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Author Topic: Halcro Logic SSP-100 volgens reviewer beter dan Lexicon MC12  (Read 5730 times)

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Offline corival

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Reviewed by: Josh Lehman
19 Sep 2005

Halcro Logic SSP-100


 
Electronics companies are a dime a dozen these days. Everyone and their mother are making amps, preamps, and receivers, not to mention a zillion other home theater-based products. What separates the good companies from the bad companies are three-fold: 1) Pricing 2) Quality of Service 3) Quality of Product.

Pricing can be an easy one, as individual components are cheaper and cheaper, such as chipsets for processing both audio and video. Quality, for both product and service, are much tougher to achieve and therefore command a much higher regard in my opinion. Companies, big or small, should listen to customers and build upon complaints and suggestions, not just to appease their customers, but to make those products better.

My affinity for Halcro began over a year ago, when my guys installed multiple monoblock amplifiers with Revel Salons for me in California at a customer’s home. These huge monstrosities of amplifiers not only looked unique, but also sounded PHENOMENAL. When I heard through various sources that Halcro was going to release the Logic line of multi-channel home theater products, I knew I wanted to hear it for myself.

Several months’ back, I received beta units of both the MC70 Seven Channel Amplifier and the SSP100 Preamplifier/Processor. At first, they were a bit rough, but as I found more problems and suggestions, they listened, and are continuing to listen, as all good electronics companies should do.

Featuring: 4 switchable HDMI inputs, DVI, RS232, USB, Integrated video scaler to 1080P and balanced 7.1 channel inputs/outputs

Rack mountable or free standing
Programmable touch screen remote control
4 year warranty

AUDIO FEATURES



7.1 channel balanced inputs and outputs with analogue bypass and volume control

7.1 channel unbalanced inputs with selectable balanced and unbalanced

outputs

4 special, programmable output channels. Auxiliary Manager for managing additional channels (channels 9 & 10 for stereo subwoofers, ceiling speakers, etc.) Play music and/or video in two different rooms

Patented High Dynamic Bass (HDB) circuitry for advanced bass management. Choose the size of speakers and route the bass information through the subwoofer(s)

Autocalibration of speaker levels and distances with calibration

microphone.

Simplifies set up for the best in-room audio quality.

Adjustable Lipsync function



VIDEO FEATURES



4 HDMI inputs. Digital audio and video can be sent from the DVD player direct to the processor and/or projector/plasma display

1 HDMI output. DVI fully supported via HDMI to DVI adaptor

HDMI de-interlacing and scaling for improved video performance

Up-conversion (scaler) to component video & HDMI

4 component video inputs

1 component video output

Composite and Component Video de-interlacing (interlaced to progressive translation e.g. 480i to 480p) = scaling to HDTV 1080p and /or HDMI output

Component Video bypass switching (up to HDTV 1080p compatible) Analogue video to Digital, High Definition video conversion



Features

This baby has all the bells and whistles available today, short of a few. Auto-levels and auto-distance? Check. HDMI Inputs? Check. Component Inputs? Check. Video Conversion to HDMI? Check. What are missing? Just a few.

As heralded on many a thread on various home theater forums, no the SSP100 does not have auto-EQ. It is in the planning stages for Halcro, but they want to pick the best solution available, not just throw on a cheaper solution found on some of the better home theater receivers today. Personally, I am a bigger fan of good room treatments and quality RTA calibration by a trained HAA professional, but auto-EQ is a nice feature for the average consumer purchasing this for a typical home theater or family room.

Video

Far and away, this processor has more video features than any other piece on the market, hands down. 4 HDMI inputs, by itself, separates it from the competition. Internal entry-level scaling to 1080P output can be quite handy with the right display as well. The SSP100 cannot re-interlace a signal, so outputting 1080I from a 480P signal is not possible, but 1080P from 480P certainly is.

Most high-end customers that purchase the 100 will purchase it for a high-end theater, and the majority of bigger theaters today have dedicated video processors for scaling, as is the case in our lab here. We use a Lumagen scaler to drive our Qualia, so in my tests, I simply used the HDMI switching capability of the 100 to drive my Lumagen. HDMI is seamlessly passed with HDCP to the Lumagen, although we had some initial hiccups that Lumagen and Halcro together solved promptly for me.

The OSD does need some work as far as aliasing issues and just overall sharpness and cleanliness in comparison to the OSD of Lexicon’s MC12. Halcro has this on their agenda, and they have thus far delivered on everything I have requested. The OSD does not display properly as an overlay on HDMI, and it does with errors on component. The status screen works perfectly on SVideo as expected. HDMI is a toughie for OSDs for every company right now, and this on Halcro’s agenda to get a nice overlay of the menu or status screen without going to static HDCP first. Four component inputs and array of SVideo and composite certainly keep this neck and neck with the MC12 on analog video, and it is far and away superior on digital video.

