Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Edgeyboy, Jun 6, 2001.
I am thinking of buying either a new TAG AV32r or a used Lexison DC2.
What would you go for ?
That's a difficult call as I presume the prices will be fairly similar. In reality, I would want to listen to them both (not easy when you are buying pre-used eqpt). What you could do is have a demo of the TAG in a shop with certain material, and then ask the seller of the Lexicon if you can do a mini-demo at their place with the same material. Although not an ideal comparison, it's better than nothing. Although I have not heard either unit, I have heard that there is very little between them sonically, to justify the price difference new.
Bearing in mind the continued ability of the TAG to be upgraded, I'd say go for that. TAG look to be the first people to offer 24/96 DTS, can do Pro-logic II, THX EX, and will shortly do DTS ES discrete and Neo 6. Add to that the fact that TAG are also producing a DAB add-on for it, and you've got yourself a very desirable piece of kit.
I also asked the same question a few months ago and went for the TAG option. The upgradeability of the TAG was just too big a justification.
Sonically it is excellent also, if you're considering using it for music it is an excellent pre-amp in direct mode but also has PL2 if you're interested in multi-channel music.
In terms of the upgradeability check out the TAG website, their are a large number of posts on what the AV32R evolution will be ie Analogue 5.1 pass thro', component switching, video scaling etc. The support offered on the forum is also superb, how many CEO's post on problems encountered, answers to queries etc, Dr Zucker appears to spend half of his life responding to posts. The same is also true of Buzz Goddard on the AVS Forum (Pres of TAG in the US also of Lexicon fame!!)
Use your ears, think about the future and enjoy whichever one you choose, the difference from intergrated solutions is significant
Hope this helps
My predicament also.
At the moment it looks like I will probably buy a used DC-1 V4. These can be bought for around £1500. Although the DC-1 is about 4 years old now, Its still a superb processor. One of the reasons I will go for the Lexicons is Logic 7. No one else has anything like this. To me, the extra £500- £1000 for a DC-2 is difficult to justify at the moment, Once there is a standard interface for DVD audio things might change. With this uncertainty, I'm inclined to wait before spending so much.
TMS 7 is a serious format also (with Lexicon Logic 7). There is a substantial jump between DC1 to DC2 and then to MC1 (The best by far). The AV32R is competitive with the MC1 let alone the DCs. I prefered it so bought the tag. Why not consider a second hand Tag if money is the limiting amount. Or why not just buy the 5.1 version. Any thing less will just be a compromise. Will Lexicon suppoert DPL11, DTS 24/96 etc on an older processor?
And that legendary upgrabaility and service....
I think a second hand Tag would be unlikely at the moment! Did you audition the Lexicon? Not to concerned about cost (within reason) Just want to get good value for money. Many items are outdated very quickly these days,
I know the Tag is upgradeable, but only up to a point. Nobody can predict what new formats will emerge. It will be interesting to see how Tag treat thier customers when the AV32R is replaced with a new unit. Will they offer the trade in program offered by Lexicon?
I've seen several ex demo unit etc around for sale. Don't immediately dismiss the idea and don't forget the retail price starts at only £2300. Cash might buy a good / better deal (hint it did for me).
Yes I did demo against the Lexicons and prefered the Tag. The MC1 is by far the best of the Lexicons. There are details on the tag web site under something like my experieences in buying...Lexicon is a great product but Tag was half price and that was without the advantages of the DVD32R.
I agree that upgradability can only go so far. I discussed this with Tag at length. These guys have really thought this one out. Trust me. Extra processors / extra memory: No problem. It was ALL designed in at the beginning. The upgrade will be a whole new model NOT a replacement. I.e there will be a AV32R and a AV192R at the same time. An AV32R can be upgraded to a AV192R at any time by paying just the difference. Then with the AV192R there are a series of option the user can opt for. Unless greater than 7.1 becomes the standard I can see reason why the Tag would be limited. >7.1 I can't see as a realistic goer in the long term.
I don't want this sound as an advert for Tag. They can do it themselves. I don't want this to be a 'because I got one it must be the best type post' but I (and many others) have been going through exactly the same thoughts over the last few years. This is what many of us decided after TOO much auditioning.
Why not ask which processors support (or are planning to) all the new formats. PL2 DTS 24/96, DTS discret etc. It might surprize you. Many processors are potentially upgradable but how actually many do?
