It is always refreshing to see the mag review/recommend real-world priced equipt.
My copy of that issue will be here in a couple of weeks. Until then, can we get a synopsis to tide us over?
I haven't heard Outlaw gear yet. Their website is interesting.
Yes its great to see.
I got my copy today in New Zealand. Best Audio mag out there now.
And here we sit in the good old US of A waiting for all the news that is really fit to print. The NY Times lost that title long ago.
Quote:And here we sit in the good old US of A waiting for all the news that is really fit to print. The NY Times lost that title long ago.
Ain't that the truth? Some of the best writing in the business obscured by an insipid editorial section that bleeds over into the reporting.
I received my copy way early this month.
Wow! Two favorable reviews about receivers in the last year. First HK and now Outlaw. I admit it...I am a receiver guy. Please don't flame, ridicule or make fun of me. I'm just a lowly audio enthusiast and not a true audiophile. But, I have been a very high level enthusiast for more than thirty years. I do enjoy listening to and reading about all things audio. I had a Tandburg 2055 powering my system for 24 years and can vouch for the wonderful sound it provided and the fact that it was on par with many separates. It is now in semi-retirement powering my secondary system and still doing well. I replaced it, at the suggestion of a local high end shop, with a Marantz SR 48 MKII. The SR 48 is a very unassuming and uncluttered piece of equipment. I was given a week to listen to it with the promise that it could be returned if I didn't like it. Well, it has been almost five years now and it is holding up very nicely.(and sounds good, too.) The Outlaw receiver caught my eye about two months ago and I'm glad to see it received such a good review.I think the review is well thought out and reflects the performance of a well made receiver.The overall performance of these products can be very high, as good as some integrated amps, but not reaching the standards of more costly and esoteric electronics.I do take issue with one comment that was made in the review. "...the few available two-channel receivers are bottom-dwellers of low cost and low performance." My observations have led me to the opposite conclusion. Many of the two-channel receivers made today would have been top of the line products prior to the rise in popularity of muti-channel systems. The few remaining stereo only receivers are inexpensive due to the fact that they no longer are in vogue. They would have, I believe, cost up to several times what is currently being asked for them if purchased as few as eight years ago.This is not to say that some junk is out there, but you have already shown that two inexpensive receivers are worthy of mention in Stereophile. From listening to several other two-channel receivers through a variety of well respected speakers I have come away very impressed.The Baltimore/DC area has a several very nice high end shops who don't mind if you want to audition equipment which I do as frequently as I can. Locating great inexpensive gear can be just as much fun as finding pristine high end products. Keep up the good work.
Quote:Wow! Two favorable reviews about receivers in the last year. First HK and now Outlaw. I admit it...I am a receiver guy.
I agree - I dig receivers as well and I look of this new Outlaw Receiver caught my eye. Great review!
Hello everyone,1st time visitor to the Stereophile forum and a long time reader.
After reading the review, I've been very curious about the Outlaw. I sold my NAD 320 today and need to replace it. The 320 was a very good amp driving studio 10's in my office, but with a new house and a lot of A/V changes the NAD was needed in a different system and it just isn't going to be enough for the Thiel CS1.6's in the new game room. I'm kind of thinking after reading the review the outlaw could be a good choice for my application. The system will be using a Music Hall CD25 and an MSB dac from the computer.
Anyone with experience with the Outlaw?
BTW MF, I enjoy your reviews and this was a good review.
I'll bet it would work nicely if it truly doesn't impart much etch with the Thiels. I suspect it would be more at home with a little darker speakers, but this is from a bit of a skeptical position on my part and MF was pretty impressed with its lack of grain and glare and he actually listened to it...as opposed to...uh....me, who hasn't.
I bet the Outlaw would make a lively companion for your Thiels.
I know you can buy online, do they have a return policy in case you don't dig the pairing?
Risk free would be tough to pass up!
Although it's nice to get a favorable nod from reviewers we respect, we are all at times guilty of hearing what we want to hear. I feel it's important to take a step back and put things in perspective.
Do you really think Mikey thinks the Outlaw is anything more than what it is, A $600.00 reciever. After all, this comes from a man who has close to 200K tied up in his reference system.
Not trying to take anything away from the Outlaw or Mikey, and although not my cup of tea (who cares, you shouldn't) I would suspect your Theils may have a bit more resolving power than the Outlaw could deliver.
I believe Outlaw offers a 30 day money back policy on all products they sell, so it's a no brainer to give it a try. It may be all your ears need. Say what you want about internet marketing, but I wish we as consumers could so easily audition equipment in our own systems.
I would like someone like John Marks to audition it like he did the Harmon Kardon receiver he liked for a "2nd/dormroom/vacation house system and see how they stack up. It had a phono stage as well. From J and R in NY it is half the money.
