RME ADI-2 DAC

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

  1. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    If RME had ADAT 8 channel digital input on with a cut down Totalmix like Babyface Pro instead of the barebones EQ and idiotic selectable filters for tweakers, it would be a much better value. RME has the best USB drivers in town but ASIO limitations of 1 USB device only limit the ADI-2 Pro versus their other products.

    The upcoming ADI-2 FS without USB or the useless DSP seems to be a much better value if you love the conversion for whatever reason. It's up for preorder at Thomman for about 650 USD.

    https://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/adi_2_fs.php
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
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  2. kvn864

    kvn864 Rando

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    I was thinking today for some reason, whenever I use 1/4inch output, or 3.5mm to the headphone, is this utilities the same headphone amp? or there are 2 separate ones built in? Thank you
     
  3. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I'm curious, if the I/O settings for "Hi-Power" was on or off when you listened to the headphone out. You probably don' know, but it's possible that might have made a difference one way or another.

    That said, I thought I would try hi-power mode, but my unit will not switch from off to on. Can anyone else switch to hi-power on? If so, is there some other setting that would disallow this change?
    Update: Auto reference mode (next line) set to auto disables hi-power mode. I'm going to try hi-power mode and see if it has a detrimental or positive effect on output.

    I believe yes. From the manual:
    the ADI-2 DAC has been equipped with an additional output stage optimized for IEMs
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  4. gepardcv

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

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    FWIW, I don’t notice much improvement in “hi power” mode from the ADI-2 headamp. It plays louder, certainly, but that affects loudness DSP mode thresholds (i.e., makes it more likely that they activate for the same perceived SPL as low-power mode).
     
  5. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Balanced adapter using both 1/4" outputs that day, so yes, it was on the hi-power setting.
     
  6. Tapeworm

    Tapeworm Rando

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    Has anyone compared 6.3mm out to THX AAA 789? Is there any discernable difference in sound quality? Thanks.
     
  7. microCuts

    microCuts Acquaintance

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    I have both with an HD800 and THX 789 is much better to my ears. Separation, impact, transient are improved.
     
  8. Tapeworm

    Tapeworm Rando

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    I've been giving it a thorough listening the last few days and am really enjoying the RME. Phones are LCD-2C and TH-X00 PH. Mainly the level of detail and aggressive upper frequencies. My terminology is limited, but the phrase may be "attack". I'm somewhat sensitive to treble, and this gets so close to the edge of discomfort without ever going over that I find it very addictive. Soundstage is limited, but not a priority for me. Can't say whether the timber is accurate or not because I don't listen to much music that originated from acoustic instruments.

    Considering adding a Lyr 3 into the mix, seeing as it's pretty highly regarded.

    Thanks for the reply. Do you use super-revealing headphones? I'm not quite convinced I'd profit much from what seems to be a SS side-grade with my mid tier headphones.
     
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  9. phant0m

    phant0m Rando

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    I have the RME ADI-2 on one of my PCs, Lyr 3 on another, with LCD-2 and FiiO FH7. I find them very similar in terms of overall audio "quality", with the Lyr 3 having a more rolled off treble and smoother vocal presentation. The ADI-2 resolves more detail in the upper frequencies but has a harshness/glare that can make listening fatiguing depending on your headphone.

    From a headphone perspective, the LCD-2 sounds great through both of them, but the ADI-2 is absolutely the way to go for IEMs, the IEM output is dead quiet. The Lyr 3, even on low power mode is ridiculously overkill, I can't turn the volume past 9 o'clock.

    If I had to only have one I'd keep the ADI-2; the DAC has significantly more functionality, more outputs (IEM + balanced XLR), and a very useful remote. But if none of that stuff matters to you, the Lyr 3 is awesome -- I prefer the sound of it slightly with the LCD-2 and my old Beyerdynamic DT-770s.

    Also, unrelated to sound or features, but the Lyr 3 gets fucking *hot*. After being on for an hour the entire unit is very warm to the touch, and you'd probably get 2nd degree burns if you held onto the tube for more than a couple seconds. (It's my first tube amp, was just surprised at how warm it got).
     
  10. Majestyk

    Majestyk Rando

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    As a DAC only, the ADI-2 was an ear bleeder for me. I ended up selling it to a guy who uses it with his IEMs and he's very happy with it.
     
  11. gepardcv

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

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  12. Collusion

    Collusion Friend

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    There seems to be a new revision of the ADI-2 DAC featuring the newer AK4493 d/a chip from AKM. This results in slightly better specifications, see below. Also, the remote control has been updated. Now, the one thousand dollar question is whether this leads to an actual audible improvement, or is it just better on paper.

    Manufacturer's page:
    https://www.rme-audio.de/adi-2-dac.html

    NEW SPECIFICATIONS
    Output level switchable +19 dBu, +13 dBu, +7 dBu, +1 dBu @ 0 dBFS
    Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) @ +7/+13/+19 dBu: 120 dB RMS unweighted, 123 dBA
    Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) @ +1 dBu: 117 dB RMS unweighted, 120 dBA
    Frequency response @ 44.1 kHz, -0.1 dB: 0 Hz – 20.2 kHz
    Frequency response @ 96 kHz, -0.5 dB: 0 Hz – 44.9 kHz
    Frequency response @ 192 kHz, -1 dB: 0 Hz – 88 kHz
    Frequency response @ 384 kHz, -1 dB: 0 Hz – 115 kHz
    Frequency response @ 768 kHz, -3 dB: 0 Hz – 109 kHz
    THD @ 0 dBFS: < -120 dB, 0.0001 %
    THD+N @ 0 dBFS: -117 dB, 0.00014 %
    THD @ -3 dBFS: -116 dB, 0.00016 %
    Channel separation: > 120 dB
    Output impedance: 200 Ohm balanced, 100 Ohm unbalanced


