• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Why would someone choose the D90/A90 stack over a ADI-2-DAC FS?

Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
15
Likes
3
#1
I am looking for a DAC/AMP setup for my desktop, and my budget is essentially $1500. The lowest impedance headphones I would be using are 32 ohm so the DX3/DX7 pro are unfortunately out. Not a fan of the styling of the M500.

The A90/D90 stack and the RME ADI-2FS both have caught my eye. From all the reviews I have read, the A90/D90 stack measures much better, but the measured difference between the Topping stack and the RME unit are not audible. The A90 can put out double the power, but into into 32 ohms that's 3.3W vs. 1.5W -- do any headphones really need that much power?

I'm just confused because the RME seems like the no brainier. But the Topping stack is hugely popular. Please educate me!

EDIT1: Bluetooth input is important to me, but the cost of a Bluetooth->SPDIF converter with the RME unit is below the cost of the topping stack. But it unfortunately does eliminate the advantage of just 1 box.

EDIT2: Bonus question. I have the chance to pick up a really nice condition Demo unit of the ADI-2 Pro for about $100 more than the ADI-2FS. Is there any reason to consider this?
 
Last edited:

3125b

Active Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
276
Likes
251
Location
Germany
#4
the A90/D90 stack measures much better
Do they? Dont forget, using two devices, you have to add the noise and distortion of both, giving us about 114dB SINAD (best case).
For the ADI its hard to tell with the way Amir measured it, but performance wont be terribly far behind, both options are audibly transparent without a doubt.
The Topping stack would have the disadvantage of having two grounded units in one circuit, that might lead to ground loop problems.
The RME Pro would also incorporate a very good ADC, if you want that is up to you - could be cool for measuring other devices via free software just for the fun of it.
 
OP
C
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
15
Likes
3
Thread Starter #5
The RME Pro would also incorporate a very good ADC, if you want that is up to you - could be cool for measuring other devices via free software just for the fun of it.
This actually appeals to me a bit. Is there a good introduction on how you'd do this?
 

ReaderZ

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
Messages
396
Likes
254
#6
A90 is the better amp period. The difference is more like 6W vs 1.5W , not 3.5 vs 1.5W, so almost 4x the power. I may not need the power now, but knowing I can drive any headphone in the future is nice. I do not have D90.

Edit: also for things like 50mv, it's 93 vs 89 shown in test done here, but because A90 performance is beyond the limit of AP, the actual number should look something like 105 vs 90.
 
Last edited:

Eugene.H

New Member
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
3
Likes
2
#8
I bought Soncoz LA-QXD1 and A90. The dac measures almost the same as RME Pro, and the amp gets more power which allows me to drive any headphone in the market. Most importantly, I saved a lot of money!!!
 

3125b

Active Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
276
Likes
251
Location
Germany
#9
Is there a good introduction on how you'd do this?
I wouldn't know, it's just something that crossed my mind seeing the Techpowerup mainboard reviews using RightMark (and there are many alternatives to that I think).
I guess that would be an option with the 117dB SINAD ADC of the RME Pro.
There should be tutorials online, I have never looked into it (though I might have to familiarize myself with that at some point).
 

Atanasi

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
75
Likes
33
#10
I think the analog input of A90 is an advantage of separate devices. I could connect it to various sources and get clean amplification.
 

Adam Bernau

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
Messages
35
Likes
41
#11
I bought Soncoz LA-QXD1 and A90. The dac measures almost the same as RME Pro, and the amp gets more power which allows me to drive any headphone in the market. Most importantly, I saved a lot of money!!!
The Soncoz you have mentioned looks like unbelievable value for money, but RME has great advantage in functionality, fully parametric equalisation, and even variable Fletcher Munson curve based loudness. I have actually made a few stereo installations, where the ability to correct the worse of the room modes was very positive for the resulting sound of the system. The Soncoz doesn´t have anything like it, or does it?
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
14
Likes
11
Location
Colombia
#12
RME all the way. It has the right balance of performance and features, in an all-in-one package. And it's perfect quality German engineering. Those better measurements no longer matter as they're in the inaudible realm already.
 
Top Bottom