ethanchan
207
Oct 26, 2018
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So the good news is that you can hook it up, the bad news is that I am not confident that it is a good idea. Looking at your back panel you have stereo out to zone 2 and 3 but I am not sure if that is passive (pre amp) or powered (amplified signal). It can work either way but you run into the issue of pushing to much signal to the dac and killing it. On a side note, you may want to look into whether or not you get signal at the xlr port from the rca inputs. I say this because I know some DAC/Amps, such as my SMSL sAp9 do not cross feed signal from rca to xlr and xlr to trs. For the record, I am not sure if your dac is any better than the audio you will get from the amp itself as it a home theater amp and is in a sense a DAC itself. I could be wrong (and lord knows I have been many times in the past) and I know I have heard of people doing what you want to do but I am not completely sold on the idea that this is going to bring anything to the table audio wise that you will just get from the amp itself. I hope I was of some help and will try and help you as best I can with any other questions you may have. I have a lot of experience with home theatres, and a lot of experience with with DACs AMPs and headphones but I don't have much by way of putting them into one system. Again, I hope this helps and if you do run stereo rca from the amp to the DAC/AMP, make sure you have the volume on the Pioneer turned way down before selecting that output in the pioneer. Just a good practice to keep from killing the dac/amp and or your headphones.
Oct 26, 2018
ElectronicVices
2119
Oct 27, 2018
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The back panel shows Zone 2/3 RCA outputs, it won't really matter if they are fixed or variable outputs. "Passive" doesn't really apply in this context. The issue lies with the fact not all (in my experience very few) receivers will apply the converted HDMI/optical/USB audio to the RCA zone 2/3 outs. More often than not they will only pass along analog inputs which eliminates compatibility with all of OP's sources. All sources run through the pre-outs for L/R and in a lot of receivers is your only option to add a headphone amp. If the sources were analog or the DAC was separate this would be easier. I only use my DAC for computer based or cd audio and run the XLR outputs to my headphone amp(s) and the SE to my receiver. I use my receivers pre-outs for my speaker amps so that option was a non-starter for me. If I want headphones with a receiver connected source I bust out the Grado headphone extension cable and jack in to the receiver directly (this scenario is fairly rare for my uses)
Oct 27, 2018
Megazine
470
Oct 27, 2018
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Thank you for all your feed back. Here is where my jump to amp/dac began. I have a powerful high-end receiver. The Pioneer Elite SC-65 which at the time retailed for $1600. I bought the 4XX and I just don’t understand why people were raving about the sound quality. My 6XX and 58X sound amazing on my receiver but not the 4XX. I noticed at high volume, the 4XX starts to get a little bit distorted. I searched for help here on massdrop and was told that, receivers, even high-end ones don’t really have high quality DACs, and that’s where manufactures cut corners. So here’s my delima; am I really getting the full potential (or semi) of the 4XX, or did I max them out with my receiver?! This led me to buy the LCX. Now I’m thinking, maybe I could have invested in a high quality DAC and used my receiver for the amp, not sure if that’s even a good route.
Oct 27, 2018
ethanchan
207
Oct 27, 2018
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I'll be honest, I don't have a lot of experience with going the rout of home theater amp to headphone via headphone dac and amp. The dacs and amps you see on here are desktop and is used with either a computer, gaming system, or music player. When it comes to going from home theater the route I have taken is blue tooth from my sony home theater amp to my dac then from my dac to a headphone amp. One of the other posters said it should not be a problem going from the output on the amp to the DAC/AMP via RCA without hurting it. I personally would not be comfortable with it but that is just my personal opinion. There are solutions for you to go from home theater amp to dac amp and you can do it you will just have to use one zone 2 or 3 to do it. I hope that helps. BTW, not sure if you tried this yet but you can go rca to xlr to the dac amp and then get a custom cable for the headphones with a four pin xlr so you can run balanced out of the dac amp. That would help clean up that signal a bit.
Oct 27, 2018
Megazine
470
Oct 27, 2018
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If I understand your last point correctly. One option is: home theater receiver to my LCX, via RCA cables?
Oct 27, 2018
ethanchan
207
Oct 27, 2018
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___________________________________________Update________________________________________________________ My apologies but I just realized you typed "LCX" not "LCD X".. LOL... yes, go from your pioneer amp to the LCX using one of the two cables below. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ no, you go from zone 2 or 3 output on your amp to the liquid carbon x. To do that you can use an RCA to RCA
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or RCA to XLR
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I personally would go rca to xlr and use the balance out (4 pin XLR port on the front of the unit). I am not 100% sure if the LCX comes with a XLR cable but if it did then you are good to go without having to get a custom cable. My LCD 2 Closed didn't come with one so I had to order one. If you don't want to spend the money on a balanced headphone cable then go rca to rca and use the TRS connector instead. Does that help?
Oct 27, 2018
Megazine
470
Oct 27, 2018
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I think that helps. Ok, so how does Apple TV come into play? It’s already sending signal via HDMI. Maybe in my settings, I can program receiver to send audio from Apple TV to RCA (Zone 2), and the RCA sends signal to LCX. That probably makes no sense. Lol
Oct 27, 2018
ethanchan
207
Oct 28, 2018
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everything will go to your home theater first then the audio goes from there to the dac/amp. all you have to do is select your input which in this case will be what ever input you have the apple tv going to and make sure you have audio out going to which ever zone you choose to use for the dac/amp
Oct 28, 2018
Megazine
470
Oct 28, 2018
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Ok, I have one more question. I'm really new at this so here it goes. What's the best method to send signal from MacBook Pro to the LCX; what adapters do I need or are highly recommended? My MacBook only has two USB-C and one headphone jack. I also own a USB-C to USB adapter. And I also own a RCA to headphone jack cable. Does the headphone jack to RCA cable send the best signal possible or is there a superior method?
