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Measurements of RME ADI-2 DAC and Headphone Amp

daftcombo

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#41
The default filter is (minimum phase) Sharp short delay, because it has the lowest latency which is generally an important thing for studio/pro usage.

The other Sharp filter is linear phase which has the more accurate phase response. Whether this is by any means audible is questionable though.
That is the reason why I'm interested in a trained listener trying both filters and tell us his impressions. :)

According to the Archimago article with the red background, the SHARP (= linear), which is NOT the default filter on the ADI-2, should be better.
Subjectively, as one who aims for accuracy in waveform reproduction, I've found that my "favourite" remains the standard linear phase (SHARP) filter both based on what I hear and intellectual satisfaction.
source: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/06/measurements-digital-filters-and.html
 

soundwave76

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#42
Gotta contact RME and give them the good news. So they can get on working releasing a clear-top Anniversery Edition for the DAC like they did with the Pro :D
YES! I had the Pro Anniversary Edition and it is sexy as hell. I miss it.
 
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#43
That is the reason why I'm interested in a trained listener trying both filters and tell us his impressions. :)

According to the Archimago article with the red background, the SHARP (= linear), which is NOT the default filter on the ADI-2, should be better.

source: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/06/measurements-digital-filters-and.html
FWIW, the unit is mine, and I gave it to him with the linear phase filter enabled (not the default minimum phase one). I suspect he tested it in this mode.
 

suttondesign

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#44
I'm not a trained listener, but I've been an audiophile since 1980. The RME DAC/amp is the best piece of electronics I have ever owned -- not the best looking, most robust, best user interface, or any of that; but the cleanest, purest bit of kit. I never imagined, 25 years ago, that I'd have complete, utter silence beneath recorded music, nor the clarity of sound accomplished by the RME. Even my old top-end Sony 700-series ES CD players -- behemoths, and state of the art for their time -- were not this good. Perhaps the newest Benchmark products are the same, but I haven't heard them. Nor have I ever used the ultra-high-end stuff, so I can't speak to any of that.
 

amirm

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#45
Still, I'm a bit sad to don't see RCA measurements (Which is the way I use mine).
Sorry, meant to run that but forgot. Here it is:

RME ADI-2 DAC And Headphone Amplifier RCA Audio Measurements.png


It is identical to XLR output despite the lower output voltage.
 

amirm

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#46
Oh a request if it hasn't gone back to the owner. If possible, the classic THD+N Ratio vs FR? And just maybe the 32 input signal multi-tone test?
Sure. See the review now. I added them to the first post.
 

amirm

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#47
But the measured value of the IEM output is a bit too far off. It has a self noise of -118 dBu RMS unweighted. Referenced to 50 mV/-23.8 dBu the measured value should have been 94.2 dB, but measured was 'only' 90.7 dB, equalling -114.5 dBu. I know this sounds like a non-issue that far down there, but I would like to share my own experience on this topic. One of our testers with very sensitive ears was able to hear the self noise at -115 dBu in our first prototype with highly sensitive Andromeda in-ears, so I had to modify the IEM output stage again, and finally reached -118 dBu. He was satisfied then :)
First, warm welcome to the forum. Much appreciated. I know it adds a lot of goodwill for me and membership.

On this point, I did not realize IEM port being different until later in the test. So I measured it with my external dummy load which is not meant for absolute low level of noise. I repeated the measurement with direct cabling and got 2 more dB out of it:



As to difference between it, and 94 dB, I think I and the membership will accept your word for it. :) SNR measurements are subject to so many vagaries that as long as we are close, it is good enough for me.
 

amirm

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#49
I hope that gives Armir an idea on how to improve his future measurements. I am pretty sure we will see more and more units reaching values that take the AP to the extreme.
We definitely live in happy times with respect to source components achieving this level of performance. Thank you for your significant contributions in this regard.
 
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#50
Sorry, meant to run that but forgot. Here it is:

View attachment 26251

It is identical to XLR output despite the lower output voltage.
Well, this is just... Incredible. In the manual, RME said that Unbalanced performance is literally the same as Balanced... and, at the end: It is just true !

