Are lossless Codec's worth upgrading my processor

I have a lexicon DC-2 processor which has a number of the older codecs and lexicon's 7:1 surround great with HDTV. However, now I'm going to get a bluray player and of course today's technology has lossless codec's and HDMI 1.3.

I can connect a bluray player thru digital to my Lexicon DC-2 and still decode the non lossless codecs...well at least some of them.

The question big is the difference in sound between the new lossless codecs and DTS, Dolby, etc. Is it night and day....or just a little better...or just marketing hype?

(Lexicon DC-2, NHT Power 5, NHT/James 5:1 speakers)
Yes, the new codecs are better. Are they "night and day" better, no. If your new BluRay player can decode the newer codecs, stick with your current processor and let the player do the decoding.

Your best bet might be to wait for the new Oppo BluRay Universal that is due out in a month or so. It will play every current shiny disc format and it will decode all the latest codecs for you. The price is supposed to be $499 - $599, a very good price for such a capable machine...


If you run a digital out from your blu-ray player you will only get DD and DTS, and NONE of the lossless codecs, it will be the same as any SD DVD, the new codecs can only pass over multichannel analog if the player decodes them or via HDMI.

I strongly disagree with RW, having had the new codecs in both my bedroom system (for > a year now) and in my reference system for several months now), the difference is HUGE. Once you hear DTS HD MA vs DTS or Dolby TrueHD vs DD you will never want to go back! When I first got a pre/pro that did them, I immediately stopped using SD DVD's as they sounded compressed and lifeless after the new codecs.

FWIW the DC2 is a pretty old unit, and I would recomend you replace it, but it's still a bit away for many of the new AV preamps to be released. The Denon, Integra and Marantz are out, so is the Krell Evo 707 (what I am using now) and I think Mark Levinson is shipping the #50 too, I hope by CES we have firm release dates for more, but they are coming, but I would start shopping for a new pre/pro, you are ready for one!
Thanks for the input. I think the Krell is just a little more than I wanted to spend :) I'm going to look for a used integra 9.8 to give the new codec's a try. I sort of suspect that the integra, even though it isn't "high end" will actually sound better than my Lexicon.

Are you an audio dealer or manufacturer? You seem eager to get our friend Ghstudio into some new gear. :)

I admit, I have not heard the new formats, but it is hard to imagine how a movie's soundtrack could be improved much beyond DTS or Dolby on SD-DVD, assuming the preamp-processor, amplifier, and speakers are high quality. Personally, I often skip the ProLogic IIx overlay, and just enjoy the audio in 5.1 or 6.1. If the Lexicon has 7.1 analog input and the BluRay player has 7.1 analog output, then you can enjoy the new lossless formats without buying a new HDMI-enabled processor.

No, I have nothing to do with retail audio sales.

The DC-2 doesn't have a multichannel analog input as I recall, but your point is correct if it did/does.

I would encourage him to replace the pre/pro as that was a low model of early Lexicon and to me always sounded harsh and overly digital, and as you said, 'it is hard to imagine' you really need to TRY it and see if you don't notice a huge difference, I suspect you will as even on my receiver based bedroom system the difference is huge, even to my wife, forget about the reference rig!
I am in the camp that believes that the new audio codecs available via Blu Ray disc are a quantum leap forward in sound quality.

These new codecs have renewed my enthusiasm for home theater.

Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio are stunning. They approach the realism of vinyl and I am totally stoked.
The DC-2 was the flagship of Lexicon, not a low model...but electronics have come a long way. It does not have 7 channel analog input, but it can be easily modified for $185.

Alternatively, I can buy a used Integra 9.8 for $800 which has the latest lossless codecs and probably will sound better than the DC-2, just because it uses much more recent chips.
Well, I've heard the new codecs and I stand by my assessment. They are better. But it is not a jaw-dropping difference, that's just the usual audiophile overstatement engine at work...

Sorry Rlwainwright. I respectfully disagree with you. The new lossless codecs are head and shoulders above all the legacy codecs previously used to decode DVD.

I am certainly not overstating anything. I wouldn't have wasted my time with Blu Ray if the new True HD and DTS HD Master Audio codecs hadn't just blown DTS and DD out of the water.

Nothing personal at all, but I think you are dead wrong.
I had the same questions about the new codecs. I bought the Panny BD55 intending to return it. The codecs were sent via 5.1 inputs on my processor. IMO the difference was on the level of cd vs sacd. Seemed much more expansive resolving, and natural. For me, it's the difference that's convinced me that it's worth the effort. I'm waiting for the Oppo now.
+1! It wasn't until I brought it home and added the two sides, I was floored by the difference. Then I ran the room correction, wow. After I got over the the improvement in surround effects I noticed the dialogue location in the front channels was much better even with some older titles.

This upgrade doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to get the bulk of the improvement. HDMI cable shouldn't cost more than $20, Blue Jean or Monoprice.

The DC-2 was not the premier piece of it's day. It was pricey and better than many, but not the top of the Lexicon line up. I think the remainder ofthe inputs concur with my thinking.


