As an owner of a Lexicon MC12B, I can share my experiences of using this audio/video processor in a 5.1 home theater system with other high end audio components and speakers. The MC12B is a state of the art surround sound processor and video switching controller that centrally controls and distributes a home theater systems audio and video functions. The beauty of the MC12B is it was designed with the ability to expand the hardware and processing software to stay up to date with new technology in audio and video trends and add longevity to the components use. Some highlights and spec of the processor include- LOGIC7, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic, THX Ultra Certified, THX Surround EX, DTS ES Discrete, DSP, 24bit/96khz processing, 24bit/192khz D/A converters for each channel and multiple input and output functions. The MC12 has a distinctive look with the carved aluminum face and blue LCD display built into a substantial one piece top and sides enclosure. The settings and menus can be programmed from either the remote control or the front panel of the unit. As new surround sound mode enhancements are made the software updates will be available to download from a computer through the RS-232 connection on the unit.
The components of my 5.1 home theater system in includes the MC12B, three Crown Studio Reference Two – stereo power amplifiers- one for front speakers, one for rear speakers-, one for center channel, and one Crown ITech6000 power amplifier for subs. The main and rear speakers are similar to the TAD TD- 2402 with aluminum horns and 2 way passive crossovers. There are four TAD 1603- 15″ speakers for subwoofers- two enclosures in the front of the room in vented bass reflex cabinets, one sealed enclosure mounted in center of the rear wall and one reflex enclosure built into center room seating console. After the MC12B was installed into the theater system I instantly noticed the difference in quality and heard sounds that were never present with my old processor- a Sunfire Theater Grand. The sound is crisp, clean, and most of all realistic. The Lexicon is versatile allowing programmable custom settings and options for all inputs, outputs and individual speaker parameters. Setup can be as simple as taking it out of the box, plug and play within half an hour or the complexity to spend hours tailoring the settings to your personal preferences.
The original Lexicon MC12B released in 2002 is still superior to many brands of upscale processors on the market today. This machine is on the expensive side (in 2003 $10,000) and value can be appreciated in the quality of sound and listening pleasure it delivers. The Lexicon MC12B used in this system is version V2 and will soon be upgraded to V5EQ. After talking to other Lexicon V5EQ and MC-12 HD owners, all agreed the upgrade for the MC12 and the new HD units have significant improvements in sound quality over the V2. I recently upgraded some components in this home theater system with – an HD satellite receiver and Marantz Blu-Ray DVD player. In consideration now is whether to update the MC12B to the newer version V5EQ or purchase a new MC12 HD series processor. To totally upgrade the MC12 B a V4 upgrade must be added first- $1300 and then the V5EQ upgrade can be added at a cost of $3000 for a total of about $4300. Lexicon offers a microphone kit to setup the EQ of the actual room characteristics and adjusts the parameters accordingly. A new MC12 HD would cost around $13,000 minus a trade in of the older MC-12B V2.
In this home audio system setup the video section of the MC12B is not used, and most audiophiles and home theater owners with a Lexicon would use the video switch inputs and outputs of the MC12. I use the unit only for processing audio programming and as a preamp for connecting the inputs of the other components- DVD, satellite, tuner and SACD player. I installed a Marantz VS3002 HDMI switch which has 6 inputs and 2 outputs having the capability to send the video signal to 2 displays like a projector or LCD and TV. So in this system the HDMI inputs on the new model MC12 HD processor won’t be connected. The MC12B and HD have three totally independent output zones so to assign the same program or 3 different programs of music to multiple areas of your home simultaneously. Setup of the zones an all processor options are done using the remote control and viewed on the units LCD display.
The new model MC12HD has the same front face as the 12B and is available with live EQ built into the unit from the factory. The microphone kit is needed to program and balance the room giving the user the ability to make any listening room virtually acoustically balanced. When setup the microphones send the actual sound back to the processor and compensate for the room deficiencies to correct the output. Other features are six HDMI inputs and one HDMI outputs to accept newer cable connections and configurations. Now the big question, spend $4300 upgrade the processor or purchase a new Lexicon MC12 HD for $13,000?