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Lexicon MC-1 - how does it compare with newer models for sound quality?

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by NicolasB, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    I've noticed that there seem to be a significant number of second hand Lexicon MC-1s on the market at the moment. Lexicon stuff when bought new may be very good but is also disturbingly expensive (M-12 on both counts), at least partly (I suspect) because it's made in america and suffers the same sort of profiteering as (e.g.) M&K's consumer speakers. I doubt, therefore, that a new MC-1 could be good enough to justify paying over £5K for. But second hand ones are now changing hands for less than £2K. I nearly bought one the other day, but held back at the last minute because I've never actually had the chance to listen to one to see how it compares with more modern processors. I'm wondering if that was a mistake. :( I have listened briefly to a Lexicon DC-2, and it actually wasn't at all bad, but I didn't really have the time to form a proper impression....

    Has anyone had the chance to listen to an MC-1 side by side with processors like the Arcam AV8, Tag AV32R bp192 and Meridian 568.2? If so, how does it compare? And am I right in thinking that the only significant missing features are DTS ES Discrete and Analogue Bypass, or are there other things it doesn't do as well?
     
  2. Guest

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    Nicolas.

    I've heard a Lexicon MC-1 and thought it was pretty good.
    I have to admit, to my ears, it was more adept in movie reproduction than it was in good old stereo reproduction.
    Naturally, it does have some rather natty sound fields (Logic 7) as i'm sure you are aware.
    Certainly it's surround decoding in multichannel was excellent and was very cinematic. It was connected to a Bryston amp & PMC speakers (very, very, very good), so there was some excellent partnering equipment.
    I'm not au fait with what the MC-1 is missing.

    I put my cash into Boothroyd Stuart's offering as it made the BIGGEST impact in both multi & 2 channel replay out of all the processors i listened to.

    And after hearing DVD-A via digital MHR smart-link via a 568.2 & 598, i am still very happy i chose Meridian.

    You've been searching for your ideal system for a while now.
    Have you identified / purchased any of the components yet?

    Adzman.
     
  3. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    LOL, I was thinking the same:D Nicholas, are you ever goign to buy?;)
     
  4. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    :D Well, I can see why you would ask that. The answer to that is yes - but on the whole not quite yet. ;) I'm very wary about buying anything I haven't listened to, but I have very little spare time for auditions, and even when I do the only useful way one can compare two products is by listening to them side by side with the same system and in the same acoustic space. It often isn't easy to track down places which stock both of the things you want to check out. Many shops have surprising gaps, too - several have a Tag-McLaren AV32R processor on tap, but many of them don't have the bp192 version. :rolleyes:

    Tomorrow, for example, I'll be listening to Arcam AV8, and Meridian 568 processors, plus Arcam P7, Meridian 558.2 and (I hope, they weren't sure if they could get it in time) a Parasound 2205 amp as well. At some point in the next couple of weeks I should be able to make an Arcam/Meridian/Tag-McLaren comparison as well.

    I have committed myself to buying an Arcam FMJ DV27 2nd hand over in the classified ads section (should be picking that up today). I'm also going to be getting a Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer as soon as Richer Sounds have them in stock (hopefully end of next week). I've more or less made my mind up to buy some B&W Nautilus 803 speakers too, although I want to listen to some Sonus Faber Cremonas first, and maybe some ATC actives. I may actually hold off buying a processor for a few months more until I've paid off some of the rest of the stuff - my television is actually a surprisingly good stereo pre-amp and Dolby Prologic decoder, and I've got some old bookshelf speakers that will do an adequate job as Pro-Logic surrounds for now (although they wouldn't as Dolby Digital surrounds).

    Still need a power amp, of course. Arcam, Meridian and Bryston all looking good at the moment. Haven't heard a Parasound yet.

    Anyway: anyone else got anything good or bad to say about the Lexicon MC-1?
     
  5. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Look at my review on the Tag web site. Since then, Tag and Meridian have got much better, Lexicon MC1 hasn't.
     
  6. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Any chance of a direct link? (flutters eyelashes winningly)
     
  7. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Never mastered direct links to Tag web site, sorry :blush:

    but when I went looking for it I can't find it! I have asked Tag, I may even have a copy at the home somewhwere. I will check tonight
     
  8. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You name isn't Dominic, is it, Mr Beekeeper? There's a conceptually similar post on Tag's site by a Dominic which I would summarise as follows:

    Comparing a Tag AV32R (7-channels, but not the bp192 version) with a Meridian 568 (mark I) and Lexicon MC-1. The Meridian fell down a little on sound quality but much more because of the user interface. The Lexicon and Tag were about equivalent in quality, but of course the Lexicon was far more expensive. The Tag was perhaps better engineered and Tag-McLaren did a much better job of customer service.

