In the house: Lexicon MC1 vs Onkyo 989

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ricky T, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    OTHER EQUIPMENT
    NHT speakers: 3.3 mains, AC2, 1.5 sides, superzero rears, two rear/LFE sw3p subs
    Citation 5.1 amps: two, each 100x4, can bridge pairs to 300x1
    Panasonic RP91 progressive dvd, cd transport
    Hughes Direct TV receiver, with digital out
    SETUP
    3.3s and AC2 are 10 feet away, 1.5s are on 40inch stands five feet to each side, subs are my end tables.
    Unfortunately, my couch is only 10 inches from the back wall/window. So my superzeros are behind the couch, near the floor, pointed towards the ceiling. I am quite sure this setup and my room is not how Onkyo and Lexicon want you to position their rear centers!
    I only have 8 citation amp channels and 9 passive speakers. So I am using one amp channel in the Onkyo 989 (via mains-in preouts) to drive one NHT 1.5 side. Since I previously used the Onkyo to drive my rears/sides, I was sending 300x3 to my mains and center….now an unbridged 100x3. The center seems to be playing loud enough with the MC1 though.
    Originally, I intended to hook up the Lex to the Onkyo 5.1 inputs and use an analog switcher for the rear speakers. This would enable a/b’ing on the fly. But the video inputs and OSD needs got too complicated, so I gave up. The Onkyo is currently utilized as a monoblock 
    2 CHANNEL DAC, DETAIL/RESOLUTION, DYNAMICS
    Since I can’t a/b, comparing 2 channel performance is tough. Not only do I have to go on memory for the Onkyo, but I can’t level match. I did a/b on the fly the 989 dacs vs my previous Sony scd-333es sacd redbook dacs, and felt the Onkyo was at least as good. I think the MC1’s 2 channel is a little better…with a wider, more expansive soundstage. However, the 989 holds its own for detail, resolution, and dynamics for both 2 channel and surround. CALL IT EVEN.
    LOGIC 7 VS DPL2
    I watched Mortal Combat and Spawn on Direct TV in 2.0 Logic 7. It sounded like I was watching a DVD in 5.1. Better than DPL2 for 2.0 movies and CDs. With the adjustments, DPL2 can blend in with the mains and create a wider, more defined front soundstage than stereo. If you like listening to CDs in stereo, DPL2 music with adjustments has a better chance to grow on you than Logic 7 (or Music Logic), because the DPL2 rears are more subtle. BIG EDGE: MC1.
    5.1 LOGIC 7 VS DISCRETE 6.1
    I have two 6.1 DVDs that sounded awesome on the 989: Gladiator in 6.1 DTS and Phantom Menace in DD-EX.
    I watched Gladiator on the AC3 5.1 sound-track in Logic 7. Wow! At times, the rear soundstage was bigger than the front sound stage! Is Logic 7 better than 6.1? Probably depends on the DVD and what you prefer. So far, I’d describe the 989’s 6.1 soundstage as smaller but tighter, more refined. The MC1’s Logic 7 soundstage can be bigger, but perhaps looser. Also, you can switch the MC1 to Surround EX easily enough with one setting. EVEN.
    5.1 LOGIC 7 VS STRAIGHT 5.1 AC3/DTS
    Since I already mentioned that Logic 7 can make some DVDs the equal of a 6.1 DVD, and 6.1 is better than 5.1 on the same DVD, one can conclude that Logic 7 improves over 5.1. The MC1 allows me to a/b on the fly. I will test this over the next few days; I think it depends on the DVDs. So far, Logic 7 is a winner. EDGE: MC1.
    I might rank the following in terms of enjoyment for movie sound on a scale of 1 to 10 (in my system and room):
    TV’s speakers = 1
    Stereo towers = 3
    DPL1 = 4
    6 Axis = 6
    DPL2 = 6.5
    2.0 Logic 7 = 8 (DVD/CD signal, not weaker DSS signal)
    5.1 = 9
    5.1 Logic 7 = 9.7
    6.1 = 10
    SONIC FLEXIBILITY
    The Logic 7 numbers might get better as I learn to use the MC1 flexibility and adjustable sound parameters. The MC1 has the ability to adjust all kinds of sound parameteres by sound mode (ie, stereo, ac3, 5.1 Logic 7); such as LFE, subwoofer, center width and boost, rear, panorama, neutral/front/rear soundstage, rear speaker frequency rolloff (~ 5k to 20k hz), Bass Enhance, etc. So much,…I’m still learning. The Onkyo 989 is also very flexible. And DPL2-music has three nice adjustable parameters. In the end, the MC1 is like a computer than allows you to cater the sound you prefer, for your room. EDGE: MC1.
    ALL OTHER FEATURES.
    For speakers set to small, MC1 has 40, 80, or 120hz. Onkyo is fixed 80hz. Doesn’t affect my setup too much as my 3.3s and as big as my subs, so I can set them to large. People might like 40hz on their mains for 2 channel integration with the sub.
    Onkyo wins with: 5.1 inputs, direct mode, more source inputs, component video switching (three inputs at 50hz), easier to use, learning remote (but I have a Marantz RC2000II and prefer the Lexicon remote for processor only use), AC2 demodulator for LDs, true upgradeability not trade-in (I did the amazing $50 DPL2/DTS-discrete upgrade last year myself, and hear rumors of another upgrade coming this year), intelligent volume (allows you to basically put on sources on the same master volume level), built-in tuner. BIG EDGE: ONKYO 989.
    THE WINNER IS…..
    In the end of the day, this is basically a $6k Lexicon MC1 against a $2500 prepro (if Onkyo took out the amps and made a prepro, the B&K Ref30/AVR307 similarities, among others, would arise). And Lexicon vs other processors comes down to the unique Logic 7 and fantastic Lexicon surround processing/steering. For me, YES, Logic 7 is worth it because the MC1 makes my four sources all sound better (Direct TV, DVDs, CDs, Xbox games). $2100 for a mint MC1 that Lexicon owners say sounds very close to the $10k MC12, I’m a very happy camper.
    For others with different needs (2 channel, discrete dvd playback, 5.1 inputs, component video switching, proven software upgradeability to new formats), the Onkyo may be the better choice and value. The 989 (extra noise from internal amps and all) is right up there with the MC1 in terms of detail, resolution, and dynamics...and looks way better [​IMG] With the inherent ability to improve two channel by hooking up a sacd/dvd-audio with new high resolution formats and/or superb dacs. Anybody want a mint Onkyo 989 [​IMG]
     
