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RME ADI-2 fs or Topping DX3 Pro+

TechEnthusiast

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Very little to compare with these 2 units, I am here to attempt to justify the Adi-2 purchase over the Pro+. I can afford the step up to the ADI-2 but I wonder if I will get the most out of it. Carefully comparing the 2 without any eq enhancements they are exactly the same to my ear and produce very similar power. Enough power to run my Hifiman XS and anything else that I would ever own.
ADI-2 now on sale for $999 and the Pro+ sale price is $179.
The main reason that I would go for the ADI-2 is the build, internal eq, bass/treble, loudness function, and the addition of balanced out. Upon reading the manual there are quite a plethora of extras thrown in if you can utilize all of its functions. I am still trying to figure out how to program all of those features. The ADI-2 also boasts protections towards the expensive headphones that I plug into them.
The ADI-2 only appears to come with a 6 month warranty and I haven't seen the details on the length of the Topping. Also I wonder how much I gain with the on board Eq as opposed to Apo Peace software. I mainly plan to have these hooked up to a pc running Amazon music. I do like the loudness feature, especially on low volumes in conjunction with bass and treble adjustments on the fly, just trying to figure out if that provides enough of a difference. Oh and the look of the ADI-2 does in fact add a little more to the equation. Let me know if there are other things to consider in this choice. Thanks!
 
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ascl

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I have a RME UCX for my PC, which is obviously a bit different (and for a different purpose, although I do also use it for it's DAC), but I think it's worth mentioning that the build quality is excellent, the software/drivers are excellent and the support, in my experience, has been excellent. I can't tell you if things like build quality etc are worth the extra money for you, but I can say that I think RME is a solid brand, and I'd be happy to own more of it.

(FWIW I have a DAC in the kitchen for pure listening needs, and it's a SMSL SU9. I just don't have any illusions that it will last as long as the RME would. And for the price and purpose I needed it for, that is okay).
 

Jimbob54

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Eapo is infinitely more flexible than the onboard eq on the rme so I would rule that factor out .
 

Phorize

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The biggest differences are really due to pro/consumer orientation.

As above the eq on the rme is great, but redundant if you have access to software eq already on the streaming device. Apple devices don’t allow eq in nearly all cases so the rme proves valuable there.

BTW In the U.K. all rme products bought through an authorised dealer have a 5 year warranty-you may want to recheck the situation where you live.

The topping will drive most headphones to hearing damaging levels, but struggles with low impedance headphones. The rme will drive anything.

The topping has Bluetooth, the rme does not-this would be decisive in some situations-but maybe not yours.

Once you have connectivity, eq and the ability to drive any headphone you will use accounted for, it all comes down to subjective choices really. The topping is an excellent, well rounded device that will connect in way that consumers expect, is transparent and will drive most headphones.

The rme is an excellent, device configured more as a pro device so is very powerful feature wise but less user friendly IMO than the average consumer device-lacking bluetooth and not having the world most intuitive controls.

FWIW the the topping is great value but I’d say that the rme is also very good value for money once you add the features up and consider the build, customer support and the warranty.

I have a d50s on my desk as I wanted the connectivity options it’s has, and an adi be in my main system as I wanted an adc and was prepared to pay for the assurance that it would be good for at least 5 years. I never use the eq as I do all eq in camilladsp.
 
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OP
T

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The biggest differences are really due to pro/consumer orientation.

As above the eq on the rme is great, but redundant if you have access to software eq already on the streaming device. Apple devices don’t allow eq in nearly all cases so the rme proves valuable there.

BTW In the U.K. all rme products bought through an authorised dealer have a 5 year warranty-you may want to recheck the situation where you live.

The topping will drive most headphones to hearing damaging levels, but struggles with low impedance headphones. The rme will drive anything.

The topping has Bluetooth, the rme does not-this would be decisive in some situations-but maybe not yours.

Once you have connectivity, eq and the ability to drive any headphone you will use accounted for, it all comes down to subjective choices really. The topping is an excellent, well rounded device that will connect in way that consumers expect, is transparent and will drive most headphones.

