Tag Av32r-192 or Lexicon MC-1

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by gpender, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. gpender

    gpender
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    O.k gang I need some help on this one.....
    I've got the option of purchasing a second hand Tag av32r with 192bp @ £1800 or a second hand Lexicon MC-1 @ £2000.On paper I think the Lexicon should edge it but there's a real appeal about having 192Khz ad/da's as I'll be able to use these with my DVD-audio player. I've been trying to find out whether Lexicon might be doing a upgrade for the MC-1 which will bring the converters upto 192 but I don't think that's happening. There's a real desire in me to go with the Lexicon but on paper it won't be able to do one of the jobs thrown at it and thus maybe I should go with the tag....
    HELPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. alanrob

    alanrob
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    Get the Tag as it almost 100% future proof :D
    Have a look at their web site (www.tagmclarenaudio.com) for all the updates that are coming to take the av32r up to an av192r :D
     
  3. uncle eric

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    Not at all. IMO, More importantly, the 192 out classes and out guns the MC1 in more ways than you can skin a cat.
     
  4. gpender

    gpender
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    Uncle Eric, can you elaborate. It's these "more ways than you can skin a cat" that I need to know, so i can make my desicion.
     
  5. Stuart M. Robinson

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    gpender,

    There is currently no way to get 192kHz from a DVD-Audio disc digitally into the TAG, so the 192kHz DACs only have value on paper, ie. there are no 192kHz sources.

    To hear material that's 192kHz 24-bit from DVD-Audio, you would have to use an analogue signal path. Maybe TAG will produce a digital interface like Meridian, Pioneer or Denon, and maybe not.

    There are to be no more upgrades for Lexicon's MC-1, it will be replaced in a few months by a little brother to the MC-12.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group - http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  6. gpender

    gpender
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    Thanks for the reply Stuart, but to be honest I was aware that you could'nt get 24/192 digitally across any machine (with the exception of the Meridian processor and player via it's propriatry cable, I think).
    Thus I realise that I'd have to use an analogue signal path via a bypass, which the Tag has got!
    In my understanding with regards to 24/192 the Tag can, the Lexicon can't! But as we all know the buck does'nt stop there. Perhaps the Lexicon's processed sound of a 24/192 signal (albeit at 24/96 now), sounds better than the effort of the Tags bypassing.
    Also worth considering, though I'm about to buy, and thus want to be sure I've got the most upto date technology, the weight of my collection is obviously DVD's and CD's compared to a handfull of DVD-A's and thus am I shoppping with the wrong criteria in mind?
    Putting the whole DVD-A thing a side for a second, what is the better processor.....though significantly cheaper, so far the majority of people seem to prefer the Tag......my desicion is going to have to be imediate, but what with the money involved I need to be certain...CONVICE ME!!!!
     
  7. Lowrider

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    I bought TAG based on its proven upgradeability record, and user satisfaction, enough for me...
     
  8. Stuart M. Robinson

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    gpender,

    The MC-1 is a damn fine processor, maybe better sounding than the TAG depending on your system etc., as the TAG has nothing to compare to Logic 7. Lexicon’s support is also legendary so there’s nothing between them on that score either.

    But, the MC-1 is an older platform and won’t do a couple of things that might be important in your system. As we’ve discussed, one has to use analogue connections with a DVD-Audio player (unless one has an all Meridian, Pioneer or Denon system) so that means your processor will need an analogue bypass and a six-channel analogue input array, neither of which the MC-1 has.

    I wouldn’t get too bogged down in the sample-rate capabilities of the DACs as that has little bearing on how a unit sounds – proprietary processing and the analogue stages are far more important. One can buy a £250 receiver with 192kHz DACs, but would you want one?

