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RME ADI-2 DAC Thread

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  1. Malcolm Riverside
    Thanks for the info. The Adi-2 DAC is good enough that I don’t see myself getting another dac for a while unless it’s an NOS or tube model, and if/when I do get a new d/s dac I will almost certainly keep the RME to use as an all-in-one. It’s really staggering what they stuffed into such a lightweight, small unit!

    Quick aside: Anyone know how to reset the EQ to the default/flat setting? Once I start getting into the weeds on the EQ I find it helpful to start from scratch next time I want to make adjustments but I haven’t figured out how to do that automatically yet.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  2. jerick70
    The RME has peaked my interest. I'm looking for a new DAC and this looks like a winner. Or should I choose the Holo Spring Rise Je Edition? And then there is the ADI-2 Pro..... Hmmm

    So reading about the DAC and Pro editions of the ADI-2. What is the difference between the two? I know that the Pro has the better headphone amp and you can record with it. Does it have any difference in the DAC implementation like two DAC chips in the Pro and only one DAC chip in the DAC edition?
  3. johnreekie
    Notionally, the ADI-2 DAC is the ADI-2 Pro without the analog input and digital outputs. I've been really impressed with the care and thoughtfulness in the design of the ADI-2 Pro (which I have), and from what I read about the ADI-2 DAC, it's got the same but honed for the "home" use case - RCA connectors, lower output levels, only one DAC chip (because home users don't need separate monitoring), remote, the dedicated IEM output and also the menu design and features. As long as you don't want to play vinyl through it.

    The Pro has two DAC chips because it can play different signals through the line outs and the headphones. The ADI-2 DAC is the same signal on both.

    The ADI-2 DAC doesn't have balanced headphone drive (the Pro uses both of its DAC chips for this) but apart from that I think the amp is the same.
    jerick70 and cardeli22 like this.
  4. jerick70
    Thank you for the info. I really like all of the options RME has packed into this DAC. The EQ looks luscious. :)

    I've pulled the trigger on the DAC edition. We will see how it fits into my audio chain.

    You know the funny thing is I just can't pull the trigger on the Holo Spring. I've been watching it since it came out and I've had it in my cart many times, but just can't do it...... LOL I can't quite place my finger on why?
  5. johnreekie
    Have fun!

    The ADI-2 DAC seems like a nice deal in the US actually, it's half the price of the ADI-2 Pro, whereas in Europe and Australia it's more in the 60-70% range. (No idea why, I just noticed this.)
    cardeli22 likes this.
  6. musicmaker
    I was going to return the dac with a heavy heart (as I spent a ton of money on my home system this month). Decide to give it another listen after spending the time browsing forums and reading the manual to understand the settings. The menu layout isn't the most intuitive. But once I got my adjustments and eq in, I plug in my Focal Clear and Sony Z1R. I was totally blown away by what this little thing can do. So much so, I decided not to return it and use it as my transportable/office setup. It gets to 90% of my home dac/amp that costs 6-7x. This is an insane value and I can understand why the unit isnt in stock in most places. This does not get enough press on these forums. Kinda sad.

    I owned a Hugo 2 and will tell you, the RME sounds a bit better. Factor in the other features, balanced output, parametric eq, usb cleanup, power cleanup and tons of other features. This is a no brainer for the sound quality and flexibility it provides. I honestly wish more people try this unit.

    Do yourselves a favor and use a good quality USB cable. If you dont believe in that kind of thing, move on. If you do, i went through half a dozen cables from $5 to $350. Let me save you the trouble. I HIGHLY recommend the Oyaide d+ usb class a or even better the Oyaide d+ usb class s. Absolutely superb sounding cable that blows away cables costing 5x more. I compared the Oyaide with the Chord c-usb, supra, Kitsune usb, DH labs silversonic, cardas clear, ifi. The Oyaide is the best and most natural sounding of them all ! I purchased mine from amazon. Compared the class a (very good and excellent value) but the class s is more transparent and slightly superior.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  7. occamsrazor
    Mine arrived yesterday... All seems to be working well with it, including upsampling in Roon to its maximum PCM 768khz 32-bit output over USB.
    Unfortunately between ordering and receiving it, the power supply for one of my monoblock power amps died, so for now I can’t speak as to its sound quality as am only listening on one speaker (aaargh!!)