The rme is an excellent, device configured more as a pro device so is very powerful feature wise but less user friendly IMO than the average consumer device-lacking bluetooth and not having the world most intuitive controls.

FWIW the the topping is great value but I’d say that the rme is also very good value for money once you add the features up and consider the build, customer support and the warranty.

I have a d50s on my desk as I wanted the connectivity options it’s has, and an adi be in my main system as I wanted an adc and was prepared to pay for the assurance that it would be good for at least 5 years. I never use the eq as I do all eq in camilladsp.
Not sure about the warranty for the ADI-2, but in the manual it states 6 months plus it is mentioned that the length of the warranty period is different per country. Ibelieve that the Topping is 1 year.
@Jimbob54; I wonder if there is a loudness button associated with Eapo for low level listening. The onboard one with the ADI-2 works great for that purpose. I suppose that there probably is a way to build an EQ setting that would accomplish this.
Still on the fence .....but it is amazing what you can get now for a Dac/Amp under $200. The Pro+ even includes a remote, pre-amp, digital volume pot, and an Ldac bluetooth input, though I'm not sure that I will ever need it. It is really the swiss army knife of Dac/Amps!
 

Trell

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Very little to compare with these 2 units, I am here to attempt to justify the Adi-2 purchase over the Pro+. I can afford the step up to the ADI-2 but I wonder if I will get the most out of it.

You mean the ADI-2 DAC FS as the ADI-2 FS does not have an USB connector.

Just in case you ordered the ADI-2 FS to a great price and got sorely disappointed when you opened your package. :)

Currently there are three RME ADI-2 products:

ADI-2 FS
ADI-2 DAC FS
ADI-2 Pro FS R Black Edition

There is an upcoming ADI-2/4 Pro but product name is not finalized yet.
 
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OP
T

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You mean the ADI-2 DAC FS as the ADI-2 FS does not have an USB connector.

Just in case you ordered the ADI-2 FS to a great price and got sorely disappointed when you opened your package. :)

Currently there are three RME ADI-2 products:

ADI-2 FS
ADI-2 DAC FS
ADI-2 Pro FS R Black Edition

There is an upcoming ADI-2/4 Pro but product name is not finalized yet.
I am referring to the ADI-2 Dac fs. Yes it does have a USB input.
Sorry for that lost a key word there.
 

Trell

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I am referring to the ADI-2 Dac fs. Yes it does have a USB input.
Sorry for that lost a key word there.

I’ve the ADI-2 DAC FS and the main reason for buying it over competing DAC/amp combos is the DSP features like Dynamic Loudness and EQ, along with a ton of other features as well, of course.

With DSP off it will sound the same as the competing well-measuring DAC/amp combos. So if you don’t care about the DSP or have it implemented in another way (like software on a PC) the price increase might not be worth it for you.

Personally I want the DSP on-board as not to fiddle with software. My room EQ is handled on-board by my Genelec monitors/subwoofer, and the ADI-2 DAC level down somewhat the Beyerdynamic treble of my headphones.
 
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OP
T

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For me it is purely for desktop use set up to a pc with 2 powered desktop speakers. Dac/Amp will mainly be used for the headphones. I do like the dynamic loudness feature on the ADI-2 and all of the other things it provides. But if I could get the software of Eapo to replicate those features then that would make things interesting for me.
 

Trell

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I don’t use EQ software for my desktop setup, but possibly the dynamic loudness feature will be the hardest to find implemented. I guess this could be worked around with several EQ presets that you’ll select manually depending on volume level.
 

Trell

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For me it is purely for desktop use set up to a pc with 2 powered desktop speakers. Dac/Amp will mainly be used for the headphones

You don’t have your powered speakers connected to your DAC?
 
OP
T

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Yes, I do have those speakers hooked up. But both dacs function as a pre-amp in much the same way.
 

Trell

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Yes, I do have those speakers hooked up. But both dacs function as a pre-amp in much the same way.

Except that the ADI-2 DAC have DSP, in case you use two DACs connected to your PC.

My Genelecs are connected to the analogue out of my DAC even though they accept digital signal, but for me buying the ADI-2 Pro for EBU out was too expensive for a questionable improvement in sound by avoiding one AD-DA conversion.
 
