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Lexicon Readies 12.4-Channel Pre/Pro

8/12/2011 09:43:25 AM Eastern
Elkhart, Ind. - The Harman High Performance Audio Video (HPAV) group is building up its Lexicon line with the brand's first home audio product incorporating proprietary QuantumLogic Surround 3D (QLS 3D) post processing, which delivers up to 12.4 channels of surround sound from mono, stereo and multichannel sources.

The technology will be incorporated in a flagship MP-20 surround-sound preamp processor, dubbed a media processor by the company for its inclusion of video-processing technology. It will be displayed at the CEDIA Expo and is scheduled to ship in the first quarter at a price above the original $11,000 to $14,000 price of its predecessor, the MC-12 media controller.

The MC-12 lacked video processing but included HDMI video switching, said marketing manager Jim Garrett.

The Lexicon line has been "spartan lately," and with the MP-20 launch, the company hopes to "reignite passion around the Lexicon brand," he said.

Also at the Expo, HPAV will also show previously launched products from Revel, JBL, JBL Synthesis, JBL Pro and Crown. The company has been making a limited number of JBL Pro and Crown models available to residential installers who have launched into commercial installation to supplement flagging residential-install opportunities.

Also at the booth, HPAV will make room for the Harman Kardon, JBL and AKG brands marketed by sister group Harman Consumer.

In the four-rack-tall MP-20, QuantumLogic Surround adds five height channels to typical 7.1-channel home theater systems. The five additional channels include two rear-height channels, a center-channel height speaker above the center-channel speaker, and two front-height channels that double as front-wide channels. For these two channels, consumers would mount one speaker above and to the left of the front main-left speaker and one speaker above and to the right of the front main-right speaker, Garrett said.

Unlike other up-mixing technologies, QLS 3D works in the frequency domain rather than in the time domain, enabling it to up-mix stereo to multiple channels without interfering with the artist's original intent, he said. "We don't add to the original signal," Garrett explained. "We deconstruct the signal by spatial slice and reverb extraction processing to obtain the direct and reverberant components. Then using only those original components, QLS is able to reconstruct a previously unachievable surround experience that remains true to the original recording."

The MP-20 also features the latest Sigma Designs VXP GF9452 video processing in a dual channel configuration with independent signal paths, transcoding and 1080p scaling. The device also supports 3D and 4K video pass-through on all inputs and outputs.

Four independent subwoofer outputs deliver accurate bass response in a wide sweet spot in home theaters with multiple seats.

For the rest of the frequency range, QLS 3D will also widen the sweet spot to cover multiple seating locations, but it can also optimize the sweet spot for specific seating locations, digitally compensate for less-than-ideal speaker locations, and move listeners from an audience location to an on-stage location and back.

The technology's center-focus control anchors dialog to the center channel for listeners who are sitting off-axis to one side of the room or the other.

The MP-20 also includes multiple other features and technologies not available in its predecessor, including native Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master decoding, Dolby Pro Logic IIz front-height-channel post processing, and 1080p video up-scaling of analog and digital video sources.

Other features include 12x2 video matrix switcher with eight HDMI 1.4a inputs with 3D pass-through, two composite-video inputs, and two component-video inputs. In a nod to Blu-ray players' analog-output sunset, the pre-pro features second-zone HDMI with stereo audio and second-zone on-screen display.

The MP-20 also splits HDMI audio from video so users can listen to an audio source instead of a video source's soundtrack while watching the video.

For its user interface, the component features a front-panel video display surrounded by 12 hard keys whose functions change when the displayed menu changes. The only other front-panel buttons are power and a volume knob.

The processor will be demonstrated in HPAV's JBL Synthesis soundroom and in the group's tractor-trailer demo vehicle.

The standard version of Quantum Logic Surround will be demonstrated in Ferrari's new flagship vehicle, the four-seat FF. It comes with a JBL Professional-branded sound system.

Standard QLS up-mixes mono, stereo and multichannel surround to 7.1 channels instead of 12.4 channels. Like QLS 3D, however, standard QLS features center focus control and sweet-spot control.
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