Let me see if I follow you. Mike Fremer can't provide a reliable review of a sub 1K receiver because, at this point in his life, he owns and presumably listens to 200k worth of audio gear. Why not write off his professional opinion because he has reviewed car audio systems, or provided exhaustively detailed comparisons of record cleaning products, or pours milk on his Cheerios. Get serious. Why did you bother to read the review when you apparently believe you know exactly what "a $600 receiver" offers? Then you move to, "...it may be all YOUR ears need.". Might you be a little full of yourself today, Mr. rgibran?
Thank you for your feedback Mr. Cheapskate.
It's obvious to all I am not the most prolific writer and sometimes have difficulty properly conveying my thoughts, but to take issue as you have with my post is beyond me (well not totally beyond).
I attemted to word my post as diplomatically as possible but apparently I failed in your case. Let me offer this if I may.
The original poster (Vic) to whom I responded asked our opinion about mating the Outlaw with his Theil CS1.6 (a review by JA available on this site).
He stated he had been driving them with a NAD which in my opinion is no "bottom-dweller" to use Mr. Fremmers words.
I was trying to convey to him that despite Mikeys competent and favourable review of the Outlaw, I didn't believe Mr. Fremer was trying to convey to us that the Outlaw was the "Worlds Best" reciever. The possibility existed that perhaps it may be no more than a lateral upgrade at best for driving his Theils which are capable of being quite resolving.
And yes, upon auditioning, the Outlaw may be all his ears need, heck it may be all MY ears need, but just because Mikey liked it doesn't mean it will be the perfect mate for his speakers, or his ears.
Beyond this, I really am at a lost to explain myself in more simple terms, other than dragging out one of Jazzfans' all time great classic lines.
Or to put it another way, what you really meant to say to Vic was wrapped up nicely in the last paragraph of your first post? Guess I should have skipped the rest. Sorry.
OK so maybe this is one of those elusive stupid questions, but here it goes.
Besides a tuner (and possible D/A chips) what, is the difference between an integrated amp, and a reciever.
more specifically what, besides the respective target audiances, precludes one from being sonically equivalent to the other, while staying in a given price range.
I think you are dead on, a receiver is an integrated amp with a built in tuner.
"Integrated amp" sounds so proactive and authoritative, while "receiver" sounds so passive, though. The nomenclature could use a little freshening.
Maybe the industry should drop that word and go with "media controller" or some other more assertive name.
Or, they should pacify the whole line up of gear and call loudspeakers "sound sharing devices" and disc players could become "digital facilitators."
But I digress....again, you are correct, sir!
Quote:Or, they should pacify the whole line up of gear and call loudspeakers "sound sharing devices" and disc players could become "digital facilitators."
In NYC, earphones are, all too often, "sound sharing devices".
Don't forget those overdriven subs mounted in small japanese cars that "share" their "sound" for blocks in all directions.
Quote:Don't forget those overdriven subs mounted in small japanese cars that "share" their "sound" for blocks in all directions.
I actually like those.
I bet they sound better outside the car than in it! I mean that in the the sense of sound quality, not sound quality.
As you guessed the receiver is an all-in-one chassis of Tuner, preamp, and amp. The quality of those remaining in the market place is all over the place from say a Sony STRDE 197 ($150) to the Harman Kardons, the Onkyos, Denons, etc up to the Magnum Dynalab 208 which is a home run.
What you buy would depend upon the resolution you want and how important FM listening is to you. You should also take into account the quality of FM stations in your area. In the major markets; NY, Chicago, LA, Boston, and possibly others, there are some excellent broadcasters doing their best to keep their tramsmitters in tip top shape. Many are PBS stations, but not all are for sure. Many even use modded broadcast consoles and may use Stereophile rated Cd players as sources. Many are using computers with large hard drives as music servers and the playback quality will be a function of the DACs they employ and their playback file format (wav?).
I have a couple of stations here in Atlanta that are easily better than any satellite radio service in over all quality. The problem is if you have any kind of decent audio system with good source components, FM in most cases may sound a little flat, compressed, with no real sparkle or high freq content. Compressors were the norm of the day as, remember, the louder the station the better...which is absolutly false, but station owners used that as their marketing tool much to the detriment of sound quality.
You can tell how much your local FM providers offer you and whether you will listen often enough to warrant buying a receiver or an outboard tuner. Forget audio snobs. If a receiver floats your boat buy one.
My wife found a very decent Kenwood tuner on www.freecycle.org in our area that was free. It is down in my home office and sounds pretty decent. It even has selectable wide/narrow band tuning. You can sign up for freecycle in your state by county you live in.
Now if I could just find someone who has no idea what a McIntosh 1900 receiver is off freecycle I would also buy a lottery ticket the next day. LOL
Just read the review. For someone as broke as I am, this is the first piece of gear I've been able to seriously consider in a while. Maybe it's my relative boredom with small Brit kits. Maybe it's the slight retro styling or the idea of making an honest-to-God modern 2-ch. receiver.
There remain, for me, two unanswered curiosities.
