The 1070 instruction manual is very clear and explicit, so it is easy to read and use.
I configured a digital input and 5.1 analog input set for my Yamaha universal DVD player, and a stereo analog input set for my McCormack CD transport and DAC. Speakers were Paradigm Studio 20s, Monitor Audio Studio 20 SEs, and Carver Amazings. Nordost cables connected everything.
Peter Tribeman, President of Outlaw Audio, said that I should try the 1070 with my ribbon speakers, even though they are a very difficult load for amplifiers (low impedance and low sensitivity).
So, I did, and I was really surprised! I cranked it up most of the way, and there was no clipping, even with full orchestral music.
It turns out that the 1070 has a clip protection circuit that prevents it from going into a hard clip. This means that whatever the speaker, the distortion will be kept at a lower level than might otherwise be the case.
I know that, on the surface, 65 watts does not seem like a lot, but we have to remember that the watts vs. sound level is a logarithmic function. If we went from 65 watts to 650 watts, it would only sound twice as loud.
In fact, we typically listen at just a few watts, or even less, so 65 watts does produce a decent SPL, even on my demanding ribbons.
In any case, the receiver was plenty for the Paradigms and Monitor Audios.
The sound quality was very neutral, with a bit of brightness only when I reached the limits of the power amplifier.
Female vocals (I consider this a very important test) were excellent, with no excessive sibilance that plagues many mass market receivers.
Although not a real powerhouse, the 1070 was quite good with movies. As I have mentioned in other mass market receiver reviews, one technique for mitigating the power issue is to use a crossover of 50 Hz or 60 Hz to all your speakers, even if they are large (you might have to set the crossover higher, say 80 Hz, if the speakers are small), and use a good subwoofer to handle everything below the crossover point. This will free up a huge amount of amplifier energy to drive the speakers, since the low frequencies are very power-demanding.
As I said, 65 watts will still produce a reasonable volume. For two channel listening, just use efficient speakers, at least 90 dB/w/m. For surround sound listening, when you have 60 watts being delivered to each of seven channels, it will be plenty loud. But, this receiver will work best in small home theater rooms.
On the Bench
Below are our Secrets Benchmark findings for the Outlaw Model 1070 Receiver. An article explaining our Benchmark criteria is located HERE. Each criterion has a maximum score of 10 points. If a criterion is not tested, it is not included as part of the calculation (total points available).
This receiver has just about every feature you can want, including DVI switching (but not HDMI). The power amplifier put out more than 90% of spec with all seven channels driven. We test the maximum output for a five second period, which is a terrific strain on the amplifier.
Secrets Benchmark Results
* Note: The Outlaw 1070 has individual Bass Management (crossover) settings for the left/right/center/surrounds/surround back speakers.
** Note: The original measurements in September, 2005, gave 69 watts per channel with two channels driven and 60 watts per channel with seven channels driven. Based on our measurements, Outlaw modified the circuit and sent us another unit in March, 2006. We then retested it, this time using a Variac that let us adjust the AC to 120 volts powering the 1070 even when the amplifier was delivering full output (typical wall AC outlets will drop a few volts under these conditions). The new tests showed a maximum RMS output of 89 watts per channel with two channels driven, and 71 watts per channel with seven channels driven. Therefore, the 1070 now exceeds specifications with 120 volts constant input, and this means it is very likely to deliver the specified 65 watts per channel x 7 with most household AC power outlets, even if they are less than 120 volts (typical might be 115 volts).