Audio Refinement pre5-dsp VS Lexicon MC-1

Hey guys. I am new to this high end audio stuff so pardon my lack of knowledge(and budget). I have a modest system that I have just started building. I am currently using a Lexicon CP1 plus. I have been happy with it except for lack of digital stuff. BUt i also have not heard any high end systems so I have nothing to personally compare it with and the audio stores have to many variables that I cannot compare with my used outdated system. So I was thinking of upgrading the processor before upgrading the amp. I was all set to look for an MC-1 version 4 that has all the current theater specs. But I stumbled accross the audio refinement pre-s using analogue circuits for 5 channels that sounds interesting because you can use 2 amps. I also came across a pre5 that has late model motorola chip. So I am throwing this out for your help...... Please
I don't think AR has a Pre5dsp. There are a Pre 2dsp and a Pre5 and both of them are separate model. Both support direct 5.1 input for SACD or DVD-A.

You can check last month Stereophile issue (May 2004) for a review of the Pre5 which was pretty possitive. This is a direct quote from the review "The sound was decidely punchy and impresive but untiring -- sort of like putting a tube preamp into the system. The Pre5 added an excitement to the sound that often made me want to dance... Bass has heft and definition, the midrange was nicely balanced and detailed, and the highs were enven and open..."

As for the Pre 2dsp, there is an on-line review from Stereophile for Guide to Home Theater you can search from Yahoo.

I personally have a Pre 2dsp and it sounds wonderful. The only draw back is that it doesn't have as much features as other processosr at the same price but as far as sound quality, it equals model costing three times as much.
Andy's right, the Pre-5 doesn't do any signal processing...or even video switching, for that matter. But it sure does sound good. I've had it for over a year and I'm hooked. I think you are asking about the Pre-2 which, like the Lexicon MC-1, I have never used. Sorry I couldn't be more help.
The Pre-2DSP is the current preamp/processor from Audio Refinement. It is a simple design but has very limited bass management capabilities and lacks the newer surround decoding modes such as Dolby Prologic II. Also, the ergonomic are somewhat quirky. Others to consider are the B&K Reference 30/50 ($1000-2000 used), Rotel 1066 ($900-1100 used), and the Outlaw 950 ($600 used and $800 new). All of these are reasonably good with the latter also being an exceptional value. Several other pre/pros based the same platform as the Outlaw are also available (i.e. Atlantic Technology) but cost considerably more. The Lexicon can be a good value used, but like the Pre-2DSP is getting to be long in the tooth. Good luck!