RME ADI-2 DAC Thread
Jan 30, 2021 at 4:41 PM Post #3,901 of 4,503

Dogmatrix

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Anybody using the focal clear with the adi 2dac/pro which power mode sounds best? I have been using it on Hi mode and thought base sounded really amazing but i don't know if its wrong
I use low power with the Focal clears but I see no issue with using high power if it sounds better to you . Measurements show slightly different noise and distortion levels but all are well below audible range .
 
Jan 30, 2021 at 9:24 PM Post #3,904 of 4,503

Matias

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Has anyone moved from a NOS DAC, particularly a Metrum Acoustics DAC, to the RME? I really have an urge to try one and see what the fuss is about, but equally worried I won't like it...
Just buy from a store that allows you to trial and return if you wish so. Worst case you only lose return shipping.
 
Jan 30, 2021 at 10:09 PM Post #3,905 of 4,503

Dogmatrix

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Has anyone moved from a NOS DAC, particularly a Metrum Acoustics DAC, to the RME? I really have an urge to try one and see what the fuss is about, but equally worried I won't like it...
I have the Metrum octave mk2 and although the NOS filter on the RME is quite good I still prefer the Metrum with tube amps .
For SS amps the RME
If you have to sell the Metrum maybe not but if you can keep both they do compliment each other
 
Jan 31, 2021 at 7:41 AM Post #3,906 of 4,503

George Hincapie

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I have the Metrum octave mk2 and although the NOS filter on the RME is quite good I still prefer the Metrum with tube amps .
For SS amps the RME
If you have to sell the Metrum maybe not but if you can keep both they do compliment each other

Thanks for that. No, I don't have to sell anything. I was just looking to elevate the performance of my headphone system. Obviously a Metrum Onyx or Pavane is a possibility, but while I'm upgrading I wondered about other possibilities and a lot of people seem to like the RME.
 
Jan 31, 2021 at 8:15 AM Post #3,907 of 4,503

DomieMic65

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From my limited experience, since I own the unit for about 20 days, I think that you get the most out of it when you use it as stand alone device or as a digital preamplifier.
In this way you have, Eq, loudness (may be the best implemented loudness out there), and the Auto Reference mode with all it's benefits for S/N ratio and DR.
In my case I found out that the over all sound was better after removing my pre amp from my speaker setup (I never thought that this would be the case before trying) using attenuators for the best level matching as RME suggests (actually I'm waiting the attenuators to arrive and for now I use a potentiometer as attenuator).
Since there is not such thing like a headphone power amp (it would cool though heh) theoretically one "looses" some of the features that make this thing so special.
I'm not suggesting that using it in "fixed" mode is not good -far from it.. it's great- just saying that you get the most "ADI-2 dac fs" experience in stand alone mode...
My 2c as a mainly speaker user.
 
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Jan 31, 2021 at 8:59 AM Post #3,908 of 4,503

George Hincapie

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From my limited experience, since I own the unit for about 20 days, I think that you get the most out of it when you use it as stand alone device or as a digital preamplifier.
In this way you have, Eq, loudness (may be the best implemented loudness out there), and the Auto Reference mode with all it's benefits for S/N ratio and DR.
In my case I found out that the over all sound was better after removing my pre amp from my speaker setup (I never thought that this would be the case before trying) using attenuators for the best level matching as RME suggests (actually I'm waiting the attenuators to arrive and for now I use a potentiometer as attenuator).
Since there is not such thing like a headphone power amp (it would cool though heh) theoretically one "looses" some of the features that make this thing so special.
I'm not suggesting that using it in "fixed" mode is not good -far from it.. it's great- just saying that you get the most "ADI-2 dac fs" experience in stand alone mode...
My 2c as a mainly speaker user.

I have the Metrum Acoustics Adagio on DAC/PreAmp duties in my main system; this would purely be for my headphone system. I have a couple of HPAs already, but have no issue with a combined device if the RME HPA section is as good as people suggest.
 