If you don't feel the new codecs are much better, please drop by and visit me in Florida and I will show you why I feel this way, I'm sure you'll agree with me after any demo I put together for this event.
kennyt...I think the DC-2 was the only lexicon processor in it's time....with a few different models (upgradable). While it may not have been the premier processor at the time, it was lexicon's premier processor with their unique logic 7 logic.

The question is how does it stack up against even the integra 9.9 or cary 11a today.

I never liked the DC-2, in fact I haven't like Lexicon until recently, and then only for HT, they are a bit too 'digital' for lack of better description. Amazingly, the Integra is one pre/pro I have not had in my rig, I have heard many great things about it, and for the price, it's hard to beat. The Cary is a solid unit, and also pretty inexpensive.
This is exactly the dilemna I am in. Are the new Codec's worth upgrading for? Someone above mentioned that the dialog is better with the new Codec's. I thought it was due to my center channel that dialog always seemed to get lost or not be strong enough to hear. One of my biggest peaves when watching a movie is adjusting the audio up and down from dialog to action sequence and back 25 times with Dolby Digital.
THe standard DVD's audio is compressed, whether it is DD or DTS. Not that I haven't heard great sound from them, especially concert DVD's and well recorded movies. The new formats sound is supposed to uncompressed. If you check the audio bit rate with a Bluray player, a standard DVD plays at like 640kb. While a bluray plays audio at over 3mb. It offers the possiblility of much greater dynamic swings. I think you will have much greater clarity with any speaker, but it will really shine with speakers that can handle the wider dynamics without struggle. With a smaller speaker it might not be as dramatic of a difference.
It was worth it for me.

Here is what I noted when I went to the Integra 9.8 with the new HD audio codecs. For reference, I was previously using a Rotel RSP-1068 processor, which I thought was excellent in it's own right-

Bigger, more enveloping soundstage
More depth/layering to the soundstage
More relaxed/natural sound
More detailed sound

I wouldn't call it "night and day" difference, but I was not at all struggling to hear the difference, and it was quite impressive. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but now I have no regrets about rolling the dice on the new HD codecs.
Be warned- it is similar to making the switch to HDTV, in that SD cable stations just suck by comparison (I consider myself an HDTV snob). Pretty soon you won't want to watch movies unless they are Blu-ray discs recorded with the HD audio codecs.
Having said all that, you may be able to get the same or similar results by getting a Blu-ray player that internally decodes the new formats and send it out through the 5.1/7.1 analog inputs. This would be a cheaper option.

On a side note, the Integra also has Audessy room EQ/correction, which I am now a firm believer in- it is a wonderful thing.
Ghstudio, you can buy a blu-ray player that decodes the new codecs internally and not have to upgrade your processor. Just send the audio via analog outs to your Lexicon. The Panisonic BD55, for one, does this.
cruz123....the DC-2 does not have the analog inputs to handle this. I could get it upgraded for $175...but I am thinking that maybe the Integra 9.8/9.9 will actually provide better sound than the 1999 vintage I can put that $175 towards buying one of them.
Actually, I could buy the Panasonic 35 and save another $ I would have $275 towards buying the Integra of course whatever I get for the DC2 (V4)

Sell the DC-2 for whatever you can get for it and buy the Integra and a Sony BDP-S350, it's the best acting (fastest load times, response time etc) player I have had and it can be had for ~$200 if you hunt, retail is only $299 and it will output bitstream for all codecs to the Integra.

The nearly ten year step forward in technology and Audyssey room correction alone will sound WAY better than the DC-2 even on it's best days, and you can do it for a very low cost out of pocket.
I would like to know what percentage of todays new dvd releases are actually encoded with Dolby True HD and DTS HD? Is it one in five releases or what? There doesn't seem to be a mass market of this type of release yet.

NO DVD's are encoded in Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD MA, only Blu-ray's can handle the bandwidth necessary for these, and most do have one or the other, especially on the new releases.
Is it true to say that to enjoy these new formats I would need to buy a large processor such as an Integra DTC 9.8 or Pioneer processor? I don't need a component with so many bells and whistles. Is there some small cheaper component that only strives on decoding these new formats?
Ghstudio ....the answer to your question is....YES.
I have an Audio Refinement Pre2DSP Processor. It does DTS decoding, but not the new formats such as DTS HD etc.. I have a Pioneer BDP-05FD bluray player. It is supposed to decode all of the formats internally in this player. Is it correct to say that I could use the 5.1 analog outputs of this player to my Audio Refinement Processor which has the 5.1 analog inputs and enjoy this new format without spending a lot of extra money on an Integra DHC 9.9 processor for example? Is it correct to say I would only need to buy 5 cables or is this a waste of time and money and I should by a new processor anyways for superior sound?
That's exactly why some bluray players have built in decoding and analog only need to decode in one place. Just connect the analog outputs to your processor using 6 cables...not 5.
For the most part the hd codecs are night and day. by for the most part I mean it depends on the mix. We subscribe to movie rentals and I have had a number of br's that were just awesome in the audio well as video. Some however have been a little better. So, for the MOST part, yes, the hd audio is better.