Good points well made. I've yet to make a final decision and its good to hear all sides of the argument. I have yet to hear a Tag, although I've heard the DC-1 at a mates house. Sounded very impressive. I guess the only way to find out is to listen for myself. My local Hi fi store, which sells the Tag were reluctant to let me listen to one "Read the reviews" I was told ! Looks like I will need to travel further afield. Can you reccomend any good dealers?
As a an observer, poss future (I hope) buyer, I'm taken by the Tag route.
For the price compared to a Lexicon, and considering all alse, the Tag is miles ahead.
I haven't heard either, but keep a keen eye on things. The Tag is far better value for money.
A high quality firm, producing high quality goods that really give Lexicon a run for thir money. No doubt.
Tag is No.1 on my list at the moment.
Why is no one ever mentioning Meridian on this forum? It's only ever in the US that these even get an in depth review! Upgradeability and digital processing are first rate. I've owned mine for years and would never switch to anything else currently - Lexicon or Tag (experienced both)! The Tag is good for the money though, as a used Meridian 568 will probably cost the same as a new AV32r. The ex-Lex converts on the Meridian forum claim their old units had far too many annoying problems and bugs.
I did think about a Meridan as a possibility, but was put off. Several people have mentioned that they are tempramental and are a pain to set up and use, so I dismissed the idea. A fried of mine who has a DC-2 had a 565 I think, but prefered the Lex. Guess there isn't much known about them over here , which is a shame, as I'm sure they are among the best processors aroumd.
I also demo'ed several Meridian units. 561, 565 and the lovely 568. I did not look at the 8 series. (too much money in one go). They were all excellent units but I prefered Tag. This was before the Tag DVD came into question. All AV processors were evaluated with 'normal' but good quality DVD players (pioneer / sony etc). But why use a £400 DVD player with a £5k processor(!!!??). When I brought the tag dvd player in, it was the best unit. When it is sinc linked it left the other players in the distance. This doesn't mean the Meridian is a bad unit, far from it and I have been a strong advocate of firms like Lexicon, Meridian and Tag. They all make excellent units but at this price synergy is perhaps the killer. Only Meridian and Tag do DVD players (both are excellent) and av receivers (again both are excellent). If you already own a Meridian kit I am not surprized that you have gone for a Meridian DVD (I would have done the same) but are you missing the advantages of a complete Tag system?
Fancy video scaling?
When I started looking at the top kit I thought I would prefer the Lexicon over the Meridian over the Tag. In the end I thought all were excellent and just gave it to the Tag. I had the money saved for a MC1 or 568/562 but prefereing the Tag, this allowed me to buy the Tag DVD32R which I never thought I would ever do. I think it actually a better use of funds to soend the money on a quality source.
I do find it interesting that everyone compares their second hand units with a new Tag to show good value for money. Odd. Second hand Tag kit are better value again!
Trade in: Do you want to upgrade the DVD32R to the DVD192R next year. Tag will give you a full credit and you only pay the difference. This doesn't effect second hand values and is infinately better than the Lexicon deal (on their processors). (Same for the Tag AV32 to AV192). Who else has that upgradability on processors and DVD players? (Arcam are also doing a good and commendable job here in a different market). When was the last time Sony updated the hardward on it's products?
There are several quality solutions out there and Tag / Meridian are the front runners. I would be surprized that if people are spending this sort of money that they don't look at both. Meridian may be currently bigger in the states (Tag growing very rapidly) but Tag seem to have the edge in Europe at the moment. Each to their own.
The buyer decides at the end of the day.
[ 12-06-2001: Message edited by: Nic Rhodes ]
Yes I agree, each to their own. I was just confused as to why HC Choice & this forum don't have much about Meridian. Strange considering they developed MLP for DVD audio?
The Meridians are completely stable, and once configured 'properly' (something most dealers I've experienced don't do well) sound out of this world. Maybe this has got to do with the setup procedure with an SPL meter? All you guys on this forum are going to be fine with it... it's computer setup and sync. via RS232. Even the front panel / remote setup isn't that bad taking about 10 minutes once you have speaker - listener & room measurements. Again, as I said before, it's worth doing it properly to get the best results. Control is simple via the remote, but ultimately you'll change to a multi remote, or ideally panja / crestron.