  2. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    "Anybody want a mint Onkyo 989"

    If your interest is 90+% movie oriented, keep the MC-1 and don't look back. It was a wonderful movie processor for us, especially as you noted using Logic 7 with 2 channel sources.

    OTOH, if you value music a great deal, wait off on that decision to sell the 989. I had the same reaction as you when I first got the MC-1. As time passed, I found myself listening to music less and less. Once I reached the stage where I hadn't listen to music for over 6 weeks, I knew I needed a change.

    The above is my personal experience and opinion. Many value the MC-1 for music and you may too. If so, then you will be extremely happy.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Michael
     
  3. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    When I started in this evil hobby 4-5 years ago, I was into 2 channel music (it helps that my previous apt had an enclosed, near golden room 22x15x9 dimensions). Then I got a townhouse and worse acoustics. Then I got a Citation 7.0 processor and fell in love with 6axis for music. I don't listen to music as much (90% DVD and DSS), but really like the Lexicon's Music Logic for CDs.
     
  4. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    "Then I got a Citation 7.0 processor and fell in love with 6axis for music. I don't listen to music as much (90% DVD and DSS), but really like the Lexicon's Music Logic for CDs."

    It sounds like the MC-1 is tailor-made for you. Congrats on finding a quality HT processor. I personally had mixed feelings selling ours, but then again my wife and I have different priorities and preferences compared to others.

    Michael
     
  5. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    What processor are you using now?
     
