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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. Aliv3
    Is the RME ADI 2 better than the Sony TA-ZH1ES? I'm on the market for a amp Dac combo for my desk.
    Thanks
     
  2. Overclocked11
    Its been about two weeks now that I've had the ADI-2 and have had some time to play around with it on its own, A/B it a bit vs my teac UD-501 and line in to G109. So far I find I lean toward line out to the G109 as the go to... its a bit weird to explain since the ADI-2's headphone amp is plenty capable power wise, and offers a nice clean output, good separation and dynamics, yet for some reason I still find myself gravitating to the G109 for final output.
    Perhaps its the type of music I'm listening to, but it just gives music more slam, enriches the lower mids and bottom end much more (at the slight cost of control) and just overall brings the sound more forward. I experienced the same when I first got it and paired it with the UD-501 so really that speaks more toward the 109 than anything else. The pairing itself though with the ADI-2 is very good, but I don't know that I would feel like I was missing out necessarily if I didn't have it and just used ADI-2 as the all in one.

    That all said, I am loving the clean sound that comes out of the ADI-2 and the functionality it provides. I can see myself rolling through a bunch of different headphones and IEMs over the next few years trying to find the ideal synergy with my hardware.. so far using the IMR R1 and Atticus sounds amazing, especially the Atticus.. its given it so much more sparkle and yet still remains smooth in mostly everything I listen to. With a slight bass boost at 200 and below they are really full and punchy, and the ADI-2 has helped to bring forward vocals way better than the 501 ever could.

    I'm still collecting a lot more impressions, but its sounding superb so far. What a piece of kit this is..
     
    Wesbound likes this.
  3. musicfrommemory
    Chaps, technical question: there is some discussion on the Cavalli Liquid Platinum thread regarding attenuation and whether to control the volume on a DAC or on an amp (assuming you have a separate amp following the DAC.) Some DACs attenuate digitally and through doing so eat into the quality of the digital stream, negatively affecting the quality of its output. Some DACs attenuate passively, i.e., the attenuation is done outside of the digital stream so the digital quality is unaffected.

    The question is: Does anyone know how the RME attenuates volume?

    This from their website (but I have no idea what it means):

    http://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/adi_2-dac.php

    Improving DA

    With the DAC RME engineers took the opportunity to slightly enhance the DAC's analog output stage to be even more perfect as it already was. More relays, a different double symmetrical attenuator circuit and one additional buffer OP amp succeed in less noise and less THD. As the DAC-chip is the limiting factor here this is hard to measure, but nevertheless an important improvement, especially at lower hardware output levels typical for Cinch/RCA usage. The new hardware reference levels of +13 dBu, +7 dBu, +1 dBu and -5 dBu also add to this.
     
  4. MikeW
    The ADI-2 uses a combination of automatic analog and digital attenuation. The on screen volume indicator dynamically adjust the volume digitally until certain setpoints then drops analog volume. It's an intelligent mechanism that basically minimizes the digital attenuation needed to get the volume level you want.

    If none of that makes sense to you, just know that the volume attenuation on the ADI-2 is very well implemented and has little to no impact on sonic performance.
     
    musicfrommemory and Anaz like this.
  5. Phoniac
    musicfrommemory likes this.
  6. musicfrommemory
  7. bwcgrx
    I own a Mojo and while it is really a nice DAC especially for portable use the RME ADI-2 is the better piece of gear. Both as DAC and headphone amp. It should be at twice the price. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking the amp in the RME is sub par. It is clean and transparent with more than enough power for all but the absolute most demanding headphones. Some may want more warmth in and amp but that's what tubes are for. I run my RME into a Bottlehead Crack for my higher ohm Sennhiser and Byerdynamic headphones. It is worth noting that the RME's amp can power my Beyer 880 600 ohms fine but I do have to turn it up quite high. The Crack can push them beyond and I still get the awesomely low noise floor and dynamics of the RME with just touch warmth and euphonic distortion from the Crack.