The front features a much-lauded widescreen VGA LCD. It will duplicate a 480I input on it, but that's it. It is W-VGA, so it does not display 480P or HD signals. It does display the menu or status screens for any inputs, and is kind-of cool to see a dupe of your movie playing in widescreen on the front of your processor. Most afficianados will dim the front, as I have done, as it can be distracting if you watching your movie in the same room as your processor.

Audio

Balanced, balanced everywhere! Wow! More balanced inputs than I have seen on any other piece. Seven / One balanced input is a must for the super-high end SACD players, and this is one piece that has it, as does the Theta Casablanca. A full compliment of RCA and XLR inputs make elevate this to audiophile build status from the get-go.

Biggest audio plus? HDMI audio, of course. This is an ultra-slick feature for the those of us who want a one-cable solution from our D-VHS D-Theater decks. One HDMI cable does full bandwidth 1080I video as well as DTS and Dolby Digital. This worked with every HDMI device I tested, short of one biggie: the HD-TiVo. The HR10-250’s HDMI must be slightly different than the standard, as audio does not pass at all; video is perfect. When the HR10-250 is hooked directly to an HDMI TV with speakers, audio is heard, so it is simply an incompatibility.

One drawback on the audio side? Two Toslink inputs. This is a pain as HD-TiVo as Toslink, as does Xbox and PS3. The solution? M-Audio’s Toslink to Coax converter. Works like a champ.

One huge feature that the Halcro has and is enabled, two programmable channels that can be programmed for two overhead F/X channels. It also has two sub outputs as a left and right from this first set of the “special” output, which completely duplicate the main sub output.

Performance (Comparison with Lexicon MC-12V5)

The MC12 V4 has big one of the biggest processor guns in the past few years, if not the biggest. One drawback was its lack of Dolby Pro Logic IIx until the recent Version 5 upgrade. Even with the new V5 upgrade, they did not implement some very handy sound schemes for gamers, an upcoming market in the home theater arena that Halcro was smart enough to pay attention to.

THX Ultra 2 Games Mode, Dolby Pro Logic IIx Games: Yep, both in here. THX Ultra 2 Games, in comparison to Ultra 2 by itself on either piece, is phenomenally better for the 5.1 gaming experience. The 6th and 7th channels are dramatically more powerful, and overall surround activity is pleasantly more lifelike and aggressive. You like bass? Try crashing a hot rod at 200 mph on Burnout Revenge with Games Mode on, and your house will shudder. DPLIIx Games is only available for analog sound, weird considering that many PS2 games output DPLIIx via their toslink outputs. THX is not available on DPLIIx Games.



THX mode is available on virtually everything else though on the 100. Unlike the MC12, however, it cannot be set as a preset sound mode, and the memory for each input will not save THX as an option. According to Halcro, this is mandated by THX, but it is a feature available on basically every single THX receiver and preamp made today, so Halcro is working on changing this.

In direct comparison between the MC12 and SSP100, both pieces in DPLIIx Movie + THX, there is simply no comparison. The SSP100 is louder, more crisp, and has more bass than any preamp I have ever heard. The bass is slightly tighter on the MC12 in an uncalibrated room because of the V4 & V5’s room EQ, but bass levels and depth are so much more powerful on the 100, you will be blown away. The duplicate LFE outputs allow for three subs, but unlike the MC12, they are all duplicates of the main sub output.

Besides extreme bass levels, surround and overall clarity are dramatically improved. Action seems louder, although both units calibrate out evenly to within a point or two of 75dB. Pans are more seamless, and gone are the annoying polarity issues that plague the MC12’s surround channels.

For multi-channel and two-channel music, this is a split-decision. For multi-channel, I prefer the MC12 for one reason: the ability to add THX Music Mode to the 5.1 source. At press time, this could not be done on the 100. However, as with all of my things on my list, this another feature Halcro will be adding. Levels and distances apply on both.

For stereo music, the 100 is better, with better imaging and tighter range throughout. The multitude of sounds modes simply destroy the Lexicon, although the Logic 7 is much improved and still the best non-THX mode available today, in my opinion.

Conclusion

Dollar for dollar, the SSP100 simply sounds better than the MC12. The MC12 is more polished since Lexicon has had much more time to get their piece perfect. OSD aside, the SSP100 is more robust, much better video switching, and definitely better sound.

Looks like I will have a new processor for some time.


