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#47746 - 09/10/03 01:19 PM Too Bright for my Setup?
Likecoiledsteel Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 2
Dear 950 Owners/Users,
I have been thinking about upgrading to true seperates and am leaning toward the purchase of the 950. I am currently using an Onkyo THX828 Receiver as a pre-amp, along with a Harmon Karden PA5800 5-channel amp. My speakers are Polk RT16 with the Trilaminate tweeter. My concern is that the Trilaminate tweeter is known to be a bit bright. I have also heard my H/K amp as being described as a bit bright. After reading reviews here, I see that the 950 is on the bright side. Will my speaker/Amp combo along with the 950 be too bright when combined? Does anyone else use or have heard the 950 with a PA5800? Any opinions or suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

#47747 - 09/10/03 02:31 PM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
Jeff Mackwood Offline

Registered: 12/19/02
Posts: 427

I come from the school of thought that believes that most pre-amp / amps, if operating properly, contribute very little to the sound that you hear. It's the transducer (speaker) and its environment that is many, many times over more responsible for the sound you hear. Many would disagree.

All else being equal, a speaker that sounds bright with your current set-up, is more than likely going to sound that way with just about any other - with but very few exceptions.

I heard absolutely no difference in "brightness" when I switched from a Marantz AV560 pre/pro/tuner to the 950 - as I would have expected. In fact all of the difference in sound that I do hear, I attribute to how the sound is processed in the various modes - in other words what sound comes from what speaker(s). With both units having low noise and distortion, as well as essentially flat frequency response accross (my) audible spectrum, I'd never expect to hear any difference in the "quality" of the sound.

You can do much more to control any brightness issues with any speaker by simply playing around with its placement and surroundings than by worrying about pre-amp/amp match-ups. And simpler yet, wasn't that what a treble control was for when every unit had one?

Purchase in peace.

Jeff Mackwood
Jeff Mackwood

#47748 - 09/10/03 02:42 PM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
soundhound Offline

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
I really don't think that a change in electronics will make an audible difference in brightness one way or the other. A bright speaker is going to be bright with anything. The 950 does have bass and treble controls in the "input" menu.

#47749 - 09/10/03 08:30 PM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
Kevin C Brown Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 1054
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
It might just be that the people who feel that the 950 is overly bright, actually post to that effect, skewing what is really the case. In other words, if you did a survey, I bet you'd find that most people find the 950 quite neutral. I did, anyway! And that includes using it with 2 different speaker systems, and comparison to 2 other pre/pros.
If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

KevinVision 7.1 ... New and Improved !!

#47750 - 09/11/03 03:19 AM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
audiofool Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 1
I just tested the 950 with a Denon AV 3803 receiver and found the Denon to be much brighter than the 950, with more highs and clarity. Both were tested with an audio CD playing in the same DVD player thorugh the coaxial digital in and sent to the same pair of self-powered speakers. In other words, only the pre-amp section of the Denon was being used. If anything, the 950 sounded not bright enough. Since the CD is my own, I know what it should sound like, and the 950 was lacking, unfortunately.

#47751 - 09/11/03 10:36 AM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
bestbang4thebuck Offline

Registered: 03/20/03
Posts: 668
Loc: Maryland
Having done plenty of work ‘on site,’ apart from truly professional installations, and having to interconnect various gear, not ideally matched, I have seen varied effects of poorly matched output/input impedances. The output and input stages of some equipment are well designed and can tolerate varying loads well. Other gear is sensitive to something other than the ideal match, and one possible effect is a skewed frequency response – extra ‘bright’ in some cases, high-end roll-off in other cases. These are just two possible effects. (If I recall correctly, I have not any real complaints about this situation with the Outlaw pre/pro married to an Outlaw amp.)

Then there is the subjective aspect, what I like and what I am used to, versus the change with a new piece of gear installed. Was the frequency response before the change near ideal and since the change it is not? Or is it now closer to ‘flat’ but I was used to or liked it more the other way? There is no way I can know without controlled testing and measurement.

There is no way I can know how a change in my individual system will sound until I try it. So, regardless of the number of people in these posts that feel Outlaw gear is ‘too bright,’ or ‘not bright enough,’ or even ‘the perfect balance of warmth and brightness, the best I’ve heard under (‘X’ thousands of dollars)’ I think the 30-day in-home trial is the best way to decide for yourself.

FYI: I changed from an Onkyo THX-certified ampli-tuner to an Outlaw 950/770 combo. IMHO, a marked improvement and worth the change to separates.

#47752 - 09/11/03 10:38 AM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
bossobass Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 430
Loc: charlotte, nc usa
I think, IMHO, YMMV, yadda, yadda that the stereo CD capability of the 950 is purely a backward compatability feature.

It's a multichannel pre/pro. Any 'test' of it's sonic capabilities should include all of the formats it can play.

To say the 950 is lacking vs a Denon receiver's pre outs when the test is comprised of a stereo CD, through a digital coax cable, that you 'know how it should sound' makes no sense to me.

I mean no disrespect, but I doubt that many people know how any CD 'should' sound. It's more like how someone is used to hearing it.

Unless you have a reference quality playback system that reproduces the mastering engineer's playback monitors, that is. Even then, you aren't addressing the 950's abilities with DD, DTS, DTS-CS, DVD-A, SACD and matrixed stereo modes (for which it was primarily designed).

I just wanted to make the clarification because it wasn't specific to the original question and I personally dislike threads that go off on the stereo CD tangent.

As far as surround formats, I find the 950 to be very neutral, detailed and flexible. If anything, it leans a tad to the warm side in low end reproduction.

Despite what the sterophiles might claim, stereo CDs are the lossiest, most 'lacking' of all digital formats and a poor way to judge the 950.

Maybe I should just say what I really think
"Time wounds all heels." John Lennon

#47753 - 09/11/03 04:31 PM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
Alejate Offline

Registered: 05/10/03
Posts: 181
Loc: Albany, NY
audiofool has the right idea though, he listened to the Denon's pre amp vs the 950 with a CD he is familiar with. He likes the way the Denon sounds. Fair enough. No conslusions can be drawn from this, it is what his brain enjoys processing. To draw a conslusion that the Denon is "this," the 950 is "that," based on preference of sound is where I differ with audiofool, nothing is objective with this conclusion. The original post asked about the "brightness" of the Outlaw equipment with certain speakers and I agree that most electronics will not make or break a speaker's characteristics, it's what tone controls help to tame. But be like audiofool, try the 950 and if you don't like it send it back. It's like buying speakers, if you don't like them then take them back and try something else.

#47754 - 09/12/03 04:30 PM Re: Too Bright for my Setup?
Will Offline

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 605
Loc: LA's The Place
I don't think anybody would call the 950 "warm" sounding. To me, it sounds slightly bright, but it's not excessive. There are receivers and pre/pro's that sound even brighter.

Generally, speakers and the room itself affects brightness much more than a pre/pro does, but pre/pro's also influence brightness. Pre/pro's as we know, can add their own signature to the sound. Amplifers also influence the sound, but to a lesser extent than pre/pro's, assuming the amplifier isn't driven to near clipping. And CD players especially when the D/A is done in the CD player rather than in the pre/pro, can also affect the brightness of the sound. So can cabling.

And some people are more sensitive to shrill sounds than others.

If you have a bright room and bright speakers and if you are sensitive to shrill sounds, chances are a warmer sounding pre/pro might make you happier.



[This message has been edited by Will (edited September 13, 2003).]


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