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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. MikeW
    You wouldn't be the only person to make that comparison and come out with an ADi-2. The features are hard to give up once acclimated to them.

    You know it's weird when I copied that amazon link from amazon and posted it it looks different when clicked on and followed from these forums and the link address bar says "headfi 20" as the last entry. it's almost like any amazon link posted on these forums get automatically converted to an affiliate link. That's slick as snot. Glad to send Jude's kids to college haha
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
    lukeslens likes this.
  2. Luckbad
    Wait, the ADI-2 DAC has features?

    Oh, you mean these old things?
    • I'm watching a Tommy Emmanuel DVD that's panned right by about 5dB and correct for it with the balance setting (L41). The L/R volume readings are after that balance setting so it's easy to get it right
    • I want extra play in the volume knob on the SPL Phonitor XE, so I'm attenuating it on the RME
    • I wanted to compare the Phonitor's output vs. the Garage1217 Project Sunrise III as a preamp, so I'm using both the XLR and RCA outs simultaneously
    • The HD650 needs a lot more sub-bass, so I have some glorious parametric EQ engaged
    • I prefer the Slow filter on the DAC. Usually. But not always (sometimes I like Sharp). So I swap it sometimes on the fly.
    • I'm using a Phase Reversal Trick mod on my headphones so I reverse the polarity of the right channel on the RME
    • When I have a long background listening session, I engage crossfeed to reduce fatigue
    • When I worry about whether I'm getting the best signal to noise ratio, I just engage Auto Ref Level (almost always on lately)
    • Ew yuck, the stock display is white. Wait, I can just change that to Dark mode and it looks awesome. Done. Still too bright though. <adjusts>
    Oh, features like that? I totally take them for granted now and don't know how I'd live without them.
  3. talmadge
    If I'm using the ADI-2 just as a dac all the features are still available correct? EQ, filters, etc.?
  4. Luckbad
    Yep. That's how I use it at home. At work it's my IEM all-in-one. At home, it's in front of an amp.
    cardeli22 and lukeslens like this.
  5. mixman
    OK, how much do you have to spend to get a truly better amp than what's inside of the RME? I find that the THX 789 isn't really better, just different, and it has a balanced output. What are some better amps without having to spend $2K ?
  6. MikeW
    Both the THX789 and Built in amp of the RME are brushing up against that wall of diminishing returns. You can find better amps, but don't expect them to be dramatically better. I really want more time to evaluate the Liquid Platinum but im confident enough at this point to call it an upgrade, Neurochrome HPA-1 is probably an upgrade as well, technically, if you enjoy it's sound signature is another can of worms. It also really depends on what your looking for, if you want better tonality there are options such as tube pre-amps that you can pair with the 789 to get more from it. If tubes are your thing that is.

    With regard to the Liquid platinum it is the most detailed and resolving hybrid amp i've ever heard. Usually tubes + resolving/detailed don't really go together until you get to TOTL range 3-5k stuff. LP manages to capture some of that magic at it's price point. Significantly better detail at the upper registers then Jotunheim, and comparable or better than the amp built into ADI. It's somewhat magical and really caught me by surprise. Jotunheim had great mid-bass and a nice midrange as well. It had a quantity of bass but quality is not up to LP or RME. The LP brings alot of refinement across the board, particularly with the high end, effortless and refined come to mind.

    The area's that LP distances itself from the adi, are those of soundstaging, air, and 3D. The ADI is a very 2D sounding amp, it's not necessarily a negative, it just is what it is. LP has a real sense of space and air. Strings are incredible on LP.

    Hey, look on the bright side, you might be able to sell the 789 to some dumb son of a bitch on ebay for 800$ and upgrade to the LP for free.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
    lukeslens likes this.
  7. JSOppenheimer
    And not to even mention how seamlessly it all blends up together once you learn to use the unit. The UI may seem a bit clunky and intimidating at first, but once one learns the logic behind it, it's just so damn fast and easy to change the settings and presets to accomodate for every possible need you may ever have regarding headphones.

    Honestly, the best description of the unit I've ever seen was when someone said that "ADI-2 DAC is the glue that binds my headphone setup together". And that it truly is, can't even imagine returning back to the usual "dumb" DAC + amp combos that lack the features that ADI-2 DAC offers.
    Giacomino likes this.
  8. MikeW
    I agree with the above and it's almost annoying good, because if a better device comes along, that you may prefer sonically, your going to definitely miss something about the adi-2.
    tekkster and cardeli22 like this.
  9. kumar402
    Has anyone compared the DSP of ADI with that offered by DMG Equillibrium or those of Roon. How different is using ROON OR DMG Adudiounits with audirvana along using a cheap clean DAC like SMSL SU8 or Mojo then using all in one unit of ADI. Considering laptop is the only source used.
    I am asking this since I have already invested in Roon and DMG. Does it make sense to invest in ADI-2
  10. Luckbad
    Even if you use none of the features, it's an outstanding DAC worth at least the asking price.

    It's also one of very few devices that has excellent built-in USB (modern Schiit DACs, Soekris, and a couple other pro level devices being the only others I'd consider using USB for anymore).

    Prior to the RME, I'd traditionally use a Lynx AES16e or E22 to feed AES/RCA/BNC into a DAC because the USB never cut it.

    As for the implementation of the DSP, it's incredible and it is onboard so it doesn't require you to monkey with stuff on multiple machines or limit yourself to particular software to use it.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
    kumar402 likes this.
  11. mixman
    Well seeing as Monoprice will be out of these for a while, it will give me time to to save up for this or look into something else. Soundstage is exactly what I am looking for as an improvement. Extra power would be nice too. Not really a big tube fan either, but I do know in the Shangri La those tubes sounded wonderful.
  12. devante1977
    As someone that used to connect the 789 to the RME, I can say that the power was welcomed but I'm not totally convinced it added anything substantial (meaning I wasn't disappointed but at the same time, I wasn't blown away). I use the LCD-X headphones and those are not hard to drive so YMMV depending on your choice of cans that have a higher impedance measurement. I sold that amp and stuck with the RME since it is all that and then some. I felt that I would miss the RME vs missing the 789. Maybe somewhere down the road I will experiment again with connecting the unit to another amp but I have no regrets just sticking with the RME for the time being...also considering the sale of the 789 did help fund my 2 channel speaker setup).
    cardeli22 likes this.
  13. kumar402
    I also see you are fan of MHDT Orchid...how do these compare against those keeping features aside.
  14. Anaz
    ...IMO it's really a matter of diminishing returns after hitting the price point fo the ADI-2 DAC.
    Better? The only thing I can think of is an amp that has a more powerful power circuit and that can accommodate a higher phase shift (due to a headphone's varying impedance vs. frequency) but I have no idea what that measurement is for the ADI-2 DAC so I can't tell what a "better" amp is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. IMO a lot of people mistake a different sound for a better sound.
  15. tekkster
    That is so true. As better DACs emerge, I’ll never sell the ADI-2. The number of features this DAC provides is really exceptional, and few manufacturers really engineer around a DAC chip as well as RME does with the 4490. I have the H2. Despite this, the ADI-2 is my daily driver.

    If I were richer, I’d get the TT2 and add the HMS, and it may sound really great (at those prices it would have to), but I bet I’d miss a ton of features from the ADI-2.

    It also means if RME released a higher end device using fancier components, I might just gravitate that way.
    cardeli22 likes this.
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