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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. tekkster
    - HD800, no EQ on the ADI-2, but have bumped bass on the iCan Pro afterwards.
    - Utopia, I roll off the treble from around 13kHz down a few db to kill the bite on some songs, and up the bass just a wee bit, up to roughly 100Hz.
    - T1, no change generally, up the mids by about 2db from 200Hz to 1.2kHz for some songs.
    - Cascade, I drop the bass a tidbit, maybe 1db'ish, and up the mids by 2db from about 200Hz to roughly 1.2kHz.
    - NightHawk and NightOwl, I up treble a bit from around 6kHz and up, maybe 3db'ish.
    - PM3, no change
    - Meze 99c, I drop the bass and up the treble
    - M70x, treble roll off from about 10kHz
    - M50x...no change. Actually, the M50x isn't really part of my rotation.
    - KSE1200, no change
    - Thermos Veclos, no change
    Dave S likes this.
  2. Dave S
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
    tekkster likes this.
  3. tekkster
    That may be true, but you would have to pry the H2 from my cold dead hands. While there are many songs in which I find the ADI-2 to be the best fit, the H2 sounds very good and some songs, not so good, there are some songs where it sounds so damn "right" and beyond my expectations that I just stare at the H2 in shock, not comprehending how such a little device can deliver such incredible music to my ears. Doesn't happen all the time, for sure, but when it does, I can do nothing else but listen, stunned and speechless. There are some classical orchestral pieces (Georg Mozart for one, WA Mozart's father, Schumann for another, and some Vivaldi, a couple of Dave Brubeck songs, and some older jazz, like Coltrane/Gillespie/Flanagan/Ellington/Parker/Monk/Martino, and some movie soundtrack folks like Zimmerman/Mancina/Newman).

    I have been continuously impressed with the ADI-2 and it is my daily driver loving the sound.

    But while the ADI-2 is consistently extremely good, and handles everything well, and its versatility is mind bogglingly incredible, it has never stunned me.

    Who am I kidding, you'd have to pry BOTH the H2 and ADI-2 from my cold dead hands (^-^)
    bidn and Anaz like this.
  4. Anaz
    The USB implementation on the ADI-2 measures extremely well so there shouldn’t be any difference between the inputs.

    With regard to the H2 and Mojo, the USB input doesn’t have galvanic isolation (I believe this is due to the detrimental effect on power from portable devices) and so noise on the USB line will color the audio output.
  5. Anaz
    What headphones are using with H2? I’ve found that Chord products have excellent synergy with Focal headphones.
  6. tekkster
    Yep. Focal Utopia primarily. T1, Cascade, NO/NH on occasion. KSE1200 when bringing along on business travel for hotel use. Never the HD800, which is a bad match. Also not really happy with Meze 99c or tr80/250 as a match.
    Anaz likes this.
  7. Dave S
    Night Hawks work well, I had them before my HD800's
    Anaz likes this.
  8. Dave S
    H2 was bad using USB, I have yet to test the ADI...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    Anaz likes this.
  9. Dave S
    I have spent some more time with the ADI-2, these are my settings for 44.1 Redbook from my CD transport into my Naim integrated amp:-

    DA Filter: SD Slow
    Ref Level: +7 dBu
    Vol: 0.0 dB
    Auto Ref Level: Off

    ** Note these settings are for listening via passive loudspeakers not headphones **

    Next I will see how the DAC works with HQPlayer's upsampled PCM & DSD (Direct Mode) via USB.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    alphanumerix1 and tekkster like this.
  10. TheDuke990
    Does the adi 2 have enough power to drive difficult headphones like HE-5LE, etc properly or is it better to go for the adi pro ? Thanks.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  11. tekkster
    I believe the amp and dac portion of the Pro is the same as the the ADI-2. Power should be about the same.

    Both the ADI-2 DAC and ADI-2 Pro have high power mode for 6.3mm plugs. It has an ultra-quiet mode for 3.5mm plugs as well. So, these units have enough power to drive demanding headphones and sensitive ones.

