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Review and Measurements of RME ADI-2 DAC

bwcgrx

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Thank you for the comment amirm. Really appreciate it.

But how you can tell or set certain level of jitter in your test using for example TOSLINK digital input with your own test signal ? Any ideas what can be ballpark figure of incoming jitter these days on high-end motherboard (TOSLINK) ? More like 1ns, 10ns or 100ns ? Can you somehow measure it once you have a chance in the future ? Because only then I could calculate final jitter after suppression before it goes to the DAC (something they showed there about reducing jitter to 1ns is not so great regarding femtosecond clock inside or at least should go below 100ps jitter which was always good result or maybe I am not interpreting it right).

Why not use something like in AUNE S16 ? Is it so expensive or hard to implement ? The sound was out of this world between USB input but also IDENTICAL from any TOSLINK source with tons of jitter. But they used FPGA FIFO buffer with total reclocking, so completely asynchronous for all kind of inputs. Only this can remove jitter completely if I am right (regardless of audio frequency and amount of incoming jitter, yeah unless it is still in range of locking window). All samples clocked again after buffering, using internal, ultra high precision clock. Some kind of "on the fly" jitter reduction or maybe patented ESS "time domain jitter reduction" can only achieve some level of suppression but can't remove it completely - am I right here ? And situation get worse when there is more input jitter.

Yeah you won't find this solution in modern aune dacs - for instance the new one S6 that is waiting for your tests ;]. They cut it out in S6 to cut cost of the unit. It is far inferior to S16 soundwise. Maybe I will find S16 somewhere and forget about this issue. The only problem is that integrated headphone amp is bad (very high output, high output impedance, maybe fine for very high impedance headphones or planars where damping factor is not the case, sounded weird, somehow restrained and a bit distorted but after connecting to external amp it was out of this world). Dac itself is amongst the best I have heard.

You should measure this unit if you have chance (S16). It sounds marvelously. Breathtaking, real life experience. They designed this thing under full supervisor and support from Asahi Kasei (crystek ultra low phase noise oscillators, PGA digital volume regulators, FIFO FPGA, USB uses ADUM isolators and PCB looks like 1 mln $ project and YES, it was a few years ago :>). They claimed with their measurements to go beyond capabilities of the DAC itself - AK4495S. Doesn't cost too much either (sorry for a bit of offtop but this is really interesting how it works).

Not to hijack this RME thread but I've used an Aune S16 for the last three years and subjectively it's the best DAC I've ever heard. It has been my main headphone station DAC for almost three years now. Other DACs have come and gone but the S16 has stayed in the active gear pile. It would be nice to know how this DAC performs objectively. The only downside is the poor headphone amp section. In my opinion it the Amp section is equivalent to a $50 headphone amp. Separate headphone amp definitely required.

Anyway, its nice to hear someone laud this device as it seemed to mostly get overlooked in the $500+ DAC range.
 

cingkrab

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From the firmware update link posted earlier:

"Since firmware 177 (Pro) and 17 (DAC) some users no longer install the MADIface Series driver under Windows 10, but use the Class Compliant driver that is part of the operating system. The most important advantage for DAC users is support for multiple sample rates and their automatic change via WASAPI."

Sounds like they addressed one of Amir's issues with the DAC?
 
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It would be nice to know how this DAC performs objectively
It sounds so good that even if it measured badly I wouldn't care at all but it would be interesting. So far everything I liked, measured perfectly fine here. I guess after many years of playing instruments and being on many acoustic, jazz, fusion jazz, classical concerts without any processing, loving every detail of piano, cello, violin etc I can easily pick right unit that plays true tone, timbre, transients, has proper upper harmonics, dynamic range without distortion & amp that is able to add only a gain to the chain. Effortlessly, with proper speed, weight & impact. But I am crazy about music. It is everything in my life to the point I could not live without it.

This place helped me confront current headphone rig with reality and tune it to have it in my house, especially like in 2nd or 3rd row from the musicians, playing Steinway&Sons even though I much prefer Bosendorfer :> There is no amplifying because it is small chamber hall. You can hear real instruments and great musicians performing here every evening. The hall has been tuned by Nagata Acoustics (Japan).

