|Lexicon RT-10 Universal Disc Player|
|Home Theater Audio Sources CD Players|
|Written by Ben Shyman|
|Monday, 01 September 2003|
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The RT-10 will likely receive considerable and well-deserved attention, given its outstanding audio performance, particularly with DVD-Audio and SACD. As a result, I can envision many overlooking the quality of its video performance. During my audition with the RT-10, I spent considerable time watching many of my favorite movies including “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “Spy Game,” “Swordfish,” “Cast Away” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” The RT-10 was connected via Transparent Premium Component Video Cable to a 50-inch Fujitsu Plasmavision monitor, which was professionally calibrated by an ISF technician to 6500 degrees Kelvin color temperature and adjusted using the brand new Digital Video Essentials DVD.
The results in most cases were simply outstanding. Colors were vivid and the picture was sharp and stable. The RT-10’s progressive scan video was excellent, eliminating all but the most difficult artifacts. Edge outlining was sharp, with almost no ringing. In some cases where the transfer from film to DVD was first-rate, as with “Braveheart,” it was fairly easy to see the grain of the original film source. This was impressive and gave me the impression that the digital-to-analog converters in the RT-10 were maximizing every last bit of information from the DVD source. The clarity of the images and the vividness of the colors on even the smallest details on the clothing and armor of the soldiers and the horsemen during the battle scenes were outstanding. The RT-10 handled fast-moving images in action movies with ease, no doubt the result of its Pure Cinema technology, which converts film sources from 24 to 60 frames per second. In fact, this was one of the RT-10’s greatest video strengths.
While my Fujitsu Plasmavision monitor by itself has outstanding black levels as far as plasmas monitors go, the RT-10 made the black levels even better. This was evident while watching the new Led Zeppelin DVD, where red and green concert lighting, which created a gradient against the black background that looked as realistic as anything I have seen from any plasma display.
While the RT-10’s video capabilities are surely matched by many stand-alone, high-end DVD players, I felt fortunate to have this good performance to accompany its outstanding audio capabilities. To say the very least, hooked up to my 50-inch plasma and Faroudja NRS-DVI, both of which are my reference standards in their respective categories, the RT-10 was not out of place one bit. In fact, it was a welcome addition to my theater.
The RT-10’s downsides are clear, most notably not including HDCD or DCDi technology, a disappointing LED display, a lack of an RS-232 port and remote interference with my Proceed AVP2 (which thankfully I was able to correct). Furthermore, I would have like to see Lexicon provide a proprietary output to their MC-8 and MC-12 processors for high-resolution music.
In the world of high-end electronics, there probably can never be a perfect, please-all product and that is true here, where Lexicon has taken a remarkable and ambitious risk, creating what likely is the current king of hybrid high-resolution disc players on the market today. It is their first source component and Harman Specialty Group’s only high-resolution and hybrid player.
I have been living with the RT-10 for almost three months and over that time, despite its relatively small design flaws, this player has left me eager to listen to all of my favorite old compact discs as well as go out and expand my DVD-Audio, SACD and DVD-Video collection. It will do the same to you, because it sounds and looks that good. It was Lexicon’s goal, first and foremost, for the RT-10 to be the first reference-quality hybrid player on the market. In terms of sound and video, I believe they have accomplished just that. If you are looking for a player that offers remarkable flexibility, is simple to use, offers near reference-quality audio and video in one package, and you can live with several minor shortcomings, you should give the Lexicon RT-10 very serious consideration. You will not be disappointed.