Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.
When it comes to building professional-grade home theaters or theaters for that matter two brands come to mind Lexicon and JBL. More professional movie theaters and cineplexes feature JBL speakers mated to Lexicon designed components than any other brand available today. The MC-12 HD, which retails for $14,000.00 and reviewed here builds on a tradition of excellence when it comes to recreating the big screen experience in the home. The MC-12 HD features a host of connection options including six, count 'em six HDMI inputs with a single HDMI monitor out. The MC-12 HD's HDMI inputs/output are capable of accepting and passing a 1080p video signal. The MC-12 HD will only switch between HDMI inputs with all upconverting happening at the analog video level with legacy signals being upconverted to the MC-12 HD's component video output. While this fact flies in the face of conventional "do-all" processors the thought behind it is sound. Lexicon believes in keeping the signal in its purest form which means intact from the source itself without having to result to processing trickery that mimics the appearance of added quality. While a minor inconvenience for those of us with complicated systems the decision on Lexicon's part is decidedly sound. The MC-12 HD's HDMI ports will also pass multi-channel audio but uncompressed audio formats such as Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio are not decoded internally and must be handled on the source level. There are plans in the works towards an upgrade but no release date has been set. On the audio side of things the MC-12 HD boasts a number of unique and performance rich features including but not limited to dedicated 24-bit/192kHz digital to analog converters for each output.
The back panel of the MC-12 HD is thoughtfully and spaciously laid out however not the most clearly labeled. I also, didn't like that the HDMI ins and outs were located below the component video inputs but it's nothing I couldn't work around. The MC-12 HD features both balanced and unbalanced preamp outs which is nice and it has enough digital audio inputs on tap to satiate even the most source heavy system, which is a rarity among today's modern processors. The MC-12 HD is a true multi-zone processor allowing for full control and operation of audio and video in up to three separate zones and can operate each independently of each other.
The MC-12 HD has automatic speaker calibration and EQ though the process is a bit tedious, needing four spider like microphones, with their inputs located on the rear of the unit. The process is relatively straightforward and the results are accurate but the MC-12 HD's auto EQ doesn't produce results as dramatic as say Audyssey's Pro EQ. That being said, the MC-12 HD's EQ does provide for better bass tuning than any other auto EQ I've encountered thus far.
Read the High Points, Low Point and Conclusion on the next page.