I personally find the processors the most musical out there, so that's probably why I leant that way. Admittedly Tag weren't around 4 years ago. I'd agree with Nic that you should check both out, and not necessarily with Meridian DSP speakers (There's a fairly mixed feeling among Meridian fans - some love, some prefer other active or passive speakers). They're currently the only manufacturers out there developing an encrypted digital DVD audio link from their DVD players straight into their processors. With this new technology, why would anyone want to convert from DVD D-A and then A-D back in the processor, then back from D-A for amplification / speakers? They were the first with DPLII, but both seem more committed to quality rather than necessarily being first to market. I like the Tag sync link idea, which seems similar to Meridian's digital jitter buffering / reclocking process within its 568 and 861 processors. The only difference being this works with other players, not just Meridian's own. I Do like the 596 for £2395 (upgradeable to DVD Audio).
For anyone interested in the Meridian forum or finding out more, there's a lot of technical knowledge and help to be found at... (& some interesting current views on video scaling within DVD players)
Global Meridian forum
Good luck processor hunting, and go for what you like the sound of best with the features you need.
Fancy video scaling?
are you saying the DVD32R can scale?
I could be wrong but I think Nic was refering to the upcoming processor upgrade/new model from Tag the AV192R which is due 2002. One of the features is supposed to be a scaler. As quoted elsewhere this will be a no cost upgrade or a straight purchase as a "new" model" All the details are on the TAG forum, search for AV192R.
Agreed that a digital link is essential for top performance. Tag will be using the DVI Interface which is technically very advanced digital transmission system, with encryption. Bandwidths etc are way in advance of IEEE 1394 etc. Expensive but technically the best solution I have seen so far. It makes SPDIF look micky mouse and IEEE 1394 like old hat.
Re video scaling the AV192R will have built in video scaling. The DVD192R will be a progreesive scan capable player subject to legal restrictions. Certainly NTSC but possibly PAL. A DVI digital interface would allow the ultimate quality be transfered to the AV192R and this can then scale PAL and NTSC, regardless of DVD formats. Progressive scan is currently only in NTSC in DVD players though these restictions don't apply to external boxes (scalers). Everyone hopes for PAL but no decisions have been made yet. Hopefully progressive scan in the future will mean PAL and NTSC but it is not a forgone conclusion. Doing the conversion outside of the box means that the AV192R will act just like a scaler. PAL and NTSC. The closest system we currently have is the digital link into the vigitec scaler. Now this is some dramatically new for AV.
[ 13-06-2001: Message edited by: Nic Rhodes ]
Thats a very exiting prospect. Looks like I might be swayed toward the Tag after all. A player with a built in scaler would be tremendous. I currently use a Quadscan , running triple with my BG808 , as progressive/doubling is not enough to get a film like image. Add that to the other benefits of Tag. Nic, can you explain the benefits of using the Tag player with the Tag processor?
Just to bring this up to date a bit more. Meridian will be using the same DVI solution that Tag (and Parasound) have already announced. It is not their own digital link. It is the propietry off the shelf DVI solution (IScan). They have confirmed this for the 800 series at the moment. I don't know about the 500 series though I suspect this would come later. It is not expected until the end of 2002.
An interim measure might be the SDI card Vigetec are making for the 800 to go to their super scalers. Most players are easily modified however...even cheap chinese ones
I look forward to these DVI solutions for DVD players, scalers and projectors. It looks to be the best solution technically and looks like being accepted by many of the big boys. All the talk of IEEE 1394 seems to gone by the way side.
It looks from a posting on the Tag web site this morning that the DVD192R will do the deinterlacing and will send a progressive signal to the AV192R for scaling over the DVI interface.
I was very doubtful about the Tag communication bus. I had seen many examples from other manufacturers and all left me cold. However, for the cost of a RJ45 cable it was simple to experiment. This bus really does work well. It controls turning on / off etc. A single button fires up the whole system. Amps. dvd and processor. Nothing new there. Overlays are communicated via the bus. Remote signals are transferred via the bus, so most (all with external sensor) of the equipment can be hidden but still receive remote commands. Display levels are controlled by the bus. Now much of the basics have been done some more user friendly stuff is being implemented as well which just makes the whole operation 'more slick'. If you have an idea, let Tag know and they will seriously consider implementing it if it is good. It is the nice fine tuning. Because of the flash architecture the bus can be programmed to all sorts of nice stuff that has never been considered before. It is neat powerful and simple.
