I used to own one of these before I had my Tag. I must admit its pretty damn good Its built like a tank and has a very complex EQ system built in which if your brave enough works very well (If not as well as TMREQ). It was quite a bit ahead of its time in this respect. It uses the older Analogue devices SHARC 21065L DSP which is more than capable of performing Dolby 5.1 and DTS a lightning fast speed. It has quite a sharp analitical and unforgiving sound so be carefull what you partner it with
I can only comment on the Lexicons from reputation, which of course is excellent I have heard the MC12 but not the older stuff The Sony is a good unit, how much is it goin for? Its built like a tank in the usual Sony ES fashion. It served me well for two or three years, I used it with Musical fidelity and Rotel amps. I let it go for next to nothing as I wanted a quick sale (£350.00 I believe) when i had spotted the Tag goi cheap. The Sony cost me a grand although the goin rate was about £1250.00. Fortunately my regular dealer was willing to seperate it from the matching power amp which was the weak part of the equation, so avoid it if possible
Yes, I did toy with the idea of one of these before I bought the 9000. It was just the fact that it was limited on the inputs front that put me off. It was really designed to partner Sonys top of the line Pro logic amp at the time to give is digital capability. If it was between this and the Lex, I would definately go for the Lex
I currently using a 9000ES and it's very nice. I've previously used a TA-E1000es (prologic only) in combination with an EP-9es (90es has mpeg audio as well as DD) to give me Dolby Digital. The 9es is essentially a digital preamp with onboard DD and a 5.1 passthru.
I use the 9es to give me some extra digital inputs to the 9000. I can select any of the 4 digital inputs to the 9es and feed an optical output to an optical input on the 9000. I then select the 'bypass' on the ep-9 so I can hear the (analog) output from the 9000. Sometimes, I just use the output from the ep-9 although the version 2.5 firmware on the 9000 has a virtual 6.1 mode which is quite useful as I don't really have the room to install a 6.1 or 7.1 system.
The overall sound quality from the ep-9 is very good and it had very good reviews in the press. It was rated pretty well by Stereophile Guide to Home Cinema as well and was a 'recommended' component. I've seen the Ep-9es and 90es go on ebay for around £80 which is a bit of a bargain. Some people have reported problems with 'noise' on the volume control but I've never had any issues with it.
I'm sure I saw a 1000es advertised somewhere recently for £125.... it's still a great Prologic processor. I only bought the 9000 a couple of months ago and retired the 1000..... mainly to get the dts as I save up for something seriousin the processor department.
I have a single TAN-55 and a couple of TAN-77es (US voltages) power amps.