Massdrop Liquid Carbon X + SDAC DAC/Ampsearch
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Massdrop Liquid Carbon X + SDAC DAC/Amp

Massdrop Liquid Carbon X + SDAC DAC/Amp

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We received many requests for a version of the Cavalli Liquid Carbon X (LCX) with the Grace Standard DAC (SDAC) inside.

Thank you! Turns out, this is an extremely versatile system. :)
The LCX+SDAC is all you need with your computer and headphones or in-ear-monitors (IEMs) to have a great musical experience.
And, this DAC/Amp combo can be used to test other gear (if you ever wish to):
-LCX+SDAC allows you to compare the internal DAC with an external DAC. The LCX can be fed from external sources (DACs, CD players, digital audio players).
-The LCX+SDAC can be used as a DAC into another amp. You may want to try a tube amp on top.
-Single-ended versus balanced operation…you can try your headphones and in-ear monitors on both outputs.
-The LCX+SDAC can accept single-ended or balanced DACs.

The LCX+SDAC is a very high-quality audiophile Swiss Army Knife for sound.
Topology - Quiet, Powerful Alex Cavalli and I have had many conversations over the course of the past year about what makes the Liquid Carbon amplifier topology special.

The original purpose for the Liquid Carbon was to make a high-quality, low noise balanced IEM amp with a gain of 1x, with the additional features of having a gain of 3x and a single-ended output for convenience.

The LCX utilizes unity gain current feedback discrete operational amplifiers derived from the output buffers used in the highly-regarded Liquid Glass amplifier.
The Liquid Carbon’s balanced & bridged design rejects noise in the circuit, and can produce the clean power needed for both IEMs and headphones.

Grace Design Standard DAC (SDAC)
There are phase-splitters in the LCX that convert the SDAC signal into balanced.
I've done my own testing and can definitely tell a difference between the balanced and single-ended outputs with the SDAC.

Using Noble K10 IEMs with balanced cable (and adapter to 4-pin XLR), I can report that the Noble K10 balanced out of the LCX+SDAC is a great pairing...
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This right here. I'm interested in where the phase splitter is in the lcx.
zbells
Phase splitter is at the SE input only. When you give it a balanced signal it does not go through a phase splitter.
I have to say I'm fairly disappointed that with the LCX and CTH next to each other is is very obvious they have a different finish to them. The CTH is more matte and not as deep of a black.
I really like the "look" of this and the fact that it is a Dac/Amp combo but I wonder if there is anyone here who has experience with both this and the Audio gd NFB.11.28? They are at similar price points and I've never heard or read anything bad about the NFB.11.28 as opposed to this unit. I've seen a few complaints be it quality control issues or hissing and cracking at a certain point. And I've also read that this unit is a bit cold which I wouldn't expect. I'd think it would be more neutral if anything, especially if it places itself in this price point. I'm literally just looking for something that sits pretty on my desk and is an all in one beast to replace my current Schitt stack and Mayflower ARC (which I happen to love by the way). Hopefully someone has some input to share. As always, thanks in advance.
Ordered one a few days ago, excited to have it come in new to the audiophile world :3
This looks just like the Schiit Jot with a bit less power SE and half the max power balanced but this is $130 less than Jot with 4490 dac.
Has anyone owned both or has a comparison been done?
1. Does the phase-splitters converts external DAC into balanced signals too?
2. Does LCX (without grace DAC) has phase-splitters too?
3. About the dac, Is Grace DAC better than apogee groove?
Thanks everyone provides idea in advance
What kind of differences are there between the CTH and the LCX in tonality and soundstage/imaging after burn-in? Like my cth but I'm looking at the LCX as an option to upgrade.
If I'm only using single-ended headphones and earphones, should I get this or the THXAAA789?
phoenixsong
The THX AAA 789 without a doubt. This unit is really meant for balanced use and has a relatively weak single ended output. Plus, THX AAA is looking like THE amp solution going forward. I wish I had the patience to get a THX instead of compromising with my LCX.
Exceptional investment for the price. My first leap into a balanced amp, i've got it paired with Fiio x5 3rd gen dap-Sennheiser HD700 with 4pin balanced cables and Audioquest cables connecting amp and dap. Great sound very pleased with investment. HiFiman 400i as backup when I want different sound. Keep on making great collabs sir, my thanks a loyal customer.
I am very close to pulling the trigger and buying this amp, however I am new to audiophile and I hope to make the best purchase for my $400 budget. I have the HD58X from Massdrop and I am currently using my iPhone with the FIIO e9. Any advice? I also have a very nice upgraded balanced cable for a balanced amp like this one. Thanks!
Whittpix
I heard this amp rocks for balanced! :)
Anyone tried this with SE846 balanced?
so the xlr and rca input are passthru? i'm seeing the magic now...
Anyone experience their left channel not working with XLR but working fine on 1/4"?
Any help would be appreciated.
I just want the Grace Designs DAC. I don't care about the faux balanced headphone jack. Just a nice DAC with SPDIF or AES in and balanced XLR outs.

I have to laugh at the comments 'I have better DAC already'.
This is the cheapest I've ever seen Grace Designs. The other DAC of theirs I was looking at is $2000.
Grace is pretty solid stuff. Their mic pres, AD, DA converters are consistently among the best you can buy for any price.
That said, the blurb about the 'new AKM AK4452' is laughable. That converter chip has been around for at least 3 or 4 years.
Should I buy this one or Schiit Jot ??
BASEM88
Depends on if you need the balanced outputs the Jot offers. I love my Jot Multibit personally but this looks like a good cheaper slightly less versatile and powerful option for those that don't need the absurd power the Jot pumps out or the balanced outputs for studio monitors.

Personally this unit wouldn't work for my use. I have the PC running into the Jot through the multibit DAC module add on, my turn table runs into a Schiit Mani phono pre-amp and then into the Jots balanced inputs. My PS4 is running through its own separate DAC and then from the DAC into the Jot's RCA inputs. My LSR305 studio monitors take the Jot's balanced outputs and I use the last remaining RCA outputs to run into my PC for vinyl recording. Then on the front I have the TRS and XLR slots taken up by HD6xx and HD660S's respectively.