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So
Except that the ADI-2 DAC have DSP, in case you use two DACs connected to your PC.

My Genelecs are connected to the analogue out of my DAC even though they accept digital signal, but for me buying the ADI-2 Pro for EBU out was too expensive for a questionable improvement in sound by avoiding one AD-DA conversion.
Sorry but I do not understand what that is or what advantages it presents.
 

Trell

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So

Sorry but I do not understand what that is or what advantages it presents.

You mean using the digital in on the Genelecs as opposed using analogue? I think that would be very marginal at best, so that’s why I don’t do it. I can use my RME UCX II to feed the Genelec EBU/AES3 but then I would lose Dynamic Loudness of the ADI-2 DAC, and not worth it in my opinion. Thus I’m not inclined to buy new cables to test this out. So the ADI-2 Pro that has EBU/AES3 out is then not worth it for me either as I don’t need its ADC or balanced out for headphones.

The UCX II is for mic duties and is connected with ADAT to the DAC for monitoring. If I just wanted an all in one device with a powerful headphone amp, but no dynamic loudness, this would do. It even has three PEQ per channel to fix some issues, and that would be sufficient for me.
 
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I do not think that we are on the same page. My main concern is for headphone performance while running the powered speakers out of the pre-amp is a side bonus that works equally on both the ADI-2 and ProX for my purposes. I am finding it harder and harder to justify the $900 premium that the ADI-2 has over the Pro X outside the Loudness function and to a lesser degree the Base Treble knobs.
 
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Trell

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I do not think that we are on the same page. My main concern is for headphone performance and running the powered speakers out the pre-amp is a side bonus that works equally on both the ADI-2 and ProX for my purposes. I am finding it harder and harder to justify the $900 premium that the ADI-2 has over the Pro X outside the Loudness function and to a lesser degree the Base Treble knobs.

Absolutely! Look at things like features, DSP, connectivity, build quality, support and price at this measured performance level. A few SINAD here and there does not matter that much, if at all, in most cases. Assuming that the device needs your other needs.
 

GDK

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I had the RME for headphone listening and bought the DX3+ when the former had to be repaired. I ended up getting a replacement for the RME which I then sold.

I loved the ADI-2 DAC but I never used all of the features and so I took the opportunity to get my money out of it.
 

mrbungle

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I have the ADI-2 DAC FS and the Dx7pro. Since Roon I don’t use the RME DSP features that often anymore, except for crossfeed on old recordings and occasionally bass and treble adjustments, all via programmable remote. RME is a very nice little box that does everything you ever need while putting a smile on your face, the Topping gets the job done.
 
OP
T

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I have the ADI-2 DAC FS and the Dx7pro. Since Roon I don’t use the RME DSP features that often anymore, except for crossfeed on old recordings and occasionally bass and treble adjustments, all via programmable remote. RME is a very nice little box that does everything you ever need while putting a smile on your face, the Topping gets the job done.
That is what makes this so hard of a choice. I really like everything that the RME ADI-2 Dac FS does and the way it looks. And like you say it does bring a smile to your face. But the only useful tools for me are the Loudness feature and Bass Treble adjustments that the Pro X does not offer. The equalization can be matched via software on windows.
Absolutely! Look at things like features, DSP, connectivity, build quality, support and price at this measured performance level. A few SINAD here and there does not matter that much, if at all, in most cases. Assuming that the device needs your other needs.
By DSP if you are referring to the filters, I wouldn't consider that a benefit on any Dac as I cannot ever hear the difference. Probably because I cannot hear anything over 13khz.
I had the RME for headphone listening and bought the DX3+ when the former had to be repaired. I ended up getting a replacement for the RME which I then sold.

I loved the ADI-2 DAC but I never used all of the features and so I took the opportunity to get my money out of it.
And you know what the DX3 Pro+ is capable of. It is rated to possess more power, sounds the same unprocessed, includes a remote, and acts as a pre-amp all for $179 vs the $1k that is the RME.........and yet I am still looking for a reason to return the DX3 Pro+ and keep the RME....call me crazy!
 
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