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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. MikeW
    I love the PEQ, use it to EQ the HD650 closer to a harman curve. It's a great EQ. Jotunheim and ADI's head-amp are different. I can't make one sound like the other with only EQ. I do know the ADI-2's got 6 OP-amp's in it's headphone output circuit, 3 per channel. I don't think the RCA or XLR output's go though this circuit. So from what I gather, you have in fact not heard the THX 789 paired with this dac. Too bad, really wanted your honest impression. Wasn't trying to start a theory craft debate here, only offering my actual listening impressions with gear that I own. If you don't appreciate the small nuances your in the wrong hobby, and the wrong forum.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  2. Phoniac
    Yes, but these are all in parallel to deliver more current for low impedance phones. The audio is not runing throught them serially. So technically, in terms of sound influence, they count as one op-amp only.

    Very polite, thank you.
  3. MikeW
    Not sure what Arnie's qoute was, but looks like he caught you talking about "****ty high end amplifier with Switch mode Power supply" that did not make it to your final post. So im assuming you thought Jotunheim had a switch mode Power Supply, which it does not, but it makes no difference, as their are in fact high end amplifier's with switch mode PSU's, like the Neurochrome HPA-1, and Monoprice Liquid Platinum.. not to mention the RME-ADI-2 itself uses switch mode. If it was not you that said that, then this is directed towards whoever thinks SMPS= trash by default.

    I actually do appreciate your theory, that the THX789, being a clean and transparent amp, will not benefit the RME-ADI-2. I wish you had some actual ear time with the pair, but the input is welcome.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  4. Arniesb
    Something with a post gone wrong. Good Linear power supply > switching supply any day of the week end of story. Tell me why such well regarded companies like HeadAmp, Pass Labs, Niimbus and a lot more use use expensive very well engineered linear supplies if Switching supplies is enough? I tell you that because they can save money on bigger chassis, save money needed for costlier implementations. Look at head amp. They use switching supply for least expensive amp for a reason.
  5. MikeW
    I don't think SMPS has been able to deliver the kind of performance needed until recently. This is why we are seeing it more and more in higher end design's... THX 789, Liquid Platinum... Neurochrome HPA-1.. there are other examples. I think LPS has been the status quo for a long time, and old engineer's are stubborn and stick with what they know. They are expensive, big, hot, and heavy, and likely on their way out. There are other considerations in the circuit that are more important. Schiit Vali-2 uses a LPS, lets see how it performs next to Liquid Platinum... Modi 2 vs Modi 3?

    Schiit LYR3 is almost HALF PSU.. look at pic's.. now we see it outperformed by SMPS Liquid Platinum in same size chasis..

    Your also wrong in thinking that only expensive AMP's use Linear PSU's... Modi 1/2 have used LPS since the beginning... 99$ products. Schiit recently, with the latest revision moved them to SMPS because they could offer more performance at the same budget.

    Ancedotally, i've got an Ifi iPower 9v and compared it to a cheap chi-fi ebay LPS, and found it superior. LPS only makes sense when it's done right, and that cost money, often times money that would be better spent elsewhere at the given budget. If you've got 1000$ to build a device, maybe the money would be better spent elsewhere then expensive LPS. If you've got 10,000$ perhaps it's worth the splurge. Does the 14000$ Chord Dave use a LPS?

    Lets not get confused, im not saying the built in amp of the RME-ADI-2 is some kind of TOTL end-game solution. But I won't pidgeon-hole it because it's using SMPS. Phoniac's suggestion that THX789 may be to close to ADI-2's head amp to be a worthwhile move, may be correct. I'd have to audition them to know, that's why im also considering Tube and tube hybrid options.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    cardeli22 likes this.
  6. mixman
    Wow, I can see I set of a big technical discussion, which is good as long as we all learn something. I am not using the THX789 to change the sound signature as much as I am trying to give myself headroom for driving HP's that I may possibly buy like HD800's or HEK V2's.or possibly a DT770 250ohm. Hopefully no HE-6's but.......
  7. Slaphead
    Maybe not if the only criteria is the inbuilt head-amp, but the the ADI-2 damn well could be if you make use of all the other things it can do.

    I'd say that if you buy this purely for headphone use then it's good, it's more than OK for the money, especially if the headphones you're using aren't to demanding on power, but the value proposition begins to kick in if you make use of the inbuilt PEQ and crossfeed functions.

