Unlike some amps, the�Outlaw�770 sounded good right out of the box, and did not change appreciably as I put more time on it. Compared to my receiver, which is in the same price range as the 950/770 combo but only has 100-watts per
channel, the improvements in soundstage were startling. The soundstage was wider, deeper, the imaging more focused and music had much more dynamism. No doubt the extra power helped, but the difference was amazing. Bass was tighter, deeper, and the rear channel information, which was weak in my B&K AVR 202, was much more present. The amp handled two-channel music very well. Particularly with Patricia Barber's Companion CD, which is a live recording with acoustic bass and a difficult dynamic range, the amp discharged its duties admirably, handling the deep bass very well and accurately rending the position of the instruments and vocals in space, against a very quiet background. I have to say that it out-performed my receiver by a long shot on two-channel music.
Moving on to multi-channel music, the amp was equally impressive. Diana Krall's Love Scenes was conveyed with life-like realism. Krall's throaty vocals had timbre and presence, while the surround channels had enough dynamics to really put you right in the audience at the concert. Similarly, on The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over, the guitar and vocals on "Hotel California" had more realism and "oompf' than I had experienced with my receiver. My experience with DVD movie tracks was no different. The Matrix, with its dynamic and well-recorded soundtrack, really shone. The staccato sound of bullets flying left and right made me want to take cover! I also noticed that the dialog was clearer than with my receiver. To top off my listening, I pulled out Queen's concert DVD, We Will Rock You, recorded in DTS. The crashing drums, Freddy Mercury's vocals and Brian May's excellent guitar were so real in all channels that it truly felt that I was there. In short, this amp has plenty of power -- enough to satisfy most demanding applications.
Summary - As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of Outlaw Audio's most recent product. Were they the equal of some of the $5,000 separate processors and power amps we see? No, I don't think so, but the Outlaw gear is also a fraction of the cost. Were they close? It's a subjective call, but I'd have to say that sonically, the 950/770 combo holds its own quite admirably against equipment more than twice the price. So what didn't I like? The slight edge to the high end never really went away, although experimenting with different cables might tame that minor issue. I would like to have seen customizable labels for the inputs, an On Screen Display that worked through the component video outputs, and conversion of S-Video to component video. I would also have liked a little more room in the back of the processor. However, in my mind, these are minor issues. What is inescapable is the simply amazing price/performance ratio of the 950/770 combo. At $899, the 950 is a great deal -- really without competition. At $1,799, a 7-channel, 200-watt amplifier of this caliber is almost untouchable. At a special price for both pieces of only $2,498 factory-direct from Outlaw ($200 cheaper than if bought separately), it simply cannot be beat. Outlaw tries to give consumers the most bang for their buck. With the 950/770 combination, it's more like an explosion! If you are looking for a receiver or separates in the $2,500 to $4,000 range, you owe it to yourself to audition the Outlaw gear.
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Dimensions: 17.2" W x 4.6" H x 14.76" D
Dolby Digital EX, Pro Logic II, DTS, DTS-ES,
DTS Neo:6 Cirrus ES
6 digital inputs (4 optical, 2 coaxial),
5 audio/video inputs with composite and S-Video
connectors, 4 audio-only inputs, 2 component
video inputs, 1 5.1 channel analog input.
1 7.1 channel analog audio output,
2 digital outputs (1 optical, 1 coaxial), 2 Monitor
outputs (S-Video and component video), 2 analog
audio outputs, one Zone Two audio output,
2 external remote jacks and 2 DC triggers.
Dual Zone control
Warranty: 5 years parts and labor
MSRP: $899 (if purchased separately)
Dimensions: 17.2"W x 7.75" H x 18"D
Weight: 90 lbs.
200 wpc @ 8 ohms, 300 wpc @ 4 ohms,
0.05% THD, all channels driven
RCA inputs and heavy-duty speaker binding posts
S/N ratio: >90 dB
Damping Factor: > 850 from 10 Hz to 400 Hz
Price: $1,799 (if purchased separately)