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Music Hardware

THX Caught With Pants Down Over Lexicon Blu-ray Player 397

SchlimpyChicken writes "Lexicon and THX apparently attempted to pull a fast one on the consumer electronics industry, but got caught this week when a couple websites exposed the fact that the high-end electronics company put a nearly-unmodified $500 Oppo Blu-ray player into a new Lexicon chassis and was selling it for $3500. AV Rant broke the story first on its home theater podcast with some pics of the two players' internals. Audioholics.com then posted a full suite of pics and tested the players with an Audio Precision analyzer. Both showed identical analogue audio performance and both failed a couple of basic THX specifications. Audioholics also posted commentary from THX on the matter and noted that both companies appear to be in a mad scramble to hide the fact that the player was ever deemed THX certified."
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THX Caught With Pants Down Over Lexicon Blu-ray Player

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  • by larien ( 5608 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @05:50AM (#30788880) Homepage Journal
    "designed for the audio enthusiast" - i.e. the only people who will pay $500 for a cable they could buy for I think in that way, it's perfectly designed.
  • THX BYE! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 16, 2010 @06:07AM (#30788956)

    Enuff said.

  • by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @06:33AM (#30789036)

    Additionally, signal directional markings are provided for optimum signal transfer.

    How does a 2-direction arrow silkscreened onto the connector improve anything?

  • THX? (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @06:36AM (#30789062) Journal

    Wow. I'm sticking with THC.

  • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @06:38AM (#30789076)

    Imagine a company that would take a few hundred bucks worth of regular PC parts, add a slightly modified free open-source OS, package the thing in a white shiny box and sell it for a few thousand bucks... What a scam it would be!

  • by Greger47 ( 516305 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @06:47AM (#30789120)

    The blog got it all wrong! Lexicon if very honest about taking the Oppo player and improving upon it, and boy they did!

    It's common knowledge that the audiophile listener derives his pleasure not from the quality of sound reproduction but from the price tag of his equipment.

    So an audiophile is getting 7x the pleasure from listening to the Lexicon compared to the Oppo. Beat that if you can!


  • by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @07:14AM (#30789244)

    I'll bet they forgot to use the Monster Cables.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @07:25AM (#30789290) Journal

    (shines ethernet cable)
    (attaches fake Denon label)

    I've got some amazing Denon wire here, personally spit-polished to ensure the absolute best in digital transmission quality. And at only $249 this is a real bargain! (audiophiles stampede into the room). My god. It's almost like being Timothy Geitner - I'm printing my own money.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @07:25AM (#30789292)

    their salesman get to go to hawaii for year-end bonus get-aways?


    there is no tech reason for directional markings on twisted pair cabling. THAT one is pretty laughable, I'll admit.

  • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @10:05AM (#30790012) Homepage

    Audophiles will go on about jitter but minute variations in air pressure due to your breathing or the sound itself will cause much larger variations.

    That's why the only setup a true Audiophile will have is a listening room setup inside of a vacuum chamber. No worries about changes in air pressure.

  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @10:18AM (#30790084)
    Yes but THX isn't supposed to be dishonest. George Lucas created THX specifically so we, the consumers, could avoid the cheap junk and get a "like the theater" experience at home. I'm surprised to learn that THX has devolved to be as pointless a label as "UL" on a lamp.

    Woah! Hold on a second! Are you telling me that George Lucas is trying to pass crap off to an unsuspecting public?!?!?!?!? Say it ain't so!
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @10:52AM (#30790270)

    Just because you can't measure it doesn't mean that an audiophile can't hear it.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @12:25PM (#30790850) Journal
    Greetings Mr Record Producer.

    There's a world of misery in high end audio these days. First off, I do NOT have a high end DVD player, as I have yet to find a DVD player with decent enough audio out. But, I and my neighbour both have really awesome stereo systems and we regularly test different cables and suchlike, and oddly enough, cabling, even for digital, does make a difference, sometimes dramatic.

    My system:
    Computer: iBook, USB to (DAC)
    CD: Rotel 855, spdif out to (DAC):
    DAC: Musical Fidelity DAC, w/ M.F. power unit, kimber cable to:
    Pre: Bryston, to:
    Amp: B&K, using amazingly cheap yet excellent flat audio cable to:
    Speakers: Home built. SEAS 8in woofers with 5in Audax mids and 1 in tweeters, in ported forward firing towers.
    I also have a turntable: SOTA Comet with a REGA tonearm and Sumiko Blue Point Cart that goes to a Rotel ttable preamp. I also have an old Onkyo FM tuner that I rarely use.