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
    AudioQuality777 likes this.
  8. Poleepkwa
    How was the stock and Supra USB cables fare?
  9. musicmaker
    The noise rejection design used, how well the signal and power lines are isolated has a direct bearing on sound. This is the most important thing to look for.

    The stock cable sounds congested and noisy in comparison to the other cables. The supra has better transparency, better noise characteristics than stock. The top end sounded a bit harsh. The Oyaide has even better transparency and separation. Its more natural sounding with better bass definition and smooth yet extended top end. This is with class A. Class S take it even further and betters the class A by a small but noticeable margin.

    Its important to test usb cables in a transparent system to make any meaningful conclusions. I tested on the RME as well as my Holo Sprint Level 3 kitsune dac with Headamp GS-X mk II. In other words, make sure the rest of your chain in up to the task first. Cables should be the last step in optimizing audio.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
    NickedWicked and Poleepkwa like this.
  10. 12Jewelz
    How does the internal headphone amp compare to an external seperate (like a Jotunheim etc.)? Is there any loss/gain in detail anyone experienced?
    cardeli22 likes this.
  11. NickedWicked
    I've heard several sub 2k amps, and the ADI-2 headamp is right up there honestly. Excellent performance with only some slight nuances and slam lacking compared to summit-fi amps.
    Liu Junyuan and cardeli22 like this.
  12. music_man
    Nevermind rubbish below, there is no free lunch. Even the pro version is bested by just the dac3. No surprise as that is a darn good dac and 2018 stereophile A+. Still, there is much better than that to be had. But..... in a package this size? I might take a DAC3 in the house. What the heck.....
    sorry for waste of time. I had high hopes for this but see it is not quite there. It is in fact a Femto. Their page is a bit confusing. Sorry for that. Even though these chips are "below" ESS top I might like them better. It is a steal for what it is don't get me wrong. Just not reference quality perhaps.

    I would still wonder if anyone would gander at my questions. Most likely not having heard it.

    I am/was a sound and electronic engineer. Well accustomed to brands like rme, benchmark, genelec other stuff that does not apply to hifi at all of course like neuman,ssl.

    I remember with the dac1 it was punching way above the belt and I brought one into my home.

    so I have two questions. I assume this hits above it's price point. what would you compare it too that is much more expensive? even if the sound is different is it in that league? I am thinking like Chord dave, Mytek manhattan II etc plus many other $6k+ dacs. Actually T+A 8 uses these converters I think. I just have a feeling coming from rme hammerfall converters that this thing keeps very good company. I know many said yiggy but I think you can safely aim much higher than that with this, no?

    How about a linear psu for this thing? may not make a difference if as I suspect the rectifiers are inside of the thing. or if it is in fact an ac adapter than it makes no difference either.

    So those are my two questions :) I was looking at a Directstream with bridge. I once had one but it needed to mature more and has done so. The issue is I really need something more compact here to sit on a table. As some have said is where it belongs and not in a stereo rack. in that sense this fits my bill. I am betting this sounds similar to the Directstream too. Also the price of this is outstanding even if it only matches dacs twice it's price. so there are 2x 4490 per channel? 4490 or 4490A?


