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The Home Theater Audio Equipment place for reviews, power amplifiers, speakers, cables, video, components and electronics for your stereo or entertainment system.

And if you have an extra $1000,000.00 to drop........

high end theater speaker system, subwoofers and HDTV

This is the speaker set up for you! What makes those speakers worth $50,000.00, $1,000,000.00, or that tube amplifier worth $37,000.00, or that 6’ power cable worth $2,600.00? Only an Audiophile could answer those questions because the average listener would tell you they could buy a new car or house for what some audiophiles spend on sound systems. Like most material things in life the value or beauty of an item is in the eyes or ears of the beholder. An average music listener can not decipher the difference of poor sound quality of inexpensive electronics and excellent sound quality delivered by high end audiophile components. High end audio electronics can somewhat be compared to products like champagne, wine and jewelry. As with all of these things the average user of these type products doesn’t understand or care about the difference or value of more expensive merchandise and usually do their shopping at retail chain stores buying the most advertised items right off the shelf.

 Just as a wine connoisseur tastes the difference of a $1000.00 bottle of vintage wine from a $20 bottle of mass produced wine, the Audiophile hears the difference in high end audio components and speakers. Every listener has his or her own tastes, expectations and $value of how much they will spend on their system. A true audiophile is obsessed with finding the perfect components that will go into their system and will thoroughly research different products and spend large amounts of money on an item when they find a product that satisfies them.

Coming reviews about audio cables, speaker cables and wire. Are those expensive cables worth it? Can you really hear the difference?

Lexicon MC12B Music & Cinema Processor

Lexicon MC-12B Processor

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 components and speakers. The MC12B is a state of the art surround sound processor and video switching controller that centrally controls and distributes the systems 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 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 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 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?

 

 

Crown ITech6000 power amplifier

 

Crown  ITech 6000 Review

Installing an HDTV Antenna, Beat the High Cost of Cable or Satellite

Many people can remember when TV antennas were installed on roofs throughout the neighborhood and all television programming was free. Some viewers today are realizing there is an alternate way to receive FM radio and television programming other than cable or satellite and they do have the choice to watch TV for free with reception from an antenna without paying monthly subscription fees.

 If I told my kids the stories about those days when installing the TV antenna was a family event I am sure they would laugh at me.  If you are from the baby boomer generation, I’m sure you remember the rooftop TV antenna and you probably helped your father with the installation of the antenna and wiring. This family event has skipped a couple of generations as broadcasting technology advanced and the popular thing to do 30 years ago was to get cable TV service connected to your house which would eliminate the need for a rooftop antenna. As a result today 85% of TV viewers have either cable TV or satellite TV service and the old TV antennas are not part of the neighborhood landscape. But maybe rooftop antennas are making a comeback and the boomers- now grandparents, will see TV antennas on their roof again.

Many of you may be asking how this could have possibly been a family event. Well here is a typical scenario of what would take place when the TV antenna got installed at your house. Your parents would buy an antenna for a color TV planning for the future for when they would get a color television set as this would also work for their current black & white TV at the time. Your father would make a list of all the parts he needed for the installation like; antenna wire, a mast for the antenna, support brackets, a lightening rod and ground wire, and all mounting hardware.

On the day he would install the antenna he would put up the wood extension ladder against the house and get his tools like; an extension cord, electric drill, hammer, screwdrivers and misc items. First the old antenna had to be taken down if it hadn’t already fallen down from a wind storm. Next, your father would install the new mast and then mount the new antenna and install the flat 300ohm TV wire. The complete task would take a few hours. After the installation was complete and the antenna wire was connected to the TV the next step was to adjust the direction of the antenna to get the best signal for all 7 channels that were broadcasted.

This is when the antenna installation turns into a family event. Your father would explain to your mother that he was going to go up on the roof to adjust the direction of the antenna and it was her job to view the TV checking every channel and then yell to who was standing by the door if the signal was good or not. This is when the kids would get involved to make it a family event.  Your mother would be in the parlor or TV room changing channels and you would stand by the door and listen for her to tell you when the picture was clear. You would relay this message to your brother or sister outside the door and they would relay the message to your father on the roof. It didn’t get any better than this- an activity for the whole family to be involved with, like it or not. This had the interest of everyone because it meant the TV would be working soon for all to watch the new improved TV picture.

The appearance of TV antennas have not changed much in the past 30 years although there are some dish type HDTV antennas available.  HDTV signals are broadcasted from ground tower stations and the signal simulates line of sight from your antenna to the transmitting antenna. HDTV antennas need to be mounted as high as possible for best reception. The type of antenna required for your application depends on the distance from the broadcaster’s transmitter to your location. If you live in a city or metropolitan area an indoor HDTV antenna may work fine but the outdoor mounted will receive the best signal. To avoid going on the roof some homeowners mount the antenna in the attic but there is considerable loss from the attic insulation. If you are installing a new antenna remove the old 300ohm flat wire replace it with new 75ohm coax cable R6 quad-shield cable making the length as short as possible with no splices.

Many home owners associations discourage mounting an antenna outside the house and it may also be written in your agreement that they don’t allow antennas. The FCC has specific laws that override this and you have a legal right to receive the free programming.

HDTV antennas for home use are gaining popularity as consumers are learning that they can watch free HDTV programs just as their grandparents watched free TV fifty years ago. The picture quality is often better with an antenna compared to cable or satellite. Wouldn’t it be nice to kiss goodbye to your monthly cable TV or satellite bill.

 

 

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Custom systems for the home HDTV setups showing wiring and how to hook up speakers. Speaker wire and cable can be expensive and you may hear the difference on the quality of cables used for hooking up speakers, interconnects and the input cable. the difference of expensive cable and cheap cable is something you will have to choose the quality for yourself. Make your own cables with the proper speaker wire to handle the load and output wattage of your amplifier. Buy good quality connectors if you build it yourself and install new wire inside the speaker enclosures to the speaker. The newest DVD players, HD, Blu-ray and speakers for high end audio systems for an audiophile stereo components, audio cables. Find factory refurbished electronics at discount prices to save you money.  Stereo, 5 channel and 7 channel amplifiers and receivers, flat panel, plasma, dlp projector, screen, cables, video cables. The room layout for the arrangement has an HDMI output and an HDMI cable is required to receive the digital HD picture and signal. HDCP compliant projectors hook up your home video, with the powered subwoofers then disconnect surround processors interconnected to the preamplifiers or tube amplifiers. The new style SACD player should have surge protectors to clean up the from power conditioner so the power amp will amplify cleaner signals. Wire the amps with surround sound speakers for 5.1, 7.1 processing sound. Audio components like a tuner or video, device should be connected with quality cables or expensive speaker cables with gold plated cables and connectors and all adapters download and update software when selecting 5 channel or rear speakers connected along with front speakers.  High end electronics, consumer electronics are usually given reviews, ratings found in a buyers guide. Expensive loudspeakers including raw speaker with crossovers are vintage peices and in demand, many music and stereo stores sell stereo system, hi fi, high end. Hi def and high definition equipment for your system