• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Picked up an RME ADI-2 DAC FS; why am I doubting this purchase?

tonycollinet

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
2,722
Likes
3,871
Location
UK/Cheshire
Reading and watching all of the reviews of all of the latest gear and how they all have this sound signature or that sound signature that makes each of them better or worse drives me nuts when I cannot tell the difference. Funny thing is that I have been told by several musicians that I have a good ear for music as I grew up around it with my family. It makes me wonder if it is all a show that manufacturers have come up with to get people to buy more esoteric gear and then these people go on to forums like this and pump up the products that they have to justify their purchase.

That is exactly what it is. Modern competently designed Dacs are effectively (audibly) perfect. So since they all perfectly reproduce the source, they are - of necessity - going to sound the same.

Some poorly designed (or deliberately distorting) dacs can sound different, but you'll see that illustrated in poor measuremnts here. Some claim to prefer the sound of harmonic distortion - so that can also explain (in some cases) people extolling the virtues of esoteric gear.
 
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
234
Likes
66
The one you are calling the BE must be the Pro. If the ADI2 Dac is more than you need the Pro certainly is!

And what do you mean by this? " Gives me flexibility for the future with regards to possibly bypassing the dac and all that power that I do not believe that I will ever need. It is tempting though" ?
What I meant was that the BE gives you more power and that the analog input would give you the benefit of using it purely as an amp. That would only come into play if they were to come out with new dac technology that surpasses what is on board. For me though I think that I am still in the boat of ADI-2 or stand pat.
 

Jimbob54

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
9,084
Likes
11,587
What I meant was that the BE gives you more power and that the analog input would give you the benefit of using it purely as an amp. That would only come into play if they were to come out with new dac technology that surpasses what is on board. For me though I think that I am still in the boat of ADI-2 or stand pat.
Nope. The analog inputs are for recording. It gets converted to digital. It's an interface. To then play back would go through the dac.

And you won't ever get a better dac from an audibility standpoint.

And what would you buy that needed more power than the non pro model for headphones?

Put your wallet away.
 
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
234
Likes
66
Nope. The analog inputs are for recording. It gets converted to digital. It's an interface. To then play back would go through the dac.

And you won't ever get a better dac from an audibility standpoint.

And what would you buy that needed more power than the non pro model for headphones?

Put your wallet away.
Lol you are correct, perhaps I was recalling information about the ADI-2/4 Pro SE Dac, which I don't think has even been released yet. Needless to say I wasn't really heading down that road just thought that it was interesting that it and the ADI-2 were discounted by $300.

 

Yuhasz01

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
86
Likes
44
Thanks for the feedback. It is not about the cost of the unit that deters me. It is more of a disappointment in that I cannot hear a major difference. It just seems that there is surplus of dacs/amps/cables and whatever else improves SQ and I am unable to hear a difference. Reading and watching all of the reviews of all of the latest gear and how they all have this sound signature or that sound signature that makes each of them better or worse drives me nuts when I cannot tell the difference. Funny thing is that I have been told by several musicians that I have a good ear for music as I grew up around it with my family. It makes me wonder if it is all a show that manufacturers have come up with to get people to buy more esoteric gear and then these people go on to forums like this and pump up the products that they have to justify their purchase.
Sorry for rambling on about this but I really enjoy hearing differences and upgrading my gear. But with this particular hobby it seems that I only hear the differences amongst the headphones themselves and not so much the chain that delivers the sound outside of a decent dac with proper amplification.
That is just my take. By the way I am curious for those of you that are experts with the ADI-2 what are some hints to make this thing do some magic. I have played with the EQ a little and Loudness plus the Bass Treble options. Have tried those filters but they had little effect on the sound. Any suggestions would be welcomed as I really like this unit.
Spend your time and money on more well recorded music you enjoy.
 

DonDish

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2022
Messages
159
Likes
97
Location
Scandinavian peninsula
Why would anyone buy an ADI-2 pro/dac and turn every feature off.? I began researching cause I needed a balance control, and perhaps some tone control. When I found the ADI-2 dac I understood that this box has it aplenty. Except from giving me quality listening its also a transformative learning experience. Seeing sound as levels and manipulating through that..

So ppl think its expensive, I think its a steal. Everyone should have one!
 

Trell

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,468
Likes
1,562
Why would anyone buy an ADI-2 pro/dac and turn every feature off.? I began researching cause I needed a balance control, and perhaps some tone control. When I found the ADI-2 dac I understood that this box has it aplenty. Except from giving me quality listening its also a transformative learning experience. Seeing sound as levels and manipulating through that..

So ppl think its expensive, I think its a steal. Everyone should have one!

As compared to other well-measuring powerful DAC/HPA combos with a remote?

I bought it for the DSP but there are other very nice features as well.

It has a very useful display with useful information.

