Lexicon MC12B HD upgrade? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-08-2006, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi!

I just got a very good deal on a Demo Lexicon MC12B HD and was wondering if the upgrade is a must or not really worth it.

Here is my current set up
Amps: Proceed HPA2 and Proceed AMP5
Pre-Amps: Proceed PAV and PDSD
Speakers: Fronts: Wilson Audio Watt Puppy 7, Center and rear: 3 Wilson Audio CUB 1 and I also have wilson audio Watch Surround for the side if I go 7.1 for the MC12B HD.

I think that for stereo and Vinyl disc playing the Proceed wins. but for videos switching the Lexicon wins hands down.

For digital proccessing I don't know which one wins at all. (comparing 5.1 against 5.1, procceed doesn't have 7.1)

Is it worth talking about 7.1, is there a lot of 7.1 recordings out there?

any inputs

PS : All of the above is an opinion and not facts so don't flame me!
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post #2 of 30 Old 12-08-2006, 06:12 PM
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"For digital proccessing I don't know which one wins at all. (comparing 5.1 against 5.1, procceed doesn't have 7.1)"

Lexicon, hands down.

"Is it worth talking about 7.1, is there a lot of 7.1 recordings out there?"

None actually. The Lexicon has Logic 7 and Dolby PLIIx that can take two channel and 5.1 channel sources and expand them out to you 7 speakers.

Shawn
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-08-2006, 08:11 PM
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Proceed?? That piece is older than my junior high student daughter...Time to upgrade..Go with the Lexicon

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post #4 of 30 Old 12-08-2006, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

"For digital proccessing I don't know which one wins at all. (comparing 5.1 against 5.1, procceed doesn't have 7.1)"

Lexicon, hands down.

"Is it worth talking about 7.1, is there a lot of 7.1 recordings out there?"

None actually. The Lexicon has Logic 7 and Dolby PLIIx that can take two channel and 5.1 channel sources and expand them out to you 7 speakers.

Shawn

Is it fair to ask which is better - Logic7 or DPLIIx ?
Differences?
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post #5 of 30 Old 12-08-2006, 08:34 PM
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"Is it fair to ask which is better - Logic7 or DPLIIx ?
Differences?"

I prefer Logic7 but YMMV.

One two channel material Logic 7 just sounds more spacious and open to me. L7 also offers many more parameters to tweak to the users tastes then PLIIX.

With 5.1 channel material the difference between L7 (in the HD or v5 on the regular MC-12) and PLIIx is larger. Logic 7 will actually steer material into the center channel from the L/Rs of the 5.1 channel mix, PLIIx won't. So for things like DVD-As, SACDs that don't use the center channel when used with L7 the center channel will be active. Likewise L7 will steer out of phase surround material out of the L/R channels and into the surrounds which PLIIx won't do. This tends to give a more exciting presentation and for material with little surround activity in the mix ends up having more activity because of the additional L7 steering.

But like I said... YMMV. It is good to have both, that way the user can choose whichever *they* prefer.

Shawn
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-09-2006, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidney514 View Post

I think that for stereo and Vinyl disc playing the Proceed wins. but for videos switching the Lexicon wins hands down.

Both have pure analogue bypass (only the volume control in the signal path), so it will come down to which pre-pro's analogue stage you personally prefer.
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For digital proccessing I don't know which one wins at all.

The Proceed doesn't have digital processing (unless you count their digital version of old Pro Logic decoding) while Lexicon has been at the leading edge of digital processing for the last 35 years.

For D/A conversion, from what I remember the Proceed and Lexicon use the same DACs. The Proceed runs the front L/R channels in dual-differential mode (two DACs per channel for improved signal to noise ratio). The MC-12 runs all 12 channels in dual-diff mode.

The HDMI input on the MC-12 will also come in handy when listening to hi-rez audio, whether music on SACD/DVD-A or soundtracks on HD-DVD/Blu-ray. Rather than down-convert the signal to DD or DTS, or be saddled with analogue bypass and therefore not be able to use any of your pre-pro's features, you'll be able to pour the raw PCM data into the MC-12 and treat it like any other digital signal (applying: bass management, time alignment, surround processing, room correction, etc).
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Is it worth talking about 7.1, is there a lot of 7.1 recordings out there?

