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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. Overclocked11
    After today I can confirm what you say.

    I love the UD-501.. its excellent in its own respects, but I had a chance to demo the ADI-2 today and definitely, I could tell right away that it was an upgrade. The width and detail of the presentation was apparent.. super clean, almost effortless. The fact that you can dial in EQ nevermind for each output? Man.. that is nice. Although I've found ways to accomplish this software side, its such a nice feature and the UX well thought out, that it makes it almost too obvious of an upgrade.

    Tested with Atticus and R1 in the store.. found that I had to crank the R1 a bit high (-7.0) before it started to get too hot, but the quality was there just the same. Would be interested to see how it plays with the G109, but in any event, I'm now a believer. Thinking I will grab one and demo for a longer period.. have no doubts that it will all end with me pulling the trigger.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  2. Rienm
    Question for those who own the RME Adi dac 2 . It seems to be a perfect AIO for me, that is because I have a hearing loss on the left side , about 30 dB above 4 kHz. Next to this my age is 67 so above 10kHz I don’t hear a lot..... So an AIO WITH an Equalizer in which I can correct my left ear, perfect!
    Now I use an iFi nano Bl as headphone amplifier for my MrSpeakers Aeon; has anyone tried the RME with these headphones, enough power ?

    Thanks, Rien
  3. MikeW
    This is so important, the USB implementation of the RME is really world class. This is often overlooked when comparing cheaper options to RME. Not only is the USB input exceptional, so is the coax and optical. But USB is a shining star among an ocean of turds.
    Can you share your thoughts on the SPL pairing, or I know you reviewed the combo, perhaps link it here for others.

    Well, Liquid Platinum's not really a tube amp, it's a fully balanced hybrid so it shares none of the weakness and or inflexibility issues that full Tube amps have. Have you ever tried a hybrid before? It maintains a mostly solid state sound, but adds warmth, tonality, air, and a sense of space and 3D sound, combined with a lush warm mid range. This can be tweaked with tube rolling to a fairly large extent, and can be tweaked further with the EQ on the RME. And if pairing the liquid platinum with the RME, you get excellent volume attenuation, and you still have access to the excellent solid state amp and IEM amp built into the RME, if you want to mix it up sometime. The head-amp on the RME can be complimentary, for example if you decided to use an OTL tube amp, and you pick up a pair of IEM's one day, or planar's or something that just does not gel with an OTL, you have the RME to fall back on. Some amps and headphones pair extremely well together, sometimes so much so that an inferior amp can sound better with a given headphone... Valhalla 2, or Crack + HD650, for example. Im not trying to sell you anything though, just my observations as an owner of the two devices. But I have not owned either for long, so more impressions to come.

    This is very true, and what i've been alluding to, it is quite difficult to be *technically* any better then either the 789 or the RME's headamp. However, this is where measurements and objective and subjective start to go at odds. Excellent sounding gear with Tubes offer's pleasing harmonic distortion, in all the right places, that does not measure well, but many... most? prefer this sound signature. I understand and accept that what I am hearing with tubes is in fact distortion, and someone like Amir will poo all over it. I don't care. No one uses tubes because they measure better.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
    Wildcatsare1 and cardeli22 like this.
  4. Luckbad
    @MikeW Thoughts haven't been fully organized, but you can read train-of-thought style stuff here: https://forum.headphone.com/t/spl-phonitor-x-dac-amp-official-thread/50/118?u=luckbad

    The SPL Phonitor XE is a neutral, revealing amplifier. The RME ADI-2 DAC combo is a transparent , highly-resolving reference-worthy pair. The main improvement of the Phonitor over the RME headphone output is dynamics. I've always found the ADI-2 DAC's headphone output with something like the Sennheiser HD650 to be just a touch slow, dulled, and almost compressed. Hook it up to a high level amplifier like the Phonitor and you'll hear an immediate difference.

    That being said, I'm not generally a huge fan of pure solid state amps. I actually prefer to use a Garage1217 Project Sunrise III (with LPSU) as a preamp between the RME ADI-2 DAC and SPL Phonitor XE. It gives a little extra shimmer and sparkle without increasing brightness or inducing fatigue.

    If you're trying to fully understand the character of a pair of headphones, the RME ADI-2 DAC -> SPL Phonitor XE is one of the best methods to do so. There is no coloration and you can power just about anything well.
  5. MikeW
    Yeah, Dynamics... that's a good word, probably the correct word to describe what im calling air. The Liquid Plat is a big upgrade in this regard over the RME. The best way I can describe this..

