|Lexicon LX-7 Multi-channel Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Multi-Channel Amplifiers|
|Written by Thomas Garcia|
|Friday, 01 August 2003|
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To evaluate the LX-7’s multi-channel music playback capabilities, I decided to embark on a bit of nostalgia with the DVD-Audio mix of Emerson Lake & Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery (Warner/Rhino Records). The passionately musical trio of Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer have crafted some wonderful albums throughout their career, including Tarkus, Trilogy, and Pictures at an Exhibition. Many ELP fans find the charismatic and artistic prowess of Brain Salad Surgery to represent the trio at their best. The album is filled with a wide variety of synthesized, orchestral, and acoustical sections that create a wide sonic arena for the LX-7 to show its proficiency. "Toccata,” an adaptation of the 4th Movement of Ginastera's 1st Piano Concerto, features a volley of musical variances, which range from vibrant orchestral passages to bombastic percussive fireworks. "Still...You Turn Me On" is a lovely ballad written by Lake, with liquid vocals, full-bodied instrumentation and broad frequency extension, all of which were captured effortlessly by the LX-7. Fortunately, this cut was not overly manipulated during the surround sound process, but presents a subtle amount of ambience that allows the front speakers to blossom.
I next used two channels of the LX-7 to evaluate its playback of standard 16-bit/44.1kHz CD material. Once again, it was obvious that the LX-7 remained true to its function, amplifying the source without any alteration or coloration of the music. This was particularly apparent when listening to Facing Future (Mountain Apple Company) and the transcendental voice of Hawaiian singer Israel "Iz" Kamawiwo'ole. Iz died in 1997, leaving a legacy of recorded music, both as a solo artist and as a member of the Hawiiana band Makaha Sons of Niihau.
Iz's voice, like the life of the singer, is powerfully moving yet angelic in presence. The LX-7 masterfully captured the forceful drums, the sweet, soaring orchestral background, and minute changes of Iz’s vocal timbre throughout both Track One, “Hawai’i 78 Introduction,” and the final cut, “Hawai’i 78.” This album is truly an eclectic mix, including an islandized version of “Country Roads,” a variety of local tunes sung in the native Hawaiian language, and what is probably Israel’s most commercially recognizable medley, "Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful World." Facing Future infuses a ukulele throughout many of the musical arrangements, and it was pleasurable listening to the Lexicon’s neutral portrayal of this unique instrument. During my audition of the LX-7, I found myself immersed in the music, intellectually and emotionally detached from the equipment that was creating it. Ultimately, the LX-7 amplifier achieved its purpose of providing an accurate portrayal of the recording, adding and subtracting nothing, a very high compliment indeed.
Though the LX-7 was extremely neutral and powerful for the majority of my audition, there were times when it seemed to run out of headroom during some of the more dynamic sections when played at relatively high volumes. Some of this is definitely attributable to the challenging load of the Revel Salons. Using the bridgeable feature and supplying 400 watts to the main channels would surely cure any power limitations.
Lexicon has consistently been developing leading-edge products for the playback of new high-resolution sources, allowing consumers to experience performance that was unavailable a mere decade ago. This is most evident with their new processors, amplifiers and universal disc player. The Lexicon LX-7 Multi-Channel Power Amplifier performed flawlessly and did exactly what an amplifier is expected to do, which is to take an input signal and pass it through without adding any coloration or character of its own. With its single and bridgeable channel options, the LX-7 provides the end user with a variety of possible power configurations that would work well with any two- to-seven channel playback system. Although the Lexicon amplifier would be at home with many different systems, I found the LX-7 mated with the MC-12 to be quite a magical marriage. Tie this and the matching RT-10 universal disc player together and you have a combination of stunning cosmetics and sonic performance that is truly stellar.