    If this is accurate, that's helpful, as I have listened to a pre-bp192 Tag processor a couple of times. I thought it was pretty good, but I preferred the Arcam AV8, especially on dialogue. But if I were thinking of buying something in the £1500-£2000 second hand bracket then (based on that) it sounds as though either a 7-channel AV32R or an MC-1 might be a good buy. (Of course if I did that then I would have to start considering brand new processors like the AV30R, models from Myryad, and Primare and possibly even the Naim AV2:confused:).
     
  9. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Thats me :D

    Have done it since as well.

    I currently I like the Tag AV32 BP, Meridian 568.2 and the Arcam the best
     
  10. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Was that a fair summary, then?

    Would be interested in reading an updated version. :)

    Do you not rate the Bryston SP 1.7 at all? I've only had a few minutes with it, but first impressions were quite favourable.
     
  11. Geoffrey Shrek

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    So thats where i'm goin wrong :D
    Hey nic, change your name to "The Tyrekicker" mate, suits you sir :D
     
  12. Ian J

    Ian J
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    You may recall that there was a Parasound amp in the classifieds earlier this month. It was in mint condition apart from the dust :D
     
  13. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    ???:confused: did I miss something?
     
  14. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Well, obviously the requirements for prologic rears are an awful lot less exacting than for full-range speakers....

    I wouldn't say my TV is a good pre-amp, just that I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't nearly as awful as I'd expected it would be. :) I've been using a couple of scenes in "Gladiator" as a reference while auditioning hardware lately, and when I noticed they were showing it on Sky Premier Widescreen last night I tried watching the same scenes on my current setup. For a while it was surprisingly pleasant - catapults clanking while winding up, arrows hissing all round, all good. Then it got to the bit where the sounds of the battle fade out and there's a rather sombre piece of music played mostly on the strings with faint battle sounds coming through - and that absolutely set my teeth on edge in comparison to what I've been listening to lately.

    It's not that I don't want an entire system, of course I do, but the problem is that I simply can't afford to buy the whole lot up front. So the question then becomes: if I'm buying it piecemeal over the course of (probably) anything up to a year, which parts should I get first because I will get some benefit out them of by themselves? And I'm currently thinking:

    1) DVD Player.
    2) Left and Right Front speakers + multi-channel amp (keeping TV as Pro-Logic decoder and volume control).
    3) Subwoofer plus cheap cross-over (e.g. Paradigm Servo 15 plus X30).
    4) Centre speaker (still keeping things Pro-Logic).
    5) Processor.
    6) Decent surround speakers.

    But I may change my mind.



    Well, yes. I might well have gone for that if I'd noticed quickly enough that the price had gone down to £1200 - as it was, someone else got in first. But even so (as I said) I am extremely reluctant to buy anything I haven't actually listened to, and I haven't had a chance to listen to a Parasound amp yet. (Actually in the case of second hand gear I usually want to listen at least briefly to the unit in question, never mind just the model).
     
  15. Geoffrey Shrek

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    Bit difficult to to do a side by side with every model on the market with all equipment mentioned. Even more difficult to then find second hand bargain prices of this stuff. I fear by the time you get what you're looking for, technology would have moved on...and on....and on.........and on.................an on :D
     
  16. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Quite the opposite. I rate their stuff very highly. Bryston makes some great kit. I have always rated it up there with Tag as one of the greats. Crossover, pre and those dreamy 20 yr amps. AV processors I prefer elsewhere but not by much.

    Now the interesting bit, when I first heard Tag amps vs Bryston. I preferred one in bass and treble and the other in the mid. Which way round was irrelevant now. Both were REAL quality however and I pushed these two along with Parasound as being top flight. It is up to other s to make their final choice.