Excellent support (including drivers) and not least extensive and updated documentation.

When switching between headphones and analog out there is a slow ramp up of volume to last level so that I’ve a chance to turn down the volume if needed. Another is that if the amp is in high power when I plug in the headphones I get a warning on the display and have to push a button a button or turn down the volume to have sound. Both of these features are for saving my hearing and connected headphones or monitors for many (hard to damage my Genelec). I think these are major safety features that more manufacturers should implement.

The auto select of digital input works very well. I use the DAC for monitoring when I use my RME UCX II that is connected to it using ADAT, so turning on/off the UCX II just works for me.

The status screen on the display is very handy to track down issues when using SPDIF/ADAT.

You can record the SPDIF input, and I’ve done that on occasion. Mainly for ripping a few non-hybrid SACD that I own.

Then FR bars seen on the display is very useful on occasion, and that goes for the Digicheck program as well.

And so forth.

Am I a fan boy? Yes, and with good reason in my opinion. I later even bought the UCX II for home use.
 

DonDish

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2022
Messages
159
Likes
97
Location
Scandinavian peninsula
As compared to other well-measuring powerful DAC/HPA combos with a remote?

I bought it for the DSP but there are other very nice features as well.

It has a very useful display with useful information.

Excellent support (including drivers) and not least extensive and updated documentation.

When switching between headphones and analog out there is a slow ramp up of volume to last level so that I’ve a chance to turn down the volume if needed. Another is that if the amp is in high power when I plug in the headphones I get a warning on the display and have to push a button a button or turn down the volume to have sound. Both of these features are for saving my hearing and connected headphones or monitors for many (hard to damage my Genelec). I think these are major safety features that more manufacturers should implement.

The auto select of digital input works very well. I use the DAC for monitoring when I use my RME UCX II that is connected to it using ADAT, so turning on/off the UCX II just works for me.

The status screen on the display is very handy to track down issues when using SPDIF/ADAT.

You can record the SPDIF input, and I’ve done that on occasion. Mainly for ripping a few non-hybrid SACD that I own.

Then FR bars seen on the display is very useful on occasion, and that goes for the Digicheck program as well.

And so forth.

Am I a fan boy? Yes, and with good reason in my opinion. I later even bought the UCX II for home use.
All this is true. ADI is an excellent DAC whitout its DSP functionality, even though its hard to split the concepts. Since the functionality resides in the fpga. Im not confused about this, but I think its a bad idea to propose alot of functions to people who dont need it. You dont need a 100p instruction book to operate a volume control.
 

Trell

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,468
Likes
1,562
All this is true. ADI is an excellent DAC whitout its DSP functionality, even though its hard to split the concepts. Since the functionality resides in the fpga. Im not confused about this, but I think its a bad idea to propose alot of functions to people who dont need it. You dont need a 100p instruction book to operate a volume control.
If you don’t need or want the features there are other excellent devices you can buy instead.

I would think that people buying the DAC do so because of the many features even though they might not use each and every one of them themselves. Just because I don’t use a feature, say cross feed, does not mean it’s an unneeded feature for others.

The features have to be documented and they are in the excellent user manual. Excellent documentation is also a feature, and a very useful one at that. Not often I read that a thorough and comprehensive user manual is a negative.
 
Last edited:
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
234
Likes
66
Why would anyone buy an ADI-2 pro/dac and turn every feature off.? I began researching cause I needed a balance control, and perhaps some tone control. When I found the ADI-2 dac I understood that this box has it aplenty. Except from giving me quality listening its also a transformative learning experience. Seeing sound as levels and manipulating through that..

So ppl think its expensive, I think its a steal. Everyone should have one!
Who is turning off every feature? I must have missed something.
I agree, a fantastic unit for what it is, but for someone like me who has it tied to a windows PC there is no need to spend over $1k when I can get the same sonic performance for less than $200. And I have figured out a way to set APO (Peace) that acts as a loudness feature that works for me.
Used the following EQ settings for my Edition XS: 54hz/+12.5db/0.5Q for the lows 4800hz/+3db/0.1Q with 16000hz/+6db/0.1Q to round out the highs (pre-amp set to -2db for now and the blue Peakfilter Slider is set on the bottom with all other channels turned off).
 
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
234
Likes
66
Nice that you found way that works for you using software, and now you have freed resources to use on something else as well.
Yeah already have some desktop speakers with a subwoofer on the way. Always wanted to hear what headphone+sub would sound like. Plus my powered Audyssey's are showing their age.
 

