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Measurements of RME ADI-2 DAC and Headphone Amp

Veri

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@amirm great review as usual. Is this the best DAC/Amp combo for headphones that can be had for 1000 USD or less? I do like the display, how it looks and functionality in general. I'm looking for a big upgrade from my Dacport LX, Burson 160AD and Dragonfly Red. The topping DX3 Pro is not my cup of tea especially having only 3.5mm headphone output.
I can tell you it is definitely cleaner than the Burson 160 / Dragonfly :) all-around upgrade.
 

VintageFlanker

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New firmware out,
Identical Changes for all ADI-2 DAC and Pro models

- Improved AutoDark behaviour. The Dark mode is now interrupted when any phones is plugged-in, by pushing the volume knob and when warning messages are shown.

- Quickly turning the encoder 1 to change the current channel in the I/O menu caused invalid screen content

- Reduced encoder acceleration in various modes (frequency, Q…) for easier adjustment

- Copying empty PEQ presets over saved ones now causes a reset of the saved preset which is then marked with 'lin' as 'linear'. Additionally EQ Preset 21, Clear, has been added as fixed linear preset for comparison and to reset others by copying it onto those.

- Additional level meter color 'Amber' (Setup – Options – Display – Meter Color).

- New option in Setup – Options – Display: Hor.(izontal) Meter. Choices are Pre-FX, Post-FX and Dual, affecting the stereo level meter below the Analyzer. Pre-FX shows the level before all DSP processing and the volume control, which equals the 'input' level. Pre-FX can be useful to show a missing input signal, overloads of the source etc. Post-FX is the way it worked so far, after FX and volume, to show the real output level and overloads by processing. Dual combines the best of both: Pre-FX is shown as thin bar on the outside of the meters, Post-FX as thicker bar in the middle. Note that the numbers shown in Dual mode on the right side are Post-FX.

- Active Mono mode is now shown in the lower taskbar

- Added Crossfeed 1-5 and all DA filters to Remap Keys (Setup – Options – Hardware/Diagnosis). The total number of available commands is now 40 for the Pro and 31 for the DAC.


Changes for ADI-2 DAC only

- Bugfix: since V24 changing VOL no longer deactivated DIM and Mute

- DIM is now a fully supported function and therefore available in the I/O menu and remembered by the unit over power-off and -on.

- New Details Top screen. This version of the Dark Volume screen lists all currently active DSP functions, including the currently loaded PEQ Preset name. It is therefore very easy to check if any of the numerous audio processing functions are activated.

- New option Mute Line – Toggle Plugged (Setup – Options – Device Mode). Having plugged-in Phones and IEM, switching via long press of the Volume knob now toggles between Line (rear), Phones, IEM, back to Line (rear) and so on.

- A short press on the Volume knob mutes the outputs. This new Mute function is only disabled in the EQ screen where the push switches EQ bands.

Firmware downloads

Win:
http://www.rme-audio.de/download/fut_madiface_win.zip
 
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Happy they fixed the DIM function. Nearly killed me.
And also excited for the amber meters! Green was too distracting and cyan was too hard to see.
 
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I can tell you it is definitely cleaner than the Burson 160 / Dragonfly :) all-around upgrade.
Thank you for the comparison. Burson is quite warm for a solid state amp and Dragonfly Red is on the bright side.

I do think the Dacport LX is quite clean and balanced sounding, I wonder how much of an improvement would it be?. At the moment it is connected to my Darkvoice 336SE but the amount of RF interference is picking up is insane -_-, not sure how to solve that.

