One problem with reverse engineering the internal differences between the three units is that often higher quality components are created, not by using different parts, but by using "higher binned" parts. Thus you may not be able to see any differences by looking at the components.
All electrical components have some degree of variance in their adherance to original specs. These variances have a distribution much like IQs in people have a distribution.
It is possible that a company like AT/Sherbourne buys 100 pieces of a component just like Outlaw would, but then AT/Sherbourne picks the best 75 while Outlaw uses all of them (or Outlaw uses the best 90).
If there were many such different components for which Outlaw was less picky, most, if not all, Outlaw units would possess worse overall performance characteristics than their AT/Sherbourne brethren.
The result for AT/Sherbourne would be a higher product cost but tighter quality standards resulting in, for example, flatter frequency response, less noise, or higher MTBF (mean time between failure).
So, just because someone spends a few hours visually studying the internal differences between these units and finds them to be "identical" does not mean that they are.
BTW: To help dispel any belief that I am an AT or Sherbourne shill .... Even if there are performance differences, I believe that they would be too subtle to make them worth the 50%-100% surcharge - so just get the Outlaw!!
[This message has been edited by BillP (edited August 24, 2003).]