5.1 setup. And, I want to be able to do so no matter what type of source I'm using. The ICBM will give me this ability. (I will use it between my processor & amp.) For now, the (soon to appear) ICBM is the only affordable 5.1 (or 6.1) solution that I'm aware of.
    You mention that many new DVD-A (and maybe SACD too) players have on-board bass management. I freely admit that I don't know all of the specs for them. But based on previous player-based bass management, the crossover point (there was normally only one) was 100 or 125 Hz. Awfully high, IMO. If I'm right, the ICBM may remain the solution of choice for at least a year or two until better bass management comes along...
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  4. Stephen Teffner

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    Gregg:
    Thanks for the review. I am kind of interested how it performs during movies. I too own the Outlaw 1050 and would like better bass management between my center and front 2 speakers. I do have on question for you though. What do you set the crossover on the receiver at, or does using the pre-outs bypass that function on the receiver? Just curious. Thanks.
    Stephen T.
     
  5. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    The ICBM is a great little unit. We demoed it in L.A. and was thoroughly impressed. What amazes me is that it took someone this long to think of it! Kudos to Outlaw.
    ------------------
    --Jay
    "No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."
    My Home Theatre Pictures...
    "You're no messiah. You're, you're a movie of the week. You're a ... t-shirt, at best."
     
  6. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    I too am intrigued by this unit. Owning a RP91 with a Yamaha 2095 my bass crossover is fixed at 90.
    While DVD-A is something I may check out down the road - I'm really interested to hear how this sounds with movies.
    Anyone able to provide some feedback?
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    Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
    MyHTSetup
     
  7. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    John, point taken. But consider the following the price points of the unit you mention, variable cross over points, mono vs dual sub out puts, no LFE trim control, etc etc.
    Stephen, yes it can work for movies, if you use the DVD players internal decoder (and not your receivers).
    Gregg
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  8. James Q Jenkins

    James Q Jenkins Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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  10. James Q Jenkins

    James Q Jenkins Stunt Coordinator

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  11. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    I currently have Paradigm Reference 20s for my mains.
     
  12. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    Lou, feel free to call me (before 10 PM any nite EST). If you have not noticed I too have Paradigms (and love them).
    Gregg
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    The Sonodome
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    [Edited last by Gregg Loewen on October 09, 2001 at 02:58 PM]
     
  13. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    OK - Greg.
    I'll try to catch you around 7 pm.
    Below is a link to my setup - I too have Paradigms all the way around except for the sub which is a SVS 20-39.
    Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
    MyHTSetup
    [Edited last by Lou Sytsma on October 05, 2001 at 06:47 PM]
    [Edited last by Lou Sytsma on October 05, 2001 at 08:49 PM]
     
  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I WANT MINE!!!! Thanks for the review (though it reads more like a "preview" to me [​IMG]).
    ------------------
    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
     
  15. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    My order is in, they said it may ship next week, can't wait!
    Will let everyone know how it works for me.
    JohnG [​IMG]
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  16. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    John how long were you on the waiting list?
    ------------------
    Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
    MyHTSetup
     
  17. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Greg,
    Am I mistaken or didn't Outlaw say that their new 950 pre/pro would also include the features of the ICBM? I plan to buy a 950 when it comes out so wouldn't purchasing an ICBM only be an interim solution for me? (I can wait since I prefer 2 channel SACD to DVD-A anyway in most cases)
    Glad to hear you are enjoying the ICBM. You have an "interesting" taste in music, a bit like your taste in DVD's (if the Cheerleading Movie we saw in L.A. was any indication.)
    Your wife Heather has you on a very long leash.
    [​IMG]
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    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
    My HT (latest update 02/05/01)
     
  18. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    I was on the list for about 3 weeks when an email came telling me to call and place my order.
    JohnG
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  19. Will

    Will Guest

     
  20. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    Some feel that within a year ot two bass management will show up in most players so it becomes a waiting game.
    For myself I went ahead and got a Panny RP91 and will pick up the ICBM. The extra wiring doesn't bother me as Radio Shack sells decent wires at great prices.
    JohnG
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