    strange just looked. it says fs they said femto. look at specs <800 ps, huh? perhaps this thing does not in fact hand with the big boys. I do not care about the price but the size. I hope they pulled it off but those specs not looking great. why steadyclock fs if it is well into ps?
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  13. AudioQuality777
    My congratulations. On what system do you use which player? The cable that is used in the kit.
  14. AudioQuality777
    Overview craigl59 of a new user ADI2 DAC .:beerchug: :L3000:
    "Am able to post now, I think.
    Longtime RME user and just got the new ADI-2 DAC. Am trying it out in a studio setting just to see its capabilities and they are impressive indeed. The ability to select impulse responses provides the flexibility to get your system and music genres set just so. Have found for denser orchestral textures the "slow" setting opens up the orchestra and allows increased transparency.
    The phone output is very clean and exact. Am getting such clarity in general that better orchestral recordings exhibit subtle stage noise not heard from other DACs. You expect neutral clarity from RME products and this DAC delivers in spades.
    Use both the RME UCX and RME UFX in my home studios and the new ADI-2 DAC betters both in terms of D/A conversion.
    Those accustomed to RME's TotalMix should know that this DAC consumer product is a standalone with no active/software computer interface. you have to download the drivers to get connected to a source such as JRIver but, otherwise, there is no software connection to the computer. As noted by many, the USB connection is particularly well done.
    Standalone status has pluses and minuses. On one hand the box is very easy to configure; on the other, you have to learn RME's physical control buttons-- that are clumsy at best. They could use additional buttons to make things easier. Also, it is good to know that button changes take place in realtime and do not require an "Enter" process. Get ready for the manual. It is absolutely essential here.
    How good is this device?
    When I move from the ADI-2 DAC studio room back to the regular listening room (with audiophile gear) I think "doesn't sound nearly as good as the ADI-2 DAC."
    They're hard to get, right? Was able to get one from Synthax but had to remind them of the order several times. Derrick is very helpful there.
    RME has got a real winner here and it is my conjecture that lots of audiophiles are going to be talking about this product in 2018."

    Opinion from the user Zed Bopp

    "I've had the device just shy of two weeks, here's some thoughts.

    I didn't have a good DAC to compare this to head-to-head, but from memory my recently sold Arcam irDAC was more on the warm and romantic side of things with some extra mid-bass warmth. My old V.1Apogee Duet sounds pretty nasty in the highs especially in comparison. It sounds like a much worse quality digital file.
    ADI-2 DAC’s amp impressions with HD600
    Versus Schiit Lyr 2 with LISSTs (so, it's basically two high powered solid-state amps).

    Lyr 2 was connected into the RCA-outs - just plugging the HD600 in & out of the hp-out changed the output. Amp comparisons hardly get easier than this. Volume-matching was all I did.

    tighter bass, cleaner sound overall
    bass is snappy, aka fast vs the Schiit
    Schiit has better subs punch & presence
    Lyr loses some details, it's more "romantically" smeared
    RME sounds flatter and cleaner up top
    instrument separation goes easily to the RME
    Lyr has more weight on kick drum notes, but ”messier” mid-bass, less definition
    bass riffs behind a wall of distorted guitars are easier to follow with ADI-2
    Lyr might be a very slightly easier, more forgiving listen
    soundstage is wider through the RME (hard-panned acoustic guitars show this quick)
    the ADI-amp doesn't fit the usual pro-gear stereotype, it's not cold, sterile, shrill, analytical etc.
    differences aren’t huge, but esp speed & clarity do differ quite noticeably
    ADI-2 DAC makes the Schiit amp pretty much useless to me with HD600
    most audio-gear has a certain sound / coloring, I can't right now tell what it is with ADI-2
    my preferences are rock, metal, acoustic, hip-hop, pop etc.

    My listening sessions continue. Next up are LCD-2.1 and HD800 (with some of that EQ). I'll report back
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
    Deftone likes this.
  15. occamsrazor
    I am using it with two systems:

    For Music: Mac Mini playing Roon > Supra USB cable > RME ADI-2 DAC > Balanced XLR to Hypex NC400 monoblock amps > ATC SCM11 speakers. Also Unbalanced RCA to ATC C1 subwoofer.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 23.49.44.png Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 23.51.20.png

    For Movies: MacBook Pro running Plex > Optical SPDIF > RME ADI-2 DAC > same amp and speakers.

    I also have a Logitech Harmony universal remote control and was able to "learn" from the commands of the RME remote, so now I can use this to control volume and source etc of the RME unit as well as it controls Plex.
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