DonDish

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2022
Messages
159
Likes
97
Location
Scandinavian peninsula
Who is turning off every feature? I must have missed something.
I agree, a fantastic unit for what it is, but for someone like me who has it tied to a windows PC there is no need to spend over $1k when I can get the same sonic performance for less than $200. And I have figured out a way to set APO (Peace) that acts as a loudness feature that works for me.
Used the following EQ settings for my Edition XS: 54hz/+12.5db/0.5Q for the lows 4800hz/+3db/0.1Q with 16000hz/+6db/0.1Q to round out the highs (pre-amp set to -2db for now and the blue Peakfilter Slider is set on the bottom with all other channels turned off).
It makes sense I guess. Ppl have different preferences. My humble advice, if your not living on dogfood straight off the can, keep the RME. I dont buy that same sonic performance to $200. Its just too much to ask for..
 
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
234
Likes
66
It makes sense I guess. Ppl have different preferences. My humble advice, if your not living on dogfood straight off the can, keep the RME. I dont buy that same sonic performance to $200. Its just too much to ask for..
To my ears exactly the same. Even my Liquid Spark sounded the same run directly off of the motherboard. I have found that just about all dacs and amps sound the same under 2k. Some amps have more headroom and some dacs like the RME come equipped with all the bells and whistles.
I find that the most important/influential part in the chain is always going to be the headphones/speakers.
 
Last edited:

DonDish

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2022
Messages
159
Likes
97
Location
Scandinavian peninsula
To my ears exactly the same. Even my Liquid Spark sounded the same run directly off of the motherboard. I have found that just about all dacs and amps sound the same under 2k. Some amps have more headroom and some dacs like the RME come equipped with all the bells and whistles.
I find that the most important/influential part in the chain is always going to be the headphones/speakers.
Have U tried CC
 

Trell

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,468
Likes
1,562
What is CC?
He probably means using the device in USB Class Compliant mode for audio where you don’t need to install a proprietary driver for it. That is very useful when using it on Linux where drivers might not otherwise be available.

On Windows I use the RME ASIO driver, but that is not required for its general operation.
 
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

Active Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
234
Likes
66
Just decided to take the plunge!! The RME Adi-2 was too great to give up!!
It has been a great companion since I added a pair of eris 3.5 and eris sub8 for my desktop configuration
Works flawlessly all the time. I still cannot really differentiate a big difference to the Topping pro3 + but it does sound better, clearer in my opinion, and it will not be obsolete tomorrow! At least I hope that is the case as every time I look their is a new topping! Adi Dac maintains itself and updates are provided and built to last!
 

mikeyjenkins

New Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
2
Likes
2
I ordered the RME Adi-2 DAC FS from Sweetwater because it's been on my radar for a long time, and the $999.00 sale going on finally made me take the plunge. I have been enjoying it for the last 3 or so weeks and have no regrets with the purchase. I am coming from a Marantz HD-DAC1 that I have had for years and enjoyed. I believe that most measurements from the Marantz show it to be quite poor as it uses a lot of discrete components etc. in the output stage that do not measure well. Do I notice a dramatic difference, or any difference at all? Not really and I really don't care. What I have noticed is that I know that I am now in possession of something totally transparent and no longer think about sound quality. Many other DAC/DAC combos accomplish this exact same thing these days. I also have a Topping DX5 in my mostly speaker setup out in the living room feeding a Denon PMA1600NE integrated amp. Do I notice a difference with the DX5 instead of using the built in DAC of the Denon? Not really, and I know the Topping measures much better than the integrated DAC the Denon has. Basically the DX5 has added bluetooth and the Topping driver seems more reliable than the Denon one which sometimes gave me problems no matter how much I messed with the buffer settings, etc. using Foobar. This makes me happy as well as it sounding excellent and being built to a high standard. I have accepted the fact that I really don't notice much if any actual sound difference. Also, when I need to use headphones, the DX5 wipes the floor with the Denon headphone amp, at least on paper. Again, I really have a hard time telling any difference, once again.
Getting back to the RME I am glad I paid the extra money for something that is an established, well cared for product in RME's line that has staying power. The display is just super cool as well as the overall build quality of the device. It just has such an austere sense of quality that feels borderline luxury compared to the Topping DX5, and even the Marantz. Yet, the DX5 and Marantz certainly don't feel cheap at all. Made in China means something different than it used to, and I'm more than happy with the Topping. So for the RME I find the screen, and IEM output which I always have a pair of IEMS plugged into to be really nice features. The ability to switch between these in a very intuitive way is icing on the cake. I have never been able to enjoy my Elex and IEMs so seamlessly depending on how noisy things are around the house. This versatility allows me to enjoy my music collection more, which is the main point anyways. I have accepted the fact that we have reached a point where sound quality is no longer the main reason to pony up more money for gear. I just don't hear the difference. Although knowing that something is transparent thanks to the efforts of Amir and others makes me feel like I'm not throwing my money away. Sorry if I rambled but these are my feelings after being in this hobby for almost 20 years. Heck, I still think my old (in storage) EMU0404USB sounds great! All the best guys and gals.
 
Top Bottom