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pythagore

Received Outlaw 990 Pre/Pro (My impressions)

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I received the 990 processor yesterday, I just finished setting it up, and I must say I 'm not impressed. The thing sounds like an FM radio station compared to my Harman Kardon 525 receiver.

I'm really disappointed, I should have suspected it. I posted many topics before ordered the thing asking for info on the musicality of this thing, no one on the Outlaw forum or other forums can give me a direct answer. Then, I read the review from one idiot claiming that the thing sounds better than his Lexicon MC1. (#!#@*!#! what a big fat lie!).

It will cost me another $60 returning the thing back + I won't get back the extra 3% my credit card charged me to do the USD/CND conversion, plus I'm wondering whether I will get the $280 (UPS Custom charge +GST/PST) the Canadian customs charged me.

First, I noticed, the HK volume range is around -76dB to +10dB the 990 is -76dB to +8dB. With the HK in stereo my volume level is usually set to -35dB (-28dB for moderate listening). With the 990 even at -19dB the thing is nowhere near the level the HK(-28dB) put out.

Second, the subwoofer output (With the tone->bass set to +6) compared to the HK is not even half of the HK bass output.

Third, the sound is so flat compared to the HK525 even in the upsample mode.

Fourth, this thing for a pre/pro is huge. It is almost twice the size of my HK 525 receiver, but only weights a third the weight of the HK.

I won't call the $1100 price tag a rip off but it does not worth that much if you take into account an HK 635 can be bought for around $700.

The only things I like about this unit are the Auto setup feature, and the easy setup. Remote control is also good.

Anyone who really thinks of putting this thing in the same league with the Anthem, Lexicon or for god sake a high end receiver such as HK needs some real professional help.

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That is a bummer. I was kinda curious as to what somebody's impressions on it where. Sounds like I'll stick with using my Denon for now, until I am ready to get something more in the league of B&K's own pre/pro.

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I am shocked because the Outlaw and it's cousin, the Sherwood Newcastle have seemed to have gotten good reviews...I have the Outlaw 950 running through Hereseys and I like the musicality...since you get it for 30 days anyway, why not listen to it a bit more and see if it might be something in the set-up? As for weight...most of the weight is in the amplifier, yes??? You are comparing the weight of a pre-pro without an amp to a receiver with an amp? I bet my 950 pre-pro AND my 7100 amp weigh more than your HK...that doesn't mean one is better or worse than the other but just that it weighs more...just my .02.

Good Luck,

Bill

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Wow, major bummer dude. Sorry to hear that. Maybe after a little warm-up and break-in, it'll sound better. But if not, I hope you won't be too out-of-pocket with the shipping and restocking fees, etc.

At the very least, thanks a lot for your honesty. It takes a big man to admit what he bought wasn't up to snuff.

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Thanks for the review. Many Klipsch owners may be able to avoid the problem from your experience. It is greatly appreciated.

I have been a fan of using receivers as a processor for several years. Receivers usually have better feature sets, but lack quality in the amp section.

Bill

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Sorry to hear about your disappointment. I've never heard the thing, but could you maybe be more specific into what sounds so bad? Most of your complaints seem to be about features rather than performance (see below).

Disclaimer, I have no interest in Outlaw audio or any other manufacturer.

I received the 990 processor yesterday, I just finished setting it up, and I must say I 'm not impressed. The thing sounds like an FM radio station compared to my Harman Kardon 525 receiver.

I'm really disappointed, I should have suspected it. I posted many topics before ordered the thing asking for info on the musicality of this thing, no one on the Outlaw forum or other forums can give me a direct answer. Then, I read the review from one idiot claiming that the thing sounds better than his Lexicon MC1. (#!#@*!#! what a big fat lie!).

It's an entry level pre. Sorry if you believed otherwise.

It will cost me another $60 returning the thing back + I won't get back the extra 3% my credit card charged me to do the USD/CND conversion, plus I'm wondering whether I will get the $280 (UPS Custom charge +GST/PST) the Canadian customs charged me.

I understand your frustration but how is this Outlaw's fault?

First, I noticed, the HK volume range is around -76dB to +10dB the 990 is -76dB to +8dB. With the HK in stereo my volume level is usually set to -35dB (-28dB for moderate listening). With the 990 even at -19dB the thing is nowhere near the level the HK(-28dB) put out.

This is a function of the output level of the pre at a given digital read-out on the display combined with the required input of the amp to hit a given power. Variances like this will occur with every integrated, or Pre/Amp combo on the market because each manufacturer will use different combinations of amplification. In other words, it's only a label change on the volume knob. A rose by any other name is still a rose. 95 dbs in room by any volume setting is still 95 dbs in room. I'm sure that you could send the pre back and have them adjust the digital display so that it goes to 11.

And, the subwoofer output (With the tone->bass set to +6) compared to the HK is not even half of the HK bass output.

So, what is the point? As long as you can adjust it to make the spl from your sub a smooth transition to your mains it doesn't matter what is shown on the display. Zero in your system will be different that zero in anyone else's system or room. If there isn't enough adjustment built in that you can't get a smooth transition, then there may be a problem.