There are no 7.1 recordings out there, at least for consumer consumption. But the number of channels in the recording have nothing to do with the number of speakers used for playback.

7.1 pre-pros have been around for 20 years (Fosgate in 1986, Lexicon in 1988), which pre-dates consumer 5.1 recordings by a full 8 years. Obviously 7.1-speaker layouts weren't originally designed with multi-channel sources material in mind. They're intended to be used with any source material, irrespective of the number of channels.

If your seating arrangement is away from the back wall, then you should consider going to a 7.1 set-up at some point. The rear-vs-side directionality, wrap-around envelopment, and imaging stability in the surround field are not possible with only 2 surround speakers. It doesn't matter how good your surrounds are, one pair of speakers can't be in two locations simultaneously (at your sides and behind you).
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Is it fair to ask which is better - Logic7 or DPLIIx ? Differences?

Of course it's fair to ask, since they are competing technologies that have the same basic functionality. In my experience, L7 sounds more exciting with 2-channel sources while PLII/PLIIx sounds more stable (fewer artifacts). With 5.1 sources, L7 sounds more enveloping while PLIIx sounds more directional (left vs right vs back).

The latest version of L7 also has the ability to steer content in 5.1 material the way it does for 2-channel sources: i.e., sounds that phantom image from the centre of the front soundstage are actually moved to the centre speaker for more stable imaging and greater clarity. PLII/PLIIx doesn't have this capability.

Since L7 and PLIIx both sound terrific to me, I gave up trying to figure out which was better. Instead I simply use both. For movie and TV sources, I use Pro Logic IIx. For all my music listening, I use LOGIC7. The MC-12 gives you the option, so why settle on one or the other?

Sanjay

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post #7 of 30 Old 12-09-2006, 07:29 PM
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Sanjay,

"For D/A conversion, from what I remember the Proceed and Lexicon use the same DACs. The Proceed runs the front L/R channels in dual-differential mode (two DACs per channel for improved signal to noise ratio). The MC-12 runs all 12 channels in dual-diff mode."

You are thinking of the AVP2. He has the much older PDSD add on for their original all analog PAV Pro-Logic only decoder. I don't know what DACs the PDSD used but I highly doubt they are what the MC-12 uses as the PDSD is much older and the MC-12s DACs weren't around back then.

I don't know if he will see this thread but I believe Nick had the PAV/PDSD, went to the Krell HTS then on the MC-12.

Shawn
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post #8 of 30 Old 12-09-2006, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

You are thinking of the AVP2. He has the much older PDSD add on for their original all analog PAV Pro-Logic only decoder.

Ah, thanx for the correction. I knew it was one of the Proceeds, just wasn't sure which one.

Sanjay

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post #9 of 30 Old 12-09-2006, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

The HDMI input on the MC-12 will also come in handy when listening to hi-rez audio, whether music on SACD/DVD-A or soundtracks on HD-DVD/Blu-ray. Rather than down-convert the signal to DD or DTS, or be saddled with analogue bypass and therefore not be able to use any of your pre-pro's features, you'll be able to pour the raw PCM data into the MC-12 and treat it like any other digital signal (applying: bass management, time alignment, surround processing, room correction, etc).

I am confused as I believed/thought that HDMI 1.3 is required to receive a high rez DD (i.e. DolbyTrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus) or high rez dts (i.e. dts-HD) signal. As such I do NOT believe that the current implemtation of HDMI on the MC-12 will receive these signals as I do not think that it is HDMI 1.3 complient...am I wrong here?

TIA.

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post #10 of 30 Old 12-09-2006, 11:05 PM
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No, you are not wrong; the MC-12HD will not receive a high-rez DD or DTS signal. But if your source device can do the decoding internally---which in all current scenarios for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray it must be able to do, anyway---then the Lexicon doesn't need the decoding capability. Instead, it can just receive the decoded signals in lossless LPCM format.