    If you weren’t already aware of them, there are dedicated TAG and Lexicon forums. The TAG forum is on their own site, whereas the Lexicon forum is privately run and independent of Lexicon (although they participate) and can be found at: http://www.smr-forums.com/


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  9. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I think this nees to be put into context. Tag have promoted these new DACs as they have a better technical performance (and sound better) than the old counterpart. This is with ALL the signals you can transmit digitially and with all the analogue inputs (except the 5.1). This DAC is just a better quality DAC than the one it replaces and therefore makes the Tag sound better. The fact that they will work with a digital DVI connection at a later date is a bonus.

    RE: Logic 7. I am a great fan of this mode but it certainly doesn't tower above many of the quality competiton, in fact I would put Tri field as the top of the pile. TMS is also a pretty classy DSP in it's own right. Lexicon ownwers rave about L7 as if it is the only mode on the planet, I don't think it is and is the reason many are voting with their feet away from Lexicon in this country to Tag and Meridian.
     
  10. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Except after dark as the signal on long wave is appalling then and Test Match Special becomes difficult to follow
     
  11. marck

    marck
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    I have been an owner of an MC1 for about 6 months now. My first impression was that the sound processing using Logic7 for movies was supberb. However when it came to music replay I was not that pleased. I was running a Micromega Stage 6 cd player.

    However, I have since changed that and now have a Theta Carmen cd/dvd transport. This means that I hav been able to use the digital processing power of the MC1 for cd replay. And wow, what a difference. I am now extremely pleased with the quality of music and movies.

    By the way, have you thought about the Theta processor?
     
  12. gpender

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    To be honest marck I hav'nt considered the Theta, but I'm so confussed and stuck with the two options I'm not going to introduce another one at this stage of the game. I'll be honest when I started this thread I was hoping for some honest coments on the quality of sound of the two units and perhaps how they faired against one another. The spec side obviously plays a factor, but that much I can read up on myself. That said people are going to be biased ,more often than not, towards the unit they own, yet I was hoping someone out there might have had both units at one stage and thus could give an honest appraisal of the both of them, though I'm grateful for the responces, that has'nt happened yet. Time's running out, as tomorrow I've got to commit to one or the over, or risk lossing both units and being soundless until I get it sorted. Any last minute help.......
     
  13. marck

    marck
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    To be honest I have not heard the TAG, so I cant really comment on their respective merits.
    I did ask this question to some guys at Acoustic Arts and there response was that there were better processors out there for the money eg Primare, Lexicon and Theta (Primare being the most reasonably priced - RSP1066 about £1200).
    I think you should audition both and see what you prefer - that is the best way. Have you a demo booked for tomorrow? If so, take along your cd and dvd player and some discs and see what you think.... I am sure by hearing them you will make your mind up - hopefully!

    Good luck.
     
  14. Guest

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    gpender.

    Well, that's not surprising as i would assume that they purchased their preferred unit due to the fact they thought it was suitable to their tastes...
    I've always thought chosing a processor is one of the hardest things to do, as there are some really nice pieces of equipment out there. You'll have the TAG boys willing to discuss the merits of their av32's..The LEXICON boys willing to discuss the merits of their MC* units & me, willing to discuss the merits of the MERIDIAN (568.2) processor...and so on....
    It's pretty hard to demo each unit side by side as not all dealers stock the required kit to show / lend you.
    It's useful to keep an eye on future upgradability of your chosen machine which is something that most manufacturers have taken onboard. I demo'd a few processors and found the Meridian unit had the most impact on me (2 channel & multichannel).
    I suppose i was slightly swayed by the fact i had a Meridian DVD player, but honestly gave the competition a good check out.
    Arcam AV8 wasn't about then..Couldn't afford the Lex MC-12 or the Meridian 861, liked the TAG, would've loved to hear the Theta processor...
    I did fancy the idea of DVD Audio, so as Meridian are planning to jack the 596 upto DVD Audio status, thought (along with the sheer quality) that the 568.2 would be a good partner.

    Have enjoyed it for many hours since.

    Best of luck with your decision gpender.

