Outlaw 976 vs Marantz AV7705 Preamp

D

Data10

Audiophyte
I am planning to buy a new surround processor preamp this week, most likely in the next 48 hours. I need balanced speaker outputs and would like to keep the cost under $2k, which greatly limits my options. The 3 main options I am considering at this point are an Outlaw 976, a Marantz AV7705, or a Marantz AV7704 (at substantially lower cost that the 7705). If I can find a really good deal on the Yamaha CX-A5200, like Amazon had earlier this month, then the Yamaha might be a possibility as well, but without that deal, it's more than I'd like to spend. Comparing the listed features on the Outalw 976 and Marantz AV7705:

Outputs/Channels -- Outlaw is 7.2, Marantz is 11.2
Inputs -- Outlaw has 4 HDMIs (2.2), Marantz has 8 HDMIs (2.2)
Video -- Both have 4k HDR
Surround Formats -- Only Marantz has Dolby Atmos and DTS X. Both have Auro 3D, and common formats.
Bluetooth -- Marantz supports, Outlaw requires $60 bluetooth receiver
Wi-Fi/Streaming -- Marantz has better built in support, including Amazon voice control skill
Future Changes -- Marantz has better support for upgrades via downloading firmware
Room Correction -- Only Marantz?
Warranty -- Both are 3 years, Maybe Marantz is slightly more likely to still be around after 3 years
Sound Quality -- Subjective, maybe Outlaw has edge?
Physical Size -- Outlaw is ~half the height (4.6in vs 9.75in height) and weight (12lb vs 23lb)
Component Quality/Reliability -- ???

It's clear that the Marantz has more features. However, most of the key features that only the Marantz have are ones that I expect to never use. For example, my theater supports 7 channels and does not support Atmos. I don't need the extra support for 11 channels, nor do I need Atmost / DTS X. Comparing the manuals, it sounds like lacking this features may make the manual and setup more straightforward on the Outlaw. Similarly I expect to only use 2 HDMI inputs. Maybe I'll expand to 3 or even 4 in the future, which the Outalw supports; but I can't imagine that i'll ever need 8, as is supported on the Marantz.

I expect my main usage is going to be playing movies via my DVR or Blu-ray player. It would be nice to be able to stream music from my phone, but this is not something I'd use often, and not a key requirement. That said, Marantz clearly has the edge in Bluetooth and streaming. The Outlaw doesn't even support Bluetooth without getting an external receiver, which costs $60. Given the difference in price, the Outlaw is still much lower price with the extra $60 for receiver included.

Sound quality and reliability are more subjective. Looking at reviews and comments from owners, I get the impression that Outlaw may have superior sound quality. It also has better numbers on some of the related technical specs. However, I haven't seen a formal comparison, so this is largely subjective with a lot of biases. I have no idea which product is more reliable, but Outlaw seems to be a much smaller company, which may mean that they are less likely to still be in business at the end of my product life, more difficulty in finding parts, etc.

I'm sure I am missing many important factors. What are some good reason to choose one of these products over the other?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I doubt there's much sound quality difference to be worried about, reliability it's probably too soon to tell beyond what you can expect from consumer electronics generally. Choose the feature set/price that works best for you.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I am planning to buy a new surround processor preamp this week, most likely in the next 48 hours. I need balanced speaker outputs
That's too bad, otherwise the AVR-X3600H, or X4500H if the 3600 is still sold out everywhere, would save you $1,000 or more and offer better performance than the AV7705 and even the 8805 based on bench test results. Just curious, why do you need balanced connections? Unless your interconnects between the preamp and power amp are really long, there is no advantage. I rarely see better bench test results that show XLR connections are superior, sometimes they are about same, and sometimes RCA actually yielded better SNR numbers in a few S&V reviews. Anyway, if you must have balanced, then I would go with the Marantz, or the CX-5100 but not the 5200, unless Audyssey XT32 is also a must for you.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
For AVP in the under-$2K range, no doubt in my mind the Yamaha CX-A5100 and CX-A5200 are the best available in terms of build quality.