Jan 31, 2021 at 9:34 AM Post #3,909 of 4,503

DomieMic65

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I have the Metrum Acoustics Adagio on DAC/PreAmp duties in my main system; this would purely be for my headphone system. I have a couple of HPAs already, but have no issue with a combined device if the RME HPA section is as good as people suggest.
I'd suggest to give it a try if you can, but make sure that you give it also the time to appreciate it's features and potential through reading the manual and configuring it to your needs and setup (personally I found great help in RME forums).. I do not think that it's an impressive unit... it's just right... in everything I might say. The plan for me was to start from it's price point -I bought it on discounted price- and if I found it is not what I want I would go up to Qutest may be.. well i won't! I do not know how much better the Qutest is -if at all- but for sure I know that this thing will make me a better listener and will teach me things!
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 6:38 PM Post #3,910 of 4,503

Moose246

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THX AAA 789 amp arrived today...hooked it up and gave it a listen. Running balanced cables from the RME with the volume level at -6.0 on the RME, low gain mode on the AAA. When people say the background is dead silent on the AA they aren't kidding...wow. I didn't change the EQ from the source (JRiver) but found I did have to bump it up on the RME when using the amp....had the B/T flat listening straight from the RME; went to 3.0 bass and 5.0 treble using the AAA. Haven't even started fiddling with the precise EQ on the RME yet.

Overall I love the combination....excellent sounding.
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 8:09 PM Post #3,911 of 4,503

Hinomotocho

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THX AAA 789 amp arrived today...hooked it up and gave it a listen. Running balanced cables from the RME with the volume level at -6.0 on the RME, low gain mode on the AAA. When people say the background is dead silent on the AA they aren't kidding...wow. I didn't change the EQ from the source (JRiver) but found I did have to bump it up on the RME when using the amp....had the B/T flat listening straight from the RME; went to 3.0 bass and 5.0 treble using the AAA. Haven't even started fiddling with the precise EQ on the RME yet.

Overall I love the combination....excellent sounding.
I don't have much experience with amps and to save myself money and the add-ons cables etc I am trying to keep it simple as an all in one device. Can you please describe the difference the between the headphone out of the ADI-2 and the THX?
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 10:32 PM Post #3,912 of 4,503

Moose246

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I don't have much experience with amps and to save myself money and the add-ons cables etc I am trying to keep it simple as an all in one device. Can you please describe the difference the between the headphone out of the ADI-2 and the THX?

Similar to you I didn't really want to spend the same $$ for an amp as I did for the DAC. I'm sure there are good reasons to do so, and it's not because I don't believe an amp with a high price isn't worth it....it was mainly because I wasn't sure that the amp would alter or change the sound enough to justify the expense. Some may argue the amp is just as important, if not more, than the DAC, but if a DAC came with a reasonable amp I found it hard to justify (call it diminishing returns or my non-audiophile ear being unappreciative of the differences). When researching the ADI-2 I kept coming across posts and reviews where it was stacked with the THX....so I figured I'd at least look into it and it piqued my interest. Admittedly, part of the interest was the fact it was relatively cheap. ~$400 new, if I recall correctly, but even buying new would have to be on the secondhand market since Drop isn't selling them at the moment. I found a used one in like-new shape on eBay for $250 so figured what the heck, not much to lose if I wasn't a fan and wanted to unload it. A recommended set of $30 balanced cables from this site and I'm all-in for under $300.

Regarding your question....I wouldn't say the sound comparison is overly dramatic by any means. Admittedly, it's tough for me to truly A/B because I use EQ liberally and it's difficult to get them to be exactly the same to compare. I did try each with no EQ and the RME settings the same....and actually like the RME better (but didn't particularly like the sound from either, really). When I start tweaking the EQ I find I can hone it in better by using the THX. Can't really explain succinctly why - just sounds cleaner (sharper) going back and forth between the two. No idea why that is. Likely my lack of equalizing skills - it's probably the case that I could tweak the RME to sound exactly like the stack....who knows. I will say that the dead music spaces in the THX really are dead silent..the hiss and white noise is noticeably missing.

