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Measurements of RME ADI-2 DAC and Headphone Amp

sceune

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These are some very interesting measuring results you have posted here. Thank you for your work.

The IEM jack of the ADI-2 DAC seems to be the most distortion free headphone output currently available for power levels < 5.0 mW. Even better then all of the THX AAA models in terms of THD+N vs power. (Am I right?)

Currently I'm using it with 150 Ohm impedance headphones and it sounds very transparent. But the volume level of the ADI-2 has to go up to -20.0 to -15.0 dB for adequate listening levels.
 

JohnYang1997

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These are some very interesting measuring results you have posted here. Thank you for your work.

The IEM jack of the ADI-2 DAC seems to be the most distortion free headphone output currently available for power levels < 5.0 mW. Even better then all of the THX AAA models in terms of THD+N vs power. (Am I right?)

Currently I'm using it with 150 Ohm impedance headphones and it sounds very transparent. But the volume level of the ADI-2 has to go up to -20.0 to -15.0 dB for adequate listening levels.
It's just lower noise.
And it's basically the same as the new thx 887 from monoprice at 0.6uV, being better than 1.0uV of 789.
 

sceune

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Sorry, i forgot to mention that I was specifically referring to the amplifier measurement carried out with 33 Ohm extra load, not the DAC measurement, if that matters.

The new thx 887 looks impressive as well.
 
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I get the (perhaps incorrect) impression that many people are using the RME ADI-2 DAC as a DAC, not both the DAC & amp.

How many of you are using as a DAC and how many owners are using as both DAC & amp?

Tx!
Useing it as a DAC+AMP now.
it does not have a balanced output,i connect another amp which has balanced output as a combo to drive my balanced headphones.
 

VintageFlanker

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New firmware out!

Topic: Firmware Update ADI-2 DAC 27/32, Pro 213/96 - Fix it!
First of all we would like to apologize. Due to various circumstances you had to wait much longer for fixes of known issues than is usual with RME. From summer holidays to a long time of searching the reason behind the dreaded 'single sample left channel click' (this alone had cost us three weeks) there were many delays. On a positive side we used the time to fix even so far unknown issues, and of course couldn't stop to further improve both DAC and Pro!
Flashback: last firmware versions released were ADI-2 Pro 193/94
https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=28859
and shortly thereafter the big DAC Remote it! initiative with version 26/30
https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=28980
Since then we received very useful feedback, resulting in the new DSP versions 96 for the Pro and 32 for the DAC. The FPGA for the Pro jumps to 213 and 27 for the DAC.
These updates include important fixes and are therefore highly recommended!
ADI-2 DAC

- Optimized the internal mute control (click suppression on sample rate changes)
- Dim did not work as expected at the Line Out when AutoRef was active
Topic Remote:
- Command Mono did not work
- Command VOL is now fully supported (short click mute)
- The display could start to flicker when using various commands in a quick, sequential order
- Remapping and Remote: DA Filter showed the expected message, but in reality Crossfeed was switched
- Reduced DarkScreen timeout when triggered by remote
Menu improvement:
- Renamed Hardware/Diagnosis to Remap Keys / Diagnosis
- Renamed Device Mode to Phones / DSD
The latter sounds like nothing special, but after many updates those menu names were no longer describing the content of these two menus correctly. With this simple change it should be much easier to remember and find the desired functions. The same applies to the ADI-2 Pro, see below.
ADI-2 Pro (list is valid for all its iterations):
- Added M/S-Processing option to the Analog Input Settings menu
- Added DIM function (Settings menu and Remap Keys)
- Fixed the internal mute control (broken since v193)
- After power-off and -on DualVolume mode was reactivated, but the individual volume settings got lost
- Phones Out 3/4, Settings, Source: Removed choice USB 3/4 when in Stereo mode
- Renamed Hardware/Diagnosis to SPDIF / Remap Keys
- Renamed Device Mode to Device Mode / DSD
- Renamed Phones <==> Line to Toggle Ph/Line to use the same name everywhere
- Fixed the 32 bit clipping module for the analog outputs (for levels higher than 0 dBFS. Broken since v193)
- Fixed multiple resets when changing from 16x DSD to 8x DSD (no audible issue)
General, DAC and Pro
- New pre-mute function for PCM (click suppression on sample rate changes)
- Switching EQ On/Off caused EQ band 5 to change its function
- The ADAT input could activate De-emphasis (treble attenuation) for the analog outputs unintentionally
Firmware downloads
Win:

https://archiv.rme-audio.de/download/fu … ce_win.zip
Mac:
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/download/fu … ce_mac.zip
Windows: If you need to install the driver for the flash process and uninstall it again:
https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopi … 81#p135881
As always updated manuals are available for download on our website:
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/download/adi2dac_e.pdf
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/download/adi2profs_e.pdf
As some DAC users wondered about the M/S Process option I added a chapter about this feature to both manuals.
Enjoy!
Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME
 

MagnusH

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I sit at a desktop setup (RME ADI-2 FS DAC, Volent VL-2 Paragon speakers and Nord NC500 mkii power amps), and use the desktop computer as music player. When playing a computer game, I get ticking sounds from the DAC when connected to USB, so I have used toslink instead. But then I remembered I had an old USB tweak, iFi nano iUSB3 so I tested that one to the RME DAC, and the ticks disappeared.

