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Another thing to consider is price, the Hugo 2 in the UK is £1799, I paid £805 for the ADI-2!
For EQ settings, to compensate for roll-off, for the slow and NOS filters see this thread on the RME forums (scroll down for the 48 kHz EQ settings). With regard to the line out level, it could be your amp input needed a higher voltage (see this page for calculating voltage from dBu). ...Also, somewhere in the manual I think it says that your configuration would have a slightly better SNR than the default +7dBu and 0 volume - however, I don't think the difference would be noticeable.
LOL, there's that too!!!
Is it always preferential to use "filters". Many of my purist audiofile stereo friends would never admit to use filters.
Note decay and effortless sound is still dependent on the power supply of the unit. Also the electronics of course............
I'd like to audition an RME soon to analyze if sweet mids exists. I dislike lean sounding solid state dacs.
While I personally enjoy female vocals on the ADI-2 (I'm listening to Diana Krall as I write this), prominent along the mid frequency range, to me, how "sweet" "musical" she sounds depends much more on the headphone than the DAC. She doesn't sound that different to me between the ADI-2, H2, iDSD BL, or the Jot to me. The different DACs really sound different to me around detail retrieval, width of the sound stage, timber of woodwind instruments, realism of the percussion vibrations. I'm not saying that there's no difference for vocals, but the differences are much less significant to me. Whereas with headphones, the differences in vocals is really dramatic. In fact, while not really accurate, I get the sense that sometimes, the differences in timber of woodwind, or realism of percussion vibrations aren't quite as dramatic a difference when comparing different high end headphones, but can be more dramatically different between DACs and amps.
I'm probably wrong here, but when changing out different parts of the chain, vocal differences and frequency emphasis curves are really dramatic to me between headphones, and conversely, while timber/vibration/soundstage/detail/"realism", while also noticeably different between headphones, seem more significantly affected by changing the DACs and amps around.
I love the ADI-2, and believe vocals are amazing from the ADI-2 with the right headphones, I have read a lot of reviews in Japanese where folks say that the ADI-2 sounds too analytical and flat. I don't think so, but then again, I haven't had as much exposure to different DACs and amps as some of these folks.
I have the H2, Mojo, and ADI-2, and while I don't necessarily agree with you, I can definitely see your point.
There really isnt much between the rme adi-2 and the audio-gd reference 9 despite wildly different design.
Its more about the features. One thing frustrate me. It appears it doesnt send signal from the XLR and analogue outputs att the same time? I want to get a signal to my bass shaker.
This is the beauty of the headphone world. Slap on a different pair of headphones and you can change the listening experience. I'm not as hardcore as some here but putting on a pair of my HD800 and then swapping them over to my Hifiman HE560 is a nice change. I really do like the affordable Hifiman Ananda sound signature as it's more effortless in music translation than the HE560 I own.
I was just going over some music. Going through Tidal I was listening to an album called Tender heart by Peter Kater and Michael Brant (Piano / Flute Meditations). Listening to solid state I'm always seeking musical engagement. My tube dac that consists of a separate unit to power the tube stage is unreal in holographic sound. The difference between my solid state setup vs Tube is drastic in how you experience the music.
Reading about how many use equalizers and filters seems like a method of manipulating the sound you seek to a degree. Almost like how I roll tubes to get the sound signature I want for different types of music. However I still cannot see how filters can make the imaging totally different. So far every solid state dac I've tested or owned does not provide the 3d imaging of rushing water at my feet on my hifi stereo.
More testing for me...... I do want to audition this German DAC.
IMHO some potential Hugo 2 buyers would be better advised to have a look at the ADI-2 and spend the remainder on new Headphones were they would probably find the biggest difference.
My main listening preference is speakers rather then headphones, this may have an influence on my findings. Are you using USB input with your DAC's?
I need to play that Santana song, love that album!
What EQ curves are you guys using with your HD800?
I am going to test the inbuilt amp against my rHead amp via XLR next. I also need to test USB and Toslink vs Coax that I have been using to date. I found the Hugo 2 poor with USB buy very good with Coax & Optical...
No eq at all with my hd800s and THX AAA 789. Nothing to fix
I find the HD800S bass shy, and too strong in upper mids. My settings:
Band 1 G +8 dB, F 87 Hz, Q 0.6. Band 2 G -3 dB, F 300 Hz, Q 1.0. Band 4 G -4 dB F 4.0 kHz, Q 2.0.
I switch between optical and usb inputs for most DACs, and haven't really settled on either as my favorite. Right now though, the chain is USB into the ADI-2