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

350Industrial

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As long as the performance is comparable on a very high level, which can be proven by science (measurements), there is no room for an "opinion". I can't see the objective reason for your rejection of the ADI-2 with the ESS chip.

Are you really expecting ESS and AKM to sound different in the implementation of RME? Like it was said before: RME is no high-end BS and they know their job, which is evident by the data they and others provide. So again: when performance is on the same high level, where is the objective reason to reject the ESS version without even considering to listen to it? If in doubt, you could conduct a proper blind test of both versions and share the results here on ASR: curious to see, if anyone could hear a difference under controlled conditions.....
I am not. I expect them to sound exactly the same, just like RME states in their well-done product update video. I never said I wanted AKM due to sounding better, or different. Looks like the Amazon store is on to ESS chips now anyway, so carry on.
 

TunaBug

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I have no delusions that an AKM will sound any different than an ESS unit, much less "better". My preference for an AKM unit was nothing more than, perhaps, sentimental desire of a pre-fire device. While not objective, arguing with me about that is about as useful as arguing about what my favorite color should be. My desire is not so strong that I'm going to send back the one I just received. As far I'm concerned I will never hear a difference, and any missed chance at sentimentality is all on me. Nor would I send it back and try to buy a different device: what I wanted was an RME ADI-2 DAC, and that's more important than who made the chip.
 

350Industrial

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I have no delusions that an AKM will sound any different than an ESS unit, much less "better". My preference for an AKM unit was nothing more than, perhaps, sentimental desire of a pre-fire device. While not objective, arguing with me about that is about as useful as arguing about what my favorite color should be. My desire is not so strong that I'm going to send back the one I just received. As far I'm concerned I will never hear a difference, and any missed chance at sentimentality is all on me. Nor would I send it back and try to buy a different device: what I wanted was an RME ADI-2 DAC, and that's more important than who made the chip.
Agreed. I run a PE Firm that does a lot of business with AKM and a subsidiary company, so I was just looking to hold on to a bit of history.
 

RHO

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there is no room for an "opinion".
There is no limit to the freedom of mind. Everyone can have an opinion as much as they like. I even think whatever the opinion they should be able to express it. (Peacefully!)
That does not mean any opinion is as valuable as the next.
I think an opinion that there is no room for someone else's opinion in a discussion is just wrong.
If you don't like it, ignore it. Or explain why your opinion differs from theirs. You can be perfectly right, you know. Try to convince them.

I come across this more often on this forum lately. "It's not science (in my opinion)! You're not allowed to say this!"
 

danadam

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I come across this more often on this forum lately. "It's not science (in my opinion)! You're not allowed to say this!"
But it is the opposite of what happened here :). Paraphrasing:
Grotti: It is science
350Industrial: Thank you for your opinion
Grotti: It was not *my* opinion. There is no room for an opinion.
 

RHO

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But it is the opposite of what happened here :). Paraphrasing:
Grotti: It is science
350Industrial: Thank you for your opinion
Grotti: It was not *my* opinion. There is no room for an opinion.
Hmmm, then I misinterpreted it in this instance. (I'm sure in other instances that I didn't ;) )
I'll re-read the conversation.

Edit: Re-read the conversation. Still, the way I read it is that @Grotti thinks his point of view is the only one, because he came to the conclusion via objective data. Doesn't mean he's wrong about there, most likely, being no objective perceptual difference between the AKM vs ESS version. Still, it's his opinion, which I tend to agree with. Still @350Industrial has a different opinion, which I do not share. But both have opinions. One is much more objective and (in my view reasonable) the other much less so. There is room for both. @350Industrial should be free to dismiss the perfectly reasonable opinion. His/her loss. But @Grotti is wrong, in my view, in there being no room for an opinion. He just expressed it. His opinion is clealry to follow objective data, which is very reasonable in most cases.
Well, this is becoming word games... Let's say I agree with Grotti's opinion. But not the way he expressed it. :)
 
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amper42

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My second RME ADI-2 DAC FS just arrived for the office from B&H. It's the "B" version with the AK4493 chipset. Looks like the old versions may still be available at B&H.

I placed it on top of my 30 year old SoundCraftsmen S800 until my Buckeye 2-channel NC502MP Amplifiers arrive. Amazingly, it's the exact same width and sounds pretty good for an ancient amp. :D

ADI-2 DAC.png
 

Matias

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My second RME ADI-2 DAC FS just arrived for the office from B&H. It's the "B" version with the AK4493 chipset. Looks like the old versions may still be available at B&H.