    I can't speak for other Chord gear as I've never heard them much less owned them.
     
    cardeli22, Giacomino and Focux like this.
  8. MikeW
    I agree with bwcgrx comments, I own the adi-2 and liquid platinum, and i've owned other gear in the past. Never compared to the Hugo though. The LP's great for adding a bit of warmth and dynamics to the ADI, but I too found it's headphone amp rather excellent, particularly nice when EQ'ed to taste, as it's a bit dry when flat (as designed). You get so much value out of this device as an all in one, i'd not bother with a ~400$ dac and 400$ amp, or any other combination of sub 1000$ amp and dac combo. Just get this and your done. As clean and tranparent as the built in headphone amp is, it really lends itself very well to EQ customization. You can tailor that to sound like just about anything you want. Though it cannot replicate tubes, as there's no way to add distortion to this device without a tube pre and/or headphone amp. It does use the same OP-AMPs that are in the THX 789, and although not as powerful and a more simple circuit, those who have compared the two find them quite similiar in performance. This is why i shake my head when I see people buying 789's for 700$ on ebay.. so much ignorance.

    The ADI-2 can be made portable as well, for those that care. There's an official dev response on the rme forums about what gear is needed, basically a lithium ion battery bank(like the kind you'd use to charge a phone) and the appropriate power cord.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    cardeli22 likes this.
  9. Focux
    thank you both for sharing

    the diff between the ADI-2 DAC and Qutest is abt USD400,

    will prob end up going with either one and a HeadAmp Gilmore Lite MKii or AudioGD NFB1AMP

    but leaning toward qutest and sticking to current JDS Atom
     
  10. Barratana
    As I´m looking for a new dac/amp I´ve been interested reading all your coments on this RME ADI-2 DAC. I´m not able to listen before buying all your inputas are welcome.
    I have been testing Chord Hugo 2 and questyle 800i and both impressed me quite a bit, nevertheless as always the price as an inportant role on my choices, and so I would like to know if someone tested the RME against questyle 400i or Audio GD 28.23.
    I use on my desktop a JDS O2 Amp and DAC and on the office the Fiio 10k and the Xduoo XD-05. On my main system rega dac and Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 are used to feed my headphones ( mainly Massdrop 6xx, Monolith M560, and PSB M4U1 although I have others that are now used less )
    The idea is to have an ultimate upgrade both on headphones and DAC Amp and stop for a whyle ( I´ll try to see if it is possible ).

    For the headphones on my list I have the sennheiser 800, Audeze LCD-X and Audeze LCD2 -C, Grado 500E are the next ones to test, on the DAC Amp side, Hugo 2, Questyle 400i, 600i or 800i, Audio GD 28.38 11.28 and now the RME that looks from the specifications and funcionality a beast!

    Any experience on RME against Questyle gear?
     
  11. Ihearthead
    Hi, I'm relatively new to headphone systems.

    I'm interested in acquiring a DAC to pair with my Rupert Neve RNHP amp for use as a desktop system. What is the difference between the RME ADI-2 DAC vs. the slightly lower priced RME ADI-2 (pictured below)?

    Hoping to save a few $ if there is no sonic difference. They both appear to utilize the SteadyClock where the latter lacks the fine tuning menu options of the ADI-2 DAC. Also lacks a few inputs which I think is fine.. (or not?). I plan to use the Toslink input for my configuration.

    Thanks in advance

    [​IMG]
     
  12. MikeW
    Those are very different products. Definitely read up. I can tell you the adi-2 is much older and designed for the pro market. While the Dac is a newer design with more features and a different target audience. I don’t even know if they use the same Dac chip and/or op-amps for head amp stage.

    You give up quite a few consumer desirable features to save very little. Resale will also be more difficult. I would not do it. I had to have USB so it was a non starter for me. There is a pretty long list of things the Dac version does that are missing from the pro model, and the pro model does ADC which you’ll likely never need.

    That headphone amp(RNHP) looks only decent, I’d not be surprised if an adi-2 Dac would easily replace it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    cardeli22 and Giacomino like this.
  13. Relaxasaurus
    Personally if the ADI-2 DAC didn't have it's PEQ functionality I would have looked elsewhere. I hope more manufactures in the future look at integrating this feature.
     
    tekkster likes this.
  14. MikeW
    That was a big influence on me too. But after owning it, I think it’s such a great value that is buy it even without its peq.
     
  15. hornytoad
    Completely agree.
     
    Giacomino and tekkster like this.
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