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

OP
T

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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.
When you say that you use those dacs rather than the dac on your receivers do they also work with multi channel output or is it only for 2 channel?
 

mikeyjenkins

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When you say that you use those dacs rather than the dac on your receivers do they also work with multi channel output or is it only for 2 channel?
Only for two channel as the Denon PMA1600NE is a 2 channel integrated with internal dac. Like I said I’m certain either the RME and DX5 measure better, but I don’t really believe I can actually hear it. I just use the RCA as the Denon isn’t balanced, but still sounds fine with no ground loop issues. I’d like to see some measurements of the Denon PMA1600NE sometime from Amir. There was a polish website that compared the PMA1600NE, and it’s measurements actually beat it’s bigger brother model 2500NE by a good amount. Apparently Denon just released a PMA1700NE which looks almost identical, but has a digital volume control or something like that which they justify higher price. I’d like to get into some of the class D stuff eventually as some of the ones Amir has measured look fantastic with great measurements and gobs of power.
 
OP
T

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Only for two channel as the Denon PMA1600NE is a 2 channel integrated with internal dac. Like I said I’m certain either the RME and DX5 measure better, but I don’t really believe I can actually hear it. I just use the RCA as the Denon isn’t balanced, but still sounds fine with no ground loop issues. I’d like to see some measurements of the Denon PMA1600NE sometime from Amir. There was a polish website that compared the PMA1600NE, and it’s measurements actually beat it’s bigger brother model 2500NE by a good amount. Apparently Denon just released a PMA1700NE which looks almost identical, but has a digital volume control or something like that which they justify higher price. I’d like to get into some of the class D stuff eventually as some of the ones Amir has measured look fantastic with great measurements and gobs of power.
OK, so only 2 channel. I have to admit that there wasn't a whole lot of difference in sound between any of the dacs that I have auditioned. And to be honest I was happy with running a Liquid Spark amp right off of the sound card from my PC for just headphones. The Adi-2 just does everything better especially now with the monitors set up via balanced. Perhaps not worth the cost, but I love it, and that is truly what matters with this hobby!
 
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