    OLD SPECIFICATIONS
    Output level switchable +19 dBu, +13 dBu, +7 dBu, +1 dBu @ 0 dBFS
    • Signal to Noise ratio (SNR) @ +7/+13/+19 dBu: 117 dB RMS unweighted, 120 dBA
    • Signal to Noise ratio (SNR) @ +1 dBu: 115,4 dB RMS unweighted, 118,9 dBA
    • Frequency response @ 44.1 kHz, -0.1 dB: 0 Hz – 20.2 kHz
    • Frequency response @ 96 kHz, -0.5 dB: 0 Hz – 44.9 kHz
    • Frequency response @ 192 kHz, -1 dB: 0 Hz – 88 kHz
    • Frequency response @ 384 kHz, -1 dB: 0 Hz – 115 kHz
    • Frequency response @ 768 kHz, -3 dB: 0 Hz – 109 kHz
    • THD @ -1 dBFS: -112 dB, 0.00025 %
    • THD+N @ -1 dBFS: -110 dB, 0.00032 %
    • THD @ -3 dBFS: -116 dB, 0.00016 %
    • Channel separation: > 120 dB
    • Output impedance: 200 Ohm balanced, 100 Ohm unbalanced
     
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  13. Slaphead

    Slaphead Almost "Made"

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    Technically it might be better on paper, but as far as audibility is concerned those changes are negligible from a mathematical point of view and non existent from an audible point of view.

    The only difference would be if RME, or the new AK4493, has altered the tonality of the DAC, and given that RME is a pro audio outfit any changes from their existing house neutral tonality would be a big no no as that would screw up the workflow of their pro customers - a lot of studios use the DAC version where the analog pro inputs of the Pro version are not needed.

    So I'm guessing it's going to sound identical to the human ear.
     
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  14. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    I wouldn't fret it too much. The original DAC is superb. I wish they'd try something more exciting for the headphone amp.
     
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  15. Collusion

    Collusion Friend

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    I am writing this as I am listening to the new revision of the ADI-2 DAC with the AK4493 chip. Being a curious person I couldn't resist the temptation to check out whether there are actual audible improvements and/or differences between the two revisions. And from where I stand, I can point out at least one area where these two differ sonically, however slight that difference might be.

    But before I continue, let me drop you a small hint what the actual audible difference might be:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yes, these two graphs represent the measurements of the original ADI-2 DAC (former) and the newer revision (latter). Both measurements are provided by RME (OK, not the most reliable source, but bear with me here).

    Instead of the actual THD / THD+N values, have a look at the structure of the distortion products.
    The 1st revision shows more odd-order harmonic distortion than the new one, which in turn is almost opposite in this regard. And what has been said about odd vs even order distortion, here and elsewhere, in regard to observed sonic attributes?

    The new revision has slightly, but distinctively more rich/or "sweet" sound. This does not change the whole representation to something completely else as all the other strengths or qualities are pretty much intact. Some might even find this new tuning undesirable or incompatible with their current setup. I am also yet to make up my mind whether this is something I'd like in the long term, but let's say I was at least initially (pleasantly) surprised by what I heard.

    I must also tell you I don't have the original ADI-2 DAC available for direct comparison at the moment. However, last time I had the original revision I did some comparions againts my DM Convert-2 and what was clearly evident back then was the more analytical style of representation the RME rendered. This is not the case at all anymore as these two still sound distinctly different, but now with comparatively similar amount of richness or "sweetness". The new ADI-2 DAC has still slightly airier or more open sound in the upper registers when compared against Convert-2, but something about the combination of AKM's velvet sound and this newly found richness makes the whole representation a teeny bit warmer or "fuller" than before.

    I've been listening only a couple days for now, so final judgement is still pending. It is possible I am just imagining things and all of this is just placebo based on incorrect interpretations of distortion graphs. But as always, time (and impressions from other users) will tell.

    About my current setup:

    PC (tidal/foobar2000), Matrix Element H USB CARD -> RME ADI-2 DAC rev2 -> Balanced Cordial interconnects -> SPL Phonitor 2 -> Focal Utopia

    For impression compatibility, I did also some listening directly from the new ADI-2 DAC, using it as an AIO, with my old AKG K702 headphones. All the qualities I heard via Utopias were present here as well, which makes me slightly more confident in sharing these impressions.

    Addition: I started listening with the default "SD Sharp" filter, but now I've settled for "Sharp". This feels slightly more natural in terms of pre/post plucks. AK4493 also offers a sixth filter option called "Low Dispersion Short Delay Filter" which I am yet to explore.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  16. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    I am inclined to trust RME data published. Here is my ADI-2 Pro loopback measurements which are very close to those of the ADI-2 DAC:

    20191202 ADI-2 Pro THD DA 1 KHz @ -1 dBFS  atomicbob-1.png

    Yes, that decreasing harmonic content is important. The pattern recurs in components that seem to draw favor from many on the forum.
     
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  17. Cappy

    Cappy Rando

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    Collusion,

    Thanks for your report. Interesting about the different distortion profiles.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  18. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    There was never a non-FS ADI-2 DAC. That was the Pro, which was updated to FS after the ADI-2 DAC came out.
     
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  19. Cappy

    Cappy Rando

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  20. Cappy

    Cappy Rando

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    Thanks for confirming that , Luckbad. Yeah, I wondered about that and deleted my post right after I posted it...

    I have been using an RME UFX II in my multichannel digital crossover based system. The main channels are routed via AES to a Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC. Works great! I just received an ADI-2 Pro FS which I will try instead of the UFX II. I got the AK4490 version which is on sale now -- I assume they are blowing out their inventory before upgrading the device to the AK4493.
     

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