Now this is maybe not so strange, but what I did not expect was that the sound quality improved. Using Roon and 2 zones, I played the same playlist at the same time to both toslink and USB when computer was idle, and could switch input from listening position with the RME remote. Without the iFi nano in place, USB and toslink is to close to separate, but with the iFi nano, there is a easily noticeable increase in clarity for USB.

Yet the iFi nano is certainly not going to be "recommended" based on measurements, similar to the Schiit Wyrd, but still USB tweaks like these seems to do something to the sound even on very well designed DACs. So something that affect sound quality is not caught in measurements (probably a lot of things).
 

Frank Dernie

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So something that affect sound quality is not caught in measurements (probably a lot of things).
Since the only thing connecting the items together is a cable carrying an electrical signal which has amplitude, frequency and phase all of which we can measure to a much higher degree of accuracy than hearing, so what do you postulate that this invention of yours may be?
I can understand removal of ticks (though I don't have time to play computer games) but better quality? How?
 

VintageFlanker

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Now this is maybe not so strange, but what I did not expect was that the sound quality improved. Using Roon and 2 zones, I played the same playlist at the same time to both toslink and USB when computer was idle, and could switch input from listening position with the RME remote. Without the iFi nano in place, USB and toslink is to close to separate, but with the iFi nano, there is a easily noticeable increase in clarity for USB.
@MC_RME is going to have a heart attack reading this. ;)
 

Nango

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Now this is maybe not so strange, but what I did not expect was that the sound quality improved. Using Roon and 2 zones, I played the same playlist at the same time to both toslink and USB when computer was idle, and could switch input from listening position with the RME remote. Without the iFi nano in place, USB and toslink is to close to separate, but with the iFi nano, there is a easily noticeable increase in clarity for USB.
You simply might have been in a better mood this evening, and everything you listened to it felt better. Just an idea.
 

KSTR

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If the Adi-2 DAC is as immune to balancing currents through the device (between GND at the USB socket and audio connector GNDs) as the Adi-2 Pro -- which is what I would excect --, then it is practically impossible for those cross currents to produce audible clicks, the GND layout is really excellent in these devices. I've tested with injected cross current pulses of over 1 Ampere (way more than ever to be expected in the real world), with the levels produced at the outputs still just sticking out a little above the noise floor.

But as those cross currents flow in the audio interconnect shield, it is possible that enough voltage drop is produced along the shields to produce audible artifacts. Further, it might be possible that a likewise drop along USB cable shield/GND wire corrupts the transmission so much that data packets contain some wrong values or even are rejected totally as invalid, which results in short dropouts (at 44.1kHz sample-rate and only two channels over USB a packet contains just a few samples). I don't know if the device reports errors back to the host, but if so (which I would assume) then the ASIO control panel should show USB transmission errors in its display, and the reported errors should be zero with that iFi USB conditioner inserted (which claims to break the GND connection, thus stopping balancing cross current).

All of this is not a problem of the RME itself, of course. As long as the incoming data is not corrupted there will be no audible clicks and no signal degradation on the analog outputs even with large balancing current spikes.
 

MagnusH

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You simply might have been in a better mood this evening, and everything you listened to it felt better. Just an idea.
No, I played the same tunes to both toslink and USB at the same time, and used DAC remote to switch between them, so very easy hear differences (no music memory required more than a few seconds). It sounded almost like removal of jitter (increased clarity and detail) but that does not make sense for asynchronous USB.
 

VintageFlanker

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It sounded almost like removal of jitter (increased clarity and detail) but that does not make sense for asynchronous USB.
No, it doesn't make sense. Jitter performance is mostly under -140/145db... So, there is nothing left to remove:



While you can simply switch between inputs, you are still listening sighted (and biased). It would be better if someone else switch inputs for you, and see if you're able to hear the difference without knowing which input is playing.
 

BDWoody

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Unless you're that Rob guy Amir mentioned once as having claimed being able to percieve distortions to -300db
I bet all that CMB noise must get distracting...
 

ahofer

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So this is now the entire stack in front of my Harbeths. RME ADI-2 DAC and March Audio p252. $2k total. There’s a Chromecast Audio back there feeding the RME via Toslink. Good apartment system. Still need a DLNA streamer with USB out. Well, not need, but want. That’s a US quarter in front for scale.
41B0C257-6A1A-4D66-8CC7-3EA041A2AC4A.jpeg


Naturally, I fancy I hear a difference in the RME from the Cambridge Audio. A bit more detail, particularly cymbals. could be true, but I’ve been well and truly primed by the measurements.

(thanks @March Audio)
 
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