    I currently need two additional channels of much better amplication, so I have been doing much listening. I have had some great experiences but when I blind demo Tag vs Bryston I can’t easily pick all these differences I though I heard beforehand. Quality wise they are very similar. Now I read all sorts of things on this site where some say brand X is brilliant and miles better than brand Y. I would be VERY careful here and try and get properly set up demos (well matched for level), because frankly there ain’t big differences with power amps, for many much more basic amp may be just fine like Rotel etc. Top player I would have down as Bryston, Tag and Parasound (there biggie is cool). Then there are pile of great ‘audiophile’ stuff too numerous to mention.

    As I can’t pick between them I am having REAL problems deciding!

    The old summary would be fine, it is still on the web site, I just couldn’t find it. (I blame Velodyne owners).

    Re an update, as you put it so nicely.

    Lexicon MC1 Just the same, second hand prices crashed, look to £1800. DD /DTS is great (more jitter resistant) but feed a PCM signal and it is left well behind the competition (the screen I think). Again jitter.

    568 to 568.2. A nice jump and is connected digitally by the meridain digital link to the dvda player. Class bit of kit, still struggle with the interface but I suspect that is just me. Trifield is as brilliant as ever and the more I listen the more I prefer it over Lexicon L7. It is my favoutirite of all these modes, though several are good now. Sound wise this really does little wrong but is above you budget I think. If you think long tern the 568 can be upgraded to 568.2 and the DVDA can be added later that is why I am mentioning it. Might need the 562 controller as well depending on your input number.

    Tag. The new DACs are MUCH better but any old AV32R is upgradable for the stellar performance. 5.1 bypass is only really needed for DVDA and SACD. You will shortly have the upgrade option of the dual super SHARC processors. Room Eq, THX2, Dolby Headphone, bass management stuff (the serious quality toys from the AV192) would then also be available to you but you can start with the cheap basic unit.

    The new ARCAM is a lovely piece of kit. It sounds a match for a Tag AV32 BP192 in just about every department, has more facilities. I doubt it will be as well support as Tag (no AV192R) but that is for the REAL enthusiast only. It has many things included but I am still interested how they will add DTS 24/96 without major mods to the circuit board.

    I am not a fan of the Naim new processor, it sounds very ‘processor’ to me and is a schizophrenic
    Nightmare, especially for Naim! Weird but sane in comparison with AV1!

    The baby tag is lovely and is actually much more upgradable than you think. It does allow ‘shifting’ of the cost if buying new somewhat but in the end Arcam is probably better value.

    Technical engineering wise, Tag is king for me. The best value is ARCAM.

    Where the Tag (and Meridian) leave the Arcam behind is when you use the matching DVD player and have the jitter advantages. Arcam DVD feeding Tag / Arcam. Even contest. Tag DVD player feeding Arcam / Tag processors is an easy Tag win. (sync link advantage). Meridian in a similar position, perhaps even better now with DVDA

    What wold I recommend for you. The Arcam new kit if you can afford it new, else welcome to the Tag owners club!

    Does it help, to be honest you will enjoy any of these, they are all CLASS.
     
  17. Guest

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    Good stuff from BK here Nicolas.
    Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, you'll have heard some of the kit talked about here in greater detail....
    I've yet to hear the Arcam but am looking forward to annoying the hell out of my local chappie by sticking around for a while and fiddling with the combination.

    I agree with BK about the matching TAG/TAG, Meridian/Meridian components.......
    BK's a helluva lot more qualified to tell you about the inner details & components more than the good old spendthrift Adzman.

    I just turn up with a pile of cash & a grin.

    TAG combo is quality.....performance, build, upgradeability, service & looks (if that's your thing)...

    Meridian is also at the cutting edge of digital sound.
    I hope you had a listen to their 598/568.2 combination via the MHR Smart Link, as it's DVD-A replay is simply stunning.
    (Well, i thought it was....) as is the CD replay.

    Meridian don't have a 'Forum' on their website & therefore, dont have Bob Stuart or Alan Boothroyd answering any questions.
    In my opinion, they lack the 'completeness' of the TAG backup & service angles, although they are usually very prompt in their responses to any questions you may have.
    Also, you probably wont see Bob S or Alan B on these forums a la Mr Dawson from Arcam......I also like Arcam stuff...although, i still believe..(dont forget, it's my opinion) that Meridian has the edge over 2 channel & multichannel performance.....
    After hearing the AV8/P7 combo, i could change my mind?...Who knows............


    But, i would be well chuffed to own any of these boxes.

    Let us know how you get on Nicolas.

    Adam. (Velodyne owner.......am i still welcome?)
     
