Time for a pre-pro

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Leo, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. Leo

    Leo Second Unit

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    Current system is made up of 5 Marantz MA500 mated to a Yamaha RX-V995 with output to PSB Image 4T, 8C, 1B's and "Sun" Sonobox Sub. Sources include Pioneer DV-45a SACD/DVD-A/DVD player and Pioneer CLD-D606 (outboard Yamaha ADP for DD decoding). I'm leaning towards the Outlaw Audio 950 pre/pro. Any other recommendations of products that will support the above, support 70% HT/30% Music (hi-rez mainly, bass-management optional as I listen to 2 channel mainly). And price range is under $1500. Your thoughts?
     
  2. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Used Aragon Soundstage for ~ 1400. Has "inside" the top of the line, 2k Aragon Aurum stereo preamp (and for all channels).
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I have an Outlaw 950 that I bought in December, and based on my experience I highly recommend it. Compared to my previous pre/pro, a Sherwood Newcastle AV-P9080 (a very nice, but older, budget pre/pro in the same price range), the Outlaw has 6/7.1 modes, DPLII, and DTS:Neo. The new DPLII modes are a definite noticable improvement over old DPL IMO.

    For 5.1 sources and analog pass-through the Outlaw sounds no better or worse than the Sherwood did. That is to say, it's very damn nice sounding! I'd buy the Outlaw again in a heartbeat.

    The onboard analog crossover network for the 5.1 input is really fantastic for external 5.1 sources. I have a DVD-A machine, an SACD machine, and an old DD decder for LD, and they all sound stunning through the pass-through. I just listened to "Dark Side Of The Moon" last night and it was fantastic.

    I also find the Outlaw to be very pleasing for stereo use as well. I even like the remote control!
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The HTF membership for some reason seems to be very anti-Outlaw at times, though I know the Administration loves the 950 (many of them use it at the heart of their systems).

    You may want to check around at SMR, Home Theater Talk, AVScience, and other forums to get a balanced opinion.

    Also, Outlaw has a forum at their site you may want to lurk there and see what Outlaw owners are talking about. I recently posted there about a usability quirk with selecting the 5.1 inputs. (my first real nit with the unit - and a minor one at that)
     
  5. NickSP

    NickSP Supporting Actor

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    Ricky T:
     
  6. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    How is my post anti-outlaw? He asked for other 5.1 alternatives under $1500 and I gave him my top recommendation. I have owned the following processors in MY system on basically the same NHT speakers and amps (citation or parasound) over the past 4 years and believe the Aragon Soundstage sounds the best by FAR in 2 channel and 5.1 (the Lexicons do well in a 7.1 setup, which he doesn't have).

    Sherwood 9080 prepro
    Denon AVD2000 ac3 decoder
    Nakamichi AV10 receiver
    Angstrom 200/205 prepro
    Technics 500 dd/dts decoder
    Sony ep9es ac3 decoder
    Harman Kardon Signature 2.0
    Onkyo 989 receiver
    Citation 5.0
    Lexicon DC1
    Lexicon MC1
     
  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  8. Leo

    Leo Second Unit

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    Well I found a local shop that has the Rotel RSP-1066 which is on my list to demo and I have a local friend who will let me check out his Outlaw 950.
     
  9. Marty Neudel

    Marty Neudel Stunt Coordinator

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    Leo,

    you will most likely get more bang for your buck if you pick up a high quality used 2-channel pre-amp. You can feed the left and right front out of your 950 into the aux input of the 2-ch. preamp, and your stereo source devices into their respective inputs. The stereo preamp should handle your 2-channel source material more cleanly than any $3k ht pre/pro.

    Marty
     
  10. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Marty,

    I used to say just that "a good stereo preamp will be cleaner than any ht prepro"...until I tried the Aragon Soundstage in my system. It has the same analog circuitry as Aragon's top of the line Aurum preamp...something that a dealer/friend of mine has been saying for two years and I didn't believe him [​IMG] Two other upgrade freaks also experienced the same thing when they bought used Soundstages (before me).

    In fact, one of them has a dealer/friend too. This dealer had three units in the same room: Aragon Soundstage, Aragon Aurum, and Theta CasablancaII. He says, via analog, the Soundstage sounds "better!" than the Aurum?! And, via digital, just an eyelash behind the Theta (basic Dacs).
     
  11. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Leo:

    That sounds like your best bet. I am sure that when you compare the 950 to the other pre/pros that you will end up with one in your own system. It is very neutral in its processing and a great value. It is great that your friend has one so you can hear one for yourself instead of just so one else's opinion.

    Parker
     
  12. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Leo,

    Im also a "two channel" guy but love ht as well and have owned many pre-pros and some stereo preamps including lex dc-2,dc-1,mc-1,rotel 995 stereo pre, Bottlehead tube pre, denon 4802-3802-3801, sony tap, sony tae, onkyo 898, adcom gtp-830, sony 777es, sony da4es and finally the Aragon soundstage.

    I must say the aragon walks on all of these for pure two channel. Plus the 5.1 bypass is the best/most transparent of any as well(not by a little either)..Ht processing is top notch and more dynamic/impactfull then anything Ive owned before to. I would HIGHLY recommend giving the soundstage a listen if possible.

    Parker, What other pre-pros have you owned/compared the 950 ? to..since your sure that Leo will end up with the 950 if auditioned
     

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