RME ADI-2 DAC Thread
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MikeW

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I'd rather buy a used one, but im impatient. There are certain things about my Jot/Bifrost that I don't like, and I can't identify if they are the DAC or the AMP. I think it's the JOT im not digging. There is a type of "Compression" to the sound that I really don't care for. I want a more "Wide open" sound. I think this might be a voice choice schiit makes with their gear and it makes me hesitant to try more of their amps, really want to try a LYR3 too but am afraid I won't like it if if exhibits any of this behavior. In most other regards the JOT's pretty good, I don't much care for it's Pre-out's either. Im hoping the RME will adress all these things I don't like about my current setup. Should be a great pre-amp for driving monitor's and a serviceable head-amp until I can get something else, while hopefully eliminating this compression I don't care for.

Not sure how much head-amp I should be looking for to significantly better the RME. People compared it to the ATOM/Magni 3 and said don't bother, it's as good or better, and only slightly worse then a THX 789. That means you need a solid 500$+ amp to be a significant bump up.
 
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Litlgi74

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not looking for any sound comparisons, but more some info on initial setup and any issues during that phase. I have the manual in .pdf format, but as comprehensive as it appears, I am always looking for first hand knowledge and experience.
I just got mine set up today... I was very concerned, and thought I made a big mistake with this purchase. I hooked it up to my Zidoo X9S media player via USB and powered it on... It sounded like total garbage! I tried turning the DAC off and on, unplugged it, reconnected it to the media player... Nothing fixed the problem. It took me a while to figure out I must have inadvertently hit the number 1 button on the remote... setting the sound to the headphones to mono. Another press of the number 1 set everything back to stereo. Phewwww!

It probably goes against the grain here... but I really like loudness set to on.

PS... I got mine on eBay for $999... it came drop shipped from synthax.com
 
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captblaze

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I just got mine set up today... I was very concerned, and thought I made a big mistake with this purchase. I hooked it up to my Zidoo X9S media player via USB and powered it on... It sounded like total garbage! I tried turning the DAC off and on, unplugged it, reconnected it to the media player... Nothing fixed the problem. It took me a while to figure out I must have inadvertently hit the number 1 button on the remote... setting the sound to the headphones to mono. Another press of the number 1 set everything back to stereo. Phewwww!

It probably goes against the grain here... but I really like loudness set to on.

PS... I got mine on eBay for $999... it came drop shipped from synthax.com
now that is what I am looking for.. real world experience. I truly appreciate hearing about your experience and will keep it in mind while I go through the setup procedure
 
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bwcgrx

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I got my finger on the trigger for the DAC FS model myself. I really want a device with hardware EQ. Would use to drive LSR 305 and HD650, and would replace my JOT/Bifrost. With perhaps an upgrade later down the line to a decent tube amp. My room could use some EQ for monitor's and im a big believer in the power of EQ done right. The only thing that gives me pause is Marv/Purrin's thoughts, he really hated this device! Hardly any negative feedback other then his. FYI the best new deal i'f found on this item is by making offer's on ebay, some vendor's sell these units brand new and will accept less then full price. I have an accepted offer for 999$ right now. You can also order straight from RME in germany, if you create a "Friends of RME" account though there website you can get a significant discount. Drops the price in USD to 913$ plus 48$ to ship to USA. Cheapest i've found, but you'll have to deal with a long 2-3 week ship time.

You can safely ignore Marv on the ADI-2 DAC and form your own impressions. He listensed for seconds (maybe minutes) with only stock settings using the integrated amp out. The DAC is better than the Amp (your Jot would be better than the amp in the unit). He gets stupid about some things plus he doesn't have the time to read manual pron and figure out how to use it.

You ought to be buying from someone with a return policy anyway, so if you hate it, no big deal.

I agree with Luckbad....

I purchased an ADI-2 DAC about a month ago and I'm now selling my Chord Mojo and Audio-GD R2R11. It really is that good and perhaps the Mojo and R2R11 really are not as good as the hype.

Anyone who really listens to the ADI-2 and hates it is either deaf or they don't like the fact that it breaks the audiophile myths of the need for concrete slab sized components, expensive pro labeled DAC chips, linear PSUs, and garden hose sized cables. It's not cheap and I'd never call it a bargain because it is not. No component at this price point is a bargain. At the end of the day if you want one of the best DACs in terms of performance, measurements, sound and features available, buy the RME. Anything that measures better is just bragging points on paper. The control interface is a challenge to master and really could be better but once you get the hang of the layout its fine. I also think it is nearly as good a headphone amp as it is a DAC. It should be for $1,100 and it is. I can't speak for the JOT as I've not heard one. I'm sure a JOT could produce more volume out its balanced outputs but louder does not make better. Balanced headphone output is overrated anyway.