Congrats, @MC_RME . You're simply the most honest brand I know to date!

By the way, @amirm : how did you get 2V? Set +13dbu Ref Level and then, -5db? Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Willem

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#51
I am truly impressed by RME. My current DAC/preamp is giving me reliability problems that I am not sure the shop can solve for me, so I am thinking about an alternative like the RME. It looks absolutely great in many respects, but one: it only has one optical and one coaxial input each. I really do not understand this. I need one for my CCA, one for the disc player and one for the TV, and I do not think this is unusual. In my case all my sources are optical, and I currently use a converter to change one optical into coaxial, but why can we not have a number of inputs that matches normal use?
 

JohnYang1997

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#52
Well this is just... Incredible. In the manual, RME said that Unbalanced performance is literally the same as Balanced... and, at the end: It is just the truth.

Congrats, @MC_RME . You're simply the most honest brand I know to date!

By the way, @amirm : how did you get 2V? Set +13dbu Ref Level and then, -5db? Thanks.
Most pro brands are the same. Apogee, focusrite, prism, motu etc.
 

Soniclife

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#53
Yes, a dedicated headphone amplifier like JDS Labs Atom or Massdrop THX AAA789 is a hair better but they lack the integration that the RME ADI-2 brings.
Do they continue to be better once they are fronted with a real world source (not an AP), or put another way is it the DAC part holding back performance?
 

JohnYang1997

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#54
Do they continue to be better once they are fronted with a real world source (not an AP), or put another way is it the DAC part holding back performance?
Not necessarily. Also amirm didn't test full frequency distortion with low impedance load like 15 16ohm. It's hard to say atom is better.
 

Soniclife

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#55
I am truly impressed by RME. My current DAC/preamp is giving me reliability problems that I am not sure the shop can solve for me, so I am thinking about an alternative like the RME. It looks absolutely great in many respects, but one: it only has one optical and one coaxial input each. I really do not understand this. I need one for my CCA, one for the disc player and one for the TV, and I do not think this is unusual. In my case all my sources are optical, and I currently use a converter to change one optical into coaxial, but why can we not have a number of inputs that matches normal use?
Get a 2 port spdif auto switch, put the TV and one source into it, when you turn on the TV it should switch to it, and back again when you turn off.
 

KSTR

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#56
That is the reason why I'm interested in a trained listener trying both filters and tell us his impressions. :)

According to the Archimago article with the red background, the SHARP (= linear), which is NOT the default filter on the ADI-2, should be better.
Using my Adi-2 Pro FS which has an almost identical DAC/phones sections spec, I'm unable to tell the lin-phase filters from the min-phase versions, even in sigthed listening (blind testing not easy to do unless you have a friend helping). I notice a hint of HF drop with the slow filters, and the readily audible HF drop from the NOS filter, though, at 44.1kHz. At 88.2kHz and above with, no chance. Then again, I'm not the Golden Ears club, anyway.
 

amirm

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#57

amirm

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#58
Do they continue to be better once they are fronted with a real world source (not an AP), or put another way is it the DAC part holding back performance?
The front end is digital so no difference between AP and your computer playing music. The calculous though is complicated. Here is a comparison of the two:

RME ADI-2 DAC And Headphone Amplifier Power at 300 Ohm Compared to JDS Labs Atom Audio Measure...png


RME ADI-2 DAC And Headphone Amplifier Power at 33 Ohm vs JDS Labs Atom Audio Measurements.png


The JDS Labs manages to stay quiet without a gain switch. So if you operate it from mid to high levels, it comes out ahead. If you can deal with using different settings/jacks the RME can be better with respect to noise.
 

JohnYang1997

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#59
The front end is digital so no difference between AP and your computer playing music. The calculous though is complicated. Here is a comparison of the two:

View attachment 26263

View attachment 26264

The JDS Labs manages to stay quiet without a gain switch. So if you operate it from mid to high levels, it comes out ahead. If you can deal with using different settings/jacks the RME can be better with respect to noise.
So what's the input voltage when at 1W for atom here?
 
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