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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. MagnusH
    I use Roon, but typically WASAPI in Exclusive Mode will work, shared mode means it will use whatever setting you have in Windows, which in turn will make Windows do a crappy up-sampling.
  2. oqvist
    I installed the 33 firmware. Had 32 since before. Also installed foobar2000. I can only select 16/96000 and 24/96000 in win 10. There is no 16/44.

    I tried some really simple music. Haley Westenra/Odyssey. cd is just cleaner and better and richer using Tidal hifi which claims lossless cd quality. Not huge but easilly noticable on my Kennerton Magni. Don´t even have to go for my more analytical HD 800S. Running the pcs own bluray reader so I am not really maxing the cd-sound. All goes through the same usb cable to the DAC.

    Shouldn´t be necessary I mean streaming cd quality is 1 mb/s. But they are still saving on servers by compressing I guess. I run Tidal hifi as master don´t make any difference when you don´t have MQA?

    With MQA is the quality actually as good as cd? Seeing the cd is the source format upsampling really wouldn´t help any and could as best be equal to the intended sound?
  3. MagnusH
    Tidal uses flac which is lossless compressed, so its identical from CD. If you use Tidal desktop app, from "Settings -> Sound output -> More settings" set "Use exclusive mode" and make sure "Passthrough MQA" is not set.

    With these settings, a vanilla CD tune will play at 44 and MQA typically at 96, on the RME display. Windows settings wont matter due to exclusive mode.
  4. oqvist
    Yes that is how it´s set. Do you have an example of an album in tidal that should show 44 instead of 96. Iam looking at int 96 info on the rme display at the bottom right if I misunderstand what that means?

    SQ is close but in hifi and in master mode (which I suspect is same as hifi without mqa) cd is always and every time just better. On some tracks I even get clear distortion so I guess you get a lot of errors in the transferr from cd to flac?

    Not saying it sound awful but clearly not cd quality at all.
  5. emlin
    FLAC is lossless and error free. MQA is lossy.

    I'd uninstall your drivers and start again if I were you.
    bidn likes this.
  6. technobear
    Some CDs have hideous copy protection which can cause all sorts of clicks and burbles and other odd noises - even for some CD players, never mind ripping software.
  7. MagnusH
    All non-masters should be 16/44, which is normal CD quality. But make sure you select the WASAPI soundcard, since that is needed for exclusive mode (you probably have 2 soundcards for RME, one ASIO and one other which should be WASAPI).

    Any difference in quality between Tidal (flac) or CD should be down to hardware only (or transport of data).
  8. oqvist
    The RME is called Analog 1+2 (RME ADI-2 DAC). I have never installed anything besides the RME drivers on my win 10 computer. I have a vague memory of installing some asio on win 7 or if it was win xp even but all that old knowledge is completly lost. Should I install some wasapi drivers also?
  9. oqvist
    Ah the settings in tidal enables some wasapi. Guess there is just nothing more to do no hokus pokus left. I will try a bit with my old audio GD reference 9 and see if it gives different results.
  10. betula
    I know, the chances are like winning the lottery, but still I ask.
    Is there anyone who tried both the Chord TT2 Empyrean combo and the RME ADI2 with the Audeze LCD2C (or Empyrean)?

    I am also interested in RME ADI2/Hugo2/TT2 comparisons or RME ADI2 with Empyrean and LCD2C impressions.
  11. linearly
    I've been eyeing the RME for quite some time now. Was so close to buying it but it went out of stock for version 2 updating, so no regrets here. The reason I still don't have it is I'm a bit afraid of the AKM sound. All the DAC's I've owned with this chip tend to soften the music somewhat, like wrapping it up in some kind of 'silk', that I dislike very much, it takes the 'bite' from the music, unlike ESS that deliver it straight to your face. I know it can be the different implementations of the DAC's I've had and maybe RME is perfectly transparent, no idea, if I decide to buy it will see if that's the case or not.

