Outlaw 976 vs Marantz AV7705 Preamp

KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Are there any other considerations ... like does the tuner circuit generate any additional heat or block air flow? A source of interference/noise? I doubt it, but just wondering if there is something more.
I'm sure $100 less is enough reason (I wonder if they will drop the price at all - typically you pay more for integrated than equivalent receiver - at least stereo gear).
 
D

Data10

Audiophyte
While deciding between the companies, I asked support various more detailed questions. All companies answered with knowledgeable responses. I'd give a slight edge to Outlaw and Marantz in quality of responses. However, there were far larger differences in response times, which are summarized below. For after hours questions, I am counting time since start of business on following day.

Average Support Response Times
Outlaw -- 22 minutes
Marantz -- 31 hours
Yamaha -- 74 hours
 
D

Data10

Audiophyte
Are there any other considerations ... like does the tuner circuit generate any additional heat or block air flow? A source of interference/noise? I doubt it, but just wondering if there is something more.
I'm sure $100 less is enough reason (I wonder if they will drop the price at all - typically you pay more for integrated than equivalent receiver - at least stereo gear).
Some additional considerations are:

My AV control equipment is on a series of cabinet shelves that are difficult to reach around. The shelf that holds the preamp is ~9.5 inches high, so height needs to be less than 9.5". Significantly less than this maximum would also make cable changes easier and may help with air flow, if vents are on top.

I may be running with center channel removed from configuration at times, so performance in the non-standard mode of left/right front + surround (center channel passed to front left/right) is a factor .

I will almost entirely be watching movies/TV, rather than listening to music. I currently don't have support for 4k viewing in other devices, but expect to upgrade to 4k within the lifetime of the preamp..

I am replacing my old Lexington MC-12 preamp from 10+ years ago because it doesn't power on. I believe the power supply was damaged. This is a relatively common problem on old MC-12. However, a risk exists that something in my setup generated a surge or bad power input. If so, a similar bad power input issue could occur on the new preamp. I am using a Monster powerbar, which should have surge protection.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Some additional considerations are:

My AV control equipment is on a series of cabinet shelves that are difficult to reach around. The shelf that holds the preamp is ~9.5 inches high, so height needs to be less than 9.5". Significantly less than this maximum would also make cable changes easier and may help with air flow, if vents are on top.

I may be running with center channel removed from configuration at times, so performance in the non-standard mode of left/right front + surround (center channel passed to front left/right) is a factor .

I will almost entirely be watching movies/TV, rather than listening to music. I currently don't have support for 4k viewing in other devices, but expect to upgrade to 4k within the lifetime of the preamp..

I am replacing my old Lexington MC-12 preamp from 10+ years ago because it doesn't power on. I believe the power supply was damaged. This is a relatively common problem on old MC-12. However, a risk exists that something in my setup generated a surge or bad power input. If so, a similar bad power input issue could occur on the new preamp. I am using a Monster powerbar, which should have surge protection.
I have been running a Marantz, 7705 for nearly 8 months now. This is my third generation of Marantz pre/pros in about 12 years. I have in general been happy with all of them. Although the ergonomics of the first was not intelligent to say the least.

I have kept with Marantz, if for no other reason that I'm used to them. My system requires balanced and unbalanced outputs. That is an absolute requirement. Also I like the bass management. All speakers except the four ceiling speakers are run large. The mains are truly full range speakers with prodigious output to 20 Hz and below, but the LFE is captured and mixed in. All speakers have good output into the last octave. All are TLs except the surrounds and ceiling. So the front three and the rear backs are TLs, and the surrounds and ceiling are sealed. So all speakers have second order roll off. That helps really smooth the bass response through out the room. So all except the ceiling speakers are run LFE + main. They are all robust enough to tolerate this, and I'm yet to bottom a driver, even in the loudest of explosions.

So I have found the fidelity excellent and the ergonomics satisfactory. I only use Audyssey for level and distance. The measured in room response is such that Audyssey could not improve it only muck it up.

The S/N is only just adequate. I'm running 11 channels and each adds noise. The 100 db weighted is cutting it fine and running close to the wind.

I have 18 power amp channels. When the amps are on, the room is totally silent. When you switch on the 7705, if you listen hard you can just hear a faint hiss. I admit you never hear it on program, but they should do better.

I have had a couple of problems. Those very nasty plastic test mics that come with them did not work on this one. It was DOA. So far Marantz have been unable to replace it. They just don't seem to have any. However since I use them just for level and distance and not Eq, I can use one of the others I have. I'm pretty sure they are actually the same awful mics no matter what Marantz say. Devices as horrid and crude as those are totally unsuited to perform any critical measurements what so ever. Anyone who thinks they are naive in the extreme.

There has been one other problem. Probably 3 or 4 times in the 8 months I have had it, it makes a loud bang though the speakers and then they all hiss loudly. If you switch it off and then back on it performs as it should. This occurs probably 30 seconds or so after first turn on of the day. So I have taken to turning it on a significant time before turning on the electronic crossovers and power amps. It has never done this during program. I think it would be useless to send it in for service, as you could be certain it would never do it on the test bench.

So with those caveats it has been a good unit and controlled the rig well in the main.

One last point. Shelves are NO good for complex systems. That just is courting trouble. You absolutely have to be able to get behind them. Without that, it is just a rotten installation. They need a dedicated mechanical chase.
 
D

Data10

Audiophyte
One last point. Shelves are NO good for complex systems. That just is courting trouble. You absolutely have to be able to get behind them. Without that, it is just a rotten installation. They need a dedicated mechanical chase.
I appreciate the detailed review. I don't think I described my setup well. The control devices are in a slide out and rotate shelf/rack, sort of like the one pictured at https://www.proacousticsusa.com/commercial-sound-equipment/stationary-racks/swinging-and-pull-out-racks/middle-atlantic-asr-30-slide-out-and-rotating-shelving-system.html , but with a larger number of shelves and devices on the rack. As more devices, with more cables of varied lengths and tensions have been added over time, sliding out has become increasingly awkward. If I slide out and rotate, I'll need to first disconnect several of the cables to reduce risk of unintended disconnect while sliding or damage from stretching. A few of those are non-trivial to reconnect, such as an IR emitter that need to be scotch taped to a specific spot on my DVR for the IR signal to be received.

I will go through the exercise of sliding out and rotating with many cables disconnected while setting up the pre-amp, but I would not want to do so for every cable modification. For example, if I have a new input source and want to add a new HDMI input to the preamp, I'd like to be able to reach my hand in and connect the HDMI cable to the preamp, without slding out the rack.

If I was building a new theater, I wouldn't set up the control rack like this. I'd want easier access to cables in the control rack, as well as in other locations.
 

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