That's why many of us are not particularly concerned about the lack of HDMI 1.3 support, at least on the audio side.

Michael
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post #11 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

I believed/thought that HDMI 1.3 is required to receive a high rez DD (i.e. DolbyTrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus) or high rez dts (i.e. dts-HD) signal.

Indeed HDMI 1.3 is required for the new HD audio codecs, but only if you want to transmit them in their native bitstream form. That's why I was careful to specify "PCM data" in my post. But HDMI 1.3 is only half the story; without the appropriate decoders in the receiving device, transmitting those codecs natively is pointless.

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post #12 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Ah, thanx for the correction. I knew it was one of the Proceeds, just wasn't sure which one.

Sanjay

Burr Brown 1702 dac in older Proceed stuff. That was the best Burr Brown dac during that period. . For analog signals though, the PAV could indeed have the advantage since companies have known for a long time how to make good analog pre-amps and the fact that it is older may not put it at a disadvantage. Guys into two channel and vinyl are not the typical apply DSP to everything crowd .

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #13 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 06:56 AM
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Michael Grant and sdurani:

I apprecaite the calrification and should have thus read your post more clearly...that said, what in your view will be the practically of such a solution (i.e. source device doing the decoding) as this would mean that ALL source devices (i.e. cable boxes, satellite boxes, etc.) would have to decode the new codes...while I agree that with time this will be feasible from a cast perspective at present it does seems likely...heck my SA 8300 HD PVR does a miserable jon on BOTH deinterlacing and scalin!

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post #14 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

For analog signals though, the PAV could indeed have the advantage since companies have known for a long time how to make good analog pre-amps and the fact that it is older may not put it at a disadvantage.

It "could", but that would come down to personal taste and the specific type of sound subjectively prefered. As for cleaner signal path, the PAV has a 80dB SNR while them MC-12 comes in a 108dB. But again, someone's personal preference may favour the noisier pre-pro, but that's not what I would call an advantage.
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Guys into two channel and vinyl are not the typical apply DSP to everything crowd

Then it makes no sense for them to buy a pre-pro with leading edge surround processing technology when they can get what they want simply with a 2-channel pre-amp.

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post #15 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

what in your view will be the practically of such a solution (i.e. source device doing the decoding) as this would mean that ALL source devices (i.e. cable boxes, satellite boxes, etc.) would have to decode the new codes...

As new audio format comes out, you'll have to swap out your STB and disc player but not your expensive pre-pro. Since the pre-pro will only see a PCM signal, it will continue to be useful.

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post #16 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

.while I agree that with time this will be feasible from a cast perspective at present it does seems likely...heck my SA 8300 HD PVR does a miserable jon on BOTH deinterlacing and scalin!

Also don't forget that with audio formats like DD and DTS, there is really only one way to decode the data: you either do it correctly or not at all. There is no right way to do deinterlacing and scaling, and those two processes are subject to all sorts of implementation tradeoffs, so while cheap video sources do a terrible job with video processing, that doesn't mean their audio decoding won't be correct.

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post #17 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 10:34 AM
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Also don't forget that with audio formats like DD and DTS, there is really only one way to decode the data: you either do it correctly or not at all. There is no right way to do deinterlacing and scaling, and those two processes are subject to all sorts of implementation tradeoffs, so while cheap video sources do a terrible job with video processing, that doesn't mean their audio decoding won't be correct.

--Andre

Andrew, I must disagree with you on the point that "there is only one way to decode the data" as one of the differences that high end companies have over mass/mid market companies is that they write their own software to optimize the decoding process...


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Originally Posted by sanjay View Post

As new audio format comes out, you'll have to swap out your STB and disc player but not your expensive pre-pro. Since the pre-pro will only see a PCM signal, it will continue to be useful.

For the reasonsnoted above I hope not...

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post #18 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 10:47 AM
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With a piece as outdated as the Proceed PAV and PDSD...is this really a hard choice?

