Lexicon MC-10

I bought the Lexicon MC-10 in late April, which was passed over to me by my dealer in a suitably distant way!

Obviously Mike couldn’t just pop over to set up the box and so I did the basic screen based setup with Mike’s phone based tips and advice, for 5.2; Dirac will be engaged as and when possible, I have avoided the temptation of ‘having a go’ myself.

Lexicon is now owned by Harman Kardon, as are Arcam. The MC-10 was based upon the Arcam AV860. Lexicon did some tinkering, changed the box and added Logic7 …partially, see below.

Like all sound related upgrades one persons ‘significant’ is anothers ‘fractional’. The Oppo is excellent, this is better but I was hardly suffering before!

Movies
From a movie standpoint I am enjoying the Lexicon, ESPECIALLY for DVDs.

I do NOT find there is one codec that works best for all films, I find myself spinning round the options for each film before settling. Some modes emphasis the speech, which is great for SWMBO as her hearing is not what it used to be.

Dragonheart:
38:08 - 38:58
The source is a 480p DVD rip with DD5.1.
The DD with DTS X virtual probably gives the clearest speach.
DD3/2.1 gives the most enteertaining and dynamic presentation. Very good. Added soundtrack background detail is apparent.

Air Force One:
21:14 - 28:54
The plane is taken by the terrorists. In addition to percussive gunfire and associate pyrotechnics you have a squadron of jets flying around your room.
The source is a 480p DVD rip with DD5.1.
Again DD3/2.1 gives the most enteertaining and dynamic sound. Added soundtrack background detail is apparent, but also better proportioned. With the Oppo the sound was a bit cartoonish, out of proportion to events on the screen.
DD3/2.1 + Logic 7 Immersion is good and dynamic, just with the front 3 channels, rather like Meridian trifield.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
01:46 - 07:21
Dreadful film, but a good workout for the system.
The source is a 576p DVD rip with DD5.1.
Again DD3/2.1. Excellent sound stearing.

I later watched Spiderman (Tobey M) and Constantine.

DVD
I watch Constantine regularly and so know it well. The Lexicon took this DD5.1 soundtrack and made it into an experience. Not just the set pieces but simple moments like off screen door knocks. Took this compressed soundtrack and produced something that genuinely increased my enjoyment of the film.

BR
The Spiderman soundtrack is excellent, with Dafoe doing his pre-Gollum split personality. His manic laughs and voice pan around the room delightfully. The detail is now easily followed, for instance in the denouement the children in the gondola can be easily and clearly heard as more individual voices shouting to be saved.

The Lexicon has bought the rear channel speakers truly to life. The hard work that sound engineers have put into so many films is far better through the Lex than through the Oppo 105D. The soundfield is just cohesive in a way that the DVD player wasn’t.

I will note that the step up with a is not so great. It is not that it is bad, far from it - it is just that with SD material I immediately hear an improvement, with HD soundtracks it is a tad less.

Really looking forward to getting Dirac into the mix.

Music
My usual setup for audio is -

[Local NAS / Qobuz] >> Meridian 210 >> Audio Note 2.1 sig >> etc
Streaming from Q via Bubbleupnp
Control Point = Linn Kazoo

Used Bubbleupnp to stream direct to the MC-10.

When you push a stream to the MC-10 you hit an interface that you cannot access through the menus, DMR. In common with the other interfaces there is an adjustment via Menu that you can make wrt stereo sources, allowing you to dial back the subwoofer input; very nice. This opens up the music another notch.

I had the thought that I might be able to stream movies from my NAS without using the Oppo - Nope. In NET there is an interface for accessing music, but not films - shame. I HAVEN’T tested music using the interface. My experience with the Oppo 105D was that it was musically FAR better when using Kazoo, however I will try this in the near future.

Bubbleupnp & Linn Kazoo work seamlessly with the Meridian 210. It is more glitchy with the MC-10.

Listening to music using Analogue + Logic 7 Immersion the unit is surprisingly good, it doesn’t match the Meridian/Audio Note front end; but with poorly produced music I can marginally prefer it! Here the Meridian/Audio Note lets you know the problems, the Lexicon skates over them.

I decided to plug my Meridian 210 into the MC10 to hear what difference this made. Interestingly I preferred the Lex direct. The 210 pushes in more detail but it loses the balance that the Lex provides on its own.

Recently I updated my Bubbleupnp server which runs from my Synology NAS. Since then Bubbleupnp is NOT detecting the Lexicon, sigh. I have been playing with using my Oppo 105D as the endpoint and playing that through the Lexicon. If anyone is interested I will report back on this another time.

Musical Films
I watched the end of Ron Howard’s film about The Beatles and their days touring, streamed from Amazon. I had been watching this on the Oppo with it doing the decoding.

When it had started I spun through the decoding Modes - DD + Logic 7 Immersion was STRIKINGLY good. In my system this is using only the front three speakers, whatever the file/channel #.