  6. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Ricky, Great review!! So the logic seven is as good as dts-es in your opinion? When I had the lex dc-1, I was able to switch back/forth between thx and logic seven, for me it was a no brainer..Logis seven won easily, also with wife and kids..I love the flexibility of your mc-1 and I hear the bass enhance is something special..Per T. Vanderhal which enables him to use multiple subs without cancelation problems.. Happy for you, but not for me, as I have Lex fever..thanks
     
  7. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    "What processor are you using now?"
    None! I didn't time the sale of our MC-1 very well. In fact, it wasn't even up for sale when someone in my local area posted that they were looking for one. Less than a week later we agreed to a price, met for a quick audition, and sold the unit to him.
    Based on my auditions late last year, I had decided on the Bryston SP1.7, which is the 7.1 upgrade to the Bryston SP-1, due out in late March. The SP-1 is a wonderful sounding processor for music and movies, with the music performance being the most important to us.
    Of course, I had to read about the release of the Outlaw 950 (or soon to be released)! [​IMG]
    Michael
     
  8. Richard Burzynski

    Richard Burzynski Second Unit

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    Let me start by providing my qualifications for the following commentary.
    I have vast experience in listening to various systems comprised of both high quality processor and amp combos. Translation = I get to listen to Rick's gear every time he upgrades (~ every few weeks or so [​IMG]).
    Rick and I are good friends and last night I received a nice invite to listen to L7 (my first time). Funny thing is, we live in NJ and we're surrounded by Lex dealers - however, not one of them has a 7 speaker set up in their showrooms. We tried to go listen to a L7 demo once (at several stores), to no avail.
    What listening to new gear at Rick's is like. He's a good guy, but he's also tough. He insists on doing blind "taste" tests. We started with the "unleash hell" scene from Gladiator. He played that scene for me three ways: 2.0+L7, 5.1+L7, and 5.1.
    The 2.0+L7 was easiest to pick out as being different from the rest, but, and this is key, it wasn't a bad different. He didn't tell me what (processing method) he was going to play - I only knew #1, #2, #3. What I liked about 2.0+L7 (#1) was that the lack of detail (when compared to the others) painted a soundstage that seemed larger. The other 2 were closer to each other sonically with better defined detail, but without doing an A-B-C comparison, I can honestly say that a 2.0 source + L7 is quite impressive: an untrained ear could easily be fooled into thinking it may be DD5.1.
    We then listened to another Gladiator scene (first Rome coliseum fight for Maximus). No 2.0+L7 this time, just 5.1+L7 and 5.1. The L7 processing was superior: more surround action + more detailed overall sound. To my ears I heard all the little details a little better using the L7. This surprised me, as I figured that an "unprocessed" plain 5.1 would be more detailed, but my ears liked L7 better in almost every way.
    L7 on regular CD music. Way COOL. I like DSPs, I'm a big Yamaha fan (no pot shots, please) but what L7Music mode does is very very nice. Hard to desribe, just very pleasurable. As a point of reference, there are only 2-3 other Music DSP's that I have ever really liked, all Yamaha. I have listened to: 6 axis, DPL, DPL2, Angstrom's, Nak's - everything Rick has owned. All the other music DSP's were OK->good, L7 is a big step up IMO.
    If Rick doesn't hold onto the Lex for at least a year I would be very surprised. And just so that the crowd can understand what I mean, that would be like yearS for the rest of us.
    Nice piece Rick - enjoy!
    Rich B.
     
  9. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Ricky, can you are anybody else explain how the bass enchance works ? like I said I remember T. Vanderhal talking about it..But I am unable to find the info I need. It would be really nice to use multiple subs in different locations but not at the risk of cancellations thanks
     
  10. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    To my knowledge, bass enhance sends bass to the side speakers (with twists, such as tweaking the phase, etc). The sides to be able to play down to 40hz, or lower. In your system, any NHT tower would work. Or two passive NHT SW2p or SW3p subs. Maybe your system can look like this (with 11 passive speakers):
    MC1
    Parasound 2200II 220x2 for 2.9 mains
    Parasound 2205A 220x5 for AC2, svs subs, side nht subs
    Parasound 1205A 140x5 for four rears. [​IMG]
    Or 2205 for 2.9, AC2, svs subs
    and 1206 135x6 for rears and side subs.
     
