Product Development Update

Posted by: Outlaw Ben

Product Development Update - 01/21/15 09:48 AM

Fellow Outlaws,

Those of you who have been following the news from CES have probably seen the Outlaws mentioned in announcements from some of the major technology companies in the audio and home theater world. In brief, we have added some additional items to our next processor beyond those already announced which include Dolby Atmos in a 7.2.4 configuration, HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 and premium, audiophile-grade components.

• The Outlaws are one of the first licensees for the new DTS: X technology making it possible for us to give you native decoding for both major object-based audio formats. At this time it is too early say if DTS:X will be available at product launch or as a no-charge upgrade shortly after production; as the timing for receiving and integrating the firmware is largely in the hands of DTS and our DSP supplier.

• Our new processor will also include HD-Radio to take terrestrial radio reception to the highest possible quality level along with delivery of additional content not available with traditional tuners. HD-Radio will be part of this exciting new product from the first shipment.

To make all of this possible we have beefed up the processor’s DSP section to include two of the most powerful audio DSPs available along with additional high-speed memory. Thanks to a new, exclusively Outlaw, hardware platform developed by our teams and manufactured under our total control, we have the flexibility to offer these innovations without worrying about outside forces.

Both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X require more than just DSP and memory, as the hardware must accommodate the additional output channels and their DACs. Therefore, it is not possible to update existing products such as the Model 975 to add them. However, when the new processor becomes available we will offer an attractive program to recognize the loyalty of our existing customers when they purchase the new model.

It is now time for the Outlaws to return to a “quiet” period as it is simply too soon to comment further on the rest of the feature list, the price or the availability date. As we’ve all learned, predicting a release date at this point is not appropriate. This is mostly due to deliverables from outside sources and suppliers that are not yet available and whose delivery date is outside of our control. These key firmware components must not only be in our hands, they must then be integrated into the product, tested internally and then certified.

Therefore, any target date we set now would be subject to change; it is just too early to say when the processor will ship. That will happen only when everything is complete and meets not only our own standards and those of our technology licensors and partners, but also the most important quality test: your performance expectations.

We’ll update you along the way as progress allows, but beyond these first two announcements we can’t answer any other questions at this time.

We thank you for your support not only in the past year, but for the past 15 years that the Outlaws have been the innovator in direct-to-consumer home audio products. Along with the new processor, we are hard at work on other products. Indeed, one will be announced within the next few weeks. Rest assured, that in 2015 and for the years ahead, at Outlaw Audio, “The Best Values in Home Theater are Just a Mouse-Click Away”™
Posted by: admin

Re: Product Development Update - 01/25/16 08:07 AM

Fellow Outlaws:

As most of you know from previous announcements, we have been working on a new Atmos surround processor for some time. It’s been a while since our last project update, and it is now appropriate to bring you up to date on its progress.

In summary, our development teams have been hard at work on the hardware and software for this product and we’re making significant progress. However, in order to complete the product our DSP chip supplier needs to give us the final, Dolby-certified, software code. Despite promises from them going back to mid-last year, we still do not yet have that complex software. It is impossible to complete our own internal code and then submit the product for certification without it.

We had hoped CES meetings would bring us word on when we would have the “gold” release version of the latest Atmos software, now required by Dolby for any brand’s new products. Unfortunately, that did not happen. When we receive it is still up in the air and totally beyond our control.

To give you some insider background, developing a complex audio product is a multi-step process. First, the DSP chip supplier must implement and debug the underlying code supplied to them from licensors such as Dolby and DTS. Once it runs properly on development boards, it must then be tested and approved. Since code is rarely perfect the first time, revisions and subsequent testing are often necessary.

Only after the certified chip-based internal code is available, the task of integrating it with our product’s own unique master software begins. Finally, internal and external beta testing is done to assure that the product is ready for final certification.

When any piece of the puzzle is missing, particularly a critical one, the product is delayed. This applies not only to the Outlaws, but to every brand that is waiting for the final code from the same chip supplier we use. Few companies are talking about this, but the more public nature of our future product plans makes us one of the few companies willing to talk about it.

Thus, while we would love to provide an updated estimate on our processor’s release date, as you can now understand, that is impossible to predict at this time.

During this unforeseen delay we haven’t been sitting still. Among other things, we have updated the unit’s design so that it has more HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 inputs, all with the critical 600MHz bandwidth than originally planned. This insures compatibility with the latest 4K/UHD and HDR content, and the products used to play or stream it, without the need to upgrade anything. This, too, is not a simple task, as it requires both new HDMI chips and new software.

At this point, it would be natural to ask why we simply don’t just change to a DSP supplier with code already approved for Atmos. Unfortunately, it just isn’t that simple. With so much preliminary work already completed, this would require a major change to the hardware architecture and close to a complete overhaul of the software. Doing that would set the release date back even further.
We understand that this is as frustrating to you, our all too patient customers, and we apologize for this situation. You have our commitment that once all the missing pieces are in hand, we will do our best to make up for missing time. Despite the delay, we are more committed than ever to deliver a very unique, Outlaw-exclusive, product. Rest assured that its feature package, sonic performance, and value pricing will be well worth the wait.

The Outlaws
Posted by: rangler

Re: Product Development Update - 02/08/19 09:04 AM

I don't remember ever seeing any announcements that this project has been cancelled. 3 years is a long stealth mode period. Has the Atmos enabled processor project been terminated? Thank you.
Posted by: renov8r

Re: Product Development Update - 02/08/19 12:32 PM

Originally Posted By rangler
I don't remember ever seeing any announcements that this project has been cancelled. 3 years is a long stealth mode period. Has the Atmos enabled processor project been terminated? Thank you.

