Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Luckbad, Jan 12, 2018.
My guess is the headphone amp increases the retail price by only $100.
I was including everything from eq, remote, amp, display etc in the $250.
Might as well just buy a modi then. The value added, it seems to me, at all the features you describe. My guess is it didn’t cost them very much to add a jack and call it a headphone amp. The jack seems a convenience. The value is the DAC and the features.
It just seems to me that so many comments focus only as an amp, which might be doing a disservice to the whole device. If it didn’t have the jack, then folks could focus on the DAC and the features. Just my observation. RME might do well to come out with a version the just removes the HP jack and references to it in the firmware.
I bought it mainly for the DAC, the amp sounding better to me than Lyr 2 is a big bonus. Lengthy comparisons of dacs on memory alone would be pretty pointless.
I'm not saying the unit is bad by any means. I have it and I love it. I don't believe everyone's going to use every single option, however interesting. The $750 - $250 split was my way of rationalizing how much value it provides to *me* at the moment.
Oh, if RME sells a digital-digital converter (DDC) including eq+remote+display+usb decrapfier only at $250, I will sell my adi-2 dac right now and buy the DDC and Yggdrasil (+ I already have Lyr 3), then call it a day. Life will be ten times easier. Haha
Seriously hope to see such a nice niche product in the near future..
Now you're taking my split too seriously . Let me just rephrase and say out of all the enjoyment I've been having out of this unit 75% is as a dac and 25% for its additional features.
Yup. Totally agreed with your view. Just expressed my hope.
While I desire to own higher level dac such as Yggdrasil, I can't give up all the nice features I am enjoying (hw cross-feeder, hw parametric eq with graphical interfaces, very well controlled usb signals, polarity controls, presets, remotes, ... - I hate to do these with sw).
I've been listening to HD800 + ADI-2 DAC with Sonarworks True-Fi, damn this is satisfying. The Sennheiser has some awesome bass hidden behind that boosted treble, I'd go on to say it's tighter and cleaner than my LCD-2.1, better timbre (but not the weight though). There's no mod that gets one this far, but to each their own. (There might be a combination of both in my future.)
Lyr 2 (with LISSTs, an SS amp then too) sounds very muffled and veiled with this revealing headphone, I dunno if there could be an impedance issue somewhere, but it just doesn't cut it in comparison.
The DAC is doing something very right too. I'm thinking it's amplifying Lyr's weakness', I'm not hearing that black background here as I am with RME's own amp. There's some "synergy" within the device, me thinks. Lyr 2 is one large device, one might have thought it did more than some loose-ish bass heft in this comparison.
I've spent quite some time with the ADI-2 DAC now and if you can look past it's "velvet" sound, something that doesn't bother me, used as an AIO it is pretty much unbeatable. There are still improvements to be had by using an external amp, but for me the real bread and butter of this unit are it's features. I love being able to use the EQ on the fly making changes or adjustments to "fix" different headphones.
My primary use cases for the ADI-2 DAC are bedroom listening where the Autodark feature is a god send, and transportable consistent measurement rig.
I've only run into one problem with my unit, and I think it's related to my houses power, since I've had issues with other audio gear having hum, ground loops or digital hash.
What I'm trying to solve is very low level hum that is present only with Andromeda on the IEM output. It happens regardless of location in the house.
Would a cheater plug harm the ADI-2 DAC in any way to see if that fixes the problem? I've tried the Tripp lite Isobar 6 and that made zero difference. I haven't tried it out of my Furman M-8Lx yet.
Would a linear power supply help here?
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I know I can't hear a noise floor -120dB.
I wanted to compare the ADI-2-DAC versus the onboard Sonos DAC from my Sonos Connect (aka ZP 80). It should not be a contest, but as someone who is pretty DAC-deaf I wanted to see how much improvement it makes for me.
Any Sonos users who know the output volume of the Sonos Connect so I can try to match the Line Out volume on the ADI-2. I have optical from Sonos into the ADI-2 and then RCA analog outs to my Marantz receiver. And I also have RCA outs from the Sonos box directly to the Marantz receiver. I can change inputs on the Marantz pretty quickly. The trick is just level matching the outputs of the two DACs. Other than trying to do my best by ear, is there a good way to get this more precise. I looked online to see what output volume of the Sonos box was but cannot find it.