    While I don't have the HE-5LE, I do have the Beyer T1, a 600 ohm headphone. I generally listen to the T1 at -45dBr. At -35dBr it is very loud. At -29dBr it is too loud. At -21.5dBr, it is painful. And there is plenty more power left.
    in other words, in High power mode, if you crank the volume up any further, you will damage your headphones.

    In fact, it gets so loud that whenever you plug a headphone into the 6.3mm jack while the device is in high power mode, a warning screen comes on and won't play until you hit the "1' dial button. Even then, it will start low and work up to the volume set, just in case you have the wrong headphones plugged in.

    The difference between them, for the most part, is that the Pro is used for both recording and listening, so it includes ADC chip and DAC chip (and associated software features for both), but the ADI-2 DAC is designed for listening only, so has the DAC chip but doesn't have the recording ADC chip or associated software.

    As nice as the ADI-2 Pro is for audio recording, unless you're buying this gear for a recording studio, you don't need the Pro.


    Going off on a tangent, on the recording front, the ADI-2 Pro uses a great ADC chip, the AK5572.

    But for recording I care a LOT MORE about the pre-amps and limiters than the ADC chip, because that's where distortion and clipping occurs. So I wouldn't use the RME ADI-2 Pro for that even if I had it. I also care about field usage, both gain and trim control, PFL function on multi-channel inputs, multiple outs, hdmi control, track meta data editing on the fly, poly-wav format, saving to SD Card + audio interface at the same time, ability to run off of a Hirose connector power supply. A lot of pros care about time sync, but that's not an issues for me. So, if you care both about recording, I would get something like the Sound Devices 633 for two channel recording, or if you need more than two channels, the MixPre 6T or 10T for recording. Sound Devices uses analog limiters. I have the Sound Devices 10T (analog limiters) as well as the Zoom F8 and F8n (the latter two of which use digital limiters, which are generally considered lower quality than analog limiters, but realistically, work just fine for me). I also use the H6 for convenience, but that has no limiters, so you get distortion pretty easily.
    TheDuke990 and alphanumerix1 like this.
  12. Dogmatrix
    Pro has 2x amp section of DAC so effectively double power for balanced output
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  13. tekkster
    Oh? Hmm, okay, looking it up again, i missed that. The Pro has two 6.3mm jacks that are used as left/right, for balanced. Each being mono, effectively doubling power.

    Given that the adi-2 dac in high power mode is painful at -21.5dBr on 600 ohm headphones, and any higher would risk damaging most high ohm headphones, power is not an issue, but running separate power to the left and right driver i guess provides more finesse and control. Guess the Pro could be better in that sense too.

    Wouldn’t subjectively know unless i tried it. Still, if it’s just power, adi-2 dac with high power mode has more than enough to drive the hardest headphones from my point of view.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  14. Phoniac
    It might be the right time to remind everyone on the fact that doubling the volume needs 10 x (ten times) the power. The ADI-2 Pro seems to raise the output power in balanced mode a bit, but fails to give even double juice. That makes no noticable difference! And might be the reason RME advertises the balanced operation not based on power, but as showcase for an unusual technical concept (fully balanced output stage, from 2 x DAC to phones), as explained in great detail in the manual. While typical balanced phones outputs provide double power and 6 dB higher output level, their SNR stays the same. In the ADI-2 Pro the SNR improves by 3 dB.

    Whatever, in my opinion a balanced phones output is a totally unnecessary feature.
    gepardcv and tekkster like this.
  15. tekkster
    "remind me"? Heck, I never knew that and made big assumptions on how that worked, so it's great information for me. Thanks.

    Clearly, there's a lot I need to learn, though honestly, I'm pretty happy with focusing primarily on my subjective experiences. Either way, I'd be interested in comparing the dfferences one of these days. It's always fun to do A/B testing (or as close as I can get to structured testing.
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