Audiophile enchantment: The Outlaw Audio RR 2160 stereo receiver

Outlaw Audio RR 2160 stereo receiver

Kim Cooper

The Outlaw Audio RR 2160 stereo receiver flat out sounds higher than any receiver or amplifier I’ve heard for its $799 asking worth. In listening, the RR 2160 actually clicked with my KEF LS50, Zu Druid V, Magnepan MMGi and .7 audio system, however its styling is basically going to polarize folks.

Whereas most receivers solely are available black, the RR 2160’s solely accessible end is silver, and its “retro” look would not do a factor for me. It is usually one significantly heavy brute. This unhealthy boy weighs a hefty 28.three kilos and might ship 110 watts for eight ohm audio system. The RR 2160 is a Class AB design, the identical sort utilized in among the higher high-end amplifiers; most receivers and built-in amps within the RR 2160 worth vary are Class D designs, which may sound respectable however not often nice.

The options set is fairly complete with HD Radio; a transferring magnet/transferring coil turntable enter; 4 stereo analog inputs; 192 kHz/24 bit digital audio with two optical, two coaxial and two USB inputs; an Ethernet port; preamp outputs; a headphone jack with its personal quantity management; speaker A and B outputs; and twin subwoofer outputs. Positive, each AV receiver has bass administration, however the RR 2160 is simply the second stereo receiver I’ve examined that may direct low frequency bass indicators to the subwoofer. The RR 2160 additionally has bass and treble controls, plus a Speaker EQ characteristic that enhances low frequencies for smaller audio system. 

The distant management additionally deserves particular point out. Its backlit buttons aren’t one thing you see on many stereo elements’ remotes, and it is an all-metal design. Ergonomically, the distant is simply so-so, although, as the quantity buttons are crowded in with all the opposite tiny buttons. 

In comparison with the latest Onkyo TX-8270 stereo receiver, the RR 2160 is lacking options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HDMI switching.

To start out listening, I hitched the RR 2160 to a set of KEF LS50 audio system, and that mixture got here to life with Beck’s “Morning Section” album. The plush string orchestrations, dense preparations for guitars, percussion and overdubbed vocals positively bloomed over the LS50s. For comparability sake, I converted to the Onkyo TX 8270 stereo receiver and that one scaled again Beck’s opulence a notch or two. The RR 2160 made the LS50 sound prefer it’s purported to.

Outlaw Audio RR 2160 rear panel

Kim Cooper

And with Johnny Money and Willie Nelson’s “VH-1 Storytellers” album the sound was so good I used to be speechless, I used to be merely within the presence of the 2 legends, singing and enjoying their acoustic guitars. The sheer believability of the music completely sucked me in.

I additionally tried the RR 2160 with my Magnepan .7 flat panel audio system, and was much more impressed with the receiver’s refined, but potent sound. It has energy to spare and surprisingly good readability.

Then I moved on to a different Magnepan, the $650 per pair MMGi, which supplied extra weight and substance to the sound, extra physique than what I obtained from the TX 8270 receiver. Frankly, it was no contest. The RR 2160 seemed like a bona fide high-end part and the TX 8270 did not minimize it with the MMGi.

I checked out the RR 2160’s bass administration abilities with the “Home of Flying Daggers” DVD’s circle of drums scene, listening with MMGis and a subwoofer, my previous PSB Alpha SubZero i. The drums impacts had been deep and highly effective, transients had been visceral. The MMGis had been superb with dwelling theater bombast taken at a average quantity; with the .7 audio system I might play films louder with out the panels working out of steam. A pair of towers like ELAC Debut F5s would ship much more dwelling theater muscle, however they’re much less clear than the .7  Magnepans.

The MMGi can sound too lean at instances, however they responded nicely to the RR 2160’s Speaker EQ bass enhance characteristic, which did an incredible job filling out the bass once I wasn’t utilizing a subwoofer. The sound wasn’t thicker or muffled, and the Speaker EQ provided simply the correct amount of heft to the MMGi’s sound.

I used to be having such an excellent time I additionally attached my Zu Druid V audio system, and so they had been extra dynamic than the KEFs and Magnepans, so even once I cranked up rock music good and loud the RR 2160 was completely coasting. Music from Morphine — a three-piece band with a reasonably uncommon lineup of two-string electrical bass, baritone sax and drums — was a “take a look at” of a special kind. I like their music, however with the three devices enjoying within the bass vary solely an incredible receiver and audio system let me actually hear and really feel the string bass’s meaty texture, the baritone’s menacing growl, and the bass drum’s thunder. The RR 2160/Druid V combo was making all the proper strikes.

If you happen to’ll be listening to extra films and TV than music the Onkyo TX 8270 stereo receiver could be a more sensible choice, as a result of it has HDMI, Bluetooth, and a bunch of different options the RR 2160 lacks, and it sells for $300 much less than the RR 2160. If, however, you are going to play extra music than films and sound high quality is the highest precedence the RR 2160 is nicely value the additional price. It at the moment sells for $799 on the Outlaw Audio web site.

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