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Sound fidelity (main out) on RME ADI-2 DAC FS vs UCX II

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Lifted

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I am debating on purchasing one or another (can't have both)

Can you tell me which unit has better sound quality on main out.
I read that DAC has lower THD/better noise floor than UCX, but how would you compare the main out reproduction.

Imagine that I am not using inputs at all, but will use EQ on both units, and trying to get main out as best sounding as possible. Without too much harshness in the highs.

I read RME ADI-2 DAC FS has ESS chip, but I can't find much on what chip does UCX II use.

I don't mind purchasing UCX II, but I am also looking for best sound fidelity.
RME ADI-2 DAC FS PRO is out of my price range, so comparing RME ADI-2 DAC FS vs UCX II.

I appreciate the feedback.
 

Trell

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I read RME ADI-2 DAC FS has ESS chip, but I can't find much on what chip does UCX II use.

AD is AK5558, DA is AK4458.

 
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AD is AK5558, DA is AK4458.

Thank you!
I believe you said you had UCX II (if my memory didn't get jumbled up)

Is ES9028Q2M arguably worse on ADI-2 FS? (Compared to UCX II AKM chips)
I went on RME forum and one of the regular people said that "Get ADI-2 FS instead of UCX ii." The results will be better.

Then I had RME reps give me that regular nonsense of saying everything "sounds the same and doesn't color the sound"
I hate when reps do that, but decide to put worse chips than in their ADI-2 PRO version that costs $2000, compared to $1299 unit with ADI-2 FS

I hate vagueness that companies give me, I called RME and was given another run around answer, when I was asking similar questions.
What's wrong with upselling your own product, and being objective! Let me buy what fits me, if it is 1299 or 1699, otherwise I will return it, and may not keep anything. Like in case of returning these Chinese DACs.

:(
 

voodooless

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Then I had RME reps give me that regular nonsense of saying everything "sounds the same and doesn't color the sound"
If you think this is nonsense, you’ll probably have a hard time around here..
I hate when reps do that, but decide to put worse chips than in their ADI-2 PRO version that costs $2000, compared to $1299 unit with ADI-2 FS
The PRO has an ADC. That makes is more expensive. The FS is tailored more towards audiophiles, and therefore get a bit higher grade DAC. That doesn’t mean you could actually keep them apart.
I hate vagueness that companies give me, I called RME and was given another run around answer, when I was asking similar questions.
They are not vague, they just give you an answer you don’t like.
What's wrong with upselling your own product, and being objective!
I wonder what your definition of “objective” would be…?
Let me buy what fits me, if it is 1299 or 1699, otherwise I will return it, and may not keep anything. Like in case of returning these Chinese DACs.
Did they stop you from buying any of their products? That would be a first…

As for the UCX II, if you don’t need the channels, don’t buy it.
 

Zensō

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If you think this is nonsense, you’ll probably have a hard time around here..

The PRO has an ADC. That makes is more expensive. The FS is tailored more towards audiophiles, and therefore get a bit higher grade DAC. That doesn’t mean you could actually keep them apart.

They are not vague, they just give you an answer you don’t like.

I wonder what your definition of “objective” would be…?

Did they stop you from buying any of their products? That would be a first…

As for the UCX II, if you don’t need the channels, don’t buy it.
^^^This ^^^
 

mrbungle

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I guess you get the answers you get because these are very different products.
As for the UCX II, if you don’t need the channels, don’t buy it.
To expand here, since it might not be obvious to the OP. Do you need a 40 channel professional audio interface? If not, go with the DAC. You get more for your money, for example a remote and a more powerful headphone amp. When you need mic and/or instrument inputs, you can later always get an interface. If you get one with digital out like the significantly cheaper Babyface Pro FS, you can even connect it to the DAC for monitoring.
 
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If you think this is nonsense, you’ll probably have a hard time around here..

The PRO has an ADC. That makes is more expensive. The FS is tailored more towards audiophiles, and therefore get a bit higher grade DAC. That doesn’t mean you could actually keep them apart.