Don't forget, you can adjust the volume on your sub and the crossover setting if incorrect will have an effect on this too.

Third, the sound is so flat compared to the HK525 even in the upsample mode.

I'm not sure what upsampling is in this situation. Expanding on what the pre is "upsampling" and how you expect this to magically improve the sound might help.

Fourth, this thing for a pre/pro is huge. It is almost twice the size of my HK 525 receiver, but only weights a third the weight of the HK.

Again, so? As pointed out, you are expecting the weight of a pre to out weigh an integrated? Send it to a local shop. I'm sure they could add a lead bottom to the unit to even it out. The two channel amp on my mains weighs in at 70lbs. So? How does weight effect the sound? Some would argue that my amp sounds like crap, but that has nothing to do with how it weighs in.

I won't call the $1100 price tag a rip off but it does not worth that much if you take into account an HK 635 can be bought for around $700.

And you can find an clock radio at Wal-Mart for $29.99. It's a better deal based on this logic. Especially considering it goes to 11.

The only things I like about this unit are the Auto setup feature, and the easy setup. Remote control is also good.

Why? What's good about it? Does it make it sound better? Is the remote easy to use or is it good because it's heavy?

Anyone who really thinks of putting this thing in the same league with the Anthem, Lexicon or for god sake a high end receiver such as HK needs some real professional help.

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It's also 1/2 to 1/3 the price of an Anthem or BK. It's that price because they probably didn't put as much engineering into it, and probably use cheaper parts. Why should it sound as good as something 2 to 3 times the price?

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I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just trying to get to an explanation of why this thing is as bad as you say. Please give some particulars about what sounds bad, and what functions do not work. So far you have only complained about the settings without explanation of whether they actually work or not.

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I,M SUPRISED

AT LEAST KEEP IT FOR THE 30 DAYS,

SOMETHING MIGHT BE WRONG WITH UNIT .CHECK WITH THEIR TECH SUPPORT STAFF OR WEB SITE. BUMMER!

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Guys -

Having seen pictures of the unit I think his complaint on the size is not the weight but why is it so damm big. It surely could have fit into a much smaller package. It you need to fit this unit in a tight spot you will have issues.

Laters,

Jeff

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Ahhhh, that changes things a bit...I had read over by Outlaw9.gif that the size is because of a cousin relation to a Sherwood Newcastle Pre Pro AND a Sherwood Newcastle AV receiver...with that models included amp.

Bill

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Give it some time before you send it back. Many amps take many hours to sound warm and musical. If this one of them just keep it on all the time. Weight of an amplifier makes a HUGE difference as long as it's the powersupply that's weighty. I know exactly what you mean by sub output. It makes a HUGE difference also. You don't have to crank your sub up to distortion levels. I know some may argue this, but who cares if you hear it. I do as well. If you heard it on and playing continuously for around 8 hours and you don't notice any difference in performance. Then send it back.

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6.gif As a new owner of a 990 I was surprised at this "review" to say the least. I purchased this unit based upon comments from other new owners on the Outlaw site, Home Theater Forum, and AVS Forum. I've owned the 990 for about two weeks and my observations are consistent with just about everyone else who has purchased one. This pre/pro is amazing for the dollars-period.

I did read the review from someone at AVS who compared the 990 to the Anthem AVM-20.In the end, he preferred the Anthem to the Outlaw on music, not consistently but enough to sway him to the Anthem. His evaluation was methodical,and as meticulous as I have seen in those forums. I respect his conclusions and everything he wrote stated that the performance of these two units was pretty close.

Pythagore's review first of all demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of level adjustments. His inferred claims that level differences equate to quality of the unit is just plain wrong.

His declaration on the weight of the 990 vs his HK is , well,-unusual.

His complaint that the 990 is big is valid. But what does that have to do with quality?

I delayed my decision to purchase the 990 until I could see what others had to say. I went everywhere on the web to find comments. I could be wrong about this but his claims that the 990 sounds flat compared to his receiver are just not found with any other evaluation. As a matter of fact his severe criticism is the first I have seen anywhere in the two months that this unit has been available. I have two more weeks to go before my 30 day free trial is up. But I have already made my decision-my 990 is a keeper.

In any event, I would encourage anyonr thinking about this unit to try it themselves in their own system. My bet is you won'y be returning it.

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----------------

On 6/29/2005 7:32:18 PM wheelman wrote:

Give it some time before you send it back. Many amps take many hours to sound warm and musical. If this one of them just keep it on all the time. Weight of an amplifier makes a HUGE difference as long as it's the powersupply that's weighty. I know exactly what you mean by sub output. It makes a HUGE difference also. You don't have to crank your sub up to distortion levels. I know some may argue this, but who cares if you hear it. I do as well. If you heard it on and playing continuously for around 8 hours and you don't notice any difference in performance. Then send it back.

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Ummmm - we're talking about a processor here. No amplifiers involved... 2.gif

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