RME ADI-2 DAC

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

  1. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Maybe I'll ask here, because this is a pretty specific question to ADI-2 DAC.

    What volume levels (dBu and actual vol) do you guys use when going into a separate amp?

    I have the Auto Ref Level "ON" using an EC ZDT jr. amp. Obviously my objective is optimal input volume for the amp: loud enough, but without distortion etc.

    ZDT Jr. specs state the input voltage as 0.25–2 V. Right now I'm using +7dBu from the ADI-2 with the ZDT Jr. vol pot @ 9-10 o'clock using my HD800.

    Cheers! :)
     
  2. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I have my Bifrost and RME connected to one amp that has two inputs. When I play music through both DACs and switch back and forth on the amp and try to level match, I end up with the RME at -4db to match the Bifrost. I don’t know if that’s relevant.
     
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  3. I_want_all_the_tacos

    I_want_all_the_tacos Friend

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    I tend to give the amp priority in being in its optimal range (e.g. unity gain) and then use RME's voltage output for my volume control. For ZDT Jr, atomicbob noted in his measurements that unity gain is at 1:30 from high impedance output.
     
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  4. gepardcv

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

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    I keep it at -5. Anything higher, and it clips peaks on a lot of source material.
     
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  5. Damfu

    Damfu Rando

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  6. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Anyone ever ordered from Audio Impact (Italy) to the USA? I don't feel like waiting until ~January for the AK4493 RME ADI-2 DAC to become available out here. I'd normally use Thomann but they follow proper distribution guidelines and won't ship RME stuff here.
     
  7. Majestyk

    Majestyk Rando

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    Although I since sold mine, I ordered one back in July from Absolute Music in the UK. They currently show one in stock but you might want to contact them first about which version they have since their photo shows "V1". The nice thing about getting a UK unit is you get a 5 year warranty (as long as you register) even if you live outside the UK.

    https://www.absolutemusic.co.uk/rme-adi2-dac-2-channel-da-convertor.html
     
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  8. Grifficus

    Grifficus Rando

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    I also grabbed mine out of the UK at SX Pro. Like Majestyk, I only see pictures showing v1 on their website but it might worth asking.

    https://sxpro.co.uk/rme-adi2-dac
     
  9. waynestractor

    waynestractor Rando

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    I too bought mine from the UK, shipped to Canada, and it was still cheaper than what I could find in North America. I think it took about 10 days to get here.
     
  10. Collusion

    Collusion Friend

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    I just wanted to let you know I won't be keeping the ADI-2 DAC rev2 I purchased some two weeks ago. I did purchase it with every intention of keeping it, if I'd find it pleasurable to listen to and/or aligning with my preferences in the long term. The store I purchased it from offers a 30 day return policy (with a small restocking fee). In this case, two weeks was enough for me to make a final decision.

    My initial impressions still stand, but it is actually the similarities with the previous revision that have helped me to make up my mind. The new ADI-2 DAC, despite having a slightly richer/fuller tone, does not differ from the previous version that much, when it comes to rendering music. The end result is quite as technical, unforgiving and attention grabbing as the previous one. It's like listening to music in hardcore mode.

    System matching has to be done with great care. Focal Utopia's directly from the RME sound grainy and glarey. RME paired with Rega Elex-R integrated amplifier and Mark&Daniel Maximus Monitor loudspeakers sounds just off, like there is a discontinuation between midrange and treble. Instrument/voice separation is excellent, but the combination lacks depth and is borderline too warm for my tastes. Focal Utopia's driven by SPL Phonitor 2 on the other hand sound excellent, if the RME is only used as a dac - all downsides are minimized and all technicalities are maximized with a hint of richness. Tread with care.
     
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  11. Majestyk

    Majestyk Rando

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    I found the "V1" lacked mid range, thus I kept turning it up to compensate...but then it got too shouty and fatiguing for me.
     
  12. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I got my RME ADI-2 DAC, new version, with AK4493 chip ,and new remote, from https://www.absolutemusic.co.uk/rme-adi2-dac-2-channel-da-convertor.html.
    Warning for potential buyers in the US: the sales guys at Absolutemusic are very nice and easy to talk to but make sure that their warehouse does the Fedex invoice right. My unit was shipped as "Made in China" and it triggered a disaster. It took a week of talking to Fedex and Absolutemusic to go through US customs in one piece.
    Thanks to Fedex assistance everything turned OK at no extra cost. And the price with everything was around $950. The UK unit comes with 5y warranty.

    My initial impressions:
    I bought it for the two channel system at home so cannot do a proper testing with speakers until I get back to Toronto.
    But I have been using the headphone amp, and balanced line-out to two Nuforce HA200. I have a Dacmagic Plus here to compare, and a Talisman T-35HP class A to match against the RME headphone amp.

    Let's start with the RME ADI-2 DAC headphone amp:
    To test it I used AKG K240 DF. I bought those 30 years ago but started using only couple years a go. With inadequate amplification they sounds sterile, thin, still very precise, but with no bass at all, nothing I would like to listen to. And at 600Ohm they are very difficult to power. With the right amp I know very few better headphones for instrumental music, not that I know that many headphones. I bought Talisman T35HP just for those, and though it was an excellent pairing.

    Yes, but the RME amp on High Power setting, no EQ, is still better: lower end sounds as deep and full as on Talisman but with no coloration. T-35HP has "Midnight Amplifier" engraved on the front for a good reason. RME sounds as full and engaging, but cleaner and more transparent.

