Schiit Vidar Outlaw RR2160


Getting back into vinyl so I dusted off my old Kenwood KA 701, JBL 110's and a Technics SLQ3.  They were all purchased in the late 70's and I am ready to start my upgrade process. Don't have a big budget compared to many on this forum, however, I will share with you what I am considering.   Upgraded the Technics with a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB just recently.

B
y my choice of amplifiers in the topic heading, you can tell my budget is apx $700-800 for an amp. Why the Outlaw? Good reviews with the added bonus of a receiver. Planning to add at the same time a Schiit Freya pre-amp and a pair of Tekton Lores ($1000) for speakers.  So you can see my total budget is only 2400 for pre-amp, amp and speakers.  

If it helps I listen to female vocalists, classic rock, soundtracks and musicals.

Looking for feedback on my choice of equipment.  Thanks
7682e5be 0c4a 4ef4 a578 fc5617dff9bdjohnmarzy
Hi John -

I have owned the Outlaw RR2150 for the last 12 years and it has been running all this time without a problem.  Superb product.  

This month's Stereophile has an excellent, in depth review of the RR2160 and its capabilities.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/outlaw-audio-rr2160-stereo-receiver

The Outlaw comes with a built in phono preamp, so I don't know why you feel the need to invest in a preamp.

Your new Pro-ject Espirit will work out just fine with the Outlaw..  What cartridge do you have ... Ortofon Red M?  If you ever wish to upgrade, consider swapping out the stylus with the stylus from the Ortofon Blue M.    

As for the speakers, the Outlaw is powerful enough and good enough to drive many different speakers.  It benefits from using better cables (i.e.:  Audioquest interconnects, Audience OHNO speaker cables).  

There are 3 combinations that I have used over the years that I have especially liked:

Omega Super 7 MKII (https://omegaloudspeakers.com/collections/monitor-speakers/products/super-7-monitor-speaker?variant=...) @$1000

Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 (http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/SRM1/srm1.html) @ $850

Wharfedale Denton Anniversary (https://www.musicdirect.com/speakers/wharfedale-denton-80th-anniversary-bookshelf-speakers-pr) @500 (marked down from $1000)

Outlaw RR 2150 has received mixed feedback on this site and mostly from people who have not owned it any appreciable length of time.  No matter.  It is a good receiver.  If you decide that it is not right for you, consider the updated Rega BRIO R integrated amp.  It also has a built in phono preamp.


Rich  
+1 Rich. With the Outlaw you won't need a preamp. Your money is then vested into turntable, receiver (or integrated), and speakers. 


Rich, 1st thank you for the detailed reply.  Regarding the preamp, I just assumed a dedicated preamp was better than an integrated one.  Or maybe what your and mesch are saying is, it may be "better" but use that money for something that will give me more of a roi, as you mentioned speaker cables.  

Based on your speaker recommendations should I assume you don't like the Tektons?  Or just that you never heard them?  Does my room size or music that I prefer influence any of your speaker recommendations?

I'm excited you and mesch recommended the outlaw. It doesn't have the cool effect as separates but does do a lot.

I know the question is off topic, however, If I don't get the preamp should I take that 500 and invest in a DAC/Streaming device? My goal is to add Roon and Tidal and be able to listen to MQA files. Thanks Again.
PS - Based on my overall system what Audio Quest cables do you suggest? Thanks
I second what @rar1 and @mesch are telling you. No need for a preamp with the Outlaw. Like rar1, I had the 2150 a number of years ago in a secondary system and it performed very well.

I cannot think of a comparable product that offers the level of functionality and performance that the RR does, at it’s asking price. Outlaw is a great outfit and worth supporting. The new 2160 looks to be another winner for them.

I have a Schiit Yggdrasil, so I am not biased against Schiit. If you see yourself going separates in the future, it would be the obvious choice between the two (if these are your only 2 choices). It would also be the choice if you believe you will go the mono route and need the power delivered by the monos. However, if you are working through those issues, the Vidar should be up against some other amp-only options.

Enjoy your new system and choices.
Great choice of the Outlaw/Tekton combination. With AudioQuest, the Golden Gate interconnect and the "no frills" Rocket 44 speaker cable from Audio Advisor would be solid choices. Good luck and have fun.

Cheers,

Scott
Thank you David and Scott.  
David & Scott,
I will ask the same question I asked mesch and Rich " If I don't get the preamp should I take that 500 and invest in a DAC/Streaming device? My goal is to add Roon and Tidal and be able to listen to MQA files. Thanks Again."
I think a music streamer is a great idea. I have the Bluesound Node 2 and it is great. Check it out if you get a chance.

http://http//www.bluesound.com/en-us/products/node-2/?cl



Cheers,

Scott
If you’re wanting to add streaming with Roon/TIDAL/MQA support as well, for your budget I’d get the Outlaw, skip the separate pre-amp, and add a Bluesound Node 2. That gets you everything you want in regards to functionality without breaking the bank...in fact, it leaves $200 for cables, more vinyl, or several months of Tidal.

