RME ADI-2 Pro Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by k.e., Nov 5, 2016.

  1. k.e.

    k.e. Winning combo: narcissistic and stupid

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    I went through the last ten pages and couldn't find a thread dedicated to the RME-Audio ADI-2 Pro ADC + DAC + dual head amp.

    I have one at home right now and preparing a review. But I'm interested in other user's opinions as well. Personally, I am blown away by DAC and amp each.

    This device is incredibly feature rich. 32bit 768 kHz DSD DAC and ADC, customizable loudness and treble/ bass controllers, parametric 5-band EQ, crossfeed in 4 steps, very powerful dual headphone output with less than 0.1 ohms OI and separate volume control, USB 2.0 (works with iDevices via CCK too).

    The amp is super clean. No background hiss whatsoever. The amp pairs well with CIEMs. Even at lowest volume channels match with very precise volume control and I can't notice any background noise. But at the same time the ADI-2 Pro has no problems to set an HE-6 on fire at around -15 dBu (it goes all the way up to +19 dBu in Hi-Power mode).
    I'd say the Lake People RS 08 can play a bit louder and more dynamic, but not by much. The ADI-2 Pro is a bit softer in the treble, but tightness is almost on par.

    The DAC features different sets of filters paired with their SteadClock III technology. I'm still waiting for accessory cables to arrive because unfortunately RME didn't include RCA outputs and thus I'm having problems comparing to Lake People's Reference DAC.

    For me, the ADI-2 Pro outperforms the Chord Hugo with sound quality alone. With A/B comparisons I noticed the Hugo had a little fuzzy sounding treble. RME proved to have the weightier sound, being fuller and smoother with less fatigue. Also less background noise.

    Anybody else tried it yet?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Azteca

    Azteca Friend

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    Interesting. I have an RME ADI-2 at work. I wouldn't expect the "ADI-2 Pro" to involve all of this.

    Hence the pro in the title.

    Thanks for making me aware of this.
     
  3. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    That does look interesting. Some harvested info from elsewhere:


    - AD chip: AK5574

    - DA chip: AK4490 (looks like two of them)

    - DSD support

    - Opamps: TI SoundPlus range (I guess it will be something from OPA16xx range)

    - THD: 0.00003 / -130dB !!! (looks like they've implemented some parallelization of AD/DA converters)

    - Premium Nichicon MUSE capacitors

    - Headphone amps also look unreal

    - DigiCheck analyzer on IPS display (just wow!)

    - Headphone Crossfeed feature

    - Sample Rate Conversion
     
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  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
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  5. k.e.

    k.e. Winning combo: narcissistic and stupid

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    I have studied the handbook, I sent many emails back and forth with RME, I went through all the settings, I compared to other DACs and amps and I finally finished the review for Headfonics today. (Not sure when it will be online, though.) If you have any questions, you can probably ask me now. This was really a tough review for me to write and even though I tried to keep it short and simple, I ended up with over 5.000 words...

    The last thing on my to-do list is to rip a vinyl to DSD256. Sadly, I can't find the necessary software to do so.
     
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  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    As the review is not online yet, would you give this a general yay or nay?
    Is it competitive in its price class considering the headamp alone?
    Is it competitive in its price class considering all its features?
     
  7. k.e.

    k.e. Winning combo: narcissistic and stupid

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    Two thumbs up. Three if I were a pervert.

    No, not the headamp alone. Headamp + DAC quite possibly. The lake People RS 08 headamp performed a little bit better. Negligible depending on the headphones.
    The DAC is amazing, but it only really comes to life with all the customization.

    Yes.
    I'm waiting for the Benchmark DAC3 to drop in every minute now. But after the ADI-2 Pro I really don't expect to be wowed for a while anymore. I'm thinking about buying myself one.
     
  8. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Hmm, still hoping that review pops up soon.

