Harman's Luxury Audio Division Introduces Flagship Lexicon SL-1 High-End Adaptive Speaker

May 14 2019, 10:30
During the 2019 High End Show in Munich, Germany, Harman promoted a special event to signal the opening of its first experience store in Europe and the introduction of multiple new products from its luxury audio brands. Among the surprises, Harman unveiled the new controllable Lexicon SoundSteer SL-1 loudspeaker system, using 66 drivers arranged in a 360-degree configuration, and 46 discrete amplifier channels with a music output of 1,300 watts. Truly, a smart speaker on steroids, the SL-1 combines all the latest innovations in advanced beam steering technology.

Since its launch in 1971, Lexicon has been a genuine pioneer in audio technology, setting the standards for professional users as well as for demanding hi-fi enthusiasts. Deeply rooted in the Massachusetts and MIT pioneering audio efforts and history of innovations, the company acquired by Harman in 1993 is mostly recognized for its innovations in digital reverb, the first hard disc recording systems and active acoustics. Lexicon's consumer efforts include a respected range of home theater systems and cinema surround processors, as well as the development of automotive audio systems for luxury brands such as Rolls-Royce.

Today, Lexicon is one of the brands in the Harman Luxury Audio division, together with Mark Levinson, JBL Synthesis and Revel speakers, and the recently acquired British company Arcam. Almost forgotten within the Harman International portfolio of consumer audio brands are Infinity and Harman Kardon, which together with AKG and JBL are now almost randomly used in all different sorts of consumer products. The appearance of a Lexicon flagship loudspeaker system is just another piece in the increasingly complicated brand-puzzle, now controlled by Samsung, and a direct reflex of Harman's remaining US-based research and manufacturing activities.

As Harman puts it, the Lexicon SL-1 is "a groundbreaking loudspeaker system that continues this tradition of innovation." The two large-sized active floorstanding adaptive speakers, each equipped with 33 loudspeaker drivers (12x 3/4" tweeters, 16x 2" midrange drivers, 4x 5.25" woofers and a 10" subwoofer) and 23 amplifier channels, each with an output of 650 watts (RMS) per loudspeaker, are certainly not an average effort.

The drivers are arranged in a 360-degree configuration around the Lexicon loudspeaker’s hourglass-shaped housing. A detachable 4-panel grille reveals this impressive configuration, while automatic EQ settings enhance playback for operation with or without grilles mounted. Two LED rings, discreetly integrated into the loudspeaker chassis, round off the modern appearance of the Lexicon SL-1 and simultaneously serve to visualize the width and direction of the sound dispersion.

The speakers can be freely positioned in any room and use advanced beam steering technology to optimally control the sweet spot, guaranteeing the best possible music experience to the listener or group of listeners. Designed as an active and completely wireless solution, the Lexicon SL-1 has the ability to individually optimize the sound for any listening position and provides a crystal-clear, high-definition audio experience at any time, even with demanding placement options.

The Lexicon SLC-1 wireless controller complements the floorstanding loudspeakers and establishes the connection to the audio source via a variety of interfaces. In addition to streaming via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n/ac), the Lexicon SLC-1 offers four HDMI inputs, an HDMI ARC output, a 3.5 mm jack and an optical SPDIF input. The connection to the home network can also be established via an Ethernet interface (10/100 Mbps, RJ45). The entire speaker system supports high-definition 24-bit transmission and universal audio standards, including PCM, AAC, FLAC, MP3 and WMA (via HDMI and SPDIF). 

Furthermore, the SL-1 is fully compatible with Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround (via HDMI and SPDIF) and supports UHD video signals with up to 4K resolution (HDCP 2.2 compatible). The different reproduction formats and acoustic optimization according to the placement is handled by a DSP array to control the direction and width of the sound dispersion. The advanced algorithm adjusts the location and size of the listening area or sweet spot in real time, giving users the ability to individually control their listening experience. 

Despite the complex calculations required for this, the Lexicon SL-1 is conveniently controlled via a mobile app. Available for Android and iOS devices, the application uses finger gestures to control the size and position of the sweet spot. This makes it possible, in practically no time at all, to overcome restrictions in positioning the loudspeakers in the room, as well as to boost playback for one or more people in the room. Programmable presets allow different configurations to be permanently stored and immediately accessed.

"With the Lexicon SL-1 we present a completely flexible all-in-one loudspeaker system of the absolute premium class," explains Scott Campbell, Global Sales Director Luxury Audio at Harman. "Crafted in an iconic design, this system offers unprecedented possibilities in terms of controlling and optimizing the sound reproduction according to the personal requirements of the user and their spatial conditions. What is more, the Lexicon SL-1 is one of the most elegant and powerful solutions for a fully-fledged and future-proof home entertainment setting."

According to Harman, the Lexicon SL-1 will become available during the fourth quarter of 2019. The recommended retail price is 43,000 EUR (incl. VAT) in Europe, while the recommended retail price for the United States will be 40,000 USD (without taxes).
www.lexicon.com | www.harmanluxuryaudio.com
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