For Logic7 buffs the Immersion variant is a dumbed down affair. In older hardware this was HIGHLY tweakable and much loved. Here the options are very constrained, or even non-existent. That said I REALLY enjoy this mode for watching music videos, It is excellent.

I watched a Phil Collins 2004 concert from Montreaux from my Amazon 4k Fire Stick. I had watched this using my Oppo 105D a few weeks ago, where I thought it was OK but no great shakes. It opens with a drum solo that becomes a duet and then a tryptic. On the 105 I couldn’t wait for it to end to get to the music. Via the MC-10 is was FAR better with the drum kits coming to life, and being able to track what each of the performers was bringing to the piece.

The overall sound was a tad warm and bass heavy, and that was when I found a setting I had overlooked. With stereo sourced music each input can be tuned to REDUCE the bass channel. This works beautifully.

Having watched Montreaux for twenty minutes I decided to watch a concert I have on my NAS from the '90s, Phil Collins in Paris. I have used this a lot over the years to judge my AV, starting with my Naim DVD5 & AV2. This DVD comes with a PCM soundtrack. My system has changed a lot in the last ten months, and so any changes will not be solely down to the MC-10.

One of the frustrations over the years when watching this concert was seeing musicians pouring their hearts and souls into some music and NOT being able to hear their contribution. With the MC-10, and my current system, the presentation has taken a whole step up. I can follow each instrument and vocalist in the ensemble, rather than them coming in only to be drowned out as the focus shifts. VERY enjoyable.

M

1 Like

Hello Mr Underhill

Sounds like your are reasonable seasoned in HT. I am considering dipping my toe into HT, mostly for concerts, but probably also movies. I am considering a NAD/MC-10 class receiver and some Vandersteen surround and center channel speakers. I am struggling with also going Meridian which would be a lot more expensive, but I suspect that it might be worth it. Have you ever auditioned a Meridian HT? Interested to hear your reaction. Wanting to know if Sur Sound is enhanced with high end equipment, or if good equipment gets one most all the gain.

Morning B,

Reasonably. Like you, before buying the MC-10, I actively explored buying Meridian, but 2nd hand. I was pretty keen on the idea of an 861v4, but I couldn’t find one with the correct input and output cards, some of which a pretty rare and therefore expensive.

What ultimately made the difference for me was NO HDMI, without another box, and NO room correction - having heard the difference the Dirac made. That said I suspect that Meridian may still be king of the heap. I chatted with their technical support chap and we agreed the next time I head up to Cambridge he would get me into their demo room if it is available.

Personally I find Surround can be excellent on well engineered soundtracks, although a prefer Logic7 for concerts, Trifield for Meridian. The MC-10 is a step up on the Oppo, which I found to be a step up (in most scenarios) on the AV2.

If I had been prepared to spend the children’s inheritance I would have wanted to audition the 861v6 + UHD722. The 210 has convinced me that these people know what they are doing.

By the way, I am toying with the idea of a Chord DAC. I therefore also spoke to my Meridian ‘supplier’, a 2nd hand Ultradac would be £8k, which I won’t stretch to …but, he did suggest an 818v3, which is still on the menu at £4k.

ATB,

M

Thank You Mr Underhill

I agree with you that the 861’s are rare and expensive, particularly the ones with the speakerlink outputs–actuaally never saw on on the bay with Speakerlink outs–not sure they make them. It looks like a real mish mash if you mix Meridian and other equipment for SS. In the US, Meridian no longer commands a premium, and there are lots of eBay options.

I am not keen on eBay in this case, because there is so much setup and configuring to do, that I will need some help. I have located a G65 M processor demo at my local dealer and he is ready to deal. It has Speakerlink and he has it paired with a UHD722 and includes that in the package. My alternate would be to do the MC-10 new, but that is only a savings of 20% over the G65/722. My plan would be to pair that up with M6’s for the surround speakers. I have always loved the DSP3200’s and so they are in the mix for the future, probably for rears. There I might go to the bay as the savings are quite large over new/demo at this time. I also plan to go big in the area of a center channel, and doing the DSP3300HC with mates up with the Speakerlink also. I have read that the Center Channel is the most important and not to compromise there.

BTW: From reading the manual, the G65 has a microphone input and Room Correction and a built in software routine to do the testing and fab the filters. I also like that the G65 is the smaller form factor than the UltraDac, and the one I have located is in Black which matches the UD.

I plan to audition a Meridian setup this week before making a final decision. I have so much confidnece in Meridian that I would buy without a demo–but I should at least hear the M system before putting all that cash there. For me, its a sideline, not to divert my 2 channel mains. My alternate would be to use Vandersteen VSM speakers and center channel and use a receiver with power outs for normal speakers. This would make a huge difference in cost from the M system.

I will keep you posted and I am sure I will seek your experience in this area. BTW: The M 251 is working great for powering the Stax Headphones.

Should be an interesting journey - wish you were closer!

Look forward to your thoughts and impressions.

M