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What Component Upgrade First? and . . .

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Beakman

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Currently my system is an Outlaw 970 pre-amp, two Outlaw 2200 monoblocks, and soon to be ML Vantages. If and when I upgrade the pre/amps, which components would give the best compliment first? Also would it be effective to upgrade from the Outlaw 970 to the 990 preamp or would performance / improvement be marginal in staying with this brand?
 

twich54

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Mr Beakman that's a loaded question or two !! But to help answer I think you need to assess your objectives and goals, is HT your main desire or is it two channel audio ? Since my tastes are first and foremost two channel I believe you build your system out from there.

Depending on where you live and what dealers offer what products, I say go out look, listen, come back ask some more questions. Study various members systems that may be put togther along the lines your thinking about and as mentioned in various other threads don't be afraid of the used and demo market on quality components
 

IWalker

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I think Joey would be a great one to give input on this one, since he recently upgraded the outlaw equipment, I believe (don't think he had the monos though)

I would likely upgrade amp and then preamp, just because the preamp technology changes more quickly (unless you just go with a passive linestage or something) so your total benefit gained would be greater with the same amount of money. I think both changes can be very significant...especially if you look towards tubes or class a amplification, or passive or tubed linestages. If you want an AV Pre-amp....there are certainly some very nice ones out there, but I think most above what you have are quite pricey!
 

jmschnur

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I assume you want to go HT so there is lot to do. The Vantages are very revealing so for stereo (music) you need to give them as good as you can.

I always think that the processor is usually the weakest link in the chain. While the 970 is good , the 990 is a lot better. Going above that will cost real bucks.

The monoblocks are not top of the line amps.

I have chosen the Outlaw 7500 amp for 5 of my speakers including the Center ML cinema I. However, I went with a Bryston 4 for the two Vantages. While the 7500 did an adequate job on the Vantages, the Bryston is much clealry much smoother (for stereo music).

I currently am using a Lexicon DC-1 which would be on the par with the 990 except for a lack of FM and all the other goodies the more modern Outlaw unit has. Niether one of these is the "top" by any means in termso f what the best is (check the specs onf the Bryston SP2 versus the Outlaw 990) but I think you would be pleased with the 990.

If you do upgrade your 970 to the 990 and want to sell it please let me know. I am setting up my daughter's system and the 970 pre/pro would be great ofr her as part of a starter system. Have you done the firmware upgrade on the unit?

Joel
 

Joey_V

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I think Joey would be a great one to give input on this one, since he recently upgraded the outlaw equipment, I believe (don't think he had the monos though)
I actually came from Rotels.. the RB1070 amp then the RB1090 dual monoblock amp.

If it were me and I had my hindsight that I do now, I would first upgrade the preamp (to a tube preamp) as this holds the initial sound signature of your system (post-source and post-transport, of course). Then, upgrade to the best SS amp you can get... Class A preferably... whether it be Levinson, Krell, Plinius, etc...

Then, I would work on the source/transport. Either a good Ayre CDP or a good FLAC source like the Slimdevices Transporter.

This is assuming you're focusing on 2-channel...

Have FUN!!! :cheers:

Joey
 

Beakman

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I actually came from Rotels.. the RB1070 amp then the RB1090 dual monoblock amp.

If it were me and I had my hindsight that I do now, I would first upgrade the preamp (to a tube preamp) as this holds the initial sound signature of your system (post-source and post-transport, of course). Then, upgrade to the best SS amp you can get... Class A preferably... whether it be Levinson, Krell, Plinius, etc...

Then, I would work on the source/transport. Either a good Ayre CDP or a good FLAC source like the Slimdevices Transporter.

This is assuming you're focusing on 2-channel...

Have FUN!!! :cheers: Joey
I have been thinking of a tube preamp with a SS amp as a dream system, but I have a LOT of research to do. I'll have to recover from the Vantage purchase first and then see what is available locally on the used market. No more buying blind, I'll have to hear it first, unless there are some overwhelming and/or compelling reccomendations. The Krell system that the Vantages were demoed on is a top contender right now but I'll see what happens when I sample some more manufacturers.
As for selling my current stuff, jmschnur, I'd be glad to give you first dibs on the Outlaw, but I think it will be awhile before I will find a suitable replacement.
Thanks again to all those above for the input and advice. I've learned a lot from the short time being on this board.
 

twich54

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I have been thinking of a tube preamp with a SS amp as a dream system, but I have a LOT of research to do. QUOTE]

Beakman there are lots and lots of tube gear to choose from, but I firmly believe when starting out stick with your ABC's !!!.........Audio Research,
BAT, Conrad Johnson or Cary !! others may suggest some of the more "boutique" brands but trust me NONE have the support and backing like the aforementioned group.......alright, I'll throw "Mac" in there as well !!
 

Jeff Zaret

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Beakman,

Listen to what Dave is saying. There are two points of importance, one is tubes as a preamp, if possible and within your budget in the future and the other at the very least is the companies he has mentioned. Yes there are other which are good but these are tried and true and you will not go wrong.............................................:eek:

Jeff:musicnote:
 

silver98

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I have been thinking of a tube preamp with a SS amp as a dream system, but I have a LOT of research to do. QUOTE]

Beakman there are lots and lots of tube gear to choose from, but I firmly believe when starting out stick with your ABC's !!!.........Audio Research,
BAT, Conrad Johnson or Cary !! others may suggest some of the more "boutique" brands but trust me NONE have the support and backing like the aforementioned group.......alright, I'll throw "Mac" in there as well !!
Why the tube pre-amp vs tube amps? The pre-amp will smooth out the digital signal coming from the DAC/CD player. You will lose nothing by the analog signal going into a SS amp. But for a very LUSH sound, the tubes just make those panels sing.

I had a DAC, several years ago, that had a pair of tubes in the output stage, it did great smoothing out the transport's signal, but at the price of transparency, sound stage and resolution. Today I run all digital up to the SS amp. I guess I just got used to it :-(
 
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