RME ADI-2 DAC Thread
Mar 15, 2019 at 8:10 AM Post #1,036 of 6,034
This combo RME/AFC is very much growing on me (and breaking in still).. I have had the RME for just over 2 weeks and the AFC only for about 3.. but the combo is now getting more and more musical - especially the last couple of days.
Lacking proper reference material.. but I think the detail, black background and separation is on a very high level for both and a match.

To be honest.. I'm very much still getting to terms with both and this level of equipment.. there's lot's to be discovered.. so don't take anything as an absolute.
Years ago, I had the Quad ESL57 speaker + Beard P35 tube amp + Philips CD880 with TDA1541A/S1 as reference, so good sound by itself is not entirely new to me.
I'll share impressions from this journey below related to other components as well to give some context hopefully.

So for the relative impression regarding the AFC/RME combo...I have/had available the Oppo PM3, HE4XX, LG V30+, Arcam IrDac 2 and Chord Mojo.
  • None of the other components comes close, the closest in enjoyment is the irDAC2 + AFC which is very enjoyable but the RME's DAC is quite a bit more refined (and I like the irDAC2!)
    Given the price differential to many that makes sense but I find RME+AFC a good return on money spend.

  • I felt that the irDAC 2's headphone amp is slightly more authoritative, dynamic, impactful - despite the weaker DAC.
    Arcam apparently took the headamp out of the A49 amp, which has a 2W into 16ohm and <1ohm output imp
    .... so it may well have the qualities that suit the AFC better than the RME's headphone amp. We'll see - this is what I want to experiment with.

  • The AFC responded so well to better amping (going V30+ > Mojo > IrDac2 and RME), I sense that a better amp could well get quite a bit more out of the AFC (and as a result, the RME).
    It's very likely I'll do this (Gilmore Lite Mk2 is very recommended for AFC).. if only to know what's what! I also have the LCD2classic coming so that will be interesting too.

  • Chord Mojo + AFC.. unimpressed (unlike many). Detail + high end sounding ... but it seems to describe music rather than sound real, it also has a weak bass
  • LG V30+ +AFC .. no bass, collapsed fuzzy soundstage, lacking detail, can't listen to it anymore
  • It was impressive how well the HE4XX scaled and improved with the RME. No match for the AFC though - even comparing open with closed here.
As for settings / pads for this combo ...I moved to listening without filters in the AFC and put the RME in NOS filter mode. I found the overtones of plucked/struck strings, piano, voices sound most close to reality and have more emotional, rhythmic cohesion.
I've also put some EQ (+3.5db/40/0.5 -1db/130/1.8, -2db/1.1/1.6, +1db/4k/1.0, -1.5db/9k/2.4) for listening with the AFC.
 
Mar 16, 2019 at 10:29 PM Post #1,039 of 6,034
Considering the rme uses 3 surface mount op-amps per channel, extremely close together, I doubt it. Probably would sound worse if one could Frankenstein it together. Not to mention voiding the warranty on 1100$ gear and wrecking resale value.

Also of note the OPA1602A that is used by rme is missing from the compatibility list on bursons page for v5
 
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Mar 17, 2019 at 2:56 AM Post #1,040 of 6,034
Burson V5i can be placed in the RME??

Yes, but you need DIP to SOIC adapters.

Like this:
4.png
 
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Mar 17, 2019 at 11:35 PM Post #1,043 of 6,034
Please post the results! - I had pimped an old Audio GD Fun with Burson V5 and I was impressed with the results (different OPamps testet)

I'm pretty sure it would be better, but now I'm looking into the new EVGA NU audio card as it uses the newer (and updated) AK4493EQ (better than AK4490EQ used on RME).

It costs just $250, and I'm thinking to get that one and use Burson V6 vivid with (it just need 2 OPAMPs too).
11.jpg


AK4490EQ is from 2014 (pretty much unused now), while AK4493EQ is from 2018.
 
Mar 18, 2019 at 1:17 AM Post #1,044 of 6,034
because the dac chip is the only thing that matters right, that's why the Modi 3 sounds just like the RME ADI-2, they use the same Dac chip so it all makes sense now.
 
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Mar 18, 2019 at 4:32 AM Post #1,045 of 6,034
because the dac chip is the only thing that matters right, that's why the Modi 3 sounds just like the RME ADI-2, they use the same Dac chip so it all makes sense now.

jo...the Jotunheim with an early DAC module was the worst AMP/DAC I ever had.....the RME with the same DAC is the best by far!! Booth with the same DAC-chip.
 
Mar 18, 2019 at 10:26 AM Post #1,046 of 6,034
jo...the Jotunheim with an early DAC module was the worst AMP/DAC I ever had.....the RME with the same DAC is the best by far!! Booth with the same DAC-chip.

So funny you should mention this! I have the old Jot with the AK4490, and the ADI-2. Yep yep yep. Agree with you that the ADI-2 is the very best possible implementation of the AK4490 among the devices I researched online and tested at nearby stores (which is not comprehensive, but reasonably significant). I'm not a huge fan of the ak4490 dac module in the old Jot, but it's not the worst I've ever had. It's still a significant improvement to laptop, tablet, and phone DACs, in my humble opinion.
 
Mar 18, 2019 at 10:54 PM Post #1,047 of 6,034
I heard that this is more dac than amp. i want something like this for my desk in the office so i can look tasteful, but not like a snob :) Can it give a good experienece out of some audeze lcd w/o another amp though?
 
Mar 18, 2019 at 11:03 PM Post #1,048 of 6,034
I have the LCD-x and combined with the ADI-2 DAC this is my complete desktop setup. Former Jotunheim and THX 789 AAA owner.
 
Mar 18, 2019 at 11:07 PM Post #1,049 of 6,034
I have the LCD-x and combined with the ADI-2 DAC this is my complete desktop setup. Former Jotunheim and THX 789 AAA owner.
I currently have a thx 789. It is pretty good IMO, but not end all, be all. How's the amp on the adi-2 compare?
 
Mar 18, 2019 at 11:11 PM Post #1,050 of 6,034
I have the LCD-x and combined with the ADI-2 DAC this is my complete desktop setup. Former Jotunheim and THX 789 AAA owner.
Thanks. Give me a lot of hope. you're saying you can get the full potential out of the LCD (i would have 2F) with just this unit? Do you know you're missing something :
 

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