If I didn't have the THX I'd be perfectly fine with ADI alone, and will likely listen to it sans THX often just for something different. And if the THX was even 2x the price I'd probably unload it...but for the minimal (relative) cost I'm happy to have in the collection and honestly won't go looking for another DAC or amp because I love the sound of these. I do enjoy tweaking and thinking about the alternatives (DAC's, amps, headphones, etc) but at this point I think to make a real difference I'd either need to spend a lot more money and/or have someone who really knows how to set up EQ's and perfectly tweak the sound provide guidance.
 
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Feb 2, 2021 at 12:15 AM Post #3,913 of 4,503

Hinomotocho

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Similar to you I didn't really want to spend the same $$ for an amp as I did for the DAC. I'm sure there are good reasons to do so, and it's not because I don't believe an amp with a high price isn't worth it....it was mainly because I wasn't sure that the amp would alter or change the sound enough to justify the expense. Some may argue the amp is just as important, if not more, than the DAC, but if a DAC came with a reasonable amp I found it hard to justify (call it diminishing returns or my non-audiophile ear being unappreciative of the differences). When researching the ADI-2 I kept coming across posts and reviews where it was stacked with the THX....so I figured I'd at least look into it and it piqued my interest. Admittedly, part of the interest was the fact it was relatively cheap. ~$400 new, if I recall correctly, but even buying new would have to be on the secondhand market since Drop isn't selling them at the moment. I found a used one in like-new shape on eBay for $250 so figured what the heck, not much to lose if I wasn't a fan and wanted to unload it. A recommended set of $30 balanced cables from this site and I'm all-in for under $300.

Regarding your question....I wouldn't say the sound comparison is overly dramatic by any means. Admittedly, it's tough for me to truly A/B because I use EQ liberally and it's difficult to get them to be exactly the same to compare. I did try each with no EQ and the RME settings the same....and actually like the RME better (but didn't particularly like the sound from either, really). When I start tweaking the EQ I find I can hone it in better by using the THX. Can't really explain succinctly why - just sounds cleaner (sharper) going back and forth between the two. No idea why that is. Likely my lack of equalizing skills - it's probably the case that I could tweak the RME to sound exactly like the stack....who knows. I will say that the dead music spaces in the THX really are dead silent..the hiss and white noise is noticeably missing.

If I didn't have the THX I'd be perfectly fine with ADI alone, and will likely listen to it sans THX often just for something different. And if the THX was even 2x the price I'd probably unload it...but for the minimal (relative) cost I'm happy to have in the collection and honestly won't go looking for another DAC or amp because I love the sound of these. I do enjoy tweaking and thinking about the alternatives (DAC's, amps, headphones, etc) but at this point I think to make a real difference I'd either need to spend a lot more money and/or have someone who really knows how to set up EQ's and perfectly tweak the sound provide guidance.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I also have seen the pairing mentioned and was just curious. I haven't really gotten to know mine yet so I'm currently satisfied with it as a complete package.
I have found big improvements with EQ settings and was wondering what the settings limitations are and what another amp may offer, unless it is for more power depending on requirements. For my finances and sanity the less components the less distractions and I can enjoy the music.
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 3:38 AM Post #3,914 of 4,503

Nettlesomeness

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I'm feeding the Woo WA-2 with either A&K SE100 or the RME, to compare them the SE100 is more musical/dynamic/bigger soundstage/articulate across bass-mid-vocals, it feels as if it draws a much nicer picture.
Both without EQ, EQ'ing the RME for slightly more bass makes the ADX5000 slightly boomy.. While I had both a while now but never did A/B comparison until now, the hunt continues for a desktop DAC I guess.
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 3:57 AM Post #3,915 of 4,503

captblaze

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I'm feeding the Woo WA-2 with either A&K SE100 or the RME, to compare them the SE100 is more musical/dynamic/bigger soundstage/articulate across bass-mid-vocals, it feels as if it draws a much nicer picture.
Both without EQ, EQ'ing the RME for slightly more bass makes the ADX5000 slightly boomy.. While I had both a while now but never did A/B comparison until now, the hunt continues for a desktop DAC I guess.
Sabre vs. AKM chipset. you prefer the sabre which can be brighter and more energetic compared to the AKM which can be darker and more laid back
 

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