Nothing against the Schiit, but you will run into either budget overruns or gaps in your desired functionality if you go that route. 
Hi John -

I am a bit out of my depths when it comes to streaming devices. I am strictly LPs and CDs. What Ethos is saying sounds ok. You may also what to check out Outlaw’s Saloon to see if there are any relevant discussions.

http://saloon.outlawaudio.com/ubbthreads/

I don’t have any experience with the Tekton speakers, outside of the posts here on Audiogon, which can get somewhat polarizing when the discussions get going.

Something I might consider though is taking the budgeted $500 for a preamp and putting in towards speakers. Speakers in the $1500 to $2000 range would elevate this system up a real level or two, sound wise. And granted I get the possibilities of adding streaming to the mix.

At $2K, the Watkins Generation Four have really caught my eye. No experience with them, but from what I read they have me thinking about pulling the trigger.

http://www.watkinsstereo.com

I have always been a fan of single driver speakers and have had Omega speakers in my systems for the last 15 years. I like the looks of these a lot (Omega Junior XRS) and what I have found with Omega speakers is that the driver size adds an incredible amount of oomph to the sound. Also, the Omegas are heaven with solo vocals, both male and female.

https://omegaloudspeakers.com/collections/tower-speakers/products/junior-8xrs?variant=38555245196

Obviously, there are many more to consider at $1500 to $2000.

As for interconnects, I have the following in my systems and I am happy with them. They also don’t cost a tremendous amount of money and are good value.

Audioquest Diamondbacks

Audioquest King Cobra

Audioquest Black Mamba II

Kimber Kable PBJ

https://www.musicdirect.com/cables/audioquest-diamondback-interconnects

https://www.musicdirect.com/cables/audioquest-king-cobra-interconnects-pr

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AQBMII

https://www.musicdirect.com/cables/kimber-pbj-interconnects-pr

With speaker cable, I splurged a bit and went with the Audience OHNO product.

https://www.needledoctor.com/Audience-OHNO-Speaker-Cable?quantity=1&custcol115=7&custcol120=...

I do a fair amount of scouring the reviews and message boards and then purchasing on-line. I attend shows and audition when I can, but that is hit or miss in NYC, especially since I work long hours and travel for business.

I have 3 systems that all see a lot of use and fundamentally have remained in place for a long time.

#1 -

Prima Luna PL5 tube power amp (12 years)
Musical Fidelity CD PRE24 cd player & preamp (12 years)
SONY SCD555 ES SACD player (16 years)
Parasound Zphono preamp (1 year)
Pro-ject Classic Anniversary Turntable (1 year)
Opera Platea Floorstander Speakers (9 years)

#2 -

Rega Brio R integrated amp (3 years)
Unico CD player (1 year)
Technics 1200GR turntable (new)
Parasound Zphono preamp (1 year)
Omega Super 7 MKII monitors ( 3 years)

#3

Outlaw RR2150 receiver (12 years)
Wharfedale Denton Anniversary monitors (1 year)
Panasonic 500P blu ray player (4 years)
Rega Apollo CD player (12 years)

Rich


You might want to get that preamp. If you read the stereophile review, the phono section was a weak link. If you get the Outlaw, break in the phono section for a week and then bring in your external phono preamp and do a a/b test. You will also get more adjustability with an external phono preamp for a wide range of cartridges
Rich ( @rar1  ) makes a great suggestion / option.

I normally advise front end first (actually power first, but that's best left for another day). In your case, if you can push your budget slightly and move the money saved on the preamp Rich's recommendation to put it towards speakers is a very good one.

Since you are looking at Tekton for the Lores, make sure you check their website right away because there are a few Black Friday / Cyber Monday offers.

If you can push your budget slightly, I'd jump on the Tekton Impact Monitors without any hesitation. They are 250 off their regular asking price. The trial offer is liberal and you will not be out much to reship should they not work for you.
Just some thoughts from one interested in your quest:

Given that the Outlaw has phonostage and DAC I would not consider the purchase of either as a stand alone until I spent time with the respective internal ones. 

The Bluesound Node 2 is a solid recommendation and I would consider one myself if looking for streaming Tidal and MQA. I believe it has an internal DAC which would be redundant (possibly better?) to that in the receiver.  A computer can be configured as a streaming device however don't know about use for MQA. 

I generally don't position myself to recommend speakers due to not having the opportunity to listen to many and the subjectivity issue. I will say that I believe matching speakers to the room, and tuning the room via treatments is vital to getting the most from any system. After that your amp must be compatible with t the speakers. If you are settled on the Outlaw you could purchase one and use it to demo speakers at local dealers or from online dealers that allow returns. I would encourage you to do your best to audition as many speakers as possible prior to making a choice. Consider the size of your room, brightness of room, ability to add room treatments, loudness levels required, when auditioning. One approach I have taken was to purchase a used pair of speakers at a budget lower than I was willing to spend on a final pair, selected ones that would mate well with my room, experimented with room treatments using these used speakers, and enjoyed my music while in search for an upgrade pair. The process took a year, and I sold the used speakers for what I paid for them once a new pair arrived. If you like the Totems, maybe you could find a used pair. 

