Recently, I had to one of my reference two-channel preamplifiers, a Balanced Audio Technology VK-5i to a different room for a certain project. I temporarily put in its place a Lexicon MC-12B SSP, and used it in two-channel mode. It sounded so good, I decided to bench test it to see how it performs (our original review in December, 2004, did not have bench tests).
Shown below is a graph of THD+N for a 1 kHz sine wave. Distortion is only 0.008%.
And, here are the IMD test results. Notice that there are very few IMD peaks near the 2 kHz sine wave peak.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is reference quality performance.
Now, here is why I mention this.
From what I am told, the MC-12 will not have an upgrade to allow it to decode the high resolution soundtracks on Blu-ray discs (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio).
So, used MC-12s are being advertised for sale, because home theater enthusiasts are looking to buy SSPs that handle these codecs. I saw several on Audiogon, and the price is a fraction of its original MSRP (about $12,000).
If you are in the market for a two-channel preamplifier that has stellar performance and is priced for today’s economy, you might consider getting one of these used MC-12s, and simply set the menu for two-channel.
Not only does it sound great and bench test beautifully, you can use the Automatic Room EQ (if the used MC-12 has that upgrade installed), and have it sound even better.