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RME ADI-2 vs D50s+Atom, audible difference for Aeon Closed?

geek101

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#1
I was so impressed with the measurements of Toppping D50s and JDS Labs Atom that got that combo and have been testing with Mr Speakers Mad dog headphones.

I need another setup for Aeon closed and RME ADI-2 DAC is what I am considering (very impressive engineering in a small package). I do not need most of the features of this DAC. I like the balanced output and good measurements and power of the amp stage. That’s about it.

I wonder if I don’t care about the balanced output could I just get another set of D50s+Atom and be happy with it?.

If I cannot hear a difference I don’t need the RME. Given the measurements can I infer this , at least in the context of Aeon Closed.

Btw I tired listening to difference between DSD256 and PCM 24bit/96Khz (source is DXD master) and there was none!!. So my ears are perhaps a gonner !!?.
 

Blumlein 88

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#2
I'd say go for another D50+Atom. If anybody has a reason the RME path sounds better I'd like to read about it.
 

Music1969

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#3
@geek101

Aeon Closed have a flat impedance of ~12 ohms, so it's really important your headphone amp has 1 ohm output impedance or less.

Both ADI-2 and Atom do, so both tick that important box.

One cool feature ADI-2 has is Bauer crossfeed DSP, built-in: http://bs2b.sourceforge.net/

I really like Bauer crossfeed DSP with headphones and it's cool that ADI-2 has it built-in, for any input.

I've considered the same combo you have but built-in Bauer crossfeed DSP is enough to make me go with RME.

ADI-2 has other DSP options built-in also. It's quite feature packed.
 

geek101

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#5
@Music1969 Humm quite an interesting DSP. Are we then listening to music all wrong till now or is this for people who want to replicate the speaker / room effect in headphones. Or this DSP useful only for some recordings ?.
 

solderdude

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#6
Aeon Closed have a flat impedance of ~12 ohms, so it's really important your headphone amp has 1 ohm output impedance or less.

Both ADI-2 and Atom do, so both tick that important box.
Actually in the case of the AEON the output resistance does not matter as the AEON has a flat DC resistance so no tonal balance changes occur when using a higher output R amplifier other than a reduced level. Given the sensitivity this too isn't a problem.

The EQ and DSP features make the RME more interesting. Certainly the AEON open can do with some EQ.
 

graz_lag

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#7
What abt. the Gilmore Lite mk2 from HeadAmp?
 

geek101

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#9
Actually in the case of the AEON the output resistance does not matter as the AEON has a flat DC resistance so no tonal balance changes occur when using a higher output R amplifier other than a reduced level. Given the sensitivity this too isn't a problem.

The EQ and DSP features make the RME more interesting. Certainly the AEON open can do with some EQ.
Thanks to you and @Music1969 for taking about DSP and EQ. How and why do you use it for ?. Is it because of the headphones ?.

Thinking about I am a bit concerned about Aeon closed frequency response past 1k, goes -10db by around 5k. Can this or should this be addressed by EQ?.
 

Music1969

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#10
@Music1969 Humm quite an interesting DSP. Are we then listening to music all wrong till now or is this for people who want to replicate the speaker / room effect in headphones. Or this DSP useful only for some recordings ?.
I (subjectively) prefer Bauer crossfeed with everything. It might be more useful with some recordings than others but I use it all the time in Roon. I don't turn it off as I prefer it on all the time.

But having it built into the DAC means you're not just limited by software - it will be applied to any input, any software.

Then there is parametric EQ feature also and if one ear starts to go south (compared to other ear) you can adjust channel balance too.
 

solderdude

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#11
Thanks to you and @Music1969 for taking about DSP and EQ. How and why do you use it for ?. Is it because of the headphones ?.

Thinking about I am a bit concerned about Aeon closed frequency response past 1k, goes -10db by around 5k. Can this or should this be addressed by EQ?.
AEON closed:



Yes, with PEQ you can 'correct' the drop and thereby increasing clarity.
Probably +6dB around 3kHz will make it better.

You can also apply this EQ in software in which case you can also use the D50/Atom for a lot less money.
The ADI2 Pro has much more tricks up its sleeve though.
 

geek101

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#12
@solderdude thank you. I haven’t used PEQ for headphones in a while. Any downsides to this?.
I really wish that Mr Speakers should have addressed this. The only reason why I like the LCD-XC, but the LCD-XCs are dated and with too much bass for my tastes.
 

solderdude

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#14
When increasing an amplitude (certainly in the bass) one needs to lower the overall level to avoid clipping when using software.
I am not sure how the RME handles this but I suspect this is not an issue with RME when using its volume control.

Some things in headphones are nigh on impossible to 'change' for the better without f-ing up other parts in the frequency range.
In case of the AEON closed I think Dan did a really good job. It is up to the owner to correct what cannot be properly done in a passive/acoustic way.
At least when the owner feels it is needed to address this.
The 3kHz dip makes the headphone less 'strident' and more 'relaxed' sounding but it is a bit overdone. The Pinna can not make up for this, the dip is too deep for this. Hence my suggestion to keep the correction at +6dB.
 

Music1969

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#15
When increasing an amplitude (certainly in the bass) one needs to lower the overall level to avoid clipping when using software.
I am not sure how the RME handles this
Maybe @MC_RME can advise if headroom is added before using ADI-2's parametric EQ? And before Bauer crossfeed is applied?
 

geek101

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#16

Music1969

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#17
Well yes it was this review and price that got me hooked. Well it is on the “wall of fame”.
Noted. I only shared that quote in reply to your comment "I really wish that Mr Speakers should have addressed this."

These are fantastically measuring headphones, as they are, without EQ (closely following Harman Target Curve, as Tyll comments).

But you can definitely use EQ to suit personal taste of course.

EQ can be done in software but then you may be limited by choice of software. I like all the DSP features being built into the ADI-2, so you can apply it to any source and any software.
 

soundwave76

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#20
I set the ADI-2 volume to -4dB with my L300 Ltd EQ setting. If I don't do that, I see the volume peak meters hit red every once in a while. Probably doesn't matter, but I did that anyway... :)
 
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