Lexicon (company)

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This article is about the audio equipment manufacturer. For other companies, see Lexicon (disambiguation).
Industry Audio electronics
Founded 1971
Headquarters Woodbury, Orange County, New York
Key people
Francis F. Lee
Chuck Bagnaschi
Dr. David Griesinger
Products Professional audio production equipment, home theater equipment, consumer audio
Website http://www.lexicon.com

Lexicon is an American company that engineers, manufactures and markets audio equipment as a brand of Harman International Industries (HII), with offices in Salt Lake City. Originally founded in 1971 and headquartered in Waltham, Mass., the company was acquired by HII in 1993.[1]

Lexicon traces its history to the 1969 founding of American Data Sciences by MIT professor Dr. Francis F. Lee and engineer Chuck Bagnaschi, developers of digital audio devices for medical heart monitoring.[2]

The company is widely known as the OEM developer of the multi-speaker audio system for the Rolls-Royce Phantom[3] — as well as the Hyundai Genesis, Hyundai Equus and Kia K900.

Professional audio equipment[edit]

Reverb and effects[edit]

Lexicon is considered "the godfather of digital reverb",[4] as one of the early players on the reverb/reverberation market. The company was among the first to produce commercially available digital reverb equipment, beginning in 1978[5] with the Model 224. In 1986, Lexicon released the 480L (costing more than some cars), a successor of the 224XL.

The PCM series was introduced as a smaller, more economical option particularly in live situations where the 480L was too cumbersome for a rack rider. First in the series was the PCM-60 (1984), followed a few years later by the Lexicon PCM-70, the latter adding multi-effects and a digital screen interface. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd used a Lexicon PCM-70 to store the circular delay sounds in songs such as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Time" in the 1994 The Division Bell Tour.[6]

In the 1990s Lexicon continued the PCM series with two new units, the PCM-80 multi-effects unit and PCM-90 digital reverb. In 1997. they released Model 300 as another iconic multi-effect unit. Lexicon continued the PCM series in the 2000s with new mid-level units including the PCM-96 and PCM-96 Surround, standalone reverb units that easily integrate into DAWs.[7]

Also from the 1990s comes the consumer-level LXP series including the LXP-1, LXP-5, LXP-15 and the LXP-15II, and later the affordable MPX1. A new low-priced reverb series, the MX series, was introduced in the 2000s, with the Lexicon MX200 as the entrance model.

HD recording[edit]

Lexicon was a pioneer in the hard disk recording market, introducing the Opus system in 1988. This system feature 8 channels of disk I/O along with an integrated 12 channel digital mixer. In the following years, Opus was upgraded with EQ and console automation. In the mid 1990s Lexicon Studio and Core2 audio interfaces were introduced. They were notable in that they could be expanded with a Lexicon reverb daughterboard that was then accessible to the recording software.

Electroacoustic enhancement[edit]

In 1988, Lexicon developed LARES, an electronic processing system intended to give performance spaces a tailored acoustic experience. LARES uses microphones to pick up sound, central processing units to apply time-variant anti-feedback, delay and reverberation algorithms, and banks of loudspeakers to bring the enhanced audio signal back into the performance space. LARES Associates split away from Lexicon in 1995. Lexicon continues to benefit from its initial LARES research and development with the company offering a scaled-down and simplified microprocessor controller, the MC-12,[8] intended for auditory enhancement within home and professional listening spaces. The system is called Lexicon LIVE.[9]

Home theater equipment[edit]

Lexicon's first foray into home theater equipment was with its surround processor, the CP-1. Later, a CP-2 was released, followed by the CP-3 and the CP-3+. The CP-3/CP-3+ were the first of its home theater products to be THX certified.

With the arrival of Dolby Digital, the CP line had to be discontinued. It was replaced with the DC line, namely the DC-1 [1996] and the DC-2. It was at this point that the company introduced its revolutionary surround processing algorithm Logic 7. Logic 7 was notable for generating a convincing soundfield from seven loudspeakers when presented with either a stereo or 5.1 input.

After a while, Lexicon added the MC-1 to its lineup of the DC-1 and DC-2, and the MC-1 became its new flagship.

A few years later, Lexicon introduced the MC-12 and the MC-12b. The MC-12b was in all respects identical to the MC-12 except that it had balanced outputs in addition to the standard unbalanced ones. Shortly after this, Lexicon filled in the lower end of its product line by providing an MC-8 and an MC-4. They also produced a receiver, the RV-8.

In addition to surround processors, Lexicon also sells the LX and CX multi-channel home theater amplifiers and the RT-20 DVD player. Its discontinued NT line of amplifiers were rebadged Bryston amplifiers.

Lexicon BD-30/THX certification controversy[edit]

In 2010, an Audioholics.com review revealed that the chassis and internal components of Lexicon's BD-30 Blu-ray player (retail price $3500) was identical to that of the Oppo BDP-83 (retail price $500); audiovisual testing indicated no changes were made in performance either.[10][11] Furthermore, it appears that this player was given THX certification (the first Blu-ray player with this distinction), despite failing fundamental THX tests. Currently, evidence of its certification has largely disappeared from the THX website after this was revealed.[12]


  1. ^ "HARMAN MOVES ON DIGITAL: ACQUIRES LEXICON". Harman International Industries, 4/16/93, Bernie Girod. Harman International Industries, Inc., today announced completion of the acquisition of Lexicon, Inc. Based in Waltham, Mass., Lexicon is recognized worldwide as the premier designer and manufacturer of digital audio signal processing equipment and disk-based audio production systems for the professional audio and high-end consumer electronics industries. 
  2. ^ Steven Schoenherr. Recording Technology History. The Digital Revolution
  3. ^ "THE VOCABULARY OF SONIC EXCELLENCE". Roy Nakano, LAcar.com. 
  4. ^ Magnus, Nick (March 1995). "Lexicon Reflex Dynamic MIDI Effects Processor". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  5. ^ 1978 Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb
  6. ^ Tolinski, Brad (September 1994). "Welcome to the Machines". Guitar World. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  7. ^ Robjohns, Hugh (November 2008). "Lexicon PCM96 Reverb Processor". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Lexicon MC-12 Music and Cinema Processor
  9. ^ Lexicon LIVE (Lexicon Intelligent Variable Environment)
  10. ^ Lexicon BD-30 Blu-ray Player (Oppo BDP-83 Clone) Review.
  11. ^ Consumerist.com: Lexicon Puts $500 Blu-Ray Player In New Case, Charges $3000 Markup ...And Gets Caught.
  12. ^ THX, Lexicon Official Response Regarding BD Player Certification.

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