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

G-rig

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Knowing RME's maniac attention to details, I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter at all.
Go for it. You'll never regret.
Pretty tempting and would last a long time.
Just need to check which chip is the better I've to get, think there's a place locally that still has the AKM.

Seems like the headphone amp is half decent too. No Bluetooth may not matter, still got a yamaha yba-11 Bluetooth with coaxial i could plug in for visitors
 

Trell

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Is it worth trying to get the old model with the AKM Chip is it? Was set on an MQA decoding chifi offering but could maybe not worry about that and go for all out quality. It's to match up with some powered Yamaha monitors via balanced XLR.

Cheers

As @Rja4000 wrote it likely will not matter at all, and RME says so themselves in the youtube clip below. Given RME's history I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

With performance at this level from so many excellent products it's more about features, connectivity, price, support, build quality, looks than just the absolute performance. The RME ADI-2 DAC FS is laden with features, if you need/want them.


*) I own the RME ADI-2 DACF fs with the AKM chip as well as the audio interface RME UCX II that I just bought.
 
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Grotti

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Pretty tempting and would last a long time.
Just need to check which chip is the better I've to get, think there's a place locally that still has the AKM.

Seems like the headphone amp is half decent too. No Bluetooth may not matter, still got a yamaha yba-11 Bluetooth with coaxial i could plug in for visitors
It does not matter, which chip is better on paper as long as the implementation is done right. I own the Pro fs BE and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one even if it would be equipped with a ESS chip.

And I would certainly not care about MQA and BT ;)...
 

G-rig

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Ok sounds good, just going to run USB in from a rpi4, and want to use the vol control for monitors. Should work ok
Cheers
 

Trell

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Ok sounds good, just going to run USB in from a rpi4, and want to use the vol control for monitors. Should work ok
Cheers

The ADI-2 has Dynamic Loudness and PEQ built-in as well as a powerful headphone amp, major reasons why I bought the ADI-2 in the first place for desktop use, but if you don't want/need that there are other much cheaper high-performance options to consider.
 

G-rig

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The ADI-2 has Dynamic Loudness and PEQ built-in as well as a powerful headphone amp, major reasons why I bought the ADI-2 in the first place for desktop use, but if you don't want/need that there are other much cheaper high-performance options to consider.
Wouldn't mind the option of desktop use down the track, would be a neater solution to the ifi zen DAC and old Matrix m-stage. Still sounds good just bit messy. Mainly just want to update my DAC magic (as I've been discussing in another thread. Was getting a few pops (on/off & input selection) with a SMSL su-9 so waiting for a refund for that. Otherwise considering topping d70se/D90SE or SMSL D1se. Good to buy something decent that will last many years with no odd issues.
 

amper42

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Is it worth trying to get the old model with the AKM Chip is it? Was set on an MQA decoding chifi offering but could maybe not worry about that and go for all out quality. It's to match up with some powered Yamaha monitors via balanced XLR.

Cheers

The RME ADI-2 FS DAC is a great choice. While the china companies are cranking out new DAC models every month and offering minimal customer support for problems discovered, RME is continually looking for ways to improve it's firmware and users get updates FREE with an easy to use flasher. You won't find the compatibility issues in the ADI-2 that some report in these forums with China Dacs. RME looks at the ADI-2 as a long term product to continually improve.

Not only is RME support for current customer way beyond what you can expect from China models but many of the features available for controlling gain, loudness, EQ and balance are not even on the map with most DACs. In addition, the pre-amp section of the ADI-2 is far above what a standard DAC offers. The ADI-2 may look pricey but you won't be buying 3-4 DAC a year because the previous model had a bug or a feature missing. It's a totally different business model that I find refreshing as a customer.

Whether you get the AKM chip or the new ESS chip in your new ADI-2 it will be great. RME doesn't release half baked product. They have an eye for exceptional detail in their high level product testing that I really appreciate.
 

G-rig

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Sounds like a worthwhile investment that should last me ages, and the flexibility for different listening setups. Not sure how my old headphone amp stacks up these days, packs a good punch, just RCA in and probably wouldn't bother if I was using the RME at the desk (don't get much for selling stuff but good to simplify things).

Would rather spend a bit more than stuff around with other offerings that are great on paper but various issues. Still plenty of choice and good options around. 2k Aus is kind of double but may try getting a deal
 

TunaBug

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Nice to see everybody discussing V2 vs V3, meanwhile mine arrives Tuesday. I confess I have a slight pretense for the AKM, but not for any reasons that are measurable.
 

Zim

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Nice to see everybody discussing V2 vs V3, meanwhile mine arrives Tuesday. I confess I have a slight pretense for the AKM, but not for any reasons that are measurable.
Pretty sure there’s still only a V2, one being AKM, other being ESS.
 

G-rig

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A link to a blogpost by a RME forum member showing the various ADI-2 models, including release dates. Lots of good info there.