They are not vague, they just give you an answer you don’t like.

I wonder what your definition of “objective” would be…?

Did they stop you from buying any of their products? That would be a first…

As for the UCX II, if you don’t need the channels, don’t buy it.
Sounds like you are taking a personal angle, are you repping RME? lol
Now, if you feel like I am nitpicking the question, and we are on the audio forum where you guys spend hours discussing DACs, and chips on DACs, you should understand. Or I don't know if you just picked me to conduct your frustrations on.

I will reiterate, when you manufacture products in different price brackets and have price difference of 500-700 bucks (USD), you better have a better answer than "all of our RME sounds clean" or "RME unit does not color sound"

That's comical, if not unprofessional. You know what it's called? It's called taking your company and shielding people from the truth (just in case they don't like the truth), when you are going to buy their product anyway.

I was able to reach a rep at RME, who I won't mention (because I don't like vicious people perhaps in the same company turning on their own people) and he clearly broke it down for me, to the point where I found out what chip is running on what hardware.
NEVER ONCE did he say that anything sounds the "same" or "we don't color the sound"

That's the man I listened to, not some throw-away answer of "everything is clean at RME", that's not an answer when you are justifying 500 dollars more on the product.

I really don't get people like you that don't have a horse in a race, and back convoluted answers as "gospel" that a consumer should just take it, on the strength of "Just trust me, bro, they all sound the same"

Thanks to that engineer I know clearly what is better now. There has not been a unit I listened to yet that sounds the same, be that Focusrite or RME, it doesn't happen. If you can hear it of course. Some just can't.

By the way, just so you know as well. Engineer did state that UCX ii has inferior chip compared to ADI-2 FS, but only if you compare to older revisions of ADI-2 FS.

So, that's the real answer

Thanks for input to the ones that tried without turning it into "Don't ask questions, bro, it's all the same"
 
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I guess you get the answers you get because these are very different products.

To expand here, since it might not be obvious to the OP. Do you need a 40 channel professional audio interface? If not, go with the DAC. You get more for your money, for example a remote and a more powerful headphone amp. When you need mic and/or instrument inputs, you can later always get an interface. If you get one with digital out like the significantly cheaper Babyface Pro FS, you can even connect it to the DAC for monitoring.

Like I said in the first post, "imagine I don't need input channels". This is the same way I asked RME reps this question, I did get the answer eventually from a rep, but before it was vagueness from RME and same with Sweetwater agents (though later had no clue about most stuff RME).

Eventually I got a rep from RME that stated a name of the chip on ADI-2 FS and did tell me UCX ii is slightly behind it, but by not much.
We both agreed that price difference was from amount of input channels, and it was a very civil and pleasant conversation. I will definitely come back to ask him more questions from this point on.

When you reach out to companies, last thing you want to hear is: "We don't color sound" or "It's all same clean sounding"
No. It's not the "same" and this is why you have units in different price brackets. And as you can see UCX ii is behind ADI-2 FS in sound fidelity, and it's very basic stuff that I asked.
The rep said that UCX ii is "great", but ADI-2 FS is "premium" as far as main out goes.

Solid answers, and definitely a customer here.
 
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You won’t get any other answer from me either.
But you did tell me what chips they are, that is more information than I had from RME in the beginning before I found the last rep.
So, thank you :)

ADI-2 FS is a class above UCX ii according to the chips, and the RME rep I spoke to. Not the tier above, but let's just say a half or quarter tier above UCX ii.
 

Zensō

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But you did tell me what chips they are, that is more information than I had from RME in the beginning before I found the last rep.
So, thank you :)

ADI-2 FS is a class above UCX ii according to the chips, and the RME rep I spoke to. Not the tier above, but let's just say a half or quarter tier above UCX ii.
Implementation is much more important than the slight differences between these chips. You’re focusing on something that has little to no bearing on sound quality.
 
