RME ADI-2 DAC or Pro with Roon?


#1

http://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/adi_2-dac.php
http://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/adi_2-pro.php

Anyone using one with Roon? I seem to remember one or two reports of people with the Pro. Wondering if anyone has the DAC model yet. Just curious how well it’s all working, what kind of upsampling/DSP etc ipeople are using, and any general impressions would be welcome.

Thanks…


#2

Answering my own question… I finally got the RME ADI-2 DAC. Just confirming that all seems to be working well with it, including upsampling in Roon to its maximum PCM 768khz 32-bit output over USB.
Unfortunately between ordering and receiving it the power supply for one of my monoblock power amps died, so for now I can’t speak as to sound quality…


(Pedro Sousa) #3

Hi @Occamsrazor

I am considering this RME ADI-2 DAC. What is you experience so far, are you happy with it? Any problems?

Thank you
Pedro


#4

Hi Pedro… Yes I am very happy with it. It’s a very compact well-built unit. It’s smaller than you think! I have not tested it against any other DACs (except my previous Audiolab MDAC) so I can’t really give any comments on sound quality except that I find it fine. I haven’t really had time to go into all the functionality like equalizers etc, although I do like the spectrum analyzer display.
I upsample everything in Roon on my Mac Mini to 32 bit 352khz. I also use it a lot for playing movies from Plex.
I didn’t feel the included remote control was very great - it worked but felt a bit plastic, so I use it with my Logitech Harmony remote instead which works fine.
Feel free to ask me any questions…


(Pedro Sousa) #5

Hello,

thank you for the answer.

How do you compare it with the MDAC? I do own an “audiolab” family system, more precisely a old TAG McLaren surround processor. That’s still my DAC. For some reason I got some psychological difficulty on changing it for something else… I look at new components and always guess how much more I will get out of them. But I realize things have move FWD a bit since mid 2000s.


#6

I never really tested the MDAC and ADI-2 side-by-side, I just switched from the MDAC to the ADI-2. I “feel” it is more resolving.
To be honest I think once you get to a certain point a different DAC isn’t going to make a big difference (I am sure many will disagree, and I accept my epxerience is very limited). So I wouldn’t expect a huge difference just switching from MDAC to ADI-2. I don’t know about your particular DAC.
That said… my MDAC was limited to 96khz on USB and i found that annoying and I wanted to be able to use higher rates. The ADI-2 will take any file you throw at it right up to 768khz. And of course with Roon you can upsample everything automatically. I don’t use DSD myself, so I cant speak to that.
The other thing is for both the MDAC and ADI-2 I am using them as preamps as well and I guess the preamp is also important. I’ve heard some people write the ADI-2 preamp is not as good as using a separate one and that is possible, but I find it absolutely fine and the convenience of having the DAC and preamp in one small box is really good.
So I am using my ADI-2 direct into power amps and subwoofer using both the RCA and XLR outputs:

ADI-2 > XLR > Hypex nCore Monoblock power amps > ATC SCM-11 speakers
ADI-2 > RCA > ATC C1 subwoofer

For me this does everything I want to a high enough quality that I feel I have no need to look at anything else.


(Pedro Sousa) #7

Before the DAC discussion, I have just watched this youtube video and found it really interesting. From one of the speaker gurus of our times:


He cites a few things that are real important and people tends to overlook, regarding what happens during recording and production.We never know how it sounded like during recording and just after being mixed and produced. And there are no perfect speakers. Neither perfect rooms. Even if all the electronic behind is “almost” perfectly capable of reproducing what was saved in the media.

I do agree with you. You reach a point the differences are difficult to identify. Plus sound reproduction depends on so many things, changing the room where you listen to a system is enough make it sound completely different.

My digital preamp is quite old. From 2000. I had it upgraded with new DAC chips 10 years ago, but that’s as far I it goes. It can do 192khz/24bit. At the time, the AV32R (model) was quite well considered. And to my limited ears, it always sounded very good. I am still in doubt I would have justifiable gains with a much more recent hardware, but I am tempted to try. My system is:
AV32R > RCA > TAG 250x3 amplifier > Monitor Audio floor standers

I mainly listen things in CD quality. My choice. So, 44.1/16. I rip them to ALAC files and use Roon to manage it all. Then stream it to a Chromecast Audio that is linked to the pre with optical cable.

How do you crossover the frequencies for the ATC (nice speakers) to the AT sub? Does the ADI-2 do that, filter the frequencies and then outputs mid/highs in the XLR and lows in the RCA?


(Adam Goodfellow) #8

I anyone using an RME-ADI-2 plugged into an Intel NUC with ROCK installed?