    An understanding of the space between instruments that are burried far down in the mix. Particularly with classical, if you have some strings playing down at -40 DB and some horns playing at -25 DB you can fully understand that relationship and "feel" that distance. This is somewhat lost on the RME. Even moreso on the Jotunheim. Things that are buried deep in the mix don't call attention to themselves, but are presented in a natural way, very very clearly, and free of haze and distortion, while maintaining the sense of 3d/dyanmics/air. The LP is the only amp i've ever heard to pull this off at this level. But it's also the most expensive amp i've ever owned. And i've never heard an OTL or full tube amplifier.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  6. cardeli22
    How did the Atticus sound with the RME? I was thinking of getting an Atticus to pair with my RME.
  7. Anaz
    The Phonitor XE looks nice:bangbang: but you're talking about a $2,000 amp :wink: ...I think what you said about better dynamics is what I meant by "can accommodate a higher phase shift" - the HD 650 is a hard headphone to drive well because its impedance has a hump that rises above 500 Ohms at 100 Hz.

    Add to that Amir's bashing of R2R Dacs as well!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  8. mixman
    Yeah that's it dynamics. That is what I am trying to better with another amp. That along with a little better soundstage. As I go up the HP ladder I am hearing more of what's in front of them. I think the RME's DAC is not the issue, perhaps having enough headroom on the amp, which should improve dynamics and soundstage. I am sure HEK SE will be relatively ruthless in revealing flaws on anything in the signal chain before it so I am trying to get the best signal I can going into them....without going to crazy as far as price.
  9. MikeW
    The Liquid Platinum is not the most powerful amp around, but it's quite good at 6.6 watt's into 32 ohms. (THX 6 watts, RME 1.5 Watts) That's over balanced only though, it's single ended is not nearly as good, and best left ignored. I also have to give the disclaimer of expensive ass tubes. I dident realize, my own fault that 6922's are getting more rare by the day and they are expensive, expect to pay 150$ for a good set. That much power on either the 789 or LP is massive overkill for 95% of the headphones on the market. Unless your driving HE6 or Susvara, or some such monolithic beast of a statement headphone, you really don't need that kind of power, as you see when comparing the 1.5 watt RME to the THX789. Keep in mind, a few years ago before HE6 (this was a trigger, or maybe THE trigger to high power amps today) it was common for headphone amps, even well regarded ones to only put out .5 watts into 32 ohm, or possibly as much as 1 watt for really good stuff.

    Looks like Luck bad's SPL Phonitor XE has similiar power, but it's a little strange the way the spec's read. 2.7 watts into 32 ohm, but 2 watts into 300 ohm... strange non linear drop off as ohm's increase. The LP puts .91 watts into 300 ohm, and the THX789 puts .8 watts.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  10. mixman
    Yeah I see amps like the Violectric V281 and just think hmmm, but so far as right now, its a little overkill for me unless I do get that Susvara. But would a revealing HP like a Utopia need something like that as an amp?
  11. MikeW
    There's alot more to an amp and how revealing it is then power output. There's plenty of high end headphone options that don't require stupid amounts of power. Personally that's a deal breaker for me.. im not buying something that requires a special amp to drive it. Unless it's an electrostat. LYR3 puts 9 watts into 32 ohms, but it lacks the refinement of the higher end amps we are talking about.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  12. mixman
    Yeah, I am pretty much looking at SQ as opposed to power. Most of the HP's I am looking at even an HEK V2, are not that hard to drive, buy having great sound quality for them is important though.
  13. Gww1
    I'm think about getting this and just want to check one thing that I'm not 100% sure on from reading the thread - appologies if I have missed it somewhere.

    Regarding Asio and Wasapi automatic bit rate selection on Windows 10, playing local music I can use Asio if needed and probably would anyway for DSD support so that's fine. But for Tidal I always assumed it used Wasapi in exclusive mode, so will automatic bit rate selection work?
    Could someone who uses the Adi-2 Dac on W10 with Tidal please let me know if there are any issues?
  14. MikeW
    Automatic bit rate selection does not
    Work in tidal. It does work in foobar and Qobuz. I blame tidal. You can force 44.1 lossless and it works fine but no hi res.
  15. Gww1
    Thanks for the reply, I read it may be possible to get automatic switching in wasapi by not installing the official driver after a firmware update mid last year. Do you know if that is correct? And if so are there any drawbacks in not using the official driver (other than losing Asio)?
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