|Lexicon MC-12 HD Music and Cinema Processor|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Thursday, 01 May 2008|
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I placed the MC-12 HD in my reference rack between my Bel Canto Ref 1000 mono blocks and my Sony Blu-ray and Toshiba HD DVD players. Since the MC-12 HD has copious amounts of HDMI inputs, I was able to connect all of my associated sources via single runs of UltraLink HDMI cables. Until the MC-12’s arrival, I had been unable to connect all of my gear via HDMI. I often had to run my Dish Network HD DVR via component video cable; kudos to Lexicon for having the appropriate number of connection options.
I also want to point out that, during my time with the MC-12, Lexicon graciously loaned me their monstrous 300-watt per channel ZX-7 amplifier. The ZX-7 goes down in history as being one of the largest amps ever to grace my listing room. It is so large and so powerful that it requires two dedicated 120VAC circuits or a single 230VAC. This type of amp will drive everything and anything, perhaps even your car, but should be installed by a custom installer to ensure the best possible performance. Needless to say, once powered up it was a delight but, for the purposes of this review, I utilized my Bel Canto Ref1000 monos.
Onscreen set-up was simple enough and, while not as elegant-looking as, say, Integra’s or Denon’s menus, they did the job; I had the MC-12 HD set the way I wanted in under an hour. Once you’re done with the internal set-up, the day-to-day livability of the MC-12 couldn’t be easier or more pleasurable. It was one of the few products that didn’t instantly intimidate my guests or my girlfriend.
I ended my set-up with the optional calibration microphones Lexicon supplied for me. The four small microphones plug into the rear of the MC-12 and are placed on mini-spider-like tripods in your primary listening positions. From there, it’s best if you operate the automatic procedures via remote from another room if possible. The MC-12 generates a series of tones that inform the processor of your speakers’ capabilities, as well as their placement in the room. It offers several room correction options that can be set and/or customized, then programmed to each source. Supremely cool, but I have to say the auto EQ Lexicon offers is not as dramatic in its results as, for example, my reference, Audyssey EQ. This said, and after talking with Andrew Clark, vice-president of Product Management at Harman, I now understand why.
Here is Andrew’s response to why the Lexicon MC-12 HD doesn’t feature an Audyssey EQ or one that takes more drastic measures in correcting problem room nodes and anomalies: “The MC-12 system was designed to have minimal impact on the sonic characteristics/signature of the loudspeakers being used. Our research found that many prospective customers wanted an EQ system that would fix the significant problems in the room, but not radically alter the character of the sound quality they bought. That way, Revel, B&W or whatever speakers people are using will still sound like the speakers they fell in love with in the demo room.”
After running through the auto EQ set-up, I can say that, while not as dramatic as the Audyssey EQ, the effects are still welcome and appropriate, improving the sound quality for the better across the board. However, the MC-12 is clearly a processor designed to be at the heart of a true dedicated room, with proper acoustical treatments and dimensions. When used in that environment, the MC-12’s EQ is much more effective and the results are more dramatic.
It is a testament to how approachable this high-end product truly is that I was able to navigate my way through the MC-12 HD’s set-up and integrate it into my reference system and my office system as well. However, if I were purchasing the MC-12 HD for my system, I would let my custom installer or Lexicon dealer handle the set-up, especially if I was planning on using it in conjunction with the ZX-7 power amp.