    I just traded for a Prism Lyra recently. I haven't been able to get it running on my main machine (stupid usb/driver/crappy computer issue), but I did get it running on my secondary computer and temporarily moved some of my rig over. I'm very very impressed so far.
     
  9. k1n0n3

    k1n0n3 Rando

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    I am looking forward to trying out the ADI-2 PRO when my preferred seller finally stocks them. I am currently running a Benchmark ACD1 and DAC2DX. I have tried to replace the combo with a Lynx Hilo, and that just sounded very narrow with no depth and bass light, also tried the Mytek Brooklyn, it came close, but the Benchmark trumps it.

    I am fairly upset with Benchmark, when they launched the DAC3, I asked if there would be an upgrade path for current owners and if there would be a DX model for the 3.
    The reply I got: "There is no upgrade path from a DAC2 to DAC3. However, the difference between the 2 models is quite small." This annoys me, as the DAC is not exactly cheap and the ESS 9028 is an exact drop in replacement for the 9018, if they went to the 9038 instead I can see that being a problem, plus all the literature on their site is gloating about how great the DAC3 and 9028 chip is, yet they left all the current owners out in the cold. I recall they had a DAC1 trade-in discount for the DAC2.
    I am hopeful that the RME can replace the 2 Benchmark boxes, not sure how the AKM4490 will stack up against the 9018/9028 and their respective implementation from the 2 companies.
     
  10. k.e.

    k.e. Winning combo: narcissistic and stupid

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    Lucky for you the DAC3 was sent my way today. I can put it up against the ADI-2 Pro.
     
  11. k1n0n3

    k1n0n3 Rando

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    Please post you comparison when you have a chance. Also looking forward to reading your review for the ADI-2 Pro on Headfonics.

    I am curious if you are evaluating these DACs via headphones only?
    I am using mine to drive a pair of Focal CMS65s and a pair of Dynaudio BM12 MK3's, so headphone performance is secondary to me, never the less good to have.
     
  12. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    @k.e. - any report back yet vs DAC3?
     
  13. k.e.

    k.e. Winning combo: narcissistic and stupid

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    Sorry, only connected the DAC3 to my home stereo speaker system so far. I'll do an A/B comparison with ADI later this week.
     
  14. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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  15. k.e.

    k.e. Winning combo: narcissistic and stupid

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    Yes, I finished it before Christmas, actually. I also awarded it as my writer's choice 2016 shortly after.

    Meanwhile RME has addressed my issue with the loudness function only kicking in at too high volumes and they have changed it with the newest firmware update.

    My Benchmark DAC3 and Lake People Reference Series reviews are also finished, though I'm not sure when they will be published. Personally, I like the ADI-2 Pro most of the bunch and I started saving to buy me one privately later this year.
    Benchmark DAC3 is a very nice DAC as well, very clean with great dynamics and linearity, but for headphones (especially IEM) I prefer the RME. Not even to mention the EQ, crossfeed, etc.
     
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  16. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I see the analog inputs digitize the input so the DSP stuff will work, so there's not much sense in using an external DAC.
     
  17. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    It's really fascinating to see all the options on the RME. I have a Prism Lyra which from most accounts I've read online say it lags behind in features and latency and software, but still edges out barely for converter quality (the mic input was a big improvement over my old Focusrite interface). The headamp on it is good but not fantastic, and hampered by a high output Z.

    I've also got a Prism Callia for review at the moment. Very very similar dac, maybe a tiny smidge cleaner, but the biggest difference is in the amp which is much improved.
     
  18. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Hah! I may not be dreaming of buying hifi any longer, but I can still read an 80-page manual for an interesting piece of kit!
    :sail:

    Not to mention you excellent review, @k.e. Many thanks for that!
     
  19. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf MOT - Sonarworks

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    Since I do most of my headphone listening in the office, this might be the perfect unit for me. Also my colleagues won't give me crap for buying audiophile gear, because many of them use RME stuff.
     
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  20. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Do it! And report back :D.
     
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