Emotiva LMC-1 as a DAC and Amplifier for my Computer

My Emotiva LMC-1 processor has been sitting in its box since I upgraded to the Emotiva UMC-1 processor. I was thinking about selling it, but then I had a fantastic idea! I had a spare set of Genesis IM-5200 speakers sitting in the bedroom (which my wife was telling me to sell), so why not use the Emotiva LMC-1’s built-in amplifier to power some decent music in the study by connecting my home computer to the Emotiva LMC-1?

The first thing to check was if the speaker stands and speakers would fit on top of my desk. It’s not ideal placement, but hey one has to improvise! The stands were a tight fit, with the left one looking a bit risky, but I put the speakers on top of the stands and everything seemed sturdy enough. With the stands locked in place by the constraints of the computer monitors the speakers had to be placed right back against the wall, so speaker cables with banana plugs were out.

I delved into the ever important box of “useful cables and things” and pulled out a coaxial cable to connect my computer’s coaxial out to the DVD input on the Emotiva LMC-1. There was also a pair of speaker cables that were just the right distance when I did a quick spot check of where everything should go.

I had to change the power cord on the Emotiva LMC-1 because it wasn’t quite long enough and since it’s an American plug I needed a free universal socket, of which there was none. I had to pull out a monitor that I use for my network router computer to get a free UK style socket. Luckily the network router computer only needs a monitor when I upgrade the software on it, so it’s not a big problem.

Then it was time to push the power button and hope the beast would come to life. Nothing! I had forgotten to flick the switch at the back of the Emotiva LMC-1 ;). The power-up sequence proceeded with no drama, so I was happy that the Emotiva LMC-1 was still working after its rest in the box.

I’d always configured the Emotiva LMC-1 using the on screen display (OSD), but now I had nothing but the front panel to play with. Luckily it was relatively straight forward to work out how to change the DVD input to use coaxial for audio. Then I had to work out how to make adjustments to the “Zone 2” configuration.

That proved to be a bit tricky. When I set the 2nd Zone to have the DVD input I could only get what appeared to be crosstalk coming out of the speakers at maximum volume (it was a whisper). I switched the input to Tuner and there was clearly enough power coming from the Emotiva LMC-1’s built-in amplifier to power the speakers. I checked the manual, but couldn’t see what I’d done wrong. I decided to try the “Sync” input for Zone 2, which syncs the main input with the Zone 2 input, and it worked!

One thing I have to be aware of is that Zone 2 will remain active, even when the Emotiva LMC-1 is turned off. This means the amplifier is on and more electricity is being drawn than what you would think of a product in standby mode. I can turn off Zone 2 before putting the Emotiva LMC-1 into standby mode, but I think I’ll just used the on/off switch at the rear.

The improvement in sound quality from my previous desktop speakers is, as you would hope, massive! Now I don’t have to sell my Emotiva LMC-1 or the Genesis speakers.

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