The greatest problem we have about so-called "high-end" audio reviewers is that by and large most of them have no idea about LIVE musical sounds, music's nature (i.e., tempto, rythm, pace, harmonic structure, etc.) etc.
When they make statements like "the xxxFHEC produces night and day sonic differences...my, the pace and rythm...oh, the nuances!....that component is sooo involving; it has a lot of personality...wow! listen to those micro dynamics wihin the inter-silence of EACH musical note..." we just cannot stomach their spewing such crappy statement any longer, because they are not based on reality. That's when we run in the opposite direction...and not just walk!
Unfortunately, Mr. Hardesty leans towards the lunatic fringe type of audio reviwers, which are wont to pronounce a given audio component as state-of-the-art because of its "pace and rythm" characteristics. No such thing exists in the world of sound reproduction by audio components and, while we admit to hear sonic differences from audio components at times (and never mind interconnect and speaker cables!), those are never to a degree so great that can convince us that price differences in favor of costly high-end audio components warrant their purchase on sonic basis alone. Thus we tend to dimiss his reviews as something from which we can make a solid, educating basis decision when it comes to buying audio components. Other that, we have no personal agenda against Mr. Hardesty (actually, his review of the MC-1 was well balanced...until he let his rythm&pace philosophy render it nearly useless. Too bad, for Dick is otherwise technically extremely knowledgeable).
We prefer the Lexicon line of surround sound/preamp products over others because of the sound (no pun) engineering, features, flexiblity, tremendous amount of sonic manipulations (yeah, yeah, we know...) and a tremendous record of longevity (try that with a lot of high-end components!).
Are they perfect? No, but what is? Are the Lexis the ultimate in flaxibility? No because there's always room for improvement (we still wish to see Lexicon offer stereo subwoofer outputs in addtion to a .1 LEF channel; component video facilities, etc.). Are they affordable? Well, that's a though one for most people, but compare their prices against other brands
These are some of the main reasons why we prefer Lexis and why we keep going back to them.
By the way, we can truly enjoy 2-channel playback through our Lexi, but it's quite difficult to hear soundstages collapse when the surround sound enhancements are shut off...