    Now going to DAC:
    The first thing I noticed was trivial: there were some grounding problems between DacMAgic and two Nuforce monoblocks that RME instantly fixed. The amps are now completely silent in any position of the pots.
    With HA monoblocks you get great channel separation which is supposed to be good thing. But listening to a complex choral music I found that crossfeed is a game changer. I could never really appreciate Brahms Ein Deuthches Requiem because it is difficult to read. I programmed one of the RC buttons to Jan Meier crossfeed and suddenly the choir started singing like one magnificent instrument. Crossfeed does not improve anything for me with instrumental music, and therefore it is great to turn it on and off with one button.

    I cannot say much more about the RME ADI-2 DAC->2xHA200->HD800S chain other than I enjoy every moment of listening to it. HD800S are doing what they are supposed to be doing but, I think because of completely black background, it just sounds better.

    So far love this DAC.

    EDIT for IEMs:

    Tried with SE846, and Campfire Vega . Before RME ADI-2 DAC I used both with ALO balanced cable to Kann Cube
    1. I use SE846 with a white filter which makes them the most neutral with still a bit elevated bass, With adi2 DAC they sound a bit more extended and airy at the high end and that was the only thing I was missing.
    2. Campfire Vega is a more difficult case. I found the pairing with Kann Cube on high gain, and ALO balanced cable, just perfect for me: tonality, details,instrument separation and overall pleasure of listening. After my initial problems with bass were resolved (right tips, balanced, and high gain on KC), if I had to listen to one setup that would be it.
      Connecting Vegas to RME ADI-2 DAC I noticed a bit darker background, the presentation was a touch more crisp, but I still preferred Vegas with Kann Cube. Because with KC I am not missing anything and can stay fully involved in music for hours without any fatigue.
      And later I found this recommendation of Kann Cube from Ken Ball that may be of some interest to the Solaris users, and other Campfire IEMs: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/campfire-solaris.891180/page-346.
      So Vega stays connected to KC.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  13. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I thing it is superbly implemented by RME. I always thought that any crossfeed would make make the instrument separation worse, but I am listening right now to Mozart piano trios and instrument separation and pinpoint is better with the CrossFeed 2 (Jan Meier) on. Sound stage is a bit more compact but I like it that way.
     
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  14. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    FYI: There appears to be a firmware upgrade (27/34). The Forum only shows notes for 27/33, but the flash tools shows 34 as the most recent version.
     
  15. shizo1337

    shizo1337 Rando

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    What lps did you have? Do you think 12v vs 15v would be different?
     
  16. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Dear Diary,

    The newer AK4493 ADI-2 DAC and ADI-2 FS R BE are awesome.

    Apologies to my past self who only liked NOS R-2R DACs.

    Love, Modern me.
     
  17. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    I'm trying to figure out what the crap is up with this. I've heard differences between optical, USB, etc. in the past.

    However, I have a slightly weird case that is incredibly pronounced.

    Using an ADI-2 DAC FS (AK4493) via USB vs. Schiit Wyrd > RME Babyface PRO FS > ADAT (optical) RME ADI-2 DAC FS (AK4493)

    The setup is nice in that it's super easy to A/B them since I can use a remote to change between optical and USB.

    With headphones, the differences are there but not super pronounced. Using Dynaudio BM12A monitors, it's tremendously different. Note that the Wyrd is just there so I can switch the unit off easily--I can't detect notable differences (can't quickly A/B) with and without it.

    The most obvious change is a shift in the soundstage. The depth of the soundstage is much more significant via the optical connection than USB. I tried 3 different optical cables to verify it wasn't some magic cable (Alva, Kabeldirekt, and BJC, nothing fancy).

    According to the block diagram(s), they go through all of the same DSP etc. in the same order. The Babyface isn't converting from digital to analog and back, nor is it applying any EQ, volume changes, etc.

    I'm pretty certain this different will be measurable. I have an ADI-2 Pro FS R BE here right now and will try to record the differences and see if anyone else is hearing them or if it's possible to see a difference in frequency response or something between the two.

    It is somewhat mind-boggling. Could the multiple-reclocks of the signal be impacting the sound this much? Could it be because the ADI-2 DAC's USB is just plugged into my KVM switcher (working from home and have two PCs). I'll have to do the test with the USB plugged into my Allegro Pro USB card instead--maybe that's it?
     
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  18. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    ^ In my experience the longer the USB cable and/or the more interconnects like via a hub the more impact on sound. If you can get the dac close to the computer use a 1-3 foot USB cable then listen to hear if it improves.
     
  19. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    I'll have to experiment more. There is no way this is normal behavior, as I've never heard such an audible difference between USB and toslink with any properly made device.

    The testing thus far has been conducted with TIDAL. I'm going to switch to JRiver tonight and start isolating variables. It's easiest to hear with speakers, and I can't use them once my son is asleep, so I'll have to try to mess with it in the narrow window between work and bedtime for him.
     
  20. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Update: Using JRiver and all lossless files, I can't hear a difference using the ADI-2 DAC via USB or optical/ADAT from the Babyface Pro into the ADI-2 DAC. I can still hear a difference with TIDAL. I have it set to exclusive mode in TIDAL on both, so I have no dang idea what is happening there to make them sound different.
     

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