  18. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Had a listen to some more stuff today: Meridian 568.2, Arcam AV8, Meridian 558.2, Arcam P7, Parasound HC2205. Mostly driven with an Arcam DV27, but I did briefly swap in a Meridian 596. Speakers were Proac.

    Conclusions:

    Processor-wise it was very hard to choose between the Arcam and Meridian. I thought the Meridian just nosed ahead when attached to the 596 and up-sampling, but even then there wasn't much in it, and when you compare the price of a 598 plus 568.2 with the price of a DV27 (plus DVD-A upgrade) and an AV8 I'm not convinced that the difference in sound quality really justifies paying an extra £1800 or more.

    The Parasound amp was a big dissapointment, especially on music. I'm increasingly of the opinion that the Arcam P7 is extremely good value for money. It's significantly better than the Tag 5x100R (to my ears, anyway) and a definite step up from the Parasound too. At £2500 for 7 channels rather than 5 and with bi-amping ability that's not a bad deal.

    The Meridian 558 amp was definitely better still. It had a pleasantly effortless quality to it - what I think people describe as "airy". The contrast between that and the Parasound was really quite striking - MUCH bigger than the difference between the processors. I'd say that the 558 and the Bryston 9B are both a definite step up from the Arcam amp - but then again for those you're paying £3300 or £3400 for 5 channels rather than £2500 for 7.

    The 596 video quality was better than that of the DV27, but again I'm not sure if it was enough better to justify the price differential. (I've kind of burnt my bridges there, anyway, by already buying a 2nd hand DV27:blush:).

    The Proac speakers weren't bad, incidentally. The centre I thought was remarkably good considering the price (£1000). It's streets ahead of most of the £700-£800 centres, and not far off the B&W Nautilus HTM1 which sells for £1500. I actually liked these speakers better than the KEF Reference setup I'd heard in the same store the previous week.

    As far as processors are concerned I guess I need to decide whether I'm in it for the long haul. If I'm eventually going to have the chance to upgrade to a Meridian DVD player then it might be worth spending the extra £800 now. If not, it probably won't be. I should really check out the Bryston processor again too.

    As for amps, I need to make my mind up whether there's any chance of my ever going to 7 channels. If I do then the P7 is almost certainly the way to go. If not, I know a place I can pick up an ex-demo 558.2 for £2500, and that's distinctly tempting.

    Still haven't had a chance to listen to an up-to-date Tag processor. Hoping to do so in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully will also get a chance to repeat Arcam/Meridian comparison on some fancier (Sonus Faber Cremona) speakers....
     
  19. Guest

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    Nicolas.
    Very interesting to hear of your experiences with the assorted equipment today.
    I am a little surprised to hear of your experiences with the Parasound...I have this amp on the end of my Meridian duo and to my ears it is a cracking performer for both 2 channel & multi-channel duties.
    But, that's my own earholes speaking for me.
    I had origionally set my sights on a Bryston unit, but was quite happy to pick up a 2205 on the cheap.

    I am a fan of the DV27 machine, which i would've purchased if the Meridian 596 was not available....
    I believe it is a more 'balanced' (picture & CD) proposition than the excellent DV27.

    What a shame you never got to hear the 598 with digital MHR Smart Link connected to the 568.2.....
    DVD-A is simply stunning via this.....(bore, bore, bore, bore), as is the CD replay.....something that my 'upgraded' 596 will be aspiring to....

    I am hoping to hear the Arcam combo this week....

    Did this demo help you to decide certain things?

    Adam.
     
  20. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    keep us updated please
     
  21. Lowrider

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    Nicolas,

    I have "old" Sonus Faber, EAII + Signum... waited a long time for the Cremona center, but, thinking it is an overkill for my setup, ordered the Proac CC2 instead...

    I am interested in your opinion regarding the two centers, when you ear the Cremona...

    Thanks,
     
  22. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You people really should know better than to imply that what I say is interesting. You'll never get me to shut up now. :D

    Okay: as and when I get any more auditioning/purchasing done I shall add some more to this thread.
     
  23. cribeiro

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    Do you think it is time for an update? :D
    I just found this thread looking for info on processors :rolleyes: good info in here :thumbsup:
     
  24. Smurfin

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    I know Nicholas B still posts on the forum, wondering what he ended up with as I remember his endless posts on auditioning various pieces of high end kit :)
     
  25. dean999

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    bump
     

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