This review is going to be a very short one. Straight to the point, no sugarcoat without one iota of political correctness.
My client bought this unit because of the cheap introductory price of $499 and the high recommendation from Home Theater magazine… Sadly the review was utterly wrong and can only be construed as public relation service done by the magazine to maintain sponsorship or whatnot.
First of all, the unit is not only cheap, but it feels and built cheaply too. Not that I don’t condone entry level pricing. If you get what you pay for, I’m all for it. The problem, however, is that you don’t even get what you pay for. The measly number of HDMI input with questionable video processor, the utter lack of calibration system (no auto anything, no EQ, absolutely nothing), no dynamic range control, single HDMI output, no fromt HDMI input, no phono pre-amp, makes this pre-pro at the current price of $549 to be no better than any $549 receiver of any brand.
Worse, actually, because at $549 usually we get a semi-decent 5-channel amplification, some form of automatic calibration WITH equalization albeit usually only 5-band graphic. Still, it’s better than nothing.
So, if you actually want to buy this pre-pro with a semi-decent amp and five 5-band graphic EQ, your total bill will be in the $1,200 range!
Guess what? For that kind of money you can easily get a Pioneer Elite SC-63 with 7-channels of very good amplifications, a whole lot more HDMI input, a kick-ass Marvell QDEO K2 scaling chip, automatic calibration with manual override that includes 9-band EQ, iPod direct-digital compatibility and a 3-year warranty.
you might say that value is subjective. Yes, it’s true…but not when an advertised $549 unit is actually a $1,200 unit after all said and done AND performs and still have worse measurable performance than its $1,200 counterpart and with worse warranty too.
And as sound quality goes, honestly I have no preference between using this pre-pro or using a $500 Pioneer Elite receiver’s pre-out (let’s not even go with the fact that the Pioneer comes with room correction and the Outlaw doesn’t come with any)
You don’t need to know my verdict, but if youreally want me to jot it down, here you go: DON’T BUY THIS UNIT. It’s cheap and you don’t even get what you paid for.
Why my view is very different than most magazines? Because I have zero financial need from all the review I write here. I write things the way I see fit. No advertising, no payment from anybody, just the truth.