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Implementation is much more important than the slight differences between these chips. You’re focusing on something that has little to no bearing on sound quality.
Chip is part of the implementation. Each stage of the device plays the role.
To say chip "doesn't matter" is very strange in a conversation of "implementation"
The DA chip is literally converting digital signal to analog, you think it's not important? I am not mocking you, but literally leading you to realization.
This is as important as it gets on DAC device. Bad chip will always output signal to your speakers worse than a good chip.

In 2020 due to chip shortages RME changed chips from AKM to ESS on ADI-2 DAC FS, and people complained about it. Difference was very auditory. ESS is crispier in the highs, AKM is more balanced. Arguably, AKM is a better chip.
 

voodooless

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Sounds like you are taking a personal angle, are you repping RME? lol
Your the one fooling yourself, not me.
Now, if you feel like I am nitpicking the question, and we are on the audio forum where you guys spend hours discussing DACs, and chips on DACs, you should understand. Or I don't know if you just picked me to conduct your frustrations on.
We do this largely because we’re engineering and science nuts. Listening to the damn things is a different activity;)
I will reiterate, when you manufacture products in different price brackets and have price difference of 500-700 bucks (USD), you better have a better answer than "all of our RME sounds clean" or "RME unit does not color sound"
Why? All of these products are for different use cases and markets. They have different feature sets. This primarily determines the price, not sound quality.
I was able to reach a rep at RME, who I won't mention (because I don't like vicious people perhaps in the same company turning on their own people) and he clearly broke it down for me, to the point where I found out what chip is running on what hardware.
Knowing the chip tells you little. Given the care RME takes in implementing these, they all perform well below human audibility levels.
NEVER ONCE did he say that anything sounds the "same" or "we don't color the sound"
Did you ask?
I really don't get people like you that don't have a horse in a race, and back convoluted answers as "gospel" that a consumer should just take it, on the strength of "Just trust me, bro, they all sound the same"
You should not trust me, and not stop asking questions. Just ask the right questions.
There has not been a unit I listened to yet that sounds the same, be that Focusrite or RME, it doesn't happen. If you can hear it of course. Some just can't.
I bet you’ve never done a controlled volume matched blind test.
By the way, just so you know as well. Engineer did state that UCX ii has inferior chip compared to ADI-2 FS, but only if you compare to older revisions of ADI-2 FS.
That’s part nonsense. The new and old FS basically measure the same, and RME publicly announced that they sound exactly the same. And you don’t have to take my word for it:


Besides, technically the old FS AKM chip is a better one than the AKM in the UCX. So that is clearly wrong information.
 
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Your the one fooling yourself, not me.

We do this largely because we’re engineering and science nuts. Listening to the damn things is a different activity;)

Why? All of these products are for different use cases and markets. They have different feature sets. This primarily determines the price, not sound quality.

Knowing the chip tells you little. Given the care RME takes in implementing these, they all perform well below human audibility levels.

Did you ask?

You should not trust me, and not stop asking questions. Just ask the right questions.

I bet you’ve never done a controlled volume matched blind test.

That’s part nonsense. The new and old FS basically measure the same, and RME publicly announced that they sound exactly the same. And you don’t have to take my word for it:


Besides, technically the old FS AKM chip is a better one than the AKM in the UCX. So that is clearly wrong information.

You are pretty much stating it is the "same" because RME told you so, over a video?
Okay, I will void your opinion, not based on RME, but due to your lack of deduction.

In 2020 we were told many things during Covid, did you believe every word that we were told?

You went through every sentence and told me nothing new, but what you believe RME is saying. Reiterating same stuff RME says, without actual logic.
I worked in sales for most of my life, and in every sales job you are told to NEVER tell worse aspects of something you sell, but focus on positives of each item sold.

You are listening to marketing videos? By marketing sales team?
I listen to engineers, the ones that service these units, and I will trust an engineer of 20+ years with RME, than a marketing video.
You can't be for real...posting a video from RME website. UCX ii and ADI-2 DAC FS have different chips.