Just had a quick look, pretty good info there.
Wonder if they'd go back to the AKM after 2022 or stick with the ESS. I could probably still source either one, don't know if it matters at all (The unit with AKM has a filter called Short Delay Low Dispersion, while the one with ESS has a filter called Brickwall (the other filters, SD Sharp, SD Slow, Sharp, Slow, NOS, are identical). Further chip dependent differences are mentioned in the manual).

'I make sure not to buy cheap USB or TOSLINK cables. Just good connectors and good shielding. The prices here are still well below € 20, so you don't have to overdo it. If you don't believe it, just measure it, see above.'


I've always thought Coax is better than Optical. I thought any usb cable would be good enough (like the normal ones they ship with the DACs. Quite hard finding a nice thick short (0.5m long) printer cable (USB A-B) other than the cheapos, in short of spending up to $90+ on an Audioquest Cinnamon.
 

Trell

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Just had a quick look, pretty good info there.
Wonder if they'd go back to the AKM after 2022 or stick with the ESS. I could probably still source either one, don't know if it matters at all (The unit with AKM has a filter called Short Delay Low Dispersion, while the one with ESS has a filter called Brickwall (the other filters, SD Sharp, SD Slow, Sharp, Slow, NOS, are identical). Further chip dependent differences are mentioned in the manual).

'I make sure not to buy cheap USB or TOSLINK cables. Just good connectors and good shielding. The prices here are still well below € 20, so you don't have to overdo it. If you don't believe it, just measure it, see above.'


I've always thought Coax is better than Optical. I thought any usb cable would be good enough (like the normal ones they ship with the DACs. Quite hard finding a nice thick short (0.5m long) printer cable (USB A-B) other than the cheapos, in short of spending up to $90+ on an Audioquest Cinnamon.

For USB 2.0 you don't need thick cables nor are they particularly expensive for good quality. The USB cables that RME supplied with my ADI-2 DAC FS and UCX II have a length of 6ft (1.8m) that are not thick, but not thin either, and seems to be of good quality. They are for USB 2.0, though, as can be seen on the male USB-A connector that is partly white as opposed to blue for 3.x.

To test USB errors RME has implemented a test in the settings dialog that will report any checksum errors detected when it's open.

And stay away from Audioquest and spend the money saved on something useful.

1634568454914.png
 
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TunaBug

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To test USB errors RME has implemented a test in the settings dialog that will report any checksum errors detected when it's open.
View attachment 159926

That's fabulous! I've been thinking that somebody should build that. Concrete evidence that your cheap USB cable is bit perfect (or if it isn't). The DACs have the error information, it's just a matter of exposing it, although in RME's case it seems like it could be on the device's display.
 

TunaBug

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Pretty sure there’s still only a V2, one being AKM, other being ESS.

Does RME even call it a V2? I thought that was just a way for internet reviewers to differentiate which unit they tested, and to RME they are all "ADI-2 DAC fs" no matter which of the three chips it has inside.
 

G-rig

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Why on earth would you spend $90 on a USB cable?!
Originally was getting a ground loop but it wasn't going to fix it anyway, and decided that works be a big waste of money haha. A lot of the cable industry is a flog, especially when it comes to digital. Just odd how there is no middle ground. I'd pay slightly more for a bit better, shorter one to keep things neat (like the thick Blue one that came with the ifi zen is neat).

Anyway my mate has the ADI-2 FS and may sell it to me on a good deal as he wants the Pro :)
 

G-rig

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For USB 2.0 you don't need thick cables nor are they particularly expensive for good quality. The USB cables that RME supplied with my ADI-2 DAC FS and UCX II have a length of 6ft (1.8m) that are not thick, but not thin either, and seems to be of good quality. They are for USB 2.0, though, as can be seen on the male USB-A connector that is partly white as opposed to blue for 3.x.

To test USB errors RME has implemented a test in the settings dialog that will report any checksum errors detected when it's open.

And stay away from Audioquest and spend the money saved on something useful.

View attachment 159926
Wow that's good and thanks for confirming, I know a lot of that crap is a waste of money. You don't even need USB 3.. if anything a better power supply for the pie is worthwhile if plugging in an external HDD too, just need to know if a powered HDD better (probably not necessary but may be good to use a Nas drive, and not sure it needs to stay on 24/7, or the pie for that matter)
 

Trell

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Wow that's good and thanks for confirming, I know a lot of that crap is a waste of money. You don't even need USB 3.. if anything a better power supply for the pie is worthwhile if plugging in an external HDD too, just need to know if a powered HDD better (probably not necessary but may be good to use a Nas drive, and not sure it needs to stay on 24/7, or the pie for that matter)
For devices that needs USB 3 you obviously need USB 3 cables, but not for the two RME devices I mentioned above as they are USB 2 as well as having an external power supply.
 
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