RME ADI-2 DAC

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Luckbad, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

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    This isn't reddit or headfi. You don't get downvoted off the island or banned for telling it like it is. Don't waste you money on an expensive interface unless you want to drop at least a few hundred on a decent pair of speakers.

    If you think that bass guitars and kicks really sound anything like how the high impedance Sennheisers present and blend them on the recording or in real life, then lol listen more. The 600 and 650 sound nothing like speaker bass from anything halfway decent. The bass on those cans is a warm, distorted mess that's so rounded that it is disjointed from the rest of the sound and bleeds into the lower mids. Most other cans are just horrific and those are cheap. Expensive interfaces whose main benefits are cleanliness and low latency performance uber alles are total overkill for them alone. The biggest benefit to dropping some benjamins on one is that it will show you what is holding back your setup: headphones. Even some of the mid priced brands like audient and presonus that are better than the cheapest two channel focusrites and steinbergs are good buys. Most headphone hobbyists will never use the inputs for anything other than gaming and will end up with stuff like KEFs, iLouds, or some of those horrific single driver horns if they even buy speakers to listen to Spotify, play Fortnite, showing off interesting stereo effects with hundred dollar DCC and Chesky test discs, and anime. No CDs, no LPs, no folder of five thousand FLACs. Yeah nil benefit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  2. scapeinator1

    scapeinator1 Once You Go Black You'll Never Go Back

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    Why did this become an argument? And @Psalmanazar you're clearly a smart guy but why do you care if anime watching gamers waste their money anyway? Like if they don't appreciate gear then that's their problem; we don't need to air that here.

    If @Baten is enjoying his HD650/600 or whatever that's what's important. I mean the 6XX is 200 dollars...I have better headphones but I still like it considering that. No its not the same as the bass as the sub and KEF LS50 combo that I have sitting at home.

    Look man I respect everyone's opinion here. @purr1n keeps it real with the value propositions and he's pretty much the only person on the internet who won't tell you to spend more money and then proceed to shove a sponsored product and/or affiliate link down your throat. I will always appreciate that.

    Let's just all get back to listening to music and/or watching TV/movies, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  3. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    I'm glad @purr1n got to review this, and (as a standalone DAC) the ADI-2 got a fair shake of the stick. I know this isn't entirely in context, but I'm reading this as quite the contradiction.

    It made me laugh, but (in context) I get where you're coming from.

    I took it to Marv's meet last year shortly after picking it up. I set it up as an AIO for those who might want to hear it. I agree with him that (as an AIO) it doesn't hold up if you want a euphoric musical experience. The ADI-2 probably isn't going to flood you with emotion or make you want to dance. It's pro audio gear, so unless you're going to pair it with quality amplification, it may suffer from being a little sterile and lifeless. It's meant to be clear, clean, and accurate for mixing and mastering purposes (although I don't know why anyone would from headphones). I always assumed that headphone outs aren't it's main selling point, but more of an after thought. I know the home DAC version came out after this, but the pro version was primarily designed for studio use.

    I always used it as a standalone DAC, with either a headamp or speaker amp attached. I bought the pro version because it's an ADC as well as a DAC. I was going to digitize some vinyl, but haven't got around to it.

    I also agree with the similarities between this and the Crane Song Solaris. It's not a DAC that hits you over the head with dynamics, it's fairly relaxed, unless you tinker with it's EQ. I understand that Dave Hill (Crane Song designer) actually took the time to get the AIO features right, so you'd be better off with that.

    I think the price point on the home DAC version is spot on. It can be picked up for about $800 these days. Show me were you can get a good quality DAC with this many sound shaping features anywhere for that price?

    I feel like it's been discussed so much, that everyone should now have a good idea of what it's capable of, and what it's drawbacks are. Like others have said, do not buy it for AIO use with expensive over-the-ear headphones.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  4. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I li,e the crossfeed feature for certain songs. Now that they added it as an option to the remote, it’s easy to toggle on and off.
     
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  5. gepardcv

    gepardcv Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    This should be the deciding factor. DSP is the ADI-2’s major, most important feature. Nothing else at or anywhere near that price point has a DAC+DSP implementation. If you don’t have a use for it in your audio interface hardware, then it’s not the right unit for you. The complex UI alone should be a deal-breaker — unless you need it because nothing else does what it does.

    For me? It’s killer. I use a bit of PEQ for everything now, and I have several machines I connect the ADI-2 to (Windows, Mac, iOS), and I get the same equalizer presets on all of them regardless of the playback software chain. (Sure, I wish it had 10-band PEQ, but 5 is good enough for all my headphones and even my modest speaker rig.)
     
