RME ADI-2 DAC Thread
Mar 18, 2019 at 11:26 PM Post #1,051 of 6,034
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?

Short end of it - Improvement in dynamics was there since there was added juice to the sound chain but going "balanced", but I experienced no change in soundstage. An awesome match with the LCD-X. To say there is transparency/clarity/neutrality is a given and if that is your aim, you will hit the mark.

But,

My ears weren't convinced it was such a great improvement that I needed to keep it...or maybe the ADI-2 serves all my headphone needs (at the moment).

Having said that, the THX is awesome and I recommend it highly. I just wanted a 2 channel setup more than I wanted to keep the THX so that went to go help fund it. The RME stays and it can plays a part in my 2 channel setup as well.
 
Mar 18, 2019 at 11:30 PM Post #1,052 of 6,034
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 :

I don't miss the THX at all. I can always switch to high power mode in the ADI-2 (I mean, how loud do I really need to listen to music in my headphones...I still need my hearing). I can EQ the sound exactly the way I want. There is a learning curve to the interface but honestly if I can do it and you can read the manual it really is not that hard other than understanding EQing.

If I wanted further improvement in my headphone setup I would have to go up and that's not in the cards right now. And at this time, I have no desire to leave that spot.
 
Mar 19, 2019 at 7:14 AM Post #1,053 of 6,034
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.

ok ok - you have found much worster DACs on earth. For me the Jot was one of my biggest Hifi-dissapointments....what a hype

but - the main reason for this compare: the gigantic difference between these two - with the same dac-chip :wink:
 
Mar 19, 2019 at 7:36 AM Post #1,054 of 6,034
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 :
You won't be missing anything. ADI2-DAC sounds superb with LCD-X. For ultimate quality, do the upsampling on the PC, not in the DAC.
 
Mar 19, 2019 at 3:58 PM Post #1,055 of 6,034
I found the THX was not an improvement soundwise over the RME. As a matter of fact, I believe I actually prefer the RME's sound. Right now I am keeping it case i need the power. Finding it hard to find a much better amp than the RME at less than $1,500.
 
Mar 19, 2019 at 4:10 PM Post #1,056 of 6,034
I found the THX was not an improvement soundwise over the RME. As a matter of fact, I believe I actually prefer the RME's sound. Right now I am keeping it case i need the power. Finding it hard to find a much better amp than the RME at less than $1,500.
I compared the RME amp with the Gilmore Lite mk2 using an Focal Elex and the 500$ Gilmore was obviously better.
 
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Mar 20, 2019 at 4:11 AM Post #1,057 of 6,034
I compared the RME amp with the Gilmore Lite mk2 using an Focal Elex and the 500$ Gilmore was obviously better.

I should have mentioned balanced. Also, in what ways is it better than the RME amp? If you don't mind could you post up here, because many in the linked thread believe it cannot be done for a reasonable amount.
 
Mar 20, 2019 at 6:26 AM Post #1,058 of 6,034
Just on this...I got my Gilmore Lite Mk2 today and I had the chance to do some A/B listening.. with so-so interconnects and the AFC only. So anything here is RME headphone amp vs Gilmore headphone amp added - in context of the AFC.

The initial impressions:
- blacker background with better separation; transients especially, but every instrument and voice is more separate and more so with complex music
- following on from this, instruments have some body and space around them with the Gilmore..with the RME it sounds more thinny, instruments seems to be in flat layers
- gilmore has definition in brush sounds, zils on a tambourine, cymbals ..
- the sound stage gets slightly bigger, voices a tad more distance away, echos are more distinct - a sense of space generally.
- bass control - it's more articulated and clear positioning of instruments
- makes the AFC inviting to listen to (and less fatiguing it seems)

The RME headphone amp is still good...as the difference is technically not massive, but somehow adding the Gilmore does add up to a lot more enjoyable listening. I don't feel myself playing with EQ anymore.. it's off in fact.

I also listened to the AFC+Gilmore with Chord Mojo and LG V30+.. and both improved substantially - the V30 a lot! The V30 is a very enjoyable DAC once the phone doesn't have to drive the AFC. LG V30+ > Gilmore > AFC makes a great work setup (IMHO)!

