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  #51  
Old 04-11-2017, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Egghead View Post
My wife told me to go ahead and get what I want ... within reason.

I found this very interesting article about "audiophile on a budget":

http://geekometry.com/2014/07/projec...e-on-a-budget/

The author highly recommends the Outlaw 950 pre-amp, and the Outlaw Ultra-X12 subwoofer. I could find a 950 on eBay for $165 delivered, but the inputs and outputs are really outdated. I kept talking myself into newer versions of the Outlaw preamp on eBay, for more and more money, especially if I wanted the option of returning the equipment if I didn't like it.

It just so happens that Outlaw is running a spring sale on their website. Not only did they have the X12 subwoofer for a nice savings, but they also had a good deal on the 975 preamp, a much more modern preamp than the 950, with HDMI inputs, various bass modes for the subwoofer and up to 7.1 decoding.

My old Harmon Kardon AVR25 offers a couple of different ways to use it as an amp with signal coming from an external pre-amp, so I will use that for now, and might look at separate dedicated amps later. I hooked up my HK receiver to my DCM speakers, playing Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" CD, and it sounded pretty good. Just like I remembered, though, my setup could really benefit from a good subwoofer, so it's going to be a lot of fun to see what the new system can do.
Outlaw is a solid brand. I have four of their 200w monoblock amps and they're fantastic. Agree that the 950 is a bit dated in terms of surround decoding, but the alternatives are much more expensive. A Denon receiver would be fine, and cheaper, so I would keep that on the table.

I've not heard the Outlaw subs. I have heard the Hsu Research gear and will vouch for it - I've met Dr Hsu a couple of times, really a great guy. Around that price point he has the 12" for $604 shipped or the 15" for $892 shipped. I've heard the 15", it's a monster. Also, SVS will sell you a 10" sub for $499 shipped. I've owned two SVS subs (12" tube sub, and the PB13 Ultra), really great gear.

Alternatively, try to track down some Klipsch Reference subwoofers on Craigslist. You should be able to buy two of them for $500, and two subs will have a flatter frequency response than one, if you place them correctly.
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  #52  
Old 04-11-2017, 01:10 PM
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Thanks, George!

So are you recommending that I cancel the order for the Outlaw sub and preamp? I could probably do that if I act pretty quickly. Specifically, are you saying I would be better off with a Denon receiver? The X3300 gets good reviews, but it's $999. The X4300 gets even better reviews, but it's $1499. Of course, the Denons have Atmos, which the Outlaws don't. But I don't know if I would have that many speakers (at different heights, etc) any time in the next several years.

I was thinking the Outlaw 975 preamp plus the Outlaw 5000 amp would give me 5.1 sound with potentially superior amps. But are you saying they're not really any better than one of those Denons?
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  #53  
Old 04-11-2017, 01:15 PM
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Thanks, George!

So are you recommending that I cancel the order for the Outlaw sub and preamp? I could probably do that if I act pretty quickly. Specifically, are you saying I would be better off with a Denon receiver? The X3300 gets good reviews, but it's $999. The X4300 gets even better reviews, but it's $1499. Of course, the Denons have Atmos, which the Outlaws don't. But I don't know if I would have that many speakers (at different heights, etc) any time in the next several years.

I was thinking the Outlaw 975 preamp plus the Outlaw 5000 amp would give me 5.1 sound with potentially superior amps. But are you saying they're not really any better than one of those Denons?
You can't really go wrong with these options! If you've ordered it and it's within budget, go for it. Outlaw has a great reputation, I'm sure their sub will deliver. I didn't realize you already ordered, and was just spouting options.

I agree that Atmos is overkill for most people. My receiver is Atmos, but I don't honestly plan on using that feature. Maybe I'll play around with it. It's more $$$ to buy speakers, and then you have to figure out where to put them all.
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  #54  
Old 04-11-2017, 01:19 PM
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Oh, amplifiers. I generally believe that one watt is one watt, and that very few modern amplifiers noticeably color the sound. That's my basic premise.

That said, power ratings are... fuzzy math. Many receivers will say that they can do 100w/channel or whatever. But, only with two channels being used, and at a somewhat elevated level of distortion. And into a purely resistive load, a loudspeaker is harder to drive than a resistor.

