Lexicon MC-1 Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steven Simon, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    [​IMG]
    Let me start this review with a little background information on were I have come from in the world of home theater. My humble beginnings in this hobby started back in 1992 with a Sony SDR 615 Dolby ProLogic receiver.(It actually started way before, but this was my entry point into anything substantial in HT) Back then, I thought the Top Gun VHS tape was the biggest, badest demo one could play. I threw together 5 speakers from all over my house. Basically I used anything I could find laying around in the Simon family household. I don’t even remember the brand names of these speakers. I believe I went to Radio Shack and purchased 22 Gauge speaker wire for this configuration. VCR used was Sony at the time. So for around 5-6 years, I lived with this makeshift budget Home Theater. I thought it was the best thing I had since sliced bread, and had very little knowledge in the hobby.
    Along came the advent of DVD a few years later. At first I didn’t jump on the bandwagon, and laid back on the format. It wasn’t until 1998, when I jumped into the Digital Arena. I purchased a Sony DVD player (2nd Gen) for 450 Bucks, and a Tecnics 915 DD and DTS Receiver. For speakers I went with Advents. They were around 100 bucks for all 5 speakers. For a sub, I went with an Aiwa 150 Watt Box. For another year or so, my Home Theater hobby laid dormant, enjoying what I had, knowing I had an extremely modest setup, and was content at the time. It was a major upgrade for me going from the ProLogic setup, to a 5.1 discrete Setup.
    Here is where the fun starts. September 15, 1999 I have absolutely nothing to do. I’m surfing the net and hit Yahoo and do a search for Home Theater. What comes up, but Home Theater Forum. The site at the time had around 7000 members and looked to be a wealth of knowledge on the subject at hand. I quickly joined and started having a blast.
    To make a long story short, I quickly upgraded my entire speaker system in my bedroom (My only theater at the time) to all Paradigm reference speakers. Soon after, I moved the theater into my furnished basement, and sprung for a Mitsubishi 46805 16:9 RPTV. Upgrades such as Progressive Scan dvd players, to super thick speaker wire, SVS Subs, and ISF calibrations from such people like HTF Administrator Gregg Loewen all proceeded. Enter the world of Separates. I made the partial dive into this configuration around 1.5 years ago. With the purchase of 3 Monoblock Amps to power my front Soundstage, I felt I was getting a taste of what was to come down the road. I used my DENON 4800 as a PrePro for those front three, and used the amps in that unit for the 4 back Surround speakers. I was convinced after hearing this setup; this was the best approach to near sonic perfection in Home Theater. This hardware combination I had sounded fabulous, and at one point, never could have dreamed to improve it.
    Pre/Pro setups have been a huge topic of conversation on Home Theater Forum for some time now, and after a while, it started dawning on me that I should probably finish off on what I set out to do; a full Separates system. My first move was to have all the channels of amps ready to go. I now have a beefy 2 Channel Amp(Parasound HCA1500 205W) powering my Studio 100’s, and 5 Monoblock Amps powering my Center Channel, and four surrounds speakers, including 2 side surround speakers(Paradigm Studio ADP Diploes) and two back EX Speakers(Paradigm Studio 20’s). My next step was choosing the brains behind the entire show, the Sound Processor. After reading extensive reviews on all the products on the market, and doing some lengthy driving runs to Audio Stores, and members of HTF, I came to the conclusion that the Lexicon MC-1 would be a perfect match for my Config. The MC-1 does fall a tad short on a few key features that some of the newer Preamps already have such as Component Video Switching, DPLII, and Higher Resolution Audio Dacs. Needless to say, I only have 2 sources with Component video in my large theater, hence not needing switching and Logic7 to my ears did more for 2 Channel and 5 Channel mixes than DPLII ever will do. The MC-1 was a no brainer for me. Especially since the prices have come down like you can’t imagine.
    [​IMG]
    I started my journey with this brand new Lexicon MC-1 a few days ago, and what a journey this is going to be. This piece is a tweekers dream. One could spend weeks on customizing this unit to there exact specifications. I started by calibrating all the audio channels to 75 db at 0 on the knob. I then set all the speaker distances to my needs, as well as setting the Sub Peak Limiter. I then had to set a few Digital Inputs around and was then off to the races. Let me state that the Menus on this unit are a dream to work with. Easy as pie, but can get more than extensive for the advances user.
    I started with Gladiator and Phantom Menace as my first strong demo pieces. The Lexicon teamed up with the rack of Parasound amps simply sounds stunning. My speakers system has completely become transparent. I no longer can tell where a Sound Effect is coming from. Localization is gone! The front soundstage in my opinion is really what sets this configuration apart from what I had before (Denon 4800.) Vocals were heavily weighed in the Center Channel, and music seemed to be larger than life. The front stage was the deepest and widest I have every heard my theater. I did some experimenting back and forth with Straight DD and DTS on these 2 tracks, as well as engaging Logic7 with the respective formats. We’ll folks, the jury is back. Logic7 is definitely the way to go. Your soundstage widens tremendously, and your back Soundstage comes to life. You can hear much more detailed information coming from the rears with L7 on, compared to off with straight 5.1. I’m hooked on Logic7.
    There is so much more for me to review here, I have just hit the tip of the Iceberg, being this is a work in progress review. One cannot review a stellar piece of hardware like this, only after having it for a few days. For the last few years, I have only dreamed of my system sounding this good, and feel like I’m at the point where I am so close to bar of perfection on the Audio side. Stay tuned folks. I am one happy Home Theater Enthusiast today.
     