    My friend's system: Copmuter: IBM thinkpad, USB to DAC
    CD: Rotel 855, spdif out to DAC:
    DAC: Benchmark to:
    Pre: Melos optical, to
    Amp: Phase Linear 400 to
    Speakers: Watson Lab 10s (monster towers. Filled with Audax drivers)

    And we did a series of tests. Our results were:

    1. The best listening on both systems was this arrangement:
    24bit FLAC files on Computer via USB to DAC to AMP to SPEAKERS.
    The FLAC sounds better than CD because of the error correction in the CD player accounting for defects in the CD, dust, finger prints, vagrant cruft, the fact that the discs aren't perfectly circular, etc.

    2. Getting good electricity was paramount - plugging directly to the wall socket noticeably screwed with the sound.

    3. We found that the Preamps very very very slightly altered the sound stage. We both have high quality passive preamps, and they shouldn't change anything, but they did. The Bryston was less affecting than the Melos. We swapped preamps one day, and decided the Melos sounded a wee tiny bit nicer, but was slightly more tiring with my speakers and amp. As a consequence, the ever so slightly better sound was to go directly from the DAC to the AMP.

    4. Next to solid electric provided by power conditioners, cabling made a big difference. We both use fairly high end Kimber cables, so that is not the issue. What is supremely weird is the USB cable made a difference. We had some junk USB cables sitting around and used those. Then we both chipped in and got a stupidly expensive ($85) USB cable. It sounded great. That afternoon, I bought a hard drive that came with a USB cable. The FREE CABLE sounded better. No shit. On both systems. So, we got our money back on the USB cable and took our families out for pizza and beer.

    Also, the SPDIF cable made a huge difference. The cheap plastic SPDIF lightpipe thingie sucked. It wreaked havoc with the soundstage. However, the SPDIF RCA style optical was WAY better. Why? No idea.

    5. The second best arrangement was with the Preamps back in the system. Frankly, the differences were tiny. My neighbour noticed it more than me.

    6. We both have shorter cable lengths. We both used to have longer cables, but after repeated testing on both systems, the longest cable either of us now has is 1 meter, except, or course, for the speaker cable. The speaker cable is an interesting issue. For years I used heavy duty lamp cord. Then I bought balanced studio TRS cables. Then I figured out, any decent cable is just fucking copper. Pure copper. It's NOT the cable: it's the interconnects. building my own cables is do-able as I can buy high end silver interconnects, and solder them to pure copper cables. I still have some Kimber cables, but it's mostly home built.

    People poo poo home built, as if a kit is inferior. If you're careful and precise, and know how the stuff works, homebrew gear can be VASTLY superior. Example: I bought a pair of Polk Audio Monitor 5s at a pawn shop for $60. I used them until a tweeter failed. The cabinets were in PERFECT cond

  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['eve' in gap]> on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:17PM (#30791314) Homepage

    If a SDPIF cable starts losing bits, it will be rather noticeable. It will be full of pops and clicks.

    Having a 'bad signal' without it being blatantly obvious is near impossible, and if you get a bad signal, I suggest you move your audio equipment further away from your unshielded nuclear reactor or your kilowatt FM transmission tower or unwrap it from around powerline step-down transformers, or whatever the fuck is causing the problem.

  • by maestroX ( 1061960 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:24PM (#30791382)

    I'm curious: can you hear the difference when using unequal cable lengths?

    It is common knowledge that the human body is not built symmetrically and distance between ear and brain vary from one another.
    I usually tug along my portable CAT scanner for adjusting the cable lengths properly and provide my customers with the best aural experience possible.

  • by mike260 ( 224212 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:14PM (#30792268)

    It's just a shame that all that cash goes to the least scrupulous companies.
    Someone should start a rumour that the perfect speaker-casing material is Haitian rubble.

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @04:22PM (#30792790)

    Ethernet signals travel at a very large fraction of the speed of light

    0.59c isn't THAT large.

    Large enough for your mother.

  • by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @06:25PM (#30793738) Journal

    "designed for the audio enthusiast"

    Those people are fools! I only buy Monster cables.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission