Are the "Outlaws" for real?

Every now and then I come across an article about Outlaw Audio. Their products get good reviews from the magazines with The Perfect Sound being the latest. They reviewed The 950/770 combo. and enjoyed it quite a bit. Their receiver also seems to be liked quite a bit. Are their products true contenders in the midfi range? Can they hold their own against companies like Rotel,B&k ,or Sherbourn? Has anyone done a head to head comparison with the Outlaw amps or pre/pro.? Are they for real. Any info. is greatly appreciated. Thanks Chris
A friend of mine has the Outlaw 1050 receiver, and I have listened to it for about 10 hours. In my opinion, it is every bit as good as the reviews have said -- infact, I do not think it is accurate to call the Outlaw "mid-fi". It provides a good taste of entry-level high-end audio, and is (again, IMO) a terrific value. Based on my experience with the 1050, I think it is a signficantly better receiver than all but the most expensive Sony, Denon, etc., receivers.

Bear in mind that because Outlaw sells direct to buyers via the Internet, there is no retail markup. If they were selling their products through a retail dealer, their prices would be roughly doubled.
I checked into their pre / pro and it appears to be built to a pretty low standard, seems to be plagued by quality control problems and suffers from a higher than normal noise floor. All of this plus quirky operation of the remote. Hearing these words come from actual owners of the units was enough to scare me away. Other than that, the pre / pro very much resembles some slightly older, "plastic" NAD gear cosmetically. I think that the pre / pro is one of those products that they built tons of features into the chassis but forgot to leave room for the quality. If you get a good one, they are supposed to be a great buy for the money. If you don't get a good one... Sean
I own outlaws 1050for 2 years now,this one is as good as
the vantas, IMHO for the price of this is so hard to
beat, Yes I totally agree the review is extremely
accurate.But for the money, if you will only use
once in a while it will serve a good porpuse,BUT THE
than that.Try them this are very professional people
you wont be disappointed.
I own the model-950 and 755 combo and couldn't be happier. I've never owned what is considerd the really high end stuff, but I have owned numerous components from Adcom, Rotel, Onkyo M series, Yamaha, Denon, Sony ES, Fosgate, Parasound, etc., etc. The Outlaw amps are ATI amp's. ATI-1505 used to offer slightly more power and 8 output divices apposed to the 6 of the original 750, but it also cost several hundred more. However, the 755 now has 200wpc into 8ohms and 300wpc into 4ohms with 10 output devises and still cost hundreds less than the 1505. It is a great amp with very good build quality, and I would describe the sound as very nuetural. A great amp for the money for sure. As for the 950, as one guy mentioned it is feature packed, however, that is about all he got right, beside the fact that it does have a quirky remote (no big deal though, and still not bad as remotes go. Think it's the same one that comes with B&K and some other models). The intial units had some problems with hiss and this is what he was probably reading about. They stopped production and fixed this problem. However, the initial problem was only with certain very sensative speakers, like Klisch, but the fact that they stopped to fix it says something I think. Mine is rock solid and absolutey quiet. It has every feature you could want and peformance is OUTSTANDING, for both music and HT. 24/192 Cyrus logic D/A converters, etc. Direct input in the analog mode that by-passes all the digital circuitry and takes you straight to the volume control. It is exceptional, especially at it's price. I challange anyone to find something at this price that performs as well. BTW, the front is aluminum and not plastic, as was mentioned. The only downfall is that they do in fact look like some of the older NAD stuff, but at thier price to performance ratio who cares? Bottom line is that your going to be hard pressed to find something better for the price. Take a look on Audioholic's and see the article about the clone processor's. Sherbourn and Atlantic Tech. are putting new faceplats on the Outlaw designed units and selling the for several hundred dollars more. I've also heard the new Adcom is this same unit, but I don't know for sure.
Jack & Jayctoy: The comments regarding build quality and high noise floor were taken from those that own the 950 and have publicly posted such comments. More than a folks have stated such things, going so far as to say that they have sent them back to Outlaw, sometimes multiple times. Even with revision 2 units, they are still experiencing high levels of hiss and a lack of "black background". I have also seen units listed for sale / comments made here on Audiogon to the effect that the units are not the most reliable BUT that customer service is phenomenal.

Like i said, i was interested in buying one of these units and checked into it. I backed off after reading / finding out the above info. Less than a month ago, my Father asked to check into this unit for him. His thoughts were that the unit was unmatchable in terms of features for the money. I did further research and i'm still seeing the same complaints / comments / compliments being made about them as when they first came out i.e. it looks like they need better quality conrol and the customer service is exemplary. Sean
Well Sean I do totally agree with you, everytime I
read your tread, I always learn, I could tell,you
do your homework, Maybe if i saw those bad comment
on the outlaw, I will also think 10 times or not
buying at all.
Here is a link for a comparison between the Outlaw 950 and the B&K Ref 30. Interesting that the tester claims that the 950 he had didn’t meet specs.

I was interested in the 950 but now I think I'll wait until the used price for the Ref 30 comes down a tad.
Jayctoyz: Thanks for the kind words. I do what i can with what i have and try to share the limited knowledge / experience that has wandered my way. Either way, the bottom line is to enjoy what you have or find a way to get something that you can enjoy : )

Warehouse: That was a great find and very informative website. Thanks for posting the link. Not only did we learn about the actual performance of the 950, this link exposed me to another interesting item. I am refering to the program that David used to calibrate and measure the performance of these units i.e. TrueRTA. I'll have to check into this program as i think it might come in VERY handy if it has this type of resolution and is as easy to use as he makes it sound. Thanks again... Sean
I would also like to start "scientifically" testing my equipment but what comes out on paper isn't necessarily what your ears like. Maybe the equipment is flat across the band but my ears aren't!

There is a free download of the TrueRTA and it is pretty useful even though you don't get the whole picture.

As for the Outlaw 950, I found another document that shows that it's actually a clone of another mfg.

Maybe this is a good thing since the other units costs so much more, but it makes you think twice about the 950.
Another good find Warehouse. We call this "badge engineering" within the industry as the only thing that is changed ( in many cases ) is what name or "badge" the component ends up wearing.

I do have one problem with the article though. It stems from this quote: "Being a EE myself, with experience in working with reference designs for OEM purposes, I know that the changes one can make are minor at best, so I find that response a bit perplexing."

I disagree with this to a very great extent. It is possible to use the same power supply, chassis, circuit board, basic circuit design, etc.. and come out with a VERY different product. If this were not the case, "tweakers" wouldn't be gaining anything by swapping / bypassing / upgrading parts and manufacturers wouldn't be coming out with revisions 1, 2, 3 & 4 using nearly identical circuits in the same box. Even though the writer did us a favor by covering such a topic, he tainted the total package by adding in that last statement. The scary part is that many EE's think the same way that he does i.e. it all measures close, so it will perform / sound the same. As any of us that have ever modified circuitry can attest to from first hand experience, such is not the case. Then again, the EE's designing many of these products never get to see or use them at all. If they did, they would surely be more user friendly : ) Sean