Oct 28, 2018
ethanchan
207
Oct 28, 2018
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This one is a bit trickier, since I don't have one I don't know if that USB in the back is for input or output. If it is input then you can use USB cable. If that USB on the LCX is not an input then you can pick up the 3.5 mm to RCA cable ( http://a.co/d/0LkUnzC ) like this one here. It does not have to be this one specifically, I just pulled this one because it was the first one I saw in amazon. This cable would go from your 3.5 mm audio jack on the mac book to the RCA input in the back of the LCX. Again, I don't have one of these so there may be a better solution, I just don't know what it is. I would however recommend that you plan this out, if you need to use the RCA inputs for the laptop then you will need to use the XLR inputs for your home theater amp. I hope that helps.
Oct 28, 2018
ElectronicVices
2119
Oct 28, 2018
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Edited as the manual says the zone 2/3 is a no go. 1) I checked your receivers manual, I was right, it will not pass converted HDMI or digital audio to the zone 2/3 output. You can pass along analog signals and network signals, but the network has to also be in use by the main output to work on the zone outputs. 2) Connect your computer via USB C to a USB hub (assuming you need to still use this port) and then USB A to Micro USB on the LCX/SDAC.
  • This will allow you to test out the DAC part of your amp/dac with your laptop (where I find them most beneficial).
3) Your phone can be used with airdrop/airplay to your receiver or you can plug in directly to your LCX usb with a lightning to micro usb adapter.
  • You may run into "this device consumes too much power" issue with idevices however.
  • There are ways around this but I'm not an Apple guru so I will direct you to the interwebs on the right kit to buy if this comes up

Do not mix SE and balanced signals by way of converter cables. The one time this is completely safe is when you have a balanced headphone cable that you put a balanced to TRS adapter on to plug into the SE Headphone output. All other scenarios you risk buying worthless cables or damaging your gear.
Oct 28, 2018
Megazine
470
Oct 31, 2018
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Also @ethanchan and everyone else. Thank you everyone for all the help! You guys really saved me hours of time and research. Finally set everything up today. As of right now, I have my LCX connected to my MAC via USB-C to USB-Micro and works very well. A big improvement on sound, and quality over solely my receiver. I would also like to add that at loud volumes the 4XX does not get distorted like on my Pioneer. The 4XX also sound very good, and I will have to update my 4XX review here on Massdrop.
Oct 31, 2018
ElectronicVices
2119
Oct 31, 2018
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Awesome, glad to hear it. Sorry we couldn't get it all hooked up easily for you, there are lots of "gotchas" when integrating all those devices. Enjoy the tunes and let us know if you have other questions.
Oct 31, 2018
ethanchan
207
Oct 31, 2018
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Congratulations on getting everything hooked up. I was so glad to see electronicvices jump in with information that I did not have, that was a great bit of help. So now that you have your Dac, amp and planar headphones hooked up, when are you going to pick up a tube amp and dynamic headphones??? lol... welcome to the never ending audiophile rabbit hole, enjoy the ride! As EV said, if you have any other questions just give a shout out and I will do my best to help as well.
Oct 31, 2018
Megazine
470
Oct 31, 2018
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Yes, never ending but lots of fun. I was romanticizing on getting a tube amp as well. I think I will wait till Massdrop does another calaboration, but for a tube amp; I’m all for performance/price ratio. Since you asked, I do have another question since I’m loving the performance of my LCX! I want to try them out with my Xbox One X but sadly the LCX doesn’t offer optical-in. Xbox offers Optical output for sound, and the LCX offers Micro-USB, Balance and RCA in. I noticed there are converters out there. What type of route do you guys recommend? Also before I even go ahead, will my sound degrade with audio converters?
Oct 31, 2018
ethanchan
207
Oct 31, 2018
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Once again you have me at a disadvantage... lol.. I don't use or have a game console so I am unsure how one would even go about connecting it to a dac/amp outside of using the optical out. I am not even sure if you can use a usb to rca would work. Maybe someone on the forum that has had to do that can give you better direction than I could. Sorry I couldn't be of any help.
Oct 31, 2018
ElectronicVices
2119
Nov 1, 2018
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The older Xbox's offered an analog option, sadly without an additional DAC you won't be able to convert the Xbox One's optical output to something your LCX can handle. Most converters work the other way round (usb to toslink, not toslink to usb). Not knocking the SDAC as it is pretty killer (spec wise) for the price. Grace is also a professional focused design house so their gear is solid. The topping DAC's and SMSL SU-8 are about the cheapest balanced DAC's you will find out in the world. I don't bother with putting my Xbox One X through a DAC, the Analog Devices 1955's in my Denon are good enough on their own. Music, specifically high-res and lossless is where I feel the Teac UD-501 benefits my system most. Edit: SDAC balanced is thing as well if it returns shortly
Nov 1, 2018
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