The Audioquest King Cobra interconnects and Rocket 33 speaker cables are good choices. They can be had highly discounted. I have bought these off Ebay, and from Music Direct. I also like Kimber Kable. I currently use both brands across my 3 systems.  That said, one could purchase the appropriate length of Canare 4S11 speaker cable for about $1.50 a foot and use them unterminated. Maybe look for a used pair of Audioquest Sidewinder or Copperhead interconnect cables. You could allocate more money elsewhere in your system.  

Good luck in your quest. Please keep us informed as to your system.  




Wow, what great thoughtful advise.  Here or (hear) is a confession.  Shopping for speakers is really frustrating for me.  My sound memory is short.  Show me a few speakers and they all sound great.  So I rely heavily on forums and share the music I listen to.  I haven't mentioned it yet however many time I enjoy turning the volume up, just as if I was at an actual concert.  Not sure if that comment is relevant to the speaker choices suggested already but wanted to add it.  

So I will sell my Kenwood KA701 and matching receiver, get the Outlaw and then sell the JBL 110's.  Thank you all for your gracious contributions to this thread.  I really enjoy the feedback. 

I should add that the impetus to getting back into vinyl was at the June Los Angeles audio show. They had a room that was dedicated to budget-friendly audio gear. This is where I first head the Tektons and the Magnepan .7's along with Schiit audio components. 
Your last comment has me second guessing my earlier recommendation...if you’ve already heard a system with the speakers you’re considering paired with the schiit pre/amp combo you’re considering and you loved it, then it seems reasonable to ignore any other advice and duplicate what you already heard and know you loved from the show...not that any of the prior advice is bad, but we can never account for the subjectivity of your own personal taste. 

Option 1 (show setup):
schiit pre, schiit amp, tektons

Option 2 (my original recommendation): 
node 2, outlaw, tektons

Option 3 (common other recommendation): 
outlaw, any of several speakers at ~$1500


If you go with option 1 or 3, for $35 you can stream with a chromecast audio...it won’t give you MQA or Roon compatibility, but it at least opens the door to streaming at 24/96 res. (provided you turn on “high dynamic range” in the settings). Definitely depends how much you expect streaming to factor into your future listening if it is good enough, but even if you upgrade later you’re only out $35 and it’s a tiny device for finding a place to stash it. 

With option 1, you’ve heard it and know you like it...if you like certainty, this is a solid choice. Option 2 is the best if you expect to do a lot of streaming and/or are really excited or curious about MQA/Roon since it gets you a really solid streamer within the current budget. Option 3 has the most upside for sound quality since speakers factor in more than any other component...but also the most uncertainty since you’d have to audition several new options or take a shot on something without hearing it...if you’re a gambler or enjoy trying various speakers, this is the one to go with. Frankly, any of the above can be a solid system and you wouldn’t be wrong choosing any of those paths.

good luck and look forward to hearing back from you as you put it together. 
Tektons all the way. They are amazing.Fact.
I picked up a used 2160 a few weeks ago on a lark here on the gon after reading the stereophile review. To be honest, my expectations were not too high but I thought what the heck the price was fair and I figured I could always re-sell it. To say I was suprised is an understatement! This is a great sounding amp especially for the money. Currently I have it paired with Proac Studio 3’s which are known to be a bit bass shy and a little hot on top and the Outlaw drives them with ease with no hint of brightness. For an audiophile on a budget this is definitely an amp to put on the shortlist.

In many ways I prefer it over the Hegel H160 I had.



@chrshanl37  Great feedback on the Outlaw RR2160 and good to hear you are enjoying it.
I've had the RR2160 for  a few months now. Great customer service by the way.  Since I'm between my usual brand of speakers until the new ones arrive tomorrow, I found myself using an old pair of Advent's that I keep around because I really love the sound.  I had not taken advantage of some of the sonic adjustments you can make with the Outlaw until this last week.  You can do some serious tweaking with the bass and treble, EQ etc. that make a huge difference.

By the way when I was talking to a tech at Outlaw I mentioned that when I unpacked the new  unit there was a screw or washer rattling around. I offered to take the unit apart and find it, just wanted them to acknowledge it was OK to do it.  He decided that they would rather send me a new unit so that it wouldn't become a problem down the road.  Pretty amazing service.

The one picky issue I have is the remote.  It's metal and otherwise great, but it's beam is very narrow and when I sit to the side as I sometimes do, I have to aim it carefully at the unit to get it to engage.  I also wish the text was larger on the screen-from my sitting position (and vision) its tough to read without some squinting.  Otherwise a great unit and an amazing value really.
I have the Outlaw 2160 and it is wonderful. But I also have an issue: whe I use the 3.5mm jack from the computer to the analog input of the receiver the sound is more natural than if I use the usb route. I dont know why. Would a better external dac resolve this issue? I don't like the "artificial" sound coming from the computer (streaming) when connecting via USB.
A semi-low cost easy solution might be AudioQuest Dragon Fly Black at $99
@guscaldas

In his original review of the Outlaw 2150 receiver (2006), Mike Fremer noted that the USB port was not all that great.  You may wish to check his review in Stereophile

https://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/306outlaw/index.html

Rich