I placed it on top of my 30 year old SoundCraftsmen S800 until my Buckeye 2-channel NC502MP Amplifiers arrive. Amazingly, it's the exact same width and sounds pretty good for an ancient amp. :D

View attachment 160800
ADI-2 + NC502MP = bliss
 

amper42

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What are you using to create the 2 screens on top of ADI-2? Please be specific as if I was building this ride. :D
 

Miska

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Thanks for doing this.

Rob makes a lot of dubious claims about audiblility but we won't go there in this thread.

I simply wanted to know how ADI-2 goes against his technical performance claim that his Chord DACs are the only in the world that don't have measurable noise floor modulation.

I wonder if loopback is the cause of the noise floor modulation you are getting here?

Would be great for @amirm or @MC_RME to confirm with APx555 measurement of ADI-2 DAC section standalone.

Here is the same claim, this time for the more affordable Chord Qutest which amir has measured too:


10052943.jpg

If you measure for example ESS Sabre DACs, you need to remember that if you want sensible results, "zero signal" cannot be just 0-valued samples. Because it triggers mute function in ESS Sabre (any same valued repeating sample will do this) and likely also triggers mute relays/transistors in most implementations in addition to DAC chip going to mute. This would show fake "noise floor modulation", because DAC output is shorted to ground in such case and analog noise of the output stage is out. So you must use properly dithered silence to get meaningful results!

And "noise floor at -176 dB" is kind of misleading because the actual number depends just on combination of measurement sampling rate, FFT length and amount of averaging.
 

G-rig

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That is true, but unfortunately it is not 4-pin XLR, I would rather just use SE in that case since the whole idea was to be able to use my existing 4-pin cables as-is without an adapter. It is not really a 'necessary' thing and really doesn't provide much benefit
Just get some 3-pin XLRs. I got a longer pair of XLRs lately as I did away with my old nano patch gain controller between my dacmagic and monitors, so nice having a DAC with hardware volume and a remote.

Just on that note, I connected the RME Adi-2 FS up to the Yamaha HS80M monitors and RPI 4 USB input, it all works well together. The Yamahas always sound good but noticed the sound is a bit more refined and slightly clearer and better separation, pretty happy with the combo. I'm sure the sound improvement of the RME over the Dacmagic / iFi Zen Dac would be much more evident on good headphones so may test that out today with the PC.

I'm just wondering, I've got volumio set at 100 and to use the hardware volume Only on the DAC. Is this the recommended approach for best sound, or does software mixing affect the sound? I've never noticed much of a difference and having the volume rockers working on the phone and volumio web interface is convenient but not that hard using the remote. I've got the monitors volume on about 60% and there is decent range. Before, I had them right down as I was running my old DAC with no Vol control , and with the speakers right down it could be extremely loud unexpectedly, and was using software volume control.

Tidal connect and volumio works well, obviously this DAC is great anyway and happy with cd quality but still have the Qobuz trial and found myself testing various 192kHz stuff. Day to day don't think I need it, and happy to play a lot of my own flac collection once I free up a HDD for the rpi4.

Thanks

Edit: Nvm - the Chromecast Audio is still plugged into optical and handy for Google Home/voice and volume control and general listening (up to 96kHz), no need to use Volumio all the time (but great for gapless for electronic music). Gotta say for the very small cost, the RPi4 does the job very nicely.
 
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G-rig

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Hi @MC_RME were you able to solve the infamous 'ESS hump' with your new ESS model ADI-2?
Can you hear this hump, is it even an issue?
With all the ADI-2 EQ adjustments sure you could customise the sound exactly how you want it.

Ps. Turns out my mate's ADI-2 I got is a rev. B model :p. He hasn't used it much but bought 6 months or a bit more ago. Pretty sure I'll take it off his hands :D
 

Dro

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Part of the appeal to me, with the older revisions of this DAC, was that RME met or exceeded the specs of the DAC chips themselves in their implementation. So I can understand that if you get an ESS version, you want no ESS hump.
 

G-rig

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Yes I'm just saying it depends if there is actually any real world difference, and even worth worrying about. I know that audiophiles are an extremely anally retentive lot
 
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