10 responses Add your response
I went with the MC-12. I considered the others but the MC-12 was readily available at a good price. The MC-12 has every possible feature including Logic 7 and bass enhance which are excellent and that I use all the time. Lexicon alo has the best upgrade and trade in history of the three. If I ever decide to sell it, it should bring a good price.
I can't tell from your post whether you intend to use the preamp strictly for HT, or whether you also want a preamp that provides high quality music reproduction. If you are looking for a preamp/processor that offers both analog and digital circuitry, check out the Bryston SP-1. (BTW, Bryston builds Lexicon.) The SP-1 lacks most of the bells and whistles, and is also minus a tuner, phono preamp stage, and video switching, but it's a fine analog/digital preamp that also has excellent surround processing. Bryston designed the SP-1 primarily for audiophiles, and you fit that target market, then check it out. I have been very pleased with the SP-1 I own.
Yes, if dedicated HT set up, then probably Lexicon. If mostly music, with some movies, then the Classe or Proceed are going to be close toss ups!
The Lex has features galor, which make setting up 5 or more "less than ideal" placed speakers very "EQ'able", "tweeekable", and adjustment friendly! Also, of course, 7 channel logic, more tweeks, etc. I consider the Lexicons more of a "digital only" (not Analog) kind of a preamp/processor. It's a great dedicated movie piece, but not as "straight-analog 2 channel" pure!!!!...the Classe and Proceed do this better to nit pick in my experience! I've also have extensive experience with the Classe with the B&W's, and very much like the sonics from this combo for both HT/music!
However, Using something like the Lexicon (which I've also deal with extensively) allows you to do things to your speaker set-up that's very very critical for the majority of HT set-ups out there in my oppiion. The Advanced bass mangment on the lex let's you perfectly dial in the right crossovers for the channels! Uusally 80hz "small" is too high for most speakers, and "large" full range is not acceptable for most, even full range" monitors for HT dubties!!!(speakers can't handle it really..unless they have big powered woofers built in.) The Lex let's you select different crossovers, as well as has advanced EQ's and paramaters, the others don't have! In short, it's a much more THX dubbing studio Quality piece for doing movie tracks in a home environment.
Another selection to consider, for only 5 channel dubties (although I heard through a source, there releasing a new model), the ARAGON SOUNDSTAGE has the flexibility almost of the Lex, with the audiophile sonics of a high end preamp!..just something else to consider for less money as well!
So, yeah, you should specify you're needs with the preamp.
I own the MC-12 and do both movies and music extensively through it. You won't go wrong with the MC-12, IMO, though you can probably get by for less money depending on your needs. If you're doing exclusive HT, I'd buy one of the used Lexicon MC-1's (for a LOT less) - it's tremendous on movies. The Bryston SP-1 is widely regarded as being music friendly and I believe it's considerably cheaper as well.
I don't think it's accurate that Bryston builds all Lexicon products. I know Lexicon amps are just rebranded Bryston product, but I didn't think that Bryston built the pre/pros for Lexicon. It could be that I just learned something today :-)
What about the recent EAD Theatermaster Signature-8? Exquiste sound quality for 2-channel as well as HT, analog pass thorugh for your SACD or DVD-Audio, many multiple HT modes include 7.1, a great crossover, upgradeability, a womderful DAC section, and compared to some of the units you mentioned a very good value.
I am suprised that no one has mentioned the B&K ref 30. It has done well in comparisions against many of the brands mentioned. The bass managment is very good and comes in at a price point that is hard to beat. The two channel sound is probably not as good as some mentioned but the HT is (my opinion)just as good and very wife friendly! Good Luck!
Well, IndianAudio, if you go the Proceed route... here is a suggestion. Just get a *used* Proceed AVP. You should be able to get one for around $2600. (That's how much I paid for mine with 2 yrs left on the transferrable Madrigal warranty).
When the AVP II comes out, I was told by Madrigal that it will list for around $7500. If you have a good relationship with your local Madrigal dealer, you will probably get at most 20 % off list. On the other hand, Madrigal can UPGRADE the AVP I to the AVP II for 2K. Hence, $2600 + 2000 = $4600 compared to 7500- 20 % off= 6000 + tax.
Hope this helps...