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post #19 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

Andrew, I must disagree with you on the point that "there is only one way to decode the data" as one of the differences that high end companies have over mass/mid market companies is that they write their own software to optimize the decoding process...

Joel,

You are confusing ***decoding*** with ***post-processing***. They are very different.

Decoding is simply the extraction of the recorded signal from the encoded format. In the decoding of a DD or DTS format, there is no difference between a $200 Costco receiver and a Meridian 861--they apply the same decoding process as required by their license agreement with Dolby or DTS.

Where some high end companies offer added value is in what takes place after decoding. This post-processing stage may offere standard off-the-shelf enhancements like PL IIx, as well as proprietary surround processing such as Trifield or Logic 7. The post-processing algorithms in current pre/pros and receivers are written for standard PCM format, and are applied after the internal format decoding stage.

In terms of this discussion, if the decoding takes place in the source component and is then output as lossless PCM via HDMI 1.1, there is no loss of quality because the signal has never left the digital domain, it has simply been translated from one format to another (in other words, don't mistake the suitcase for the contents). As Michael pointed out earlier, the current manufacturers' strategy is to implement the DTS- or DD-to-standard PCM decoding in the source component, and then send it to the pre-pro or receiver for post-processing. This eliminates the need to re-invent the wheel within the processor, since the decoding stage will yield the same results wherever it occurs. The processor can then apply whatever enhancement processing it has available to the decoded signal.

Hope this helps,
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post #20 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelc View Post

one of the differences that high end companies have over mass/mid market companies is that they write their own software to optimize the decoding process...

Optimize it to do what? For example: when decoding (unpacking) a DTS bitstream, what will a high-end processor do with data that has been flagged for the left front channel? Somehow place it more into the left channel than mass/mid receivers do?

Same applies to surrond processing such as Pro Logic IIx or Circle Surround II. It's not like Dolby and SRS Labs are reserving special secret versions of their technologies for high-end manufacturers that they won't license to mass/mid market companies.

Format recognition and decoding, whether purchased on a chip or custom written for a particular pre-pro, is licensed technology. As such, it cannot violate the licensing agreement.

Where high-end companies can have an advantage over others is with everything that takes place after the decoding step. Things like: unique bass management, proprietary surround processing, room correction, DAC implementation, analogue stage, etc.

Whether the source signal is decoded (i.e., unpacked or decompressed) in the player or pre-pro doesn't matter. The end result is the same data. I would actually prefer if the decoding took place in the source component from now on, so that pre-pros and receivers would only have to deal with PCM data.

Sanjay

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post #21 of 30 Old 12-10-2006, 12:03 PM
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Philip and sdurani, many thanks for the clarification, it is most helpful and appreciated...

Joel
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post #22 of 30 Old 12-11-2006, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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So too resume, Analog is a mather of choice and Digital is no brained go lexicon!

I will bring the MC12B-HD home and try it, will let you guys know.
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post #23 of 30 Old 12-12-2006, 08:17 PM
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I've gone back and forth on movies switching between Logic 7 vs PL11 Movie and i always settle on PL11 Movie as i find it more natural for voice. I called Lexicon and they said it shouldn't make any difference.
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post #24 of 30 Old 01-14-2007, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

The HDMI input on the MC-12 will also come in handy when listening to hi-rez audio, whether music on SACD/DVD-A or soundtracks on HD-DVD/Blu-ray. Rather than down-convert the signal to DD or DTS, or be saddled with analogue bypass and therefore not be able to use any of your pre-pro's features, you'll be able to pour the raw PCM data into the MC-12 and treat it like any other digital signal (applying: bass management, time alignment, surround processing, room correction, etc).
Sanjay

Sanjay, Philip,
I am also in the process of upgrading my MC12 v2 to the MC12BHD Eq. I am also looking at upgrade options for a DVD player and am considering the Denon 5910CI as a potential option. In reviewing the 5910CI manual there is a statement that has me puzzled....
" With Super Audio CDs, digital audio signals in areas except for the CD layer are not output via the HDMI connector. To play multi-channel/stereo area signals, set the "HDMI AUDIO SETUP" setting to "2CH" and use the analog audio or IEEE1394
Does this mean that SACD cannot be sent over HDMI and is this situation uniue to the Denon? Any clarification on this would be much apppreciated.
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post #25 of 30 Old 01-14-2007, 08:43 PM
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Any HD owners comment on the difference in the uncompressed LPCM Blu Ray tracks vs the standard DD / DTS sound?