The first concerns fully one-third of the receiver equation: the tuner. If it's an afterthought like so many others, so be it. But if it isn't I'd like to have some idea of that. Just because MF didn't have a signal generator (to provide a known source) or specialized test RF equipment and was at the mercy (and variability) of local stations doesn't mean an informed opinion couldn't be formed and stated about sound quality. That's what reference tuners are for.
And it doesn't have to be Magnum Dynalab or obscure Day-Sequerra. Watcha do is go to eBay and get a higher-end model from the glory days of the '70s or '80s, properly tuned and maybe modded with different ceramic filters. Or just get one already done by APS. And if the reviewer personally thinks radio is a worthless pursuit put the tuner in the closet when the piece is put to bed. It only has to be a tool, not a lifestyle. Using this method, no Don Scott is required to test FM performance, and might just get some music lovers interested again in free music. Who knows, maybe we'd actually begin to read about roof antennas next. You see my point --- there is untapped opportunity here.
The second involves the USB port. Outlook is cagey about it both on their website and in the manual, and the review didn't shed any more light on it. Specifically, is it presumed nearly any computer with USB can output digital audio that the Outlaw can decode? And what of the D/A converter? And what file formats can it accept?
Overall I'm heartened by a modern receiver that doesn't have all the theater stuff many people probably don't use anyway. Some of my design choices might have been different (Record out? Tone controls? What year is it?) but for now we're probably lucky such a piece is even here to consider.
I think it's a great move on the part of Outlaw and genuinely think it is good news when a product like this comes down the pike.
While I have some skepticism that it would work well with the Thiels mentioned in an above post, I don't see any reason why it couldn't perform quite well with speakers that would more likely be paired with a component at this price.
If it does work well with Thiel speakers, then it blows past interesting and lands straight into the amazing bargain catagory. I wouldn't hesitate to try one given the 30 day home audition if I were looking for a receiver or entry level integrated. That alone puts Outlaw on my "good guys" list.
The best modestly priced turntables I know of are the Music Hall line. the MMF-7 with supplied cartridge is highly recommended, and if you want to spend less than $1000 for tt/cart, look into the MMF-5. They're readily available from Acoustic Sounds, and Music Direct as well as other sources. Good luck. Sounds like you're set up for some real fun in the near future.
You can also check the Rega 3 and 5 tables which are excellent, but you will have to mate your own cartridge of your choice...not necessarily a bad thing. The Goldrings are OEM Regas as are the tables from Brit Audio
I have really enjoyed my Rega P3 with its sound engineering and simplicity. The The Rega RB 300 tone arm is excellent. Cheapskate's recommendation of the Music Halls is excellent as well. The cartridges that come with the Music Halls are very good as well. The MMF5 may be one of the best buys of all time. If you need a phono stage don't forget the tubes Bellari that MF just gave a big thimbs-up to. Gramm Slee makes some affordable, excellent sounding units as well. Check the Needle Doctor for some or all of your needs.
Don't feel too bad about needing to abandon the old B&O turntable. Years ago, why I don't know, I tried the B&O linear tracker (don't recall the model no.) with their top cartridge. All the turntables Jim and I have recommended - even the little MMF-5 will outperform anything B&O ever offered. There is a reason why that stuff is no longer available.
I also long-past had the B&O linear tracker, Cheapskate and -- like you -- found it wanting. But my goodness, it was soooo beautiful. Perhaps I remain rooted in what (30 years ago) counted as Danish modern, but I am struck by the fact that an incredible amount of today's equipment is either a stylistic blah! or outrageously ugly!
You're right, PeterD, it was a sleek and stylish little devil, and the appearance of components, at least in our house is an important thing. I tend to react first to sound equipment with my ears. If it sounds good enough, a little ugliness tends to fade over time. My wife, whom I love more than my sound equipment, is, however very concerned with how equipment looks, and rightly so, since we don't have a dedicated listening room. Some times, her preferences have worked in my favor. She loves the looks of our Sonus Faber speakers. I'd have settled for Harbeths at a lower price and with a slightly less beguiling sound, but she correctly labeled them ugly.
Recently, I bought a Marantz CD/SACD player, really great sounding two-channel machine which happens to have a champagne colored case. She loves the sound but was, at first, concerned that the case didn't match those of the Musical Fidelity electronics (which are brushed aluminum) as the previous player had. Wasn't matching amplification available, she wanted to know. Yes, I told her, there is a matching integrated amp, but it would represent about $4,000 to replace a fine sounding amp which shows no signs of quitting. She thought it still might be right to get the "matching one".
Only after I explained that the "matching" amp involved significantly more heat output than our present one and therefore would require significantly more open space around it in our equipment cabinet, did she agree that we might as well stand pat with our present system.
Appearance counts, and thankfully, lots of equipment manufacturers realize that. Turntables are such a pleasant exercise in nostalgia for me, that I rarely see one that I don't think is attractive. That notwithstanding, the BO was elegant. Sadly, it just didn't do its job.
Black goes with everything. Have you ever seen anything purdier than the Cary SLI-80? Well, maybe these lil beauties from Manley...