BTW, Front XLR for CX-A5200 is 0.008% THD at 2V, 0.015% THD at 4V.

Most amps only require 2V (28dB gain or higher), but a few low-gain amps (under 28dB gain) might require 3V or 4V.

The CX-A5100’s THD Front XLR is 0.008% at 4V.

If the 0.015% THD at 4V turns you off, then get the CX-A5100.
 
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CajunLB

CajunLB

Full Audioholic
For AVP in the under-$2K range, no doubt in my mind the Yamaha CX-A5100 and CX-A5200 are the best available in terms of build quality.

BTW, Front XLR for CX-A5200 is 0.008% THD at 2V, 0.015% THD at 4V.

Most amps only require 2V (28dB gain or higher), but a few low-gain amps (under 28dB gain) might require 3V or 4V.

The CX-A5100’s THD Front XLR is 0.008% at 4V.

If the 0.015% THD at 4V turns you off, then get the CX-A5100.
.0008 versus.015 % THD distortion ? I know the one I would get. Can’t have all of that extra distortion mucking up my Chocolately mids.;)
 
D

Data10

Audiophyte
Just curious, why do you need balanced connections? Unless your interconnects between the preamp and power amp are really long, there is no advantage.
I have an existing theater system in which the 15+ year old Lexicon MC-12 preamp had a serious power failure this weekend. I'd like to use this opportunity to upgrade the preamp to more modern tech, particularly adding support for HDMI. The existing theater setup has balanced cables that run behind the walls, and those balanced cables are really long. Regardless of performance advantage, I'd prefer to keep things simple, without re-running cables in walls or evaluating existing amplifiers for balanced vs non-balanced, support and performance.

Anyway, if you must have balanced, then I would go with the Marantz, or the CX-5100 but not the 5200, unless Audyssey XT32 is also a must for you.
Thanks, I'll review the CX-5100. What is the reason why you'd choose these models over the less expensive Outalw?
 
D

Data10

Audiophyte
For AVP in the under-$2K range, no doubt in my mind the Yamaha CX-A5100 and CX-A5200 are the best available in terms of build quality.

BTW, Front XLR for CX-A5200 is 0.008% THD at 2V, 0.015% THD at 4V.

Most amps only require 2V (28dB gain or higher), but a few low-gain amps (under 28dB gain) might require 3V or 4V.

The CX-A5100’s THD Front XLR is 0.008% at 4V.

If the 0.015% THD at 4V turns you off, then get the CX-A5100.
I agree about the Yamaha being a superior product. If I was searching for a preamp 3 weeks ago when Amazon was selling the CX-A5200 for $1700, it would have been a simple decision for me -- no positing on forums or choosing between Marantz at a similar price -- just buy it that day.

Unfortunately today the price on Amazon is $1k higher. At $2700, it's beyond my budget. HDVisionWorks is selling them for $2k, but I'm not sure whether they are an authorized dealer, and some report that HDVisionWorks is a scam. All other new vendors that I checked are out of my under $2k range. If I go used, I could get it for $1900. However, I think I lose a lot of the reliability benefit with used, which is one of the key reasons to favor the Yamaha,. $1900 is more than I'd like to pay for used. The CX-A5100 appears to be approximately the same price.
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks, I'll review the CX-5100. What is the reason why you'd choose these models over the less expensive Outalw?
Preamps, amps are simple devices but AVCs, AVRs are much more complex, more things to get right and a lot more things could go wrong. So for such products I tend to trust the major players such as D+M and Yamaha. The CX-A5100 has nice specs and measured well on the bench. That's why..
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I agree about the Yamaha being a superior product. If I was searching for a preamp 3 weeks ago when Amazon was selling the CX-A5200 for $1700, it would have been a simple decision for me -- no positing on forums or choosing between Marantz at a similar price -- just buy it that day.