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post #26 of 30 Old 01-15-2007, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Arvi View Post

Sanjay, Philip,
I am also in the process of upgrading my MC12 v2 to the MC12BHD Eq. I am also looking at upgrade options for a DVD player and am considering the Denon 5910CI as a potential option. In reviewing the 5910CI manual there is a statement that has me puzzled....
" With Super Audio CDs, digital audio signals in areas except for the CD layer are not output via the HDMI connector. To play multi-channel/stereo area signals, set the "HDMI AUDIO SETUP" setting to "2CH" and use the analog audio or IEEE1394
Does this mean that SACD cannot be sent over HDMI and is this situation uniue to the Denon? Any clarification on this would be much apppreciated.

Arvi,

This is not a Denon situation, but happens with all DVD/SACD players.
HDMI 1.1 does not transmit the DSD bit-stream. You need HDMI 1.2 or higher for this, which no equipment has build in so far.
Some players might convert the DSD bitstream to LPCM, which can be transmitted over HDMI 1.1. I think some OPPO players have this option.

Adri.
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post #27 of 30 Old 01-15-2007, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Arvi View Post

Does this mean that SACD cannot be sent over HDMI and is this situation uniue to the Denon?

As Adri points out, that is a limitation of HDMI 1.1. For playing back DVD-A and SACD, you may want to consider the $149 Oppo 970, which can convert DSD (the digital audio on SACD) to PCM digital audio (which is compatible with HDMI 1.0 and up).

Sanjay

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post #28 of 30 Old 01-15-2007, 06:37 AM
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I am curious to see your review considering you are coming from a Proceed.

I listened to the MC-12 and found it wonderful for movies, but not very impressive for music. From my memory your Proceed does a very good job with 2-channel music - but should certainly be trumped in multi-channel.

I would recommend you listen closely to both formats before you make your decision.

To my ears the MC-12 sounded a bit grainy and un-natural. I much prefer the sound of my 861.

Good luck and let us know your experiences!

Jim
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post #29 of 30 Old 01-15-2007, 07:03 AM
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i've owned the Proceed AVP and AVP2; and for the last 5 years have had the Lex MC-12. i also use to own Levinson preamps.....the #38, #380S and #32.

the Lexicon literally sucks as an analog preamp compared to any of the Proceed units. the Proceed units use the Levinson circutry and while not the very best; make damn good analog preamps. the Lexicon is congested and closed in in comparison. the Lex is great for digital multi-channel and the L7 is great. (i have a separate room for 2-channel music so the Lex isn't asked to do analog for me).

regarding upgrading the Lexicon to HDMI switching.....i went a different direction. i bought a Crystallio II Video processor instead. it might cost a bit more (not much); but you will get SOTA video processing as well as the world's best video interface with the C2. i now run all my video sources into the C2 (BD, HD-DVD, D-Threatre, Comcast HD, and Directv HD) with HDMI and then just run one digital cable to the MC-12 for audio. the C2 does the vertical stretching for CH 2.35 and gives you an unbelievable amount of choices for picture adjustment.

my rat's nest of cables is now simple and clean and my PQ is way better than ever.
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post #30 of 30 Old 01-15-2007, 07:19 AM
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Mike, that's my expectation that even the older PAV is going to better the Lexicon for his record collection. The Lexicon though should easily outperform the PAV with digital. Dolby Prologic II alone is worth going to the Lex for movies but not for vinyl. I am in the market for a video scaler to go with the JVC RS1 so I'll check out your suggestion.

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