I just want some peace of mind that is this not really GAS syndrome (probably is) and that I really need a new dac/amp :rolleyes:, as the 1000+ territory is already stretching it. My current headphones that I use are LCD 2 Closed, HD6XX, HD58X and Koss LP95X (this one is connected to my Burson pre-amp out).
 

frogmeat69

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Holy cow, this thing is confusing with the ways you have to push or turn certain buttons, could they have made it any Wackier? Took a while, but I think I have most of it figured out, lol.
Oh yeah, this thing is pretty awesome, great amp power, and sounds sublime.
BTW, I have it set at +13dbu Ref Level and volume at -4.5db for the line outs like posted on page 3, is that OK for both balanced and RCAs? I am running it to my iFi iCan Pro balanced and to my Koss energizer with RCA, should be alright?? Just want to be sure, not a real techie like a lot of you good folks.
 
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Blumlein 88

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View attachment 28038

My stoopidly priced audiofool setup, the RME fits in the mix nicely. Love this thing by its self, or with the iFi stack.
Sorry guys, just felt like posting some ear porn.
Nice rack if you know what I mean. :)

Is that white with blue lights thing some sort of wifi router or something? We'll have to deduct audiophile credential points if it is. Please tell me it is something else which I don't recognize.
 

Rja4000

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Hi
I bought an ADI-2Pro fs (in black), and it's indeed very good !

But why is the 'bass' button above the 'treble' one ??? That is so strange...
Well, of course, I can live with that, but I can't imagine any reason for this choice.

I guess the dynamic range would improve a bit if I use both 1/4" to feed the headphones in 'balanced' mode?
Can't find a reason to spend money for a cable to try it though, as I'm quite sure I wouldn't hear a difference.

Is there a chance Amir will test the Pro fs version?
 
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frogmeat69

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Nice rack if you know what I mean. :)

Is that white with blue lights thing some sort of wifi router or something? We'll have to deduct audiophile credential points if it is. Please tell me it is something else which I don't recognize.
Cable modem. The rack is right next to my computer desk. Don't worry, everything is SILENT, no interference.
 

VintageFlanker

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@amirm, @MC_RME
I'm starting to wondering something:
We know we have to put the ADI-2 DAC at 8.5dbu (13 - 4.5) to get the regular voltage from RCA (2V) and XLR (4V).

Thing is, I red on your forum, @MC_RME , that down the Ref Level also lowers the SNR. ADI-2 DAC manual still recommends to use +7dbu setting (1.73V RCA or 3.45V XLR) at 0 dB for Hi-fi usage. So I'm asking again:

- Would the SINAD has been better without lowering the signal by 4.5db, impacting SNR?

- Is there any way that the Ref Level, lowered by few dB, could bring audible difference vs a "full" Ref Level at +7dbu or +13dbu (both at 0db), for example? Of course, apart from the output being "louder"...

I'm still using the full 7dbu with my unit, but audio is unfortunately about perpetual wondering... Am I doing right? Is it better to use a higher output from a clean DAC to my speaker amp or a lower voltage to adjust the volume more precisely? What are the supposed audible impacts? o_O
 

Tks

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I mean you have the device @VintageFlanker

Try both and see if it produces and audible difference for you. Tell us how it went, would be interesting to hear if you came up with something surprising.
 

MC_RME

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@amirm, @MC_RME
I'm starting to wondering something: We know we have to put the ADI-2 DAC at 8.5dbu (13 - 4.5) to get the regular voltage from RCA (2V) and XLR (4V).
You could also simply use the +7 dBu setting at 0 dB volume. The difference to full 2V (-1 dB) max output level (something you most probably not set) is too small to notice, or worry, or meaningless because you stay several dBs below that max volume anyway. The advantage of using +13 dBu with reduced volume is a bit less THD and more headroom for intersample peaks (theoretical advantage). But you loose 4.5 dB of SNR this way (theoretical disadvantage). Theoretical, because you won't be able to hear either.

Thing is, I red on your forum, @MC_RME , that down the Ref Level also lowers the SNR.
No. Reducing volume lowers SNR, as in any device that uses digital volume control. The concept of multiple Ref Levels performs the opposite, it helps to maintain the maximum SNR as good as possible. Even at lower Ref Levels.
 
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