Any issues at all? (I remember there were some early teething problems on the RME forums with the ADI-2 and linux).


(Magnus) #9

Any more inputs on this DAC? I am considering upgrading my Pro-Ject DAC and for me preamp and small size is important since I listen in desktop environment and connect directly to power amp (DAC below computer monitor). So the RME ADI-2 DAC seems to be a practical choice and not to expensive (around $1000). I also read it sounds very good, but always nice to hear more opinions.


(Luke Boyce) #10

I’d like to second this request for experience with the RME ADI-2. I’m considering it as well as an upgrade in my main system. Currently using an older Teac UD-501 and wondering how much of an upgrade the RME would be in my system. Using Focal Clears for my headphones and my source is a PC running Roon.


(Tudor) #11

Both are fantastic DACs, the Pro is also an ADC, so you can convert any analog input (in fact you can set it up in multichannel mode to use all inputs). No issues with Roon on the DAC from my Windows-based PC (will try a NUC / Rock setup in the not-too-distant future). IMO their main advantage is the EQ feature, which is great for headphones. They also have separate loudness, normalization, and bass / treble gain for some quick adjustments when needed. You can run all outputs simultaneously (two headphones + one balanced output + TRS line out) and have separate EQ settings / customizations and save them, which is great if you have many headphones with different impedances, freq. response and so on. NOTE: there are limits on how much DSP / EQ you can do simultaneously, if any! DSP is expensive in terms of computing power. Otherwise very customizable, and the headphone amps are quite powerful - very impressive for such a small box. The display is nice, it can get in your face but of course there’s a setting to turn it off after 5 secs. Runs pretty hot compared to other DACs, I put a silent Aircom fan on top.

I would not eq the line out at all, and I also wouldn’t upsample everything from Roon; DAC chips upsample internally, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Roon of course has its own EQs and DSP, some amps also have those, so you have to decide what you want to do, and where. The ADI-2 DAC sounds very smooth and it’s the most customizable DAC / preamp / headphone amps I have seen.


(Magnus) #12

How does it sound compared to more regular HiFi DACs, like DACs from Chord? I have read reviews where the reviewer liked it better than Hugo 2, but I find that doubtful.


(Tudor) #14

I think you can filter using EQ on separate outputs, although I am not sure you can do it SIMULTANEOUSLY on the DAC (check their guide, it’s on their site). This is because the DSP chip cannot do too much at once. It seems to me you should DSP your subwoofers separately with specialized hardware which is cheap these days.


#15

This sure looks like an interesting DAC. Does anyone have any experiece with playing DSD from Roon to this DAC? Especially with headphones, when I read the manual it seems like it’s not possible and DSD will be converted to PCM?

“Even more extreme is DSD Direct. If activated (SETUP, Options, Device Mode), the DSD signal is not converted to PCM within the DAC, therefore there is no volume control at all – except for the analog reference levels, which can be used to set the coarse output level/volume. Left with no volume control, the ADI-2 DAC intentionally deactivates the headphone outputs in DSD Direct mode – the analog signal is only available at the rear outputs”


(Sean) #16

Yup, only PCM is possible via the headphone outputs.

So for DSD, you’ll need to use the DAC’s rear RCA/XLR outputs and connect to a separate headphone amp.

I have the THX 789 headphone amp and am thinking of getting the RME ADI-2 for DAC (incl. DSD) duties.

Currently connected to my THX 789 amp is a Pro-Ject S2 DAC and MrSpeakers Aeon Closed headphones.


(Magnus) #17

From what I understand, you can send DSD to the DAC but it will internally convert it to PCM during playback, unless you use DirectDSD mode in which case all DSP (including volume) and headphone amp is disabled.

This is a result of volume being done in 32bit DSP in the DAC.


(Sean) #18

Yup this is correct.


#19

Thanks!
I was primarily considering this for headphone duties, avoiding the separate headphone amp that I feel the Pro-ject S2 Digital needs. I have a fairly bit of DSD tracks so I might reconsider.


(Magnus) #20

Its a drawback with this DAC, the manual says that DSP cannot be performed on DSD but Roon does it so its certainly possible. Maybe it can be fixed with firmware update?

I think the reason for this is that RME mostly does equipment for studios, and I don’t think DSD is a big deal in the studio world.

@sohe68 here the RME DAC is compared with Soekris and Halo Cyan. The Halo Cyan also has the same behavior with volume and DSD btw: https://www.headphone.com/blogs/news/holo-audio-cyan-dac-amp-review


#21

NIce, thanks for the link!