RME ADI-2 Pro Discussion Thread

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

  1. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    I should add, or clarify ... when I said that dynamics were "fucked" at anything other than 0 dB, I didn't mean that they were bad per-se, just that that's when I found issues there. Though micro-dynamics do take a disproportionately bigger hit in that case.

    My choice of wording could have been more precise - I shall blame the medication there, on account of my being sick.
     
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  2. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    [​IMG]
    ADI-2 Pro vs Gungnir Multibit V1 + Eitr - TAKE 2

    My thanks to @geniekid and @Torq for enlightening me as to the RME’s behaviour in regards to digital volume control and reference levels. I wouldn’t have been able to give it a fair shake otherwise, even had I used the defaults. My first go at this can be seen on the previous page. Suffice it to say the way it was set severely effected dynamics, micro-dynamics, and to a slightly lesser degree resolution.

    Setup
    Focal Utopia with circular open cell foam over each driver
    ADI-2 Pro: 0dbr Volume, Auto Ref On (+24dbu), Slow Filter, USB input
    Eitr -> Neutrik Coax to AES -> DEQ2496 -> Neutrik AES to Coax -> Gungnir Multibit
    All DSP disabled

    Impressions
    I settled on the Slow filter as @gepardcv did. I found the SD Sharp, SD Slow, and Sharp varying levels of artificial and fatiguing. I wouldn’t have spent much time with it if those were the only options. The NOS filter blunted the treble too much for me. All my comments on these two DACs will be in relation to each other.

    Though it is a notch or two clearer and a bit faster than the Gungnir Multibit, and either on par with or not far off in some respects, it lacks many of the sorts of qualities that first impressed me about the Modi Multibit, having come from affordable ESS and AKM based DACs like the Geek Out and D1. It’s overall dynamics are a bit constrained and it’s presentation less engaging, comparatively thinner, and a little more ethereal. Lacking the tactility and vibrancy of the Gungnir Multibit. The Schiit DAC has a warmer fuller sound with greater slam, smoother sweeter treble, and more involving and nuanced instruments and vocals due to better resolution and in particular the micro-dynamics being a number of steps ahead. In terms of staging the RME’s feels shrunken next to the Gungnir Multibit’s impressive spaciousness.

    The result is that the Gungnir Multibit gets a stronger emotional response from me. I enjoy music more, I am more engrossed in each song, and I move my head to the beat more. My attention is maintained and I notice background subtleties more so. Even though they can be just as present on the RME. Because on the latter they feel less real and have less room to breathe stage wise, and therefore fail to capture my attention.

    As a DAC alone the Gungnir Multibit is the better option, unless clarity is your primary goal. I wonder now if my experience here is reflective of delta-sigma vs multibit/R-2R in general?

    SE vs BAL Headphone Output
    The reason I made any comparison here was for those that are choosing between the DAC and Pro as an AIO. Having reset the device anew, settled on the Slow filter, and taken more care with it’s settings I do not hear the SE HP out as weak and washed out as I did originally. I still found the BAL to be warmer and possessing increased slam over SE but I also heard it as thicker and actually less clear than the SE. Aside from bass impact it was worse. These characteristics seemed to carry over between lo and hi power, but if the HP volume is also controlled by digital attenuation it may explain why BAL was worse with the Utopia as it required that I turn the volume down significantly due to the increased power output. I do not have a proper adapter which slowed swapping considerably, so it was difficult to be absolutely certain if I was hearing any difference in dynamics at all. The manual implies that there is no analogue volume control anywhere in the system.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
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  3. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    A small follow up before I box it up
    My goal being to downsize meant that after assessing the merits of the ADI-2 Pro I had to decide upon whether I could live with it or not. I was reluctantly leaning toward a no due to the less natural presentation. But what put it over the edge was that I just found it so fatiguing. These aspects seemed to be even more problematic with the LCD-2C, which also indicated that I would end up with a less versatile system in terms of synergy.

    On the AIO side of things I am certain now that the BAL output was worsening resolution and micro-dynamics over the SE. I would recommend those looking for an AIO skip the higher priced Pro and go for the DAC, assuming the SE output on that sounds the same. Unless of course they have something so insensitive that they can use the BAL without having to reduce the volume so severely, though this assumes that digital attenuation is the cause of these differences. Unfortunately I have no way to test for this without making my ears bleed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
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  4. GanGreinke

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

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  5. Changeling

    Changeling Tube Slut

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    Just a quick update.

    I'm very happy with this AIO solution still. My listening is 90% Genelec 8020 monitors + 7040 subwoofer / and 10% HD650.
    With headphones I always use @atomicbob IVS ( Settings here, and more info here ), and balanced + polarity reverse pigtail.
    Genelecs have been positioned following mic measurement.

    I don't see any need to change anything for a foreseeable future.
    Without the IVS the ADI-2 pro is very detailed and can be perceived as borderline cold - but I feel that with the software 'tricks' added I'm left with a very competent AIO solution with a very small footprint.

    The USB input works well, although I'm using a Lynx AES16 card. Could probably sell the card and the breakout cable and not hear much of a difference...

    Happy days!
     
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  6. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    Since my tinnitus has worsened significantly, I have come to appreciate the PEQ of the PRO. I use brutefir with filters for “room correction” but I lack the skill to incorporate a small band filter into that. I use the PEQ of the PRO to set a -12 dB small band filter right at the frequency where my tinnitus is. This allows me to listen to music at moderate levels without taking the risk to worsen the darn tinnitus. At first I did not store the filter setting. After I had powered off the PRO and turned it on again, I had the feeling that my tinnitus got worse, I checked and found that power cycling erased the filter setting. Now I have it stored and the filter is loaded automatically when the device is powered on. Very handy. My use case is DA and ADC. Listening with speakers only.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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