Unfortunately today the price on Amazon is $1k higher. At $2700, it's beyond my budget. HDVisionWorks is selling them for $2k, but I'm not sure whether they are an authorized dealer, and some report that HDVisionWorks is a scam. All other new vendors that I checked are out of my under $2k range. If I go used, I could get it for $1900. However, I think I lose a lot of the reliability benefit with used, which is one of the key reasons to favor the Yamaha,. $1900 is more than I'd like to pay for used. The CX-A5100 appears to be approximately the same price.
If you still need help with the CX-A5100 or 5200, send me a Private Message.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
.0008 versus.015 % THD distortion ? I know the one I would get. Can’t have all of that extra distortion mucking up my Chocolately mids.;)
Haha.

I told 2 people about the THD of the CX-A5200's Front Left XLR and Front Right XLR at 4 Volts being 0.015%, instead of 0.008%, plus the CX-A5100 is actually less expensive. Yet, both of them went ahead and got the CX-A5200 anyway.

I guess they figured 0.015% THD isn't anything to lose sleep over. But I'm still glad I own the CX-A5100. :D
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Soon...
The North American market will be able to buy high featured Denon/Marantz AV integrated amplifiers, basically an AVR without AM/FM tuner capability.. How well it sells depends upon its market pricing... :rolleyes:

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Soon...
The North American market will be able to buy high featured Denon/Marantz AV integrated amplifiers, basically an AVR without AM/FM tuner capability.. How well it sells depends upon its market pricing... :rolleyes:

Just my $0.02... ;)
If it is AV, wouldn't it be just like the existing Denon AVC-X8500H, but at non flag ship level?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Soon...
The North American market will be able to buy high featured Denon/Marantz AV integrated amplifiers, basically an AVR without AM/FM tuner capability.. How well it sells depends upon its market pricing... :rolleyes:

Just my $0.02... ;)
So the new "AVR" will be called "AV Integrated Amp" or will there be both "AVR" and "AVIA"? :D

I predict it won't sell that well to the "separates" crowd since it has the video circuit to "dirty" the audio signal. :D
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
If it is AV, wouldn't it be just like the existing Denon AVC-X8500H, but at non flag ship level?
Correcto...
But the AVC-X8500H introduced >2 years ago was a marketing failure... o_O
Very few were sold...
However now the difference is marketplace is more ready for an AV integrated amplifier as a significant part of the market could care less about having an AM/FM tuner as alternative streaming music services have matured becoming more popular... Also the price point of the AVC-8500H was positioned too high...
And now that soon-to-be-introduced step-down models will be available @ significantly lower pricing. The next move is up to Denon to set pricing versus a comparable featured/powered AVR then the market will evaluate its viability...

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
So the new "AVR" will be called "AV Integrated Amp" or will there be both "AVR" and "AVIA"? :D

I predict it won't sell that well to the "separates" crowd since it has the video circuit to "dirty" the audio signal. :D
Maybe..
As posted previously, all depends upon where Denon sets the pricing...
1 Thing for sure by having its tooling/hardware/software attached to a higher quantity, volume selling receiver will increase its sales potential... Note that BOM cost of an AM/FM tuning section is about $20 so the total cost impact on final unit pricing @SRP will be about $100..

Standby, the next move is up to Denon.. :rolleyes:

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Why would it need to change from receiver when all you're doing is eliminating one built-in source of reception (i.e. radio vs internet)?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Why would it need to change from receiver when all you're doing is eliminating one built-in source of reception (i.e. radio vs internet)?
Most likely just marketing.

You know how some guys hate "AVR".

But now when it's an AV-Amp, not AVR, all of the sudden it's a "separates" component.

Like Integrated Amps are "separates" even though the Preamp and the Amp are both inside the same chassis. You can even add USB, DAC, and Digital Streaming to the Integrated Amp. It's still a "separates" component.

But not an "AVR". That's just dirty. :D
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Most likely just marketing.

You know how some guys hate "AVR".

But now when it's an AV-Amp, not AVR, all of the sudden it's a "separates" component.

Like Integrated Amps are "separates" even though the Preamp and the Amp are both inside the same chassis. You can even add USB, DAC, and Digital Streaming to the Integrated Amp. It's still a "separates" component.

But not an "AVR". That's just dirty. :D
That won't fool TLSGuy though.
 

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