    Adzman
     
  15. gpender

    gpender
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    The Lexicon that's in contention is second hand, though I have heard the MC-1 before and was blown away, though that does'nt help as I was blown away with the Tag as well! In all honesty I hav'nt had chance to compare the pair back to back and that's what I'm up to tomorrow. I actually run a pro audio store and consequently have customers demoing kit all the time, but I can't help but think at times it's a little futile as in your own surrounds over time a different picture is sometimes painted, though,that said, I appreciate that the demo is all we really have to go on. It's for this reason that I really wanted to here from you guys who've lived with these things over a while. Of course if the shop wants to lend both units to me over a fornight then it will problem solved and I'll give you all the definitive answer in 2 weeks.....but that's not going to happen.....Tomorrow will be interesting....perhaps I'll discover a stinker but I think I'll love them both for slightly different reasons, mind you I've waited long enough to be in this dilema so I think I'll relax and enjoy it. I feel like a kid on christmas eve,so I think I'll go to bed now so tomorrow comes quicker! Either way I'm going to have a great new toy tomorrow! See Ya!!
     
  16. marck

    marck
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    Good luck for tomorrow!

    By the way if you are looking for some power amps to go with that new processor I am selling some Audiolab 8000MX's - in mint condition, boxed and F serial number.....Let me know if you are interested!
     
  17. Lowrider

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    At this price range I doubt you will find "bad" processors, your system sound will depend mainly from speakers, powers and cables choice, (not forgeting the room, of course)... Even the DVD transport won´t make that much difference on the same quality price range...

    One quite valuable feature, is the sync linc between DVD and AV that TAG and Meridien have, maybe others too, if you want to get the best out of your CDs...

    What I mean is that what is important choosing an AV processor is upgradeability and features, (by the way TAG just announced bass equalization on the AV192 and AV32 upgrade)...

    No one will tell you that one sounds significanteley better than the other, because they don´t... IMHO
     
  18. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Lowrider, I will! :devil:

    I can't agree with this statement at all. I think the difference in sound quality from different processors is more significant than power-amps. And substantially more so than cables FGS! Speakers and room, I will acknowledge, probably have the biggest overall effect. But the quality of DAC's, how the processor deals with jitter, basic componentry, and software programming, particularly in the area of bass management and sound steering, makes a huge difference to the overall sound of a system. The TAG, Lexicon and Theta all sound significantly different to me, especially when dealing with plain old stereo sources. For the record, I would rank them as Theta>TAG>Lexicon for sheer musicality. No doubt others would rate them differently. I can't comment on Meridian, because I haven't listened to it in sufficient detail. But I believe the differences ARE audible, and for sheer 'live-with-ability', sound quality would be top of my criteria for choosing. Upgradeability and features would be nice to have, but of lesser importance overall.

    Again, just my opinion, FWIW. ;)
     
  19. Lowrider

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    Charlie,

    I agree that the quality of DAC's, how the processor deals with jitter, basic componentry, and software programming, particularly in the area of bass management and sound steering, makes some difference to the overall sound of a system, but not that significant in this price range, now if you compare with receivers or cheap stuff...

    The jitter part, I did mention that proprietary links improve things seriously, when playing PCM, (CDs), if you have the appropriate transport, otherwise they deal with it similarly...

    The TAG, Lexicon and Theta all sounding significantly different to anyone, when dealing with plain old stereo sources, will depend on Logic 7, DPLII, whatever, that is a feature to me... :rolleyes:

    As for cables... lets not get into that debate now, I know what I ear, you know what you don´t ear... ;)
     
  20. Lowrider

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    Oops, I forgot the power amps, they make a much bigger difference than processors, at least with my difficult to drive speakers... With "easy" speakers you could be right... :confused:
     