Anyway, that's the early impression. Personally the nicest thing is that my V30 suddenly and totally went frog > princess . .. on the flip side is the somewhat costly reality that headphone amps matter.
To be revisited when the LCD2 Classic comes in...
 
Mar 20, 2019 at 8:34 AM Post #1,059 of 6,034
It doesn't surprise me that using the ADI-2 as a premium DAC + a good heaphone amp will probably sound better than just the DAC alone. But I'm trying to determine if I can get "good enough" with just the ADI-2 on my desk, and from what I am reading above that should be the case. It seems to get most of the way there. Which is good because a) already spending 1k on the ADI-2, b) alot on the headphones, c) dont want tons of equip at my desk in the office :)

The other combo I am considering is the woo-audio fireflies as it is also a dac-amp combo for the same price. I am a sucker for the spectrum analyzer and the eq of the ADI-2, but the Woo comes with a bonafide amp... Can anyone comment on the pros/cons of these units (hopefully for some LCD 2fs)
 
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Mar 20, 2019 at 9:13 AM Post #1,060 of 6,034
It's this size, I don't have
I should have mentioned balanced. Also, in what ways is it better than the RME amp? If you don't mind could you post up here, because many in the linked thread believe it cannot be done for a reasonable amount.
Shouldn't make difference balanced.

Overall it's what MR B1 described. The sound gets thinner and more edgy with the adi amp
 

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Mar 20, 2019 at 9:15 AM Post #1,061 of 6,034
@oxide7 Yes, I cannot imagine that you will be unhappy with the RME solo. I am running it with the MX4 and I couldn't be happier. I considered adding a separate amp, but instead of a few % improvement (possibly maybe), I'd rather keep one unit, operate its volume control directly, well basically enjoy a very quality unit on its own.
 
Mar 20, 2019 at 9:31 AM Post #1,062 of 6,034
I have auditioned a fair amount of WA gear. Of all of them, I was least impressed with the firefly. Maybe my brain and ears were being unfairly skewed against the firefly because each time I tested them also included testing other WA gear that cost multiple times more. Even assuming that, I considered them "good" but just didn't seem like the value for dollar was there.

Personally, though my ears are weak and my tastes a little different than many on head-fi, my opinion is that the RME + firefly would not be better than just the RME.

The RME amp portion really is very good.

I get a little nervous recommending most audio gear, but the RME is the one piece of gear I recommend over and over again.
 
Mar 20, 2019 at 9:33 AM Post #1,063 of 6,034
It doesn't surprise me that using the ADI-2 as a premium DAC + a good heaphone amp will probably sound better than just the DAC alone. But I'm trying to determine if I can get "good enough" with just the ADI-2 on my desk, and from what I am reading above that should be the case. It seems to get most of the way there. Which is good because a) already spending 1k on the ADI-2, b) alot on the headphones, c) dont want tons of equip at my desk in the office :)

The other combo I am considering is the woo-audio fireflies as it is also a dac-amp combo for the same price. I am a sucker for the spectrum analyzer and the eq of the ADI-2, but the Woo comes with a bonafide amp... Can anyone comment on the pros/cons of these units (hopefully for some LCD 2fs)
the ADI-2 DAC is an amazing bit of kit, for me personally i've found my end game source. for 99% of all headphones this amp/dac will be enough... more than enough! the only 2 downsides i can think of are a) if your headphones surpass 600ohms? maybe you may need a dedicated amp im not sure... b) no balance.

the highest ohm cans i have atm are DT1990 Pros and they sound magnificent on the ADI-2 DAC. cleaner than a surgeons scalpel.
 
Mar 20, 2019 at 10:11 AM Post #1,064 of 6,034
It's this size, I don't have

Shouldn't make difference balanced.

Overall it's what MR B1 described. The sound gets thinner and more edgy with the adi amp

If that's the case a GS-X Mini should kill. Now that has enough power to run a Susvara. The Mini is definitely not cheap but I do know that is a killer little amp. Maybe I will try the Gilmore.
 

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