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Measurements of RME ADI-2 DAC and Headphone Amp

soundwave76

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Question about the analog line out volume level -> is there a 'reference neutral level' to use for example when feeding a Stax amp? In other words, what would be the suggested volume level not to over-amplify before the Stax amp and vice versa apply too little volume?
 

JimmyBuckets

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I adjusted my output level to give me maximum output range for the levels l like to listen at. Giving me the finest amount of adjustment around the volume I usually listen.
 

JimmyBuckets

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How did you do this specifically?
I adjusted the volume on my main system to around 10 o'clock. With music playing, I starting with the volume at zero on the rme. Then just turned it up to slightly higher then what I normally comfortably listen at. Then I locked the output on the rme. In my situation it was more important to have a lot of range and fine adjustment when turning it down, more so then max volume level. I tweaked it a little more but that was basically my method. Hope that helps.
 

soundwave76

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Thanks. I still wonder if there is a ’textbook answer’ to this question. I need to read the manual what is ADI’s line out volume level when set purely to a DAC mode bypassing the volume control.
 

chips666

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Thanks. I still wonder if there is a ’textbook answer’ to this question. I need to read the manual what is ADI’s line out volume level when set purely to a DAC mode bypassing the volume control.

This may help, thanks to "Kais" from RME forum
Enjoy...

Two different approaches to use ADI-2 with external amps, how to set them up:

CASE 1, analog volume control:

To maximize ADI-2's dynamic range (S/N ratio) it's best to have ADI-2’s volume control at 0 dB, using the external ANALOG AMP’s volume control to set listening level:

• Set external amp's volume control to middle position or some above.
• Switch OFF ADI-2's "Auto Reference Level".
• Set ADI-2's volume control to 0 dB.
• Select the reference level that fits best to your loudness demands.
• Use the ext. amp's volume dial to control the final loudness.

• Once you start to use any of ADI-2's DSP functions like e.g. the EQ, compensate possible level boosts with ADI-2's volume control until the Level Meter does not show overs.

CASE 2, digital volume control:

If you want to use ADI-2's digital volume control to set listening level, ADI-2 DAC / (Pro) has a clever option that increases the usable dynamic range by 18 / (20) dB: "Auto Reference Level":

• Switch ON ADI-2's "Auto Reference Level".
• Set ADI-2 DAC's (Pro's) volume control to -18 / (-20) dBr. (1)
• Set ext. amp's volume control (or passive attenuators) slightly above your normal listening level.
• Use ADI-2's volume control to set the final listening level.

Now ADI-2 automatically adapts the reference level for best fit to your loudness demands, while maximizing it's DAC's dynamic range.

If your external amp does not have a volume control, use variable passive attenuators to fit the level:
https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.ph … 42#p120442

SIDEMARK:
(1)
The volume figures change from dB to dBr when Auto Reference Level is “ON”.
The dBr relates to maximum achievable level with highest Reference Level then.


With “Auto Reference Level “OFF” the dB-figures (without r) relate to the manually choosen reference level.
 
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