Lexicon MC-12 Upgrade
I am thinking about possibly replacing my Lexicon MC-12 preamp/processor, which has version 3 software. The unit is getting a bit buggy (the onscreen display has stopped working), and not having HDMI is somewhat annoying. I hear rumors that a replacement for the MC-12 may be coming out some day, but with all the technological advances in the last five years, I suspect I can get equivalent or better performance for a lot less money. For example, I've been considering the Marantz AV7005. The rest of my system includes an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player, Aragon amps, Energy Veritas speakers, Triad Gold subs, and a Vizio 42-inch LCD TV.
First, the problems you cite can be worked around. You can operate the MC-12 entirely from the front-panel display, so not having an onscreen display isn't the end of the world. To get the OSD back, you'll have to take the unit to a qualified technician. Also, you can get an inexpensive HDMI switcher that extracts the audio and sends it to the pre/pro via optical or coax. Of course, you won't get Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD that way, but you can have the Oppo do the decoding and connect its multichannel analog-audio outputs to those on the MC-12.
BTW, I assume your unit has no HDMI at all. The current model has HDMI, but no transcoding from analog video, and the OSD is not available from the HDMI output.
Of course, the MC-12 is getting quite long in the tooth, and Lexicon is certainly working on a replacement, though no details about it have been officially announced. From what I've been told off the record, it's going to have amazing capabilities, but it will be expensive, and no one knows when it will be available.
As for other, less-expensive alternatives, Home Theater's review of the Marantz AV7005 is extremely positive, and it's only $1500. Heck, if Michael Fremer is going to buy one, you know it has superb sound quality! Other excellent choices include the Integra DHC-40.2 ($1200) or the flagship DHC-80.2 ($2300), which Home Theater has not yet reviewed. All of these are far less expensive than whatever Lexicon will offer.
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