  11. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    John,
    Here's a PDF document to get you started on understanding the Bass Enhance feature.
    Michael
     
  12. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

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    Okay. Slightly off topic. I'm reading this and don't have a good idea about bi-amping/wiring, matching amps with receivers, some of these switchovers things you guys are mentioning. Anyway, could anyone spare a link or two or three with just some good reading so I can educate myself more? I'm loving this hobbie, but am not at the level as some of you. I just haven't come across some of this material. Any help is appreciated.!
     
  13. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    Adam,
    Here's a link to a web page that describes biamping, with a section on biwiring. I lack the knowledge to determine whether the information at that site is accurate or not, but maybe it will give you a start.
    Michael
     
  14. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

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    Thanks, Michael (hey, that's my middle name! [​IMG] ). At this point, any information is good information for me. I just began researching HT stuff a little before Christmas. At that point, I literally didn't know what component input was and thought all television sets were capable of HD. :b I feel I've come a long way (especially with the basics) and have talked to no one in my local area who knows more than I. However, after coming across this forum, I'm not even at the tip of any ice berg. [​IMG] Lots to learn.
    I thank you all for your help. I sure am glad I found this place. Knowledge can be so much fun. [​IMG]
    «edit»
    I should have paid better attention in physics class. [​IMG]
     
  15. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Michael, thanks for the link, I will look at it when I have some spare time...at work[​IMG] Kevin, if your reading, Im just kidding
    [​IMG]
    Ricky, First off, I think you will be right on by adding that extra parasound amp to my setup[​IMG] I know you set your 3.3 to large, but Im curious what do you set your other speakers to ??, seeing how you have some extra flexibility now. I set the 4802 to 60hz all around {no choice}..hey its better then nothing. Have you played around with some of the tweaks yet, keep um coming...thanks
     
  16. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Wow, I was watching That 70's Show and the dialogue was coming out clean from the center speaker, but the chorus/background seem to come discretely and in stereo from the mains! Wow! RichB noticed this last night, and for CDs, his favorite mode was Music Logic, not Logic 7.

    I read through the Lexicon technical background and setup insert. I am impressed, very detailed description of the algorithms (frequent use of reflections, cancellations, delays by frequency by speaker, etc). I also moved my side speakers a foot closer to the mains, to get more separation from the rears, and closer to the mains (like the manual tells me to!).

    I rented the Crow Salvation DVD...the sound was amazing. The soundstage was huge and fluid.

    John T,

    I have my 3.3s at large, center now at 120hz (per Lexicon), side 1.5s at 80hz, and rear superzeros at 120hz. When you get your MC1, you probably should do 2.9s at 40hz (sweet into SVS subs!), center at 120hz, and rear vs2.4a at 80hz.

    Can you upgrade your sides to small towers?
     
  17. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Quick question:

    I want to do/try Bass Enhance, but my side nht 1.5s can barely do 60hz and really ideal at 80hz. I can "hook-up or add" my subs to the 1.5s and run my sides as LARGE, then mains at small (40hz), and sub to NONE. Without a sub, where does the LFE go? To the sides because they are Large?
     
  18. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

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    How much for the mint 989?[​IMG]
     
  19. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Earl,

    I'm looking to get $1850/best offer. Will split fedex ground shipping and insurance to Florida. Have all manuals, box, remote, dpl2 upgrade. I only used the 989 to drive my rear speakers.

    Thanks,

    Ricky
     
  20. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Ricky, I just started trying the 60 hz setting on 4802 , I know my ac2, vs2.4 and superzeros probably roll off at 80, but I thought what the heck,just let em roll.. the 4802s bass management sucks, as you have to set all speakers set to small at same hz.It kinda sounds cool {60hz} but I dont know if I would do it permenantly..I too remeber Lexicon saying set CENTER to 120hz.hmm How do you like that ?? is it thin, or just clearer..thanks
     

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