Best thing about the RME is it has me listening to music more and spending less time looking at new AMPs or DACs to buy. Its more or less endgame for me for the foreseeable future. I'm sure some out there will label it mid-fi purgatory. I guess you need to come up with labels like that to justify some of the mythology that goes around in these circles.

I say if interested buy one from a vendor that allows returns. Give it a good listen, avoid the smoke and mirrors and see what your ears and ultimately your brain tell you.
 
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CaptainFantastic

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@bwcgrx Totally agree. End game.
 
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MikeW

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From the impressions I get you'd need to spend 300-400$ to improve upon the head amp built into the RME. THX 789, Gilmore lite MK2, Jotunheim/LYR3. Etc.. I think many people who buy this dac already have a high end headphone amp, and it probably falls short in that comparison so they say it's not great, but are not comparing it to 100-400$ stand alone amps. They are comparing it to 800$+ amps. Also from what I gather, one of the strength's of the built in amp is resolution/detail. So even 300-500$ stand alone amps may better it in other ways, but often don't match it in that regard. I may pair it with a Tube amp later. Then you'd have a ok solid state headamp, and a tube amp, and a good iem amp as well, combined with an excellent pre amp for powered monitors, excellent dac and EQ, with crossfeed. So many great features.

I do wonder if this could be end game if paired with a high end IEM though.
 
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Luckbad

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I do wonder if this could be end game if paired with a high end IEM though.
I've listened to dozens--perhaps over 100--IEMs and eventually landed on Future Sonics MG5 HX customs as my preferred signature. The ADI-2 DAC is indeed endgame for those as far as desk listening is concerned, which is my main use case.
 
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technobear

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To get anything actually better, as opposed to just different, in a headphone amp compared to the RME, you need to be thinking $2000+, not $500.
 
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oqvist

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To get anything actually better, as opposed to just different, in a headphone amp compared to the RME, you need to be thinking $2000+, not $500.
I think my massdrop THX 789 aaa is significantly better for all my headphones. Havent tried my iems
 
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789 is great with IEMs on low gain mode!
 
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MikeW

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Picked up the RME on ebay last nite for 999$, the seller has a 30 day money back gurantee as well. Unit will arrive on thursday, am excited to try it out. I also just received a Schiit Loki, trying it out with my current Jot/Bimby setup. It's quite nice, pretty transparent and effective little box. It will be redundant with the RME, but I may just keep it put away anyways, as I don't think i want to be without hardware based EQ ever again, and most dac's still don't have the feature, RME spoiled us.
 
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MagnusH

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I listen in fairly normal HiFi setup: DAC/preamp (currently Pro-Ject Pre Box S2) connected to power amplifier and speakers. I use a computer as streamer, and I don't use headphones very much. Anyway, I plan to upgrade my DAC and the RME ADI-2 is one of the candidates, but I have some questions:
- I am also thinking about Chord Qutest with passive preamp (or Hugo 2), and read it has a wider soundstage. How much difference is there?
- How well does it handle toslink and jitter? The Chord Cutest handles toslink extremely well from what I read, and toslink is so much easier (and cheaper) to get well sounding than USB due to galvanic isolation.
- Can it handle DSD 64/128 over toslink with volume control active?
- Anyone have experience with using it with batteries? How long would a 12V 10Ah last if not using headphones?

I use Roon as music-player, so I won't need the EQ in the DAC, but the volume-adaptive loudness sounds neat since I play at low volumes from time to time (usually when wife is sleeping).
 
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technobear

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- How well does it handle toslink and jitter?
Very well.

- Can it handle DSD 64/128 over toslink with volume control active?
Yes, but...

Volume control in ADI2-DAC is digital.

Digital volume control is not possible on DSD.

ADI2-DAC has two modes: DSD Direct ON or OFF

In DSD Direct ON mode, there is no volume control and no headphone output. Instead you get a line out signal at the rear. You can still fix the reference output level to various values since that controls the gain of the analogue stage.

In DSD Direct OFF mode, you have volume control and headphone output but the Sabre DAC chips are converting the DSD to PCM before converting to analogue. You also have DSP in this mode.

The spectrum analyser and level meters work in both modes by doing a side conversion to PCM just for those features.
 
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