Outlaw Audio is well known for high-quality, low-cost audio products that are sold only from its website. Among its newest products is the Outlaw Model 976, a 7.2-channel surround processor that is just becoming available. In fact, you can pre-order it now and get it within three weeks—just in time for Christmas!
The Outlaw Model 976 provides six HDMI inputs (four are version 2.0b with HDCP 2.2 and two are version 1.4) and two HDMI outputs (one is 2.0b with HDCP 2.2, the other is 1.4). Other inputs include two coax and two optical digital audio, four stereo analog audio (unbalanced RCA connectors), and one 7.1 analog audio (also unbalanced RCA connectors). The 7.2-channel outputs include both unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR connectors, a clear nod to audiophiles.
With an advanced dual-core DSP, it can decode Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS-HD Master Audio and High-Resolution Audio, and regular DTS bitstreams. It also offers Dolby Pro Logic II/IIx and DTS Neo:6 processing. All channels have a 192 kHz/24-bit DAC for digital signals. Even better, the analog inputs are never converted to digital; they remain analog all the way through the unit—another audiophile-oriented design decision.
What about immersive audio such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X? Outlaw took a close look at the home-theater marketplace and saw that relatively few people deploy large speaker systems for those formats. So, with the Model 976, the company decided to focus on audio and video quality for the larger portion of the market that sticks with 5.1 or 7.1 systems. However, Outlaw assures me that an immersive-audio processor is in the works for next year.
The Outlaw Model 976 provides a basic auto-setup function, which uses the included microphone to set the channel levels, delays, and speaker sizes. However, it does not offer automatic room correction. Instead, it provides a manual, 10-band parametric EQ on each channel. The company expects that serious owners will use Room EQ Wizard (REW) to determine the optimum EQ settings for each channel and enter them manually.
On the video side of things, the Outlaw Model 976 supports a data rate of 18 Gbps on the four HDMI 2.0b inputs and the HDMI 2.0b output. The other HDMI inputs and output have a top data rate of 10.2 Gbps. The HDMI 2.0b inputs and output also support HDR10 and Dolby Vision passthrough.
And the price? Just $899! Even better, if you purchased any product directly from Outlaw in the last 10 years with a price over $250, you can get a $100 discount if you order by February 28, 2018. Alternatively, you can choose to receive $200 in Outlaw Bucks, which can be applied to a future purchase of $500 or more within six months of your Model 976’s invoice date. That offer is good until December 28, 2017.
Another perk for early orders is the addition of an FTB-01 Bluetooth receiver for no extra cost (a $50 value). The little dongle plugs into a special port on the back of the Model 976 and lets you send audio from a mobile device via Bluetooth. This offer is good until December 28, 2017.
Speaking of Bluetooth, Outlaw has also introduced the BTR-200D, a high-end Bluetooth receiver that incorporates the latest aptX Low Latency technology with 96/24 analog and optical-digital outputs. It can be powered with its own power supply or from the 5 VDC power port on the Model 976 or RR2160 stereo receiver. It’s a bargain at $100, and you can save $10 if you buy it with a Model 976, Model 975, or RR2160.
The BTR-200D adds high-quality Bluetooth wireless capabilities to the Model 976 and other Outlaw products.