  2. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Congrats Steven. It is funny, there was a huge thread on this forum a month or so ago about receivers vs. separates. When I read all the posts, no one had mentioned Logic 7 as a good reason to go with a prepro. So I posted a thread on Digital Theater Forum: "Logic 7, a good reason to get a prepro?" Surprisingly, within a short period of time, the moderator of that forum bought an MC-1. I believe he likes his MC-1 as much as you do, and came up with the idea of teaming it up with the Sony P9000 add-on unit that allows analog signals and 5.1 signals with their ES9000 prepro and other prepros.

    With the price on a good used MC-1 dropping to near $2,000, more HT folk are going the Lexicon route.

    I almost pulled the trigger on one 2 years ago when a good price on a new MC-1 was $4,000, but couldn't convince myself that I wanted to part with that much money. My room was also not conducive to 7.1.

    There is a Lexicon in my future. Just a question of when.

    Artie
     
  3. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    Have I read correctly that the MC-1 doesn't do SACD or DVD-A? You have to move up to the MC-12 for that?
     
  4. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    Brian,

    The MC-1 does not have analog bypass, hence no SACD or DVD Audio. This feature was a non isuuse to me since I do practically no Music listening in my larger theater anyways. Also no Conponent switching on the Mc-1. Another item I did not need. I have 2 inputs on my RPTV, and that is all I need.
     
  5. Richard Burzynski

    Richard Burzynski Second Unit

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    Brian:

    That is correct. But consider this: Lex MC12 = $6K+ and Sony sells an add on piece, the TAP9000 that costs ~$500 that gives you DVDA/SACD inputs.

    Rich B
     
  6. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    Right. I'm not knocking it, I just want to make sure I understand.

    thanks for the info.
     
  7. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Nice reveiw Steven!

    Well written.
     
  8. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    Where's your Lex Trevor??? You neeeeeeeed the MC-12!!!!
     
  9. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Well, Ricky T was down in my neck of the woods over the weekend and came over to my place for a demo of my setup which is lex mc-1, panny rp-56, nht 2.9s, ac-2 center, vs2.4s side and superzeroes for the rear along with parasound 2205 and two svs 20-39 subs powered by a sampson 1000. I can say we are both VERY happy lex owners.

    We toggled back/forth between dd thx ex and logic 7 on a couple of movies and it was no contest as logic 7 was clearly better!!
     
  10. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    John,

    Ricky was also nice enough to let me demo his Lexicon. That demo session convinced me to buy the piece.....
     
  11. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    John's soundstage was so seamless from front to back.....I need to wallmount my rear superzeros very soon to replicate his rear sound before I start suffering from sonic deficiency syndrome [​IMG]
    Steven,
    If you need another pair of ears for the upcoming MC1 vs Outlaw showdown, I'm there!
     