    I see there is talk about CD vs Tidal, and I'd like to share my experience regarding internet PC streaming. My modem is with fiber optics from outside, so that means no electrical noise is traveling from outside to my PC. The modem is powered by a cheap switching mode PSU. I looked at the specs for the PSU and got a Linear Power Supply, nothing fancy, a 90 Euro one to see if there is a difference. And the difference was so massive that those have to be the best money I've spent on any audio upgrade so far. All the harshness from my music is gone, everything sounds amazing. You can try this yourself before buying the linear PSU, load a song, play it and while its playing unplug the modem and see if there is a difference. For me it was, but not all modems are the same and it's best to test it out. I don't even have to try CD anymore since streaming is so easy, every song at your finger tips, and now with the harshness gone I can't really find anything bad about it.
  12. WildStyle-R11
    I have 2 AKM Dac's, one in my CD player, that I have used and the one in RME, they both are smooth, or how you would put it "Silky". In my opinion what sound you get out of it comes down to your AMP and headphones. I personally find that any Sabre dac is just too bright. Unless you are getting the RME for the EQ, probably avoid as I'm pretty sure if you don't like the sound of AKM, you won't like this one either. If you are sure you like your headphones then you can still try the RME, as I said, I believe that AKM DAC's just don't alter the sound.
    linearly likes this.
  13. gimmeheadroom
    I think the RME is more on the transparent side. I have an Oppo 205 and an Audiolab 8300CD which both run ESS chips. The Oppo uses the 9038 Pro and the Audiolab uses the 9018 Pro. My impression is the ESS 9018 is very musical, maybe even more to my taste than the 9038. I have read comments by other people saying the 9018 doesn't sound like a typical ESS chip. So even between ESS chips there does not appear to be just one sound. I think the power supply and other factors can affect the sound quality a lot, and the Audiolab has a serious heavy duty power supply.

    In the short time I have had the RME (new version) I'm convinced it is not a good pairing with the HD 600s I have. The other night I was playing a George Benson album and it was unlistenable due to the hot treble. This is so totally contrary to what I know about the HD 600s. I don't think it's the AKM chip causing this, I guess it is more likely to be the headamp. On the other hand, the RME made my HD 25s sing in a way I never imagined was possible. If you want a DAC to use just with phones I think you really need to spend some hours listening to avoid an expensive mistake. If you plan to run it into an integrated amp I can't imagine anything coming close to the sound and features at this price. Anyway I think there are too many variables to say if you don't like the AKM sound you shouldn't buy the RME.

    I like Tidal Masters so I'm going to buy the Brooklyn DAC+ as soon as I can get the money. It's twice the price of the RME but it supports MQA. I plan on keeping them both unless one is obviously better than the other and I'm not expecting that to happen.
    linearly likes this.
  14. oqvist
    Interesting. I have fibre so less problems I imagine though it goes through a router? But will look hook straight to my pc just for fun. I also tried some with my Audio GD reference 9 but have not really dig deep to it yet. But there I can set sample rates in windows and is not looked at 96. It don´t have a display though like the rme showing what bitrate I actually run.
  15. linearly
    I don't dislike AKM sound, I really love transparency, and ESS chips give that with added brightness, but probably implementation is more important on the sound then the DAC chip itself. Also I think RME has the best implemented AKM chip to date, so I ought to give it a try and see if I like it.

    That's so good to hear, if RME is more clear then the Oppo 205 it means implementation is more important. There is a youtube video with a sound demo comparing RME and XDUOO XD05 with Fostex TH909 headphones, both with AKM 4490 chips, but imo they sound totally different, RME is transparent and the Xduoo is exactly as I would describe the silky sound.

    My headphones are HD650's so I have to think if the amp part of the RME is causing the hot treble. Maybe its something else in the chain, the source, the cable etc. I had the same issue with Oppo HA2 SE that uses ESS9018 chip, at times the treble was very hot with some tracks, but since I removed the stock psu from the internet modem with a linear psu the treble is silky smooth now, harshness is almost completly gone.

    Thank you both for the advice, the only way I can know for sure is if I give RME a try, everyone has different tastes when it comes to audio. If I get the RME will give an update with my impressions.
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