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RME ADI-2 FS Version 2 DAC and Headphone Amp Review

Rja4000

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Ah. It had a weird way of hooking up headphones balanced. I need a whole new DAC/amp system and was considering the Pro. Wanted to get that figured out first. All I've found are a couple of dual 1/4" to xlr adapters.
If you want to connect balanced phone, you should go for a cable with the right connectors.
It's not rocket science to build your own, given you find the right connectors for your phone.
I own Focal Elegia headphones, and they come with their own unbalanced cable. But I guess if I wanted to connect them to the balanced output, I'd build the cable myself (even if I'm far from being a specialist).
But, to be fair, I never thought I'd need it. The RME 'normal' (unbalanced) phone out is excellent.

Note that one benefit of the Pro version is also to have 2 stereo DACs, so 2 completely independent phone outputs. You can even listen to different thing on each.
 

Kami-san

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Ah. It had a weird way of hooking up headphones balanced. I need a whole new DAC/amp system and was considering the Pro. Wanted to get that figured out first. All I've found are a couple of dual 1/4" to xlr adapters.
You can use this one from Dyson Audio, can be made with REAN and Neutrik as well.
I don't know for the DAC, but here are some plots for the RME ADI-2 Pro fs vs RME ADI-2 Pro fs R

This is Loopback, so cumulating distortions and noise from DAC and from ADC
(so not to be strictly compared with Amir's measurements)

@+13dBu, 31 tones, 192kHz, Loopback in Mono mode (Sum of Main 1+2)

ADI-2 Pro fs
View attachment 67861


ADI-2 Pro fs R
View attachment 67862



@+24dBu, 100 tones, 48kHz, Loopback in Mono mode (Sum of Main 1+2)

ADI-2 Pro fs
View attachment 67863


ADI-2 Pro fs R
View attachment 67864
Did you open up the Pro FS R? I wonder if they still use Würth Elektronik capacitors.
 
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Just wondering how many of you leave Auto Ref on all the time. If I am want to use DAC function only and go to the integrated amp, shall i just leave it as Auto Ref off and dac volume fixed to 0db instead? What's the benefit of having auto ref on compare to off ?
 

Veri

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Just wondering how many of you leave Auto Ref on all the time. If I am want to use DAC function only and go to the integrated amp, shall i just leave it as Auto Ref off and dac volume fixed to 0db instead? What's the benefit of having auto ref on compare to off ?
I don't think there's any downside to Auto Ref, frankly,
 

McFly

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No. If you are feeding an integrated amplifier Or a Preamplifier you set output level to 7dbu and volume at 0 and auto ref off. Use your preamplifier or integrated amplifiers volume.

If you are using the volume control of the DAC, use auto ref ON. Auto ref is for feeding amplifiers with fixed or no volume control. You can use it with an integrated amplifier that is fixed at 0db aka HT bypass, if it has that option.
 

VintageFlanker

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If I am want to use DAC function only and go to the integrated amp, shall i just leave it as Auto Ref off and dac volume fixed to 0db instead?
Not a big deal, but yes. Fix volume for peace of mind purposes.;)
No. If you are feeding an integrated amplifier Or a Preamplifier you set output level to 7dbu and volume at 0 and auto ref off.
Which is 1.73V/3.46V.
Or +13dBu, then -4,5dB, to get 2V RCA/ 4V XLR.
 
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McFly

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I didnt say what voltage it was, because in the big picture 1.73V will work for the journeyman. If you must have 2V, use +7dbu and volume at +1.0db.
 

VintageFlanker

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I If you must have 2V, use +7dbu and volume at +1.0db.
Nope. It will overload the output that way. (Edit: not with V2)
+13dBu, -4,5dB (8,5dBu: 2V) is the setting recommended by @MC_RME to get regular 2V. This also the setting @amirm used for both V1 and V2 measurements.
But yes: 1,73V is enough for most cases scenario anyway.
 
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Matias

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Are there any 3rd party measurements of the latest ADI-2 Pro (FS R BE?) anywhere?
Should be the same as these here, as their output stages are the same according to the video above.
As for the AD converter that would be interesting to see.
 

jae

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Should be the same as these here, as their output stages are the same according to the video above.
As for the AD converter that would be interesting to see.
Apologies if I missed it, was the PRO revised simultaneously with the DAC? I remember the DAC measuring slightly better than the PRO
 

SimpleTheater

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Apologies if I missed it, was the PRO revised simultaneously with the DAC? I remember the DAC measuring slightly better than the PRO
I’m a believer that some people can hear distortion when the SINAD drops below 105, so in my opinion get the RME of your choice and don’t worry about which versions DAC measures slightly better.
 

Rja4000

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Are there any 3rd party measurements of the latest ADI-2 Pro (FS R BE?) anywhere?
I don't have measurements with AP, but I have some in loopback mode.
Not ideal, but gives you an idea, still.

When you reach over 116dB SINAD for the loopback (DAC and ADC), neither DAC nor ADC can be bad :)
When the range where Loopback SINAD reaches 113dB or more is covering a wide share (>85%) of the range from -2dBu to 24dBu, you know that's not just 'good'.
2020-06-01 23_22_13-Greenshot.png


And I also performed some measurements with the Pro fs R.

Note: This is what I call "measurement mode", which means both outputs and inputs are averaged as a mono signal.
Still, this is better than the ADI-2 Pro fs by several dBs in the same configuration
(Measured with Virtins Multi instrument 3.9 @48kHz)

EDIT: 4Vrms (+14.3dBu) is kind of worst case scenario here.
 
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DAC Audio Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard of 1 kHz tone and measure what comes out of the XLR balanced connectors (used for all the DAC tests):

View attachment 63551

The distortion level now is state of the art with levels at -130 dB (15 dB better that best case human hearing). Noise level is higher though and dominates, resulting in SINAD of 115 dB. This is 3 dB better than version one of this DAC so definitely improved but not the best we have seen:





We can see that in our dynamic range tests:
View attachment 63555

Just a few questions
1) What is the load on the DAC for distortion measurement above? 1k, 10k, 47k, 100k
It would be great to test the DAC on at least 2 loads maybe 10k and 100k (1k would be interesting also)
2) On the Dynamic range tests, is the voltage at 4V and 6.9V, peak or RMS?

Thanks
 
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