  12. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    Ricky,

    Your invited anytime buddy!!!

    Just say when.....
     
  13. AVspec

    AVspec Supporting Actor

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    Steve... I am seriously considering purchasing a MC-1 and want to ask a few questions.

    Are you (or anyone else reading this) using the MC-1 with a balanced amp? I have QSC Pro amps that have balanced inputs and would like to know how well the MC-1 might match up.

    Also I take it there are no problems with audio drop-outs like have been reported else were with DTS-ES disc's and maybe DD-EX disc’s?

    Also I take it the units come with the rack mount ears?
     
  14. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Ricky, you just need another pair of 3.3s for the rear[​IMG] who needs wall mounting then..
    Steven, are you able to take advantage of bass enhance in your setup ? as Ricky knows, I'm itching to try it.
    Mark, I hope somebody can answer your questions as I'm a lex rookie and am still learning..
     
  15. Shawn Fogg

    Shawn Fogg Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark,
    "I have QSC Pro amps that have balanced inputs and would like to know how well the MC-1 might match up. "
    The MC-1 doesn't have balanced outputs. Does the QSC have TRS connections on it? If so you can use RCA to TRS adapters (available at RatShack) on your amp. You loose 6dB of gain but they work fine. I used them with my MC-1 and Crown K2s.
    "Also I take it there are no problems with audio drop-outs like have been reported else were with DTS-ES disc's and maybe DD-EX disc*s? "
    The dropouts actually effect DD soundtracks (Pearl Harbor, JP3...etc..) mastered with the latest encoder from Dolby. The Lexicon MC-1 uses a Zoran processor for DD decoding and I don't believe the Zoran in the MC-1 has any problem with those soundtracks. My MC-1 was gone by the time the problem discs came out so I haven't tested it but I haven't seen any complaints on the Lex. forum either.
    "Also I take it the units come with the rack mount ears? "
    No, but they are available from Lexicon.
    http://www.lexiconstore.com/021-13022.html
    Shawn
     
  16. AVspec

    AVspec Supporting Actor

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    "Does the QSC have TRS connections on it?"

    No, the QSC's only have the XLR inputs but I am currently using RCA to XLR cables with my Newcastle R945 and it seems to works fine.
     
  17. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Shawn,

    Maybe you can answer this. If a person only has two subs and wants to put them to the sides for bass enhance setting and puts the sides on large and the lfe channel to no. I understand that bass enhance creates stereo bass from the center/sides/rear but what about the lfe since it is a mono signal and rolled in with the rest of the bass, wouldn't this create problems. That is to say, rolling in mono lfe bass with the other "stereo" bass ?
     
  18. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    On pre-MC12 Lexicons:

    Bass Enhance applies phase shifts to left and right signals derived from any monural bass source, whether left/right, LFE, or other. AFAIK, stereo bass is unaffected.

    If you set the center, front, and rear speakers to SMALL; sides to LARGE, and sub to NONE the right magic will happen with bass enhance on multi-channel sources.

    Note however that for two-channel, you'll be missing bass below the front cross-over frequency. So, if you're using the system for two-channel and don't want to play with cross-over frequencies every time you change between DVDs and music you might want to try SMALL/40 on the fronts.
     
  19. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Drew,

    Thanks thats just the information I was looking for. I have two 20-39 subs and PLENTY of bass so I'm reluctant to go out and purchase 2 more smallish subs for the sides for bass enhance. I can put the svs's on the side for bass enhance(currently on lfe}, but I will need to purchase a crossover which will cost just about the same as leaving the svs's on the lfe and purchasing two smallish subs for the sides..so theres my dilema
     
  20. Shawn Fogg

    Shawn Fogg Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    "but I will need to purchase a crossover which will cost just about the same as leaving the svs's on the lfe and purchasing two smallish subs for the sides..so theres my dilema "

    I'd go with the crossover. If you use two smallish subs on the side outputs your SVS subs become dedicated to the LFE channel only. That basically means in non-DD/DTS listening you will have reduced your systems bass capabilities because now main channel redirected bass will go to the smaller subs... not the SVSs.

    Shawn
     

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