There has been no official notice of cancellation of the Atmos/DTS:X product. That said, the last update is sorta tucked into the end of this info about the 976 from more than two years ago --

.... our engineering teams will redouble their efforts on our Atmos/DTS-X processor. As mentioned, it is based on the same underlying platform as the Model 976, but utilizes two DSPs and additional DACs for a 7.2.4 channel configuration. It will add additional connectivity options and a few other features that many of you have asked for. Presently targeted to be priced under $1,500, it will be available later this year.

There has been speculation that developments involving long time ATI collaborator and their acquisition of DataSat, along with marketing partnership with "friend of value-oriented audio enthusiasts" Monoprice have significantly altered the trajectory of offerings in this space...
Posted by: Strider53

Re: Product Development Update - 04/15/19 09:16 AM

Hello Outlaws,
I was able to travel over to Chicago this past weekend to attend the Axpona 2019. So this was my first experience with this type of event. It was a bit exhausting with there being so many exhibitors whose rooms I wanted to visit but it was a good time. Saw and heard a lot of amazing gear and picked up some much sought after music.
Sat and listened to Paul Reed Smith (of PRS Guitars) for an hour, interesting conversations.
But for me the most illuminating events were the two rooms featuring Dolby Atmos/DTS X systems.
One of the rooms was a smaller space and a bit underwhelming. The second room was a bit larger and really demonstrated what this audio technology is all about. My wife, who by no means, is an audiofool like most of us are, was amazed by this demo room. Ok, certainly the demo tracks were chosen to showcase the systems abilities, and they did just that. The pinpoint audio cues around the room were quite spectacular. Well done!
We ended up visiting this room several times to listen from different vantage points.
Truely an Atmos system in my home system would be great!
But, sorry for all the rambling, I sure wish the Outlaws could tell us what’s going on with their processor, will it ever be a reality or is it not coming out and we should choose another route.
Cheers ,
Posted by: butchgo

Re: Product Development Update - 04/16/19 01:35 PM

I am still willing to wait a little longer but if we haven't heard anything by the end of June I am going to jump ship and buy the new Emotiva XMC-2.
Posted by: XenonMan

Re: Product Development Update - 04/16/19 05:22 PM

4 years later and who cares at this point. I would buy something else at this point.
Posted by: butchgo

Re: Product Development Update - 04/17/19 06:59 AM

Yea I know but I really like Outlaw equipment.
I am loyal to a fault I guess but I am running out of patience.
Thankfully my 990 is still going strong.
Posted by: XenonMan

Re: Product Development Update - 04/18/19 06:59 AM

I have several outlaw components myself and have always had great performance and service but...4 years to wait for a piece of gear to be produced is way too long. this is the third time an outlaw processor has encountered years of delays without producing anything.
Posted by: butchgo

Re: Product Development Update - 04/20/19 05:37 AM

I know but I am hoping it will materialize and be worth the wait.
Posted by: XenonMan

Re: Product Development Update - 04/21/19 06:25 AM

Unfortunately the market has already incorporated the technologies the Outlaw processor was going to be early to market with and the economy of scale is probably too great for a small company like Outlaw to overcome at this point. I would think that it will have a hard time competing with processors even below its projected cost and will go the route of the previous vaporware processors.
Posted by: butchgo

Re: Product Development Update - 04/25/19 05:27 PM

I hope that you are wrong and they maybe have something up their sleeve.
Posted by: XenonMan

Re: Product Development Update - 04/30/19 04:33 PM

That is one long, long sleeve.
Posted by: Ritz2

Re: Product Development Update - 05/03/19 03:01 AM

Originally Posted By XenonMan
That is one long, long sleeve.

Seriously. I haven't seen anything truly eye/ear catching come out of Outlaw in 10+ years. I give them credit for helping me to ease into mid to higher end audio gear back in the 2005-2008 years with the 990 and 755 (mated to Maggie 1.6's) + some LFM-1's. People would visit my home and constantly compliment how amazing the system sounded for both 2ch and theater. The series of mulligans on the processor front ultimately turned me off to the brand entirely. Eventually Charlie Brown gets tired of the football getting pulled away. smile

I don't see how Outlaw can compete with the more modern AV processors and Monoprice now fills the niche of re-branding ATI and other higher end products at reasonable prices.

It was a great run while it lasted.
Posted by: renov8r

Re: Product Development Update - 05/03/19 02:29 PM

I dunno. There are all kinds of people that seem to enjoy audio and home theater. I am fortunate to live in an area that has a decent number of physical stores to demo gear and also has the large annual AXPONA show. There are just as many people looking for "good sound at good prices" as their people willing to spend a fortune -- vs

The fact is the "well known for engineering prowess" firms have all kinds of bugs in their gear --

Ultimately it comes down to what sorts of "product experiences" happen.

Cambridge Audio has a retail store in one of the most "hipster" of Chicago's neighborhoods and they host interesting events like this one --

Firms like Emotiva spend lots on more promotions than Outlaw but who knows how if that really translates into better profitability.

Meanwhile the CSO endured its longest strike in history -- Months ago Audio Consultants, who remains very heavily focused on traditional high end symphony type consumers, shuttered two of its three stores.

It is sort of weird but I bet if I were to ask my 17 year old or their friends if they have any idea what "Gateway" was they would shrug. In contrast if I asked them where the best place to try out new computers might be I am pretty darned sure they'd say "Apple Store". I continue to believe that while the sentiment of "best place to try out audio gear is in our own home" is accurate there still is a HUGE need to have a good "showroom experience". The pendulum swings --

Posted by: butchgo

Re: Product Development Update - 06/06/19 09:09 AM

Well Emotiva has put the XMC-2 on their processor order page.
It's not available yet but I am thinking it's coming soon.
I really wanted to wait for Outlaw to release their flagship unit but for me it is too late now.