    Where the value proposition really kicks in is when you are using this device as a DAC and preamp for a power amplifier or high end powered monitors, or even using it as a pure DAC to drive another head amp or pre-amp.

    This device is incredibly multifaceted and on top of that it really does deliver the audio goods. There's really nothing else quite like it on the market at the moment, and even if you're only going to use half it's functions it's a bargain IMO.

    As for the SMPS situation, yeah RME supplies it with a SMPS, but you can use a LPS if you really want. That said many people who've tried a LPS with it haven't heard much of a difference - if any, probably due to the fact that the ADI-2 DAC does a very good job of cleaning up the power before it reaches the critical stuff.

    I bought this, and if I thought it needed to be shoved in the toilet then I'd say so. I'm not one to hang on to "pride of purchase" or justifying my purchase by attempting convince myself that it's good - believe me when I say that I've bought my share of expensive stinkers. However this is a stunning device that totally fits my requirements, and then some.
  8. MikeW
    Yeah I agree, I use the Dac, head amp, and also xlr to powered monitors, I also use the EQ to do some mild room correction for my monitors, and the peq on headphones to my taste. I love
    The volume control as well. I may get a liquid platinum later, which has no gain control so Dac based volume control is great. This device really does have no equal right now. I’m even considering purchasing some 800$-1500$ IEM’s for
    It and calling it quits.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  9. mixman
    OK, got the THX AAA and hooked it up the the RME several different ways. Via the headphone out that was powerful, only sounded mildly different than just the RME's amp alone. Next I tried the RCA out and there was a little more difference a little more high end and slight bit more clarity. I then tried the balanced output and that was the biggest difference. Definitely more treble, more clarity, and surprisingly more dynamic too. Boosted the REF Volume to +7 and the THX seemed to have even better headroom. Unfortunately, now I am going to have to put my Adam A5X on the RCA outs of the RME, hopefully that doesn't kill their sound.
  10. captblaze
    doesn't the THX AAA have a bypass function you could use in order to employ only one output on the DAC and have the head amp handle output to both.

    speakers (in bypass mode) and headphones via direct connection?
  11. mixman
    The SE bypass and the XLR input on the THX do not interact, so it would still be a choice between whether I want to use the XLR outputs of the RME on the THX or the Adams.
    captblaze likes this.
  12. Slaphead
    Are you sure you didn't just encounter a bit of a volume boost? That pretty much always makes things sound more dynamic. The reason I ask is that the balanced outputs are 6dBu higher than the RCA outputs, effectively doubling the amplitude, so if you're comparing like for like at the same volume level then the RCA connections will sound quieter, and less dynamic. Maybe try again with the RCA but crank the volume up on the ADI-2 by 6dB to see if that was the issue. If that solves the problem then there's no reason to not drive your Adams via XLR.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  13. MikeW
    Xlr on pro monitor is mostly for super long 50 ft runs and ground loop solution. If your monitors are 3-6 ft away it likely will have no impact
    cardeli22 and Anaz like this.
  14. MikeW
    Furthermore thx789 is not proper balanced an their is a summing circuit on its balanced input, that introduces more op-amp in signal path, the ideal input for 789 is in fact SE in and balanced headphone out.

    This has been discussed already and is clearly evident looking at 789 PCB. There's a bunch of ignorant people in the 789 thread who only believe marketing and know nothing of basic electronics. One guy even linked me the marketing page for the 789 AAA and said! look see, it's proprietary! it can only be made by THX! Another guy just assumed because it had balanced input, that was the obvious and clear/best choice, again, knowing nothing even on a basic level of how the device functions. Seems like alot of kids/young people purchased that amp and just believed the marketing spiel hook line and sinker.

    It's a great amplifier for 350$, no doubt about it, with very clever engineering, and a unique topology. Well worth it's asking price. It's also, not proprietary, and does run it's balanced input though a summing circuit involving multiple 1602a op-amps, this does not happen on the SE input. It's also hugely Flavor of the Month, and massdrop will crank out 20k of them in no time, you'll see them widely available used for like 200 bucks or so in a year or less. Meanwhile, Chinese and other firm's will quickly clone this, and/or implement the feed-forward circuit into their own designs. It's a net win for everyone really, perhaps bring this tech to the masses.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  15. Tsukuyomi
    Good evening everyone,
    Just a quick question concering my ADI-2 DAC outputs.
    am i able to put a headphone in the "phones" out and a pair of headphones (super efficient) in the "IEM" output and play music so two people can listen at the same time? :)
    A friend of mine wants to also listen to music with me.
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