I know it's been said before, but are there really any legitimate choices other than Outlaw at that price point? Tons of value for the money. The only way I could recommend something else would be if you got a great used price on a receiver that originally cost $1100 or something. In terms of brand new pieces, though, I just don't see a viable alternative to the Outlaw gear.
My vote is for the Outlaw also. I just bought one for my dad and it's very nice for the money!
Soundcity.com has the following special:
-AMC 1100 Stereo Preamplifier -
Phono/Aux, CD, Tuner, Multimedia, DVD, Mix inputs
Tape monitor switch
Ground terminal (Ready for Phono)
Preout 1/ Preout 2
-AMC 2100 Stereo Power Amplifier-
2 x 100 Watts rated power into 8 ohm
2 x 150 Watts dynamic power
Bridgeable to 250 Watts into 8 ohm
...for $399. If you already have some decent interconnects and a tuner you may be interested.
I have to agree with nearly everyone else on this. Outlaw 1050 is in a class by itself. Check out the reviews on audioreview.com
I haven't heard the Outlaw products, but in my experience the Marantz line clearly outshines the other mass-market Japanese brands including Yamaha and Sony.
I have never heard of outlaw, I did go to there website and saw that they have one reciever available @ $499. They also offer a 30 day money back garuntee. If you wanted to buy locally then you might want to look at Harmon Kardon, or Denon. I think you will find the Denon to be a little better in the overall presentation. You can also buy both of these through mail order companies at a discount.But you should check the dealer out at this web site first. audiosurvey.com Then you won't get burnt like I did. :)
If you want to buy used you can go to audioreview.com. You can also find reviews from regular customers there. I checked there but there were no reviews on outlaw receivers.
The Outlaw is a Home Theater receiver. Sounds like you are interested in audio. Give the NAD receivers a listen. I would think you would get a much better FM tuner section with the NAD. The amplifier section should be cleaner, because it does not have all the digital chips in the signal path, and it is a dedicated 2 channels instead of 5..
See information on the NAD C740. It is a combination of the separate models C340 integrated amplifier and C440 AM/FM tuner.
Some information is at this link:
I recently purchased a system for a friend which included a NAD C-370 integrated ( driving Maggie MMG's). Outstanding amp, I was completely surprised by how good it sounds. If you don't necessarily need the tuner, this is something you might consider. Around $500.
Outlaw. I like Marantz too, but not sure what $500 buys in the Marantz line.
Don't buy a home theater receiver unless you want a home theater (at least eventually). There are always compromises when you pack more things into a single box, and there's no sense paying to pack things you don't even need.
Among 2-channel receivers in the sub-$500 range, you're pretty much restricted to the major Japanese brands, unless NAD has something. Among the mass-marketers, you probably won't find major differences in amp sections. Tuners are location-sensitive, however, so if radio's important to you (I presume it is or you would have asked about integrated amps), take each one you're interested home and try the tuner out.
Check out the "Outlaw Saloon" at www.outlawaudio.com for user comments on every imaginable topic concerning the 1050 receiver. An amazing piece of equipment for $499 (plus $34 shipping)! You might be able to pick up a used one for about $400 on A'gon but such opportunities are rare.
The Preludes are great speakers. I wish they were still made.
You should be able to get a 2 channel NAD receiver for around $500. Have not heard the Outlaw mentioned above, but I have heard the NAD and it probably competes with about anything solid state under $1k, provided you're not trying to drive less than a 4 ohm load.
Nakamichi RE-10 is a great receiver that is being sold at great discounts since Nakamichi just bankrupted. Their older receivers are classics and can blow away any receivers currently made. Check them out on ebay. Look for the TA or SR series. Only drawbacks are their binding posts aren't that great.
I don't think most other manufacturers cept for NAD makes a good two channel receiver since they concentrate their resources on home theater.
Have you considered one of the older McIntosh receivers?
Great tuner - certainly better than all the mass market
brands - and an okay amp section, too. Also, you can take
it to most McIntosh dealers and have it brought up to
factory spec for a nominal amount. And last but not least;
if you don't like the way it matches up with your speakers,
you can turn around and sell it for pretty much what you
paid for it.
Look at "Sherwood" receivers. A few years ago I bought a new Sherwood RV-4050R from Circuit City for the blow-out price of $92.($300+ retail) A very good product. Has many features, has
a good tuner, sleep timer, and the ablity to turn off the
L.E.D. display.(Makes a noticable difference in sound quality.) Check out the prices on Sherwood and the "New Castle line-up. These receivers sound very good. I've listened to NAD 712, Denon 345R, and Yamaha something and
I would choose the Sherwood. One last note, for a couple of
years I used Spendor S 3/5's with this receiver and it had no problem whatever driving those speakers and the system
sounded very good. Good Luck! Bill