The Tag synergy really comes to the for with the Sync link signal. Rather than two clocks working against each other in the DVD player and processor. The Tag solution is to slave the DVD to the clock in the processor. This massively improves the jitter characteristics and hence the sound. There are other good solutions to this jitter issue, but the Tag solution works very well and just needs an analogue signal and a single phono lead. The means in reality that the Tag DVD player can compete with the highest quality CD players and not be compromised. The AV32R is already well known and well regarded for its stereo performance.
I hope this helps
Where did you read about Meridian using the DVI interface? This seems like good news. Better than the bandwidth limited firewire solution for video and multichannel audio. Does it say that Meridian will use this link for DVD audio too? I thought they were going to encrypt their digital audio output, for starters anyway.
I hope they use it in the 500 series... can't afford an 800/861 at the moment!!!
Now I am interested.....This sync link thing....it is present on the tag dvd.....is it present on their cd player(s)??? That would give me very good reason to consider the tag processor and a tag player instead of a more hifi orientated stereo only pre amp solution....and but the sounds (pardon the pun) of it, it would be a very high performing stereo solution!
I think my original question has been answered:
TAG seem to be the more reliable brand for the longer term.
But do I wait for the new model...???
There is no need. Enjoy it now. Why wait? it serves no purpose.
The Meridain will be using the SDI interfacxe which uses a single phono/BNC to transmit data. This is different to the DVI interface. There is also a card for the Proceed PMDT. I think they are being developed by S&W, check the www.avsforum.com for more info.
I have been biting my tongue reading this thread but now I have to jump in. Since when have Lexicon been a less "reliable brand for the longer term"? No, repeat no, other manufacturer has Lexicon's track record of software upgrades for a particular model, or for offering trade-in deals on new processors. Yes the MC-1 is a little long in the tooth in this fast moving market compared to the newer TAG, but Lexicon will catch up and overtake in due course. In addition the MC-12 promises to be a killer at its price point and yes I realise that that is considerably higher than the TAG.
Also, where is all this stuff about the Lexicon's being buggy coming from? I have an MC-1 with the newest software and I have yet to see a bug. In the past when bugs have been discovered (for example with DTS in the DC-1 several years ago) a bug fix was issued quickly and free of charge. I don't think it is any coincidence that TAG is following in Lexicon's footsteps on this one -- Buzz Goddard, now TAG's US supremo, was instrumental in developing, marketing and supporting Lexicon's consumer processors.
Now of course I am not saying that there are not other fine processors out there -- there undoubtedly are -- but the impression so far in this thread is that the Lex is a crock, which is far from the truth. Just trying to redress the balance somewhat.
To clarify, when I said "reliable", I meant in the support/upgrade sense - not in the "going wrong" sense.
I had a Dc1 years ago and never had any problems with that.
I understand the DC2 is an amazing product, as is the TAG ! but the TAG does have the price advanatge...
Could somoene clarify if the current TAG can be upgraded to new model spec when it comes out. (Without the benefit of a crystal ball!)
I don't feel anyone has been denegrating the Lexicon product. Far from it, I think it fair to say I have been very complimentary about Lexicon and Meridian on this board. All are great products and any owner would be happy with them. They all have a serious reputation in upgradability. Ten years ago it was a one horse race with Lexicon. Just over five years ago Meridian started to come to the for, and have been there ever since. Now in the last two we have Tag. All are great processors. However the processor game in one of leap frog, he who has the latest....Where Lexicon used to be the world leaders they no longer are. Either this is down to competition or new Lexicon ownership.Probably a bit of both but I am certainly not suggesting anything wrong with Lexicon. There are many happy owners out there.
I was attempting to give some hints on what the future might bring (for all processors), SDI / DVI etc so people are educated for the future. This is why I felt it worthwhile letting people know about DVI on Meridian.
Perhaps I should write alittle about all the potential interfaces adv/ dis adv etc for general info. Any interest?
The current TAG (AV32R or EX) will be upgraded to the AV192R at no cost penalty, it is a return to manufacturer upgrade as it need a revised casing to cater for the additional "real estate". Apparently they will be offering a modular upgrade path so you can select which parts you wish to upgrade. All details on the TAG site posted by TAG's CEO search for AV192R
It is great to see a manufacturer do this.
Think I need to get a dem now !!
In the upgrade sense the Lexicon is not unreliable either. As I said there is no one who can match their track record.
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