|Outlaw Audio Model 990 AV Preamplifier|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Matthew Evert|
|Tuesday, 01 May 2007|
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The lack of HDMI switching in the Outlaw 990 was a conscious decision by Outlaw and, for anticipating the nightmare of HDCP copy protection in HDMI, they deserve the Nostradamus award for AV technology. At the same time, the need for an HDMI to DVI connecting cable is a pain compared to simply being able to plug HDMI right into the back of an AV preamp, as I can do with my more expensive reference Anthem D2 AV preamp. I will warn people, however, that many of the cheaper AV receivers that have HDMI switching are the cause of great frustration when using HDCP sources like HD DVD and Blu-ray. The best results come from companies that pay bigger money for dedicated chips for each HDMI input. This goes for AV preamps and outboard HDMI switchers alike. In my testing, the reliability of HDMI switching with the DVI input was perfect as long as I started my evaluation session with the HD input selected straight away. My problem, and the problem many reviewers with various systems have recently suffered through, is when attempting to switch to and from an HDCP source like Blu-ray or HD DVD, there is no guarantee that the switch will be made. To be fair, this is more of a player and copy protection issue than a preamp issue, but it is an issue nonetheless.
In terms of value, the Outlaw 990 AV preamp is an unquestioned winner. For $1,090, you get an audiophile-grade AV preamp that comes with thoughtful customer support, robust reliability and excellent video switching. On so many levels, this AV preamp is better than many receivers on the market and it paves the path for future upgrades.
If you love your music and want to hear it like the recording engineer intended it to sound, but don’t have the money to invest in mastering studio grade equipment, the Outlaw 990 is for you. If you love the drama of sweeping surround sound effects and demand high-quality video pass-through, the Outlaw 990 is a home theater enthusiast’s dream.
Like finding that $15 Chardonnay that truly competes with the $50 and $60 contenders, the Outlaw Audio 990 is the very definition of value in the AV preamp marketplace.