Did you see any of the videos where they say any of their units smoke another unit?
No. Because it's called "sales".

No chip sounds the same, no amp sounds the same. So why would 2 different DACs sound the same?
I got my answers through RME engineer, not a marketing rep, but you are more than welcome to watch a slew of videos on RME channel that say nothing of quality comparisons.

RME never compares their own units in terms of sound. They would kill their own sales.
The engineer stated there is a definite difference, but you do your thing, man. While telling people units sound "the same", I am not that gullible.

Besides, technically the old FS AKM chip is a better one than the AKM in the UCX. So that is clearly wrong information.

That's exactly what I said, old FS AKM chip is better than UCX II. So you are arguing with me over what? Over the fact I am right?
Did you read my post, or you just want to be right?

Well, you are right, but I was right before you on this, before you started giving me sentence by sentence break down, while saying they sound the same?
"Below human audibility levels." is also some crap of a statement. We perceive as much as 5hz physically, we perceive higher frequencies above 20khz in ways of harmonic distortions and phasing back into audible frequencies.

So, the more you write this, the more it sounds like RME marketing team is saying it all sounds the same, while the video you just posted still said the chips don't sound the same lol! Did you even watch the video before you posted it?:facepalm:

Amazing how argument lead you to my victory of an argument, by default.
I am going to unsubscribe from this thread.

This is beyond absurd territory now.
 
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voodooless

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So again, you’ll just accept the answer that suits your beliefs. You are clearly not interested in the truth.

I don’t have to blindly follow an RME video. We are engineers en scientists, and research has shown that properly engineered DACs like these are indistinguishable in controlled tests. Nobody has shown otherwise.
 

pierre

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You are pretty much stating it is the "same" because RME told you so, over a video?
Okay, I will void your opinion, not based on RME, but due to your lack of deduction.

In 2020 we were told many things during Covid, did you believe every word that we were told?

You went through every sentence and told me nothing new, but what you believe RME is saying. Reiterating same stuff RME says, without actual logic.
I worked in sales for most of my life, and in every sales job you are told to NEVER tell worse aspects of something you sell, but focus on positives of each item sold.

You are listening to marketing videos? By marketing sales team?
I listen to engineers, the ones that service these units, and I will trust an engineer of 20+ years with RME, than a marketing video.
You can't be for real...posting a video from RME website. UCX ii and ADI-2 DAC FS have different chips.

Did you see any of the videos where they say any of their units smoke another unit?
No. Because it's called "sales".

No chip sounds the same, no amp sounds the same. So why would 2 different DACs sound the same?
I got my answers through RME engineer, not a marketing rep, but you are more than welcome to watch a slew of videos on RME channel that say nothing of quality comparisons.

RME never compares their own units in terms of sound. They would kill their own sales.
The engineer stated there is a definite difference, but you do your thing, man. While telling people units sound "the same", I am not that gullible.

You should try a blind test. It doesn’t need to be double blind. Take 2 dacs, listen to them blind. Easy to do, excellent for education.
 
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You should try a blind test. It doesn’t need to be double blind. Take 2 dacs, listen to them blind. Easy to do, excellent for education.
As I always do, and I never saw a DAC, or a preamp, or an amp, that sounded the "same" with different circuitry and different chips.
In fact, I am yet to hear a microphone of same brand, and same model that sounds the same.

We used to stereo match mics at factory level when I was in a recording studio work.

Amazing how we are having conversation about "educating" yourself, when you guys stress the fact that it sounds the "same"
Maybe, go explore that theory on blind test.
 

voodooless

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In fact, I am yet to hear a microphone of same brand, and same model that sounds the same.

We used to stereo match mics at factory level when I was in a recording studio work.
That isn’t very remarkable. Mircrophones are known to have quite a lot of deviation. That’s why measurement mics come with an individual calibration file. Otherwise, differences in frequency response are certainly above audibility.

You can’t compare this to electronics. The differences there are several orders of magnitude smaller.
 
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