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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. cardeli22
    I guess they saved the balanced out for the Pro version. Thanks for the quick impressions. I definitely have my eye on this. Looks a lot like the ADI- 2 Pro Anniversary edition minus the see through top, some extra features and the almost double the price tag.
  2. lowvolume
    Ok, in that case the single channel phase option seems to be really useful :dt880smile:
  3. Luckbad
    Day 2 Stream of Consciousness
    • The USB input on the ADI-2 DAC is very good. While I slightly prefer using the Lynx AES16e with it, it's really unnecessary for all practical purposes (no digitus, it's just a bit less delineated and deft with the "micro"-stuff).
    • USB Nervosa, Solved? This has to be the most reassuring component of any USB driver I've ever used:
    • Combined with the Bit Test on the unit that tells me that indeed the bits I'm sending are bitperfect:
    • The headphone out on this thing is surprisingly good. Unlike some DAC's that happen to have a headphone output that I've used, this does not sound at all like an afterthought. I have it in Hi-Power mode and it works very well with the Audeze LCD2Cs and more than adequately with the Sennheiser HD650s.
    • I'm using the Jan Meier crossfeed setting as well as inverting the phase on the right channel for the Phase Reversal Trick
    • I still haven't fully settled on a DAC filter. SD Slow, Slow, and NOS are are getting some head time.
    • The noise floor is dead silence. I can max out the volume on the ADI-2 DAC and the Project Sunrise III or Liquid Crimson and hear nothing without music playing on Audeze LCD2 Classics.
    • While I've seen no confirmation that this uses the AK4490, I can't imagine they managed to get the AK4497 in there yet, and the specs largely match the ADI-2 Pro (which uses the AK4490). It also has the right number of filters (4497 has 6), does DSD256 instead of DSD512, etc.
    • I've decided that I like the Loudness function. It'll eventually be one of the main reasons I store Setups (the Loudness floor needs to be different for different headphones and music software). I have it set fairly low both in amplitude and minimum volume required to kick in, but it's nice as I frequently listen at very low volumes.
    • I wish the remote could be programmed with a couple more options. DAC Filter cycling would be nice for testing. I'd also like to be able to assign a button to scroll through the main Meter Screens (the default screen). The only way to do that is press encoder button 1 or 2.
    • Is it as organic and "right" sounding as a really good R-2R DAC? No, not really. But, it's so versatile and appeals way too much to my desire to tweak things I'm currently willing to make that sacrifice. I was looking for black Gumby before, but I'm not right now. Maybe something will strike my fancy again one day (it will) and this will end up as my work unit.
    • Speaking of work... I mentioned this once already, but this the ideal work combo unit for me. Your USB and power can suck and it'll still work great. It's small an unassuming enough to sit quietly off to the side without drawing too much attention. And it works with IEMs. Probably. I still haven't tried anyway with it (okay fine, I just tried some right now and there's no hiss. My G10s are at work). Now I'll need to get myself a second one later in the year just for work...
    Here's an image from some AKM/Teac AK4490 marketing material that is sure to taint your confirmation bias:
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  4. Luckbad
    Couple notes...
    • I find myself migrating to the Short Delay Slow filter most of the time. No particular reasons I can enunciate other than "it sounds good to me."
    • I've started transporting it in a carrying case to work daily because I miss it when I don't have it around.
    • It's been great with my Future Sonics Spectrum G10 IEMs.
    • I mentioned that I often use Crossfeed and Loudness. I only use Loudness when I listen at low volume (I just turn it all the way off otherwise). Crossfeed I do tend to use with LCD2Cs but generally not with HD650s.
    • I've been trying to decide if I hear any clear differences between its USB alone and having a Schiit Wyrd in front of it. Maybe the Wyrd combo sounds a little more clinical? Probably in my head. I'm just leaving the Wyrd out of the chain because it seems unneeded.
    • I picked up a Chanzon 12V 5A power adapter for work so I can disconnect the power at home and transport the unit alone. It's been working great for me so far and is actually UL listed unlike a lot of the PSUs I saw on Amazon.
    • The optical input is even surprisingly good coming straight out of my motherboard. Magical jitter correction or some such.
    Relaxasaurus and rschoi75 like this.
  5. occamsrazor
    Just a new video...

    Mart and lowvolume like this.
  6. Malcolm Riverside
    I really appreciate the super informative write-ups of this product. It’s so new there’s hardly any info about it online, plus RME seems to fly under the radar in the audiophile community—though this dac might change that. Do you think it’s worth the investment if it’s going to be used mainly as a standalone dac? I got an SPL Phonitor 2 headphone amp recently and suspect this would make a great pairing with it, but wonder if I wouldn’t be wasting some money given how much of the cost is going towards the bad-ass headphone amp in the Adi-2.
  7. nazrin313
    Yeah would really love to know too, interested in the performance of this DAC especially comparing in it with similar DACs of its price point. Interested in this or the QUtest..
  8. SilverEars
    Anybody know if the difference between this one and the pro is non-pro does not include A to D section? Is that all? I can live with that for half the price.

    Interesting that the DAC has an headphone out as well.

    Edit: The pro has two headphone outs for balanced mode. I guessing twice the power if using both.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  9. Luckbad
    I use it primarily as a standalone DAC myself. The headphone amp is good, but definitely not top of the line compared to audiophile offerings.

    At home, it's hooked up to my Cavalli Liquid Crimson. At work, it's either connected to my Garage1217 Project Sunrise III or I just use its IEM output by itself.

    If you don't need the ADC, you're better off with the ADI-2 DAC than Pro in my opinion.

    You can spend the money saved on a better amp than what's inside and the ADI-2 DAC is slightly better as a standalone DAC than the Pro (read their mega manuals and specs).

    What's a better amp that costs less than the difference, you ask? Depends on your headphones and preferences, but for me I'd prefer these to the integrated headphone out:
    • The aforementioned Garage1217 Project Sunrise III (or Horizon) with a nice linear power supply or atomicbob Noise Nuke.
    • Schiit Jotunheim with or without a Saga
    • Probably a bunch of others
    SilverEars likes this.
  10. Luckbad
  11. lowvolume
    Sorry that I am a bit disappointed with that. I thought you use the opportunity to edit your review a bit, but it seems just copy and paste from the stuff published here before.

    Reading it again I noticed a statement that might need explanation:

    This sounds like balanced is already there and just needs the correct output socket - which can't be further from the truth. For a balanced headphone output you don't need 2 headphone output stages (stereo), but 4 (2 x stereo). That's why the Pro can do it, it has two complete stereo Extreme Power outputs. The DAC has only one. For offering balanced again they would need to go back to the Pro concept, and I am quite sure that removing one Extreme Power stereo output was intentional to meet the current price point...
    Kuh-Fi, Luckbad and cardeli22 like this.
  12. Luckbad
    @lowvolume It is mostly the impressions I posted here compiled into one place. I wrote them on my website then copied them over here.

    If you've read this entire thread, you already know everything I think about the ADI-2 DAC. It's more for folks who want one place to read them all.

    Thanks for pointing that out on the balanced out. I'll update that point. I was thinking of it more as a convenience feature rather than a higher power output.

    I'll be editing the review here and there throughout the weekend, but it won't be anything groundbreaking. I've already explored all the ADI-2 DAC has to offer and have formulated my impressions of it.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
    cardeli22 and oldson like this.
  13. oldson
    maybe you should start a thread on DIYAH also? :)
  14. oldson
    i see no mention of the dsd rate anywhere?
  15. Luckbad
    oldson likes this.
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