RME ADI-2 DAC

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

  1. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    Good questions. I originally used them for two setups. That’s no longer the case, but I’m keeping both “just in case” I want to put together a second rig again.

    I could definitely be happy with either the 1541 or the ADI-2 DAC. I actually tried to find a convenient software PEQ to use with the 1541, but found nothing I like (closest thing I found was using Apple’s AU plugin with Audirvana, but I’m really looking for a lightweight system-wide solution).

    I’d say that the decision should be based on how much your system benefits from EQ, since that’s the ADI-2’s killer feature. For, say, the Andromeda or the PMx2, there isn’t much equalization needed. For the HD800 or the PM3, it’s a game changer. For the HD600, it’s a bit of a wash. For speakers, I think it benefits most systems by helping fit room acoustics.

    As for the Gungnir Multibit, it doesn’t sound different enough to me from the 1541 to justify keeping. Yes, I tested volume-matched, with a switcher, and for both short and long sessions. They didn’t sound identical (and I have stronger evidence than “I said so”), but the differences washed out in seconds as my brain adapted. I’m also probably the only person who cares about this, but I found the Gungnir Multibit’s (and Yggdrasil’s) relay click unbelievably obnoxious. It goes off all the time when the USB input has no lock (i.e., connected to a sleeping laptop), and it’s plenty loud enough to echo through a quiet house at night. And since you’re not “supposed” to turn off multibit DACs, I’d have to remember to change inputs all the time, which annoyed me. That, coupled with the 1541’s vastly better feature set, made it a no-brainer to sell the Gungnir Multibit.
     
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  2. fp627

    fp627 Friend

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    You aren't the only one.
     
  3. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    The only time it bothers me is when using it for tv, as commercials are apparently recorded at different bitrates. Never hear it listening to music.
     
  4. Jokko

    Jokko Friend

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    Do you have a speaker system on hand? I'd be curious to hear which one you prefer through speakers.
     
  5. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    I don’t have anything high-end, only a pair of C-Notes I built this summer for my digital piano. I do like using a bit of EQ with it, but generally leave the mid-range (where most piano-playing occurs) alone. I can switch to the 1541 for a week or so and report back what I think, but it’s currently running nicely off the ADI-2.
     
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  6. infinity

    infinity Rando

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    I have a question about the ADI-2 for MAC osx users, when you connect it does it disable volume control on the computer or can you still adjust it on the mac?

    Also does it get warm?
     
  7. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    The ADI-2 series disables system volume control. Some DACs supposedly (?) have a feature which allows system volume control to affect attenuation on the DAC chip itself, but I'm pretty sure RME uses a custom level control which cannot (easily) be changed that way. You need to use the external volume knob.

    Yes, it gets a bit warm. Nothing crazy hot.
     
  8. maverickronin

    maverickronin Friend

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    The top of my ADI-2 DAC's case is 15°F warmer than the desk it's sitting on.
     
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  9. infinity

    infinity Rando

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    Does it do that on both MAC and windows? I know some seems to work fine on windows and others on MAC.

    I had a benchmark with disabled it, but now i have an aune which i can still use the volume control.

    Is there any reasoning behind disabling the volume control on the computer? I find it almost a must have when using it with the computer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  10. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    ADI-2 DAC has a remote control. I’m quite fine using that instead of the vol buttons on my iMac keyboard.

    Also the remote has 4 configurable buttons, that’s quite cool for a control freak like me. Here’s my buttons...
    1. Bass and treble on/off
    2. Loudness on/off
    3. EQ on/off
    4. Change screen view
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  11. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    The Mac's system volume is locked when using the RME, but the application (like iTunes) can still control the volume.

    On a side note, if you feel this DAC/Amp is worth of recognition with a Golden Schlong award, head over to the Club Room and voice your thoughts. Of course, you can also comment on all the other great gear being discussed.
     
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  12. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    [​IMG]

    Just remembered not reporting this (unverified) tip to this thread.

    After repeated self-experiments, I found that balanced outs of adi-2 dac were marginally better than unbalanced ones in terms of micro- and macro- dynamics. Note that the difference was much smaller than OG Gungnir Multibit.

    Anyway, for that reason, I've been using this cheap transformer between my amp (BW2) and dac (ADI-2 dac) for four months.

    I didn't want much for such a low price and made-in-china. Also as expected, it increased distortion and added coloration. My perception includes the followings:
    • Slightly reduced micro-dynamics. This loss was canceled by the benefit from balanced outs.
    • Tad grayer black-ground. But it feels like the background having natural-ish gradation.
    • Slightly rolled top
    • Looser bass definition
    These seemingly bad things surprisingly went well with my rig (and my preference). The total sound became more relaxed. DS-glare was also fairly reduced -- still there, but much less annoying. In other words, overall change helped me connect to the music more closely at a cost of a little loss of technicalities. This is a good thing. At least to my liking.

    Higher quality transformer like Jenson might work better.. or not. Dunno.
    The fact is that I am enjoying this unexpected and pleasing synergy a lot.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  13. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    I just checked, and volume control remains enabled in Windows 10 with the ADI-2.

    I imagine the theory is that OS volume control is lossy, and you should use whatever the DAC/preamp manufacturer gave you instead — presumably, it's higher-fidelity. Of course, most DACs implement their own volume controls digitally, so it probably amounts to the same thing in the end. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
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  14. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Wow. I'm on firmware 22 for my RME ADI-2 DAC. Since 22, the following firmware releases, include one just a few days ago.

    2018-09-27 minor changes
    2018-11-23 lots of stuff in this one
    2018-12-21 fixes issues from 11-23
     
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  15. svperstar

    svperstar Facebook Friend

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    Here you can see the founder discussing the brand new AKG 4499 chip. If they refresh the Adi 2 with that chip in 2019 would put it in the realm of the absolute best DAC tech available. Might pick one up if they do that:
    https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=28081
     
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  16. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    That would be surreal! Would up the price quite a bit too I'm afraid. Let's see the first 4499 devices show up first, and if AKM really made something special; whether velvet sound bass bloom is still a thing.

    Very hyped though. This way I can postpone the purchase of the ADI-2 a little longer, too, here's to hoping :)
     
  17. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    From the RME forum:

    > The new 4499 is much more promising due to its four channel architecture, and might get more popular than the 4497...in the long term, so far this chip is not yet available.

    Does not seem like it will show up in 2019. But four channels makes it possible to independently control two outputs from one chip, so if RME makes an ADI-3, the DAC-only version might pick up features from the ADC-capable Pro, which would be nice. I’m sure the price will increase, though.
     
  18. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf MOT - Sonarworks

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    A four channel DAC chip would simplify the PCB architecture considerably, which is why Mathias would see it more promising. Also - It won't be an ADI-3, the number signifies the channel count, so it would be a either a new ADI-2 or ADI-4, depending on the channel control scheme.
     
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  19. Slaphead

    Slaphead Almost "Made"

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    From what I understand the 4499 is only going to be available in sample quantities from January, Production quantities won’t be available until much later in the year, so I’d be surprised to see unts containing the 4499 released before 2020.

    The ADI-2 DAC is already a stellar performer, so if you need it’s unique feature set then I’d say go ahead and don’t worry about RME upgrading the ADI-2 with the 4499 in the future.
     
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    This reminds me a little of the nervosa when Sabre was releasing new chips and it was a mini arms race to have the latest chip at all times. Even Benchmark got in on that. They took over a decade before upgrading from DAC1 to DAC2, then very shortly bumped up to DAC3 because a new Sabre chip dropped.
     
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