  21. Charlie Whitehouse

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    I still don't agree. Even at the same price level, what manufacturers do in their processors is quite different. The results are quite audible. I happen to find it most telling with pure stereo sources, because I happen to listen to most of my music this way. With my Theta CB2, its ability to generate an almost holographic 3D stereo soundstage, huge in both width and depth, means I just don't need to engage any 'synthetic' surround modes like DPLII or Logic 7. I just use straight stereo mode. For me, neither the TAG, or the Lexicon MC1 (or MC12 for that matter) can do this trick with anything like the same degree of success. So, the Theta doesn't have Logic 7 or DPL II (yet). It's not an issue for me; it has Circle Surround which is more than acceptable as an alternative on the few stereo sources I choose to listen to this way. For me, the musicality of the Theta is worth much more than the absence of Logic 7. I am talking about the CB2 here which is significantly more expensive than TAG or MC1, but the Theta Casanova which is roughly competitive with them shares many of the sonic traits of its bigger brother.

    Proprietary 'sync' links are one way of dealing with the jitter issue. There are others. Theta, for example, use 'buffering and re-clocking' in both their transports and processors. This will still give most of the benefits with other manufacturers' components.

    With your speakers, I agree, you do need capable power amps, but say you used Parasound or Bryston at a similar price level, I suspect you wouldn't be able to tell them apart in a double-blind test. If you look at the published results of double-blind tests on amplifiers using an ABX tester, you will find the results most interesting. With competently designed amplifiers, it just isn't possible to hear the differences reliably. Hell, according to some of these tests, we can't even hear harmonic distortion less than 1%. So why do we bother about amp THD specifications being the wrong side of 0.01% ?

    I never said I don't hear differences in cables. I reckon I do and spent a small fortune as a result! :blush: It would still be interesting to do a controlled DBT to verify this though....

    What I am really saying is that if you compare different manufacturers' components at roughly the same price levels, the differences between processors are quite large, between power amplifiers, less so. Cables only make a difference of a few percent at most.

    All still just my opinion. ;)
     
  22. Lowrider

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    Don´t take my posts as trying to prove something, I am not into that, as yours, they are only my opinion, and also trying to learn from other´s experience, and yours is most valuable...

    Anyway, I am findind our conversation very interesting, and open minded, sorry if I am bothering others...

    I expect that we will get improvements as we go up the ladder, but much less cost effective from this level up... I also like, and have an almost holographic 3D stereo soundstage, huge in both width and depth, my wife several times said, "I told you surround is much better", when it was playing plain stereo... Still I think DPLII, or whatever, without center speaker, (that spoils more than improves), fills the "back" of the stage nicely...

    TAG also re-clocks, I would expect Lexicon too, I don´t know about buffering, but most DVD players do it, (I think it is better on the player), thats why there is a trend to use DVD transports with external DACs, even though, theorectically, the one box solutions will be less prone to jitter, with the exception of those using sync lincs...

    As for powers, I don´t know Parasound, but I know my Brystons sound much better than TAG, wich sounds much better than Rotel, wich is night and day from receivers... All with my speakers, of course, and confirmed by several persons, comparing directly... The specs mean nothing to me...

    Most cables might sound almost the same, but some do make a difference, it depends on the rest of the system... not at all on the price...

    Then, to complicate matters, there is the synergy between components, if you already have the right combination of powers, cables and speakers, then the processors might make the difference, otherwise it maybe the powers or the cables... :rolleyes:
     
  23. Guest

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    Charlie.
    I think your Theta setup is one of the pieces of kit i'd like to hear someday. Read some good stuff about it & know it is well respected..

    I agree that that not all DSP's are convincing in turning stereo into multi-sound, but when it's done right (in my setup - Trifield on Meridian) it is certainly an alternative to stereo.

    I know a few Meridian owners who play 2 channel CD's in Trifield everytime without exception!....
    That's not to say that plain vanilla stereo isn't quality, as it is.
    Direct for playback excluding sub: Stereo for playback with sub + many other different DSP fields.


    Me,..........i'm still fiddling, twiddling & tweaking.....
    The ability to fine toggle the sound on the 568.2 is great

    Adzman.
     