1543475580200.jpeg


Would be great to test S16 but also X1S (not the anniversary, just standard version). I am shocked that nobody has sent it to amirm yet. Also new IFI PRO series would be great (damn, new ifi pro can amp gives so many options, 3 modes of work - pure transistor, hybrid & pure tube that can be changed on the fly, extremely high output and all combinations of input/output connections, sounds out of this world with focal clear). They cost little fortune but to my ears sound great, just like PASS HPA-1 (Nelson Pass ? wow, that would make sense) headphone amplifier or new COPLAND DAC 215 that I was able to listen on audioshow 2018 a few weeks ago.

I am thinking of buying RME because aune s16 is almost unavailable these days and new models are not worth the money after audition. Maybe I will have some demo unit because the price is very high thus also thinking about cheaper alternative like new rme adi-2 fs without extra fireworks that I wouldn't use anyway. The question is whether it measures the same like rme adi-2 dac fs or not.

In the past I was a bit of a guy that fascinated with technology and ideas inside the box could go very wrong with the sound. Then I got tired of expensive stuff that claims out of this world concepts and sounds just so so or just wrong. That's why these days I listen to my especially prepared music files without hurry and if something really gets me into the music where there is explosion of emotions, lack of analysing and breathtaking realism, then I dig deeper how it is made inside and what kind of technology stands behind it. It is not hard to pay a lot of money to play it right, it's hard to pay sensible amount of money and play it lifelike.
 
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Veri

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Would be great to test S16 but also X1S (not the anniversary, just standard version). I am shocked that nobody has sent it to amirm yet.
Are you in the US? If so you can ship it to amir and get it back quite quickly usually
 
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What does it explain ? :)
Why you couldn't (easily) send your unit to Seattle.

I'm really happy with latest RME update. As I use my unit mainly as a DAC fixed to my PMA-2500NE, the lock volume is welcome using Line Out. Voltage recommendations for Hi-fi use are reassuring, too. (+7db at 0db).

I'm so happy to see such a customer care. I'm really feeling that I paid not for the unit itself (which is, alone, GREAT) but for all the support behind, also. Kudos to RME, really! So much audiophile companies should learn from them...
 
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I'm so happy to see such a customer care. I'm really feeling that I paid not for the unit itself (which is, alone, GREAT) but for all the support behind, also. Kudos to RME, really! So much audiophile companies should learn from them...
Yes, after spending some time on RME forum I can tell that you won't be left alone with some issues. I love their proactive attitude, their products are rock-solid. It is made in Germany and built like a tank. In case of any issues you can count on almost realtime help. It costs a bit but this is the price of quality (which is many times a problem regarding chinese manufacturers). I would love to hear budget version of adi-2 dac fs -> adi-2 fs which is the cheapest one right now.
 
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sonci

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I would love to hear budget version of adi-2 dac fs -> adi-2 fs which is the cheapest one right now.
Unfortunately Adi2 FS has no usb input, and that's a big no..

Regarding measurements, I also think there's smth wrong in measuring Jitter, because even cheap dacs seems to measure fine, but the D30 I had was not even close to Dac1 or cd players.
 
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Unfortunately Adi2 FS has no usb input, and that's a big no..
Damn, didn't notice that !

Still it has toslink. But hey - if it's rejecting incoming jitter on this input like in amir's review of adi-2 dac, I would even prefer it because of full galvanic isolation from PC (may have some limitations regarding dsd or above 192kHz, but to be honest I don't care about those).

Would have to see amir's measurements on this new unit.
 

mcgo

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For those who are in the USA -- Hit refresh today on the RME ADI2DAC amazon page (B07B6C8PF6) and ... Adorama Camera showed up with some new units at $999.00. So I pulled the trigger! $100 off methinks. Now I hit refresh and... its gone! So you guys might be out of luck. Keep checking!!

rme adi2dac new adorama.png
 
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bennetng

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These guys only got a SINAD of 107. Is that due to using RMAA, lesser test equipment and having less knowledge or is there that big a gap in SINAD between this and the pro?

http://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces/rme-adi2dac.shtml
They used another audio interface rather than a dedicated analyzer like AP to do the test, and bottlenecked the result.

Read this link to understand how to interpret the results and adjust your expectation.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/1100594-usb-interface-very-low-noise-floor.html
 

wadec22

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looking here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...measurements-of-oppo-udp-205-uhd-player.3660/

amir had 106 SINAD for the pro? maybe this is accurate then?
The "Fs" revision improves the results significantly, see this review for an example of the DAC Fs smashing the regular Pro.

There is also a Pro Fs that is the best of both worlds.

If anyone has a preferred testing method I can run my Pro Fs in loopback modes to get some rough figures. The ADC is absolutely insane and shouldn't bottleneck too much.
 
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