That Outlaw 5000 will probably do 120w/channel, into all five channels, on a real speaker, continuously, for ten hours straight, without blowing up. And I have no issue with spending a bit to get a reliable amp with headroom.
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  #55  
Old 04-11-2017, 01:24 PM
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Oh, amplifiers. I generally believe that one watt is one watt, and that very few modern amplifiers noticeably color the sound. That's my basic premise.

That said, power ratings are... fuzzy math. Many receivers will say that they can do 100w/channel or whatever. But, only with two channels being used, and at a somewhat elevated level of distortion. And into a purely resistive load, a loudspeaker is harder to drive than a resistor.

That Outlaw 5000 will probably do 120w/channel, into all five channels, on a real speaker, continuously, for ten hours straight, without blowing up. And I have no issue with spending a bit to get a reliable amp with headroom.
Yep, I found a review last night where somebody verified that the Outlaw specs were as you described. In fact, in their tests, the 5000 out-performed! From audioholics.com:

Quote:
The Model 5000 proved to be an overachiever delivering a good deal more than its 120wpc rated power into 8 ohms and 180 watts/ch into 4 ohms. Our continuous sweep tests produced 170 watts/channel for 8 ohms, two channels driven and 230 watts/ch for 4 ohms, two channels driven under 0.1% THD+N. Even with ALL five channels driven, the Model 5000 was able to muster 135 watts/channel into 8 ohms under 0.1% THD+N. It’s rare that we find an amplifier to handily outperform its rated specs, especially an amp priced at the level of a mid-fi AV receiver.

Last edited by Egghead; 04-11-2017 at 01:30 PM..
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  #56  
Old 04-11-2017, 01:25 PM
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Okay, so now I definitely have to go with Outlaw. I'm super impressed with their customer service. Below is the email I got this morning:

Quote:
Are you planning on running 5 channels? I was able to pull up a back panel shot of the AVR25, but only see MAIN INs for the front left and front right channels. I also tried pulling up the manual, but the line artwork isn't the clearest. I would ask that you double check this, but assuming this is correct, you could only utilize the AVR25 as the power amp for 2 channels. You would also run into a bit of a headache of balancing the volume controls between the two units.

Unfortunately, if running more than two channel you would need a multi-channel power amp.
Probably didn't take them a ton of time to do that, but that's still certainly going above and beyond the call of duty! I like giving my business to companies like that.
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  #57  
Old 04-11-2017, 01:28 PM
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Yep, I found a review last night where somebody verified that the Outlaw specs were as you described. In fact, in their tests, the 5000 out-performed!
I can buy that. You should be quite pleased with the Outlaw gear, they've been around for quite a while. They make quality gear and will stand behind it. That amp should be good for about 25 years. Let me know if you ever want to sell it.
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  #58  
Old 04-11-2017, 02:03 PM
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Oh, amplifiers. I generally believe that one watt is one watt, and that very few modern amplifiers noticeably color the sound. That's my basic premise.
Unless you are going indie/boutique and using a tube amp....
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  #59  
Old 04-11-2017, 02:43 PM
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Unless you are going indie/boutique and using a tube amp....
Sigh. I understand tube amps have a different distortion profile, and some are current sources rather than voltage sources, whereas solid state amps are all voltage sources - AFAIK at least. So I get it, on paper they are different. That said, I don't generally believe that tube amps sound different, outside of the fact that some of them don't have the flattest freq response. I believe that any amp, properly equalized to a flat response, and not driven to the point that distortion is meaningful (perhaps 0.5% or so), will sound the same. I'll hand in my audiophile card now.

I do have one theory on the value of tube amps, but I've no data to back it up. Solid state amps suffer from 'crossover distortion,' which is what happens when the amp tries to go from + voltage to -, and vice versa. Crossing the 0v threshold induces some noise, and as the signal level drops it stays constant. So, for very low-voltage situations, I postulate it could be a problem. So I suspect with very efficient speakers, a tube amp may be justified. With high-efficiency speakers, you need very little voltage to get to a decent SPL. I have recently procured a Dynaco ST70 tube amp to test this theory. I'm currently using Klipsch CF-4 speakers, which will do 101dB with one watt, tremendously efficient.
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  #60  
Old 04-11-2017, 02:46 PM
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So if there isn't much difference among amps, should I be getting one of those nicer Denon receivers? Or do you think I'll get better processing in the Outlaw preamp?
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