A reader recently wrote to ask, "Where in the world do they still sell stereo components?" I had difficulty giving him a good response.
Perhaps the Internet would be the answer. Not Ebay or Craigslist. My next stop was Outlaw Audio.
We Don't Need No Stinkin' Stores
Based on my experience with Outlaw Audio, you won't be returning anything, but you may be buying more. My first audition of an Outlaw Audio component was a recent review of their Model 7500, a five-channel beefy power amp that sells for $1599 and has outstanding audio performance, among the best I've reviewed.
It's no surprise to me that Outlaw Audio has another winner with the RR 2150 Stereo RetroReceiver, which sells for $699.
All the Stinkin' Features You Need
Beyond the basic features you'd expect, the RR 2150 offers a subwoofer output with analog bass management and selectable 60, 80 and 100 Hz cut-off frequencies with a bypass mode if you prefer to use the crossover in a powered subwoofer. Its switchable phono input is compatible with moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, another real plus. If you like streaming audio files stored on your computer, just plug into the USB port found on the rear panel, or listen to your favorite playlists and plug in your iPod to the 3.5mm mini jack input on the front panel.
The receiver's large front panel display with blue characters is easy to read from across the room.
More Stinkin' Features
A +12-volt trigger can activate other components and the IR in/out jacks can be used to activate the receiver and other components if they are in a hidden location, such as an entertainment center or equipment closet.
Its simple programmable remote control makes operating the receiver a snap. A list of codes for controlling other manufacturers components is included in the receiver's well-written owner's manual. Even a headphone jack with level control is located on the front panel. In short, it's difficult to ask for much more in a stereo receiver.
The RR2150 Retro Receiver Put to the Test
The RR 2150 proved its worthiness with Jennifer Warnes' "Bird on a Wire" from her Famous Blue Raincoat album (Shout Records). Bass had a solid foundation and sounded well defined without being bloated. Damping factor is not listed in its specifications, but the receiver had an iron grip on the woofers showing good control.
The Outlaw's authoritative dynamics came across in Donald Fagen's 192kHz/24-bit DVD-A recording of "Nightfly" (Warner Bros. Records). It never flinched when reproducing the strong bass in virtually every track, and effortlessly drove my Paradigm Reference Studio 100 towers, which have a sensitivity specification of 91dB. The RR2150 created a distinct center image with excellent separation of vocals and instrumentals, especially percussion.
Lyle Lovett's "She's Already Made Up Her Mind" from his Joshua Judges Ruth disc (DTS CD, MCA Records) had deep, thundering bass and a pinpoint center image coupled with a three-dimensional soundstage - a real audio delight.