  24. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Lowrider, it seems we are destined to disagree on this. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, to put this thread back on track, I think we are both agreed that the TAG would be the better option of the two given. I wonder which gpender chose in the end?? :confused:

    Adzman, you'll have to come over here sometime and have a demo. Ask Eric *privately* what he thought, although we didn't find time to try just plain stereo, he did have a taste of HFO and Titan AE DTS!!! :eek:
     
  25. Lowrider

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    Charlie,

    Just different experiences, maybe due to very different speakers...
     
  26. Nic Rhodes

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    Of the two processors here I would put the Tag forward. If you go to the Tag site and search for a post called something like My experriences buying... you will find my review of the MC1, 568 and MC1 (not under The BEEKEEPER name). I have had all three at home (in pairs). If you want any more specific answers please ask.

    Then I went for the Tag. Since then the MC1 has done nothing. The Tag is miles better and the 568 has gone to the 568.2 This is an excellent processor. I have demo'ed the Theta since then and find them top flight as well. I would be proud to own any of the Tag, 568.2 and Thetas. They are just class. All are different but all are serious quality and for me miles more important than the power amps.
     
  27. marck

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    What was the outcome.....
     
  28. marck

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    What was the outcome.....
     
  29. gpender

    gpender
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    Well firstly thanks to marck, charlie, adzman and lowrider and everyone else thats shown an interest in my dilema over the last couple of days..but unfortunately today's been one of the worst in a long time......
    Everything started of fine. I had to travel down to a place called Normandy near Guilford to pick up an FM7 and a Hark rack ( I'm selling my existing Cyrus stereo setup to make way for the new stuff. I'm selling it to my girlfriends parents and they wanted me to source them some other bits and pieces (( still need a dad3 if any ones got one))). Any how, that went fine, then I had to travel on to Audio T in Eastbourne to get the processor. At this point I was pretty certain, from experience and from what I had spoken to you chaps about, I was soon to become the proud owner of a Tag and that this evening I would be enjoying it and telling you guys about it. Anyway things were to go horribly wrong.....It turns out that the Tag AV32r-192bp was really a Tag AV32r!!!! Needless to say I was gutted. The thing that I had been rabbiting on about, to anyone that would listen, was the 192Khz ad/da's and now I was'nt going to hear them! Despite having driven half way across the world in Saturday traffic I was given a meek " sorry,we did'nt know". It was made clear to me by ANDY @ AUDIO T that it was indeed the AV32r 192Khz model earlier in the week, he had even said it was the 7.1 model though it turned out to be 5.1!! I pointed out that if an employee of a supposedly quality Hi Fi shop could'nt tell the differece between models, what hope does any one else have. I'm not joking guys, this lot were the most pathetic bunch you'd ever seen. There was'nt any real atempt at an apology. I was treated as if I had just popped around from the corner and that the unfortuneately what I was after was'nt in stock. Anyway after they refunded my deposit which they were quick enough to take to hold the unit earlier in the week, after they had told me "yes that's the model we've got" I was off and 5 hours later I'm still fuming. I'm now going to post a thread elsewere and warn people about the evil that is AUDIO T. I must admit though, Audio T in West Hampstead were and always have been great. But everyone must avoid the Eastbourne shop like the plag as they might flog you a microwave instead of a bit of AV equipment..."well they look the same"..... It's just a shame that there's no quality control amongst these bigger chains anymore. Clearly just because good service is offered at the one branch it does'nt guarentee it else where. I'll be complaining to the powers that be over the coming days but I don't know what good it will do, again the problem of dealing with a bigger chain is the demands for customer service often falls on deaf ears ( or blind eyes in this case). Meanwhile it's back to having my head in the adverts and the Genlecs can go back in there boxes, but I shall return......
     
  30. marck

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    That is why the only dealer that I will go to is Acoustic Arts - I feel they are probably the only 'proper hifi' shop offering 'proper' advice. I know people will probably disagree with me, but so far the advice and service I have received from them has been a significant difference from other shops.

    Maybe give them a call gpender - it will be interesting to hear their opinion on your dilema...
     

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