Test Equipment:

Video: Sony Qualia 004 R2 Front Projector
Stewart SND116H Grayhawk Reference Standard MicroPerf
Lumagen Vision Pro HDP Video Processor
Lexicon RT-20 DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio
Theta Compli DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio
Apple PowerMac G5 Media Server with Rock Star Media Works
JVC HM-DH5 D-VHS
Xbox
Playstation 2
HR10-250 HD-TiVo

Audio:

Lexicon MC-12 Version 5 Preamplifier
Halcro MC70 Multichannel Amplifier
AudioSource Monoblock Amplifier x 3
Snell AMC 2000THX In-Wall Front Speaker x 3
Snell AMC 900THX In-Wall Dipole Surround x 4
Snell ICS-Sub 24 Subwoofer x 3
Clark Synthesis Platinum Tactile Transducer x 3

Power:

Purity Power Base Isolation Transformer 5KVA
Richard Gray Power Company RGPC 400Pro 4 Port Line Conditioner
PS Audio Power Director 4.7
Quantum Symphony Pro x 2
Quantum ElectroClear Power Outlet x 2
 

bron: www.docdvd.com
Pioneer PDP-LX508D  |  Emotiva UMC-1  |  Emotiva XPA-5  |  Crown K1  |  PS3  |  PS4 | Apple TV4 | Humax iHDR-5200C  |  Olive One |  Audiophysic TEMPO 25 / CELSIUS HHCT II / STEP  |  SVS CS-Ultra  |  Finite Elemente Modul Classic  |  Kabels Emotiva X-Series  |  Harmony Ultimate

Offline jaco

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Re: Halcro Logic SSP-100 volgens reviewer beter dan Lexicon MC12
« Reply #1 on: October 6, 2005, 15:51:59 »
Hoe kun je nu schrijven dat Lexicon veel meer tijd gehad heeft om hun product te maken als jij iets uitbrengt wat later op de markt komt ? Dan heb je toch zelf MEER tijd gehad  ???

7.1 XLR ingang ideaal voor SACD - erg handig een op sterven na dood 5.1 formaat waar wellicht een handvol spelers voor is met een XLR uitgang.

Maar ik zie het al: in wall speakers, voorkeur voor THX en wil graag PC geluid afspelen.
Weinig serieus te nemen, het is gewoon een opsomming van mogelijkheden met 1 conclusie: beter dan lexicon.

Offline Danakin

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Re: Halcro Logic SSP-100 volgens reviewer beter dan Lexicon MC12
« Reply #2 on: October 6, 2005, 16:58:13 »
Hoe kun je nu schrijven dat Lexicon veel meer tijd gehad heeft om hun product te maken als jij iets uitbrengt wat later op de markt komt ? Dan heb je toch zelf MEER tijd gehad  ???

Hangt er vanaf wanneer je begonnen bent. Tijd wordt bepaald door het begin- en eindstip van de periode :-\

Danny
Versterking: denon avr-x3600h, emotiva xpa gen3, Blu-ray: Panasonic BD85, Mediaspeler: Nvidia Shield, TV: lg oled, Decoder: Arcadyan van Telfor,
Luidsprekers voor (incl. center): HT7 Bazuinen Luidsprekers achter: HT7 Oktaven, Subwoofer: Klipsch r-112sw (2x), bekabeling: Van den Hul en Monster

Offline jaco

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Re: Halcro Logic SSP-100 volgens reviewer beter dan Lexicon MC12
« Reply #3 on: October 7, 2005, 00:32:43 »
Hangt er vanaf wanneer je begonnen bent. Tijd wordt bepaald door het begin- en eindstip van de periode :-\

Danny
Daar kan ik weinig tegenin brengen, maar de conclusie vind ik brutaal om een merk tegentegaan.

Offline garmtz

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Re: Halcro Logic SSP-100 volgens reviewer beter dan Lexicon MC12
« Reply #4 on: November 1, 2005, 22:36:42 »
Ach, Lexicon bezitters weten al jaren beter... :)

Offline bmateijsen

Re: Halcro Logic SSP-100 volgens reviewer beter dan Lexicon MC12
« Reply #5 on: November 1, 2005, 22:38:31 »
Interessante review, maar helemaal objectief is het nu ook weer niet.. Verder alleen je vergelijking op basis laten plaats vinden van Dolby IIx + THX, tja... het zou mij om de absolute performance gaan, dus logic 7 op de Lex minimaal..

Maar goed, dat de Halcro op stereo misschien beter is, tja... ook dat zal een smaakverschil zijn, maar de Lexicon MC12 is wel vaker door een processor op stereogebied verslagen. Zijn kracht ligt nog steeds in de processing ;).

Groet Bjorn