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  6. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    So basically you are saying that with a Modi3 and THX 789 you can get basically the same level SQ, but for half the price?
     
  7. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    It was reviewed and compared as a standalone DAC. He said the Modi 3 wasn't quite as good, which (beyond SQ) doesn't have any of ADI-2's options and features. If you don't need that stuff, maybe the Modi 3 is a good choice. The quality of amplification paired with any DAC will change things, including your budget.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Given that the headouts of the RME ADI suck so badly, and in the context of an AIO, I'd say anything decent like Schiit Fulla 2, iFi nano iDSD BL, Sony PHA3, etc. are significantly better. I mean it's already been established that as an AIO it's a poor use case.

    Used as purely DAC, I would be hard pressed to name something with that type of presentation that sounded better. Modi Multibit or MOS16 I would prefer, but we are really talking about different presentations here with these two being R2R DACs. $500 to $2000 with a few exceptions is still largely what I consider no-mans land. It's just a bad spot.

    If one needed EQ/DAC, the only alternative off the top of my head is the $300 Behringer DEQ2496 with a $100 USB to AES converter. I use the DEQ2496 as an AES pass though EQ (10 PEQ and 31 GEQ which can be combined and easy interface), but now I'm kind of curious how it does as a DAC now.
     
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    @purr1n

    Just a hypothetical question.

    If modi 3, adi-2 dac, and solaris (cranesong) is sold at $500, $500, and $1000-ish respectively, what will you choose or recommend?
    These hypothetical prices are indeed my maximum willingness pay for dac part of each unit.

    Restrictions
    • Hp out in solaris not allowed
    • Purely dac purpose
    • Resolving downstream assumed
    • No extra features (eq, xfeed, etc etc) considered
    I'm asking this because if I am asked the same one, I couldn't easily answer..

    My experience with all those three units said that solaris two leagues ahead of adi-2 as well as modi 3, but something would drag the decision in such a hypothetical situation.

    Also, price aside, which did you prefer between ADI-2 dac and Terminator? The way you described both units sound quite similar to me.
     
  10. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

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    A Behringer UMC1820 with a Behringer ADA8200 connected over ADAT hooked up to two Behringer HA8000s can service your entire collection of boomy, resonant wood closed cans for under a thousand dollars.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  11. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    I used this mostly for speakers and the DSP functions it offered, but now that my speakers system has changed the RME has been sidelined to headphones duties. I was comparing the RME with my Modi3/Butte combo and while the RME offerd higher resolition and refinement, it was also less engaging. It seems I could do better with a seperate DAC/Amp combo for the money. I do like the refinement the RME DAC has,, but feels silly to start adding amps too it when I really use very little of the functionality it offers.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    At those prices and to use them purely as DACs, I would hypothetically choose none.
     
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  13. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    OT alert: for anyone interested, I'll try to do a blind test level matched between the Modi Multibit (source will be Eitr) and Mos16 (source will be UTOS).
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  14. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    It's a good enough EQ but a genuinely awful DAC. The ADC is better but still adds a noticeable grain. I think the problem is that it has trash quality analog i/o (it seems popular to mod these guys up, but I haven't gotten around to playing with that stuff yet).

    I've had one since last fall doing some EQ duty integrating my cheapo subs with my PH1000. These... aren't super resolving speakers. At first, I was using this guy as a DAC, but it was so distorted and screechy... I thought I just hated the sound of strings, and that my subwoofers were maybe too cheap. I've since relegated it to AES passthrough duty and my ears have ceased bleeding.
     
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  15. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

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    The DEQ2496 is infamous for that. Another Behringer product that mustn't touch an analog signal.
     
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  16. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    Should be fine for subs. I’m waiting for someone to come up with a subwoofer DAC which runs at a 200Hz sample rate. Pretty sure one could use mercury wetted relays at those frequencies to escape that clinical transistor sound.
     
  17. Mrip

    Mrip Friend

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    I hooked up my new ADI-2 to my Win10 PC and the format went all the way up to 32/324 or something. I ran the firmware update from the RME website and now my top option is 24/44. What am I missing?

    EDIT - I uninstalled the RME drivers, and the default Win10 drivers are showing all bitrate options.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  18. sacredgates

    sacredgates Audio-Technica's high priest

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  19. damaged-goods

    damaged-goods Acquaintance

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    How would you compare it to other DS DACs like the Matrix x-sabre pro?
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Different sound. AKM Velvet vs. ESS9038.
     

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