Edit: Is there a standard or "default" level for the ADI-2 when using solely as a DAC with the Line Out. I want to adjust volume via the amp only.
Am not sure of any default "0 DB" for the unit but this should work: Turn the "Auto Ref Level" off, then set the Line outputL Ref Level to +1 DB manually, and set the volume level to -1 DB. Check out the manual on pages 20 and 35 for more explanation.
You might, simply, try setting the volume to 0 DB but I am unsure as to how the Auto Ref Level will react.
Good luck and let us know what works.
can someone tell me if the volume adjustable on the xlr output on the back, and if it will be enough to feed Utopia, I have this idea I'd like to implement by making my own cable (can't find a premade one already) and try when my unit gets here next week
Have tried both the RME power supply and a LPS and could tell no difference. All of my setups use Furman conditioners and, so, cannot comment on what the unit would sound like without conditioning. But the DAC has been deadly quiet in the 3 setups I have injected it into -- what I have noticed is that it is so transparent that noise in the source material can be much more evident. This is true with all RME converters at least partly because of their treble response.
It shouldn't do any harm. If it did, then using most electronics in buildings with older wiring (or faulty wiring, for that matter) would damage them, and it does not. It's just unsafe with some poorly-wired, typically older devices which develop an internal short circuit. I've also seen plenty of buildings which supposedly have proper earthed mains wiring fake it and short the earth to neutral (ugh), and people use electronics in those all the time. I'm reasonably confident (without actually opening one and poking around with a multimeter!) that the RME power supply is designed correctly.
A better test for your problem is to try the device in another building, preferably a recently built one. If I had to guess, it will still hum, you have a faulty PSU, and should ask RME to send you another one to compare. I doubt an LPS is necessary per se. (Disclaimer: I don't have an RME unit myself as I'm still debating buying one, so can't comment on whether they hum in general. Sure hope not.)
The output volume is not adjustable at the back of the unit but is by two methods: the line reference level (see P. 20) and the volume control that will affect both XLR and RCA outputs.
BTW, Belden 1800f cable is superb for interconnects and can be purchased from BlueJeans cable for reasonable amounts. They weld the connections and this improves response rates. You can tell the difference.
You might consider this.
Since it has its own internal SMPS and regulation it shouldn't be too hard to track down another power supply to test it with, even another SMPS. It shouldn't be too hard to find one with the right voltage, power, and only a two prong plug. I did notice all the pictures of the back of the unit online say 9-15V @ 8W while the manual says 9.5-15V @ 8W. You could rig up a battery pack too. 7 C cell batteries should run it for an hour or two and a bunch of AAs (probably at least 8) will at least live long enough to let test for the hum.
A cheater plug won't hurt the unit itself. It's all DC so it doesn't have a proper ground anyway. It might have an effect on the external SMPS though. It's possible that a fault in the external SMPS would be be more likely to cause a fire or something without a ground but just giving it a quick test is fine and will help you rule out possible causes.
One other possibility. Do you get the same hum with the Andromedas on the regular headphone output? If it's silent or just background hiss with no hum then it may be a fault in the IEM output.
Concerning Volume Issues:
Purchased the ADI-2 DAC in order to use it as a DAC/PRE and control all preamp functions directly from the unit. This is possible for my setups as I rip all music into JRiver and do not need non-digital inputs. TV and Movies come from an Oppo player that connects to the DAC by a Toslink cable.
One of the attractions is that the DAC/PRE design employs digital volume controls and this avoids a number of pitfalls found with analogue potentiometers.
See the ADI-2 manual, pp. 61ff for some of the advantages of this design and how it avoids certain claims of distortion and noise sometimes levied against digital volume controls.
So, I connect the ADI-2 XLR outputs to a set of class a monoblocks and the resulting audio chain is particularly clean and direct.
The volume on the XLR outs is adjustable and if you hook up headphones to them, they will make sound, but it won't be anywhere near optimal.
The specs say the XLR outs have an output impedance of 200 ohms which is fine for a line out, but will mess with the sound of the Utopias. I wouldn't count on them having enough having enough current capacity to drive headphones cleanly either.
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