RME ADI-2 DAC or Pro with Roon?

I ordered the HiFi version (RME ADI-2 DAC) a few days back, together with a couple of Nord One MKII power amps: https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/product-page/nord-one-se-up-nc500mb-mkii-mono-block-single

Nord Acoustics sells the RME DAC because it apparently works very well with their amps, so I bought it all from same place. I also ordered a quality toslink cable: http://www.lifatec.com/toslink2.html

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Congratulations, I’m interested to hear what you think of the combo.

Hi all,

If I am not a heavy headphone user, does it still make sense to buy this DAC?

I got the RME ADI-2 DAC and it sounds excellent. The sound is very fluid and smooth compared to my old Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, but despite this have more details. The clarity of the sound is on a much higher level. And the DSP and configurable auto-adjusting loudness function is awesome, even at very low levels the music sounds full and complete.

I would guess that “analogue” lovers would not like this DAC though, its extremely neutral and open and highlights both the good and the bad. But if you want your HiFi to reproduce the music as faithfully as possible (which I do), its an excellent DAC as far as I can tell.

Only one problem, I can’t get DSD over toslink to work from Roon. I play from computer (Realtek ALC1150 chipset) and it does not support 176khz, so maybe this is the reason. I tried both native DSD and DSD over DoP. Maybe @brian can shed some light?

Btw, I compared toslink (cheap cable) with USB through Allo USBridge and behind fiber. I did it by letting Roon play same song to both zones and just switched between input on the DAC, and for the life of me I could not tell them apart. So I decided to stick with toslink for its simplicity (and fully galvanic isolation).

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Yeah, that’s a limitation we see often on motherboard chipsets. No DoP without 176.4kHz.

Annoying, is there no way to disable 176 in Roon so it does DoP over 192 instead? Or maybe there is some cheap PCI card with 2 channel audio and quality toslink out? (to much to hope for I guess)

The idea of DSD64 in DoP over 192 doesn’t make sense–the premise of DoP is that 176/24 has the same data rate as DSD64 + marker bits, so it’s possible to do a lossless synchronous encapsulation. If you ruin that data rate relationship, the whole idea kind of falls apart.

Oh well, so much for keeping it simple with toslink. Is anything simple in this hobby? :slight_smile:

just got the ADI 2 DAC and i’m wondering how I can play DSD Files to the Dac using the headphone output. There is no native DSD, only convert to pcm ond DSD over PCM which then can handle up to DSD256. How is the ADI configured the best for DSD Playback?

RME have their own forum for ADI-2 topics, perhaps that is best for these issues. Also, their guide is very good and available for PDF download. 17.2 DSD Direct is the section you are looking for, and it mentions "After activating DSD direct in the ADI-2 Dac’s menu… the analog signal is available only at the rear outputs, with a coarse volume control… Output P[h]ones and IEM deactivated. So you may want to use a separate phones amp for that pure DSD mode.

If you really want to use TOSlink with DoP64 support, get one of these for USB-to-TOSlink conversion. It comes with USB 2.0 compliant cable and 2 x short TOSlink cables. I can confirm it passes DoP64 fine.


I have one to feed HQP Embedded (functioning as TOSlink-to-USB converter…) and it passes DoP64 both ways…

Some USB-Toslink converters I’ve had are fine up to 96kHz but fail the DoP64 test.

RME even have a bit perfect test file for 24/192…

I’m speaking of dsd native with roon + adi 2 dac. Sorry. I did not mention that.

Yes, I saw that earlier, but I am reluctant to add another source for jitter (asynchronous USB is not totally jitter free). I ordered a cheap ($70) PCIe toslink sound card/interface instead, which is supposed to handle everything up to 192 khz (it also have toslink in, for recording). Lets see how that works.

I could also go RME all-in and order their PCIe sound card, but its over $500 so a little overkill (and can handle way way more than I will need).

Cool. Let us know how it goes with RME’s 24/192 bit perfect test files… if it fails, I would go for the miniDSP USBStreamer because I know that it does what it says on the box.

Already tried that on my current motherboard-toslink, 192/24 works flawlessly, the problem is that 176khz don’t work which is what DoP needs. For some reason, everything from 44khz to 192khz is supported except 176khz on my motherboard audio (Realtec ALC1150).

I will also receive my new toslink cable from Lifatec soon (470 stands glass fibers), will be interesting to see if it increases the SQ (according to people at RME forum it wont).

Whether it makes a difference or not, it’s a nicely made cable and not un-reasonably priced.

I’ve used one for years too. Initially bought it because some really el-cheapo cables I’ve used failed to pass DoP64 at the time.

The Lifactec worked nicely.

Are you comparing the built-in headphone amp sections of the RME vs Pro-Ject S2 here also?

Or just comparing analogue outputs of the DACs, to separate amp/s?

Just compared it as a preamp directly connected to power amp and then speakers.

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It depends on your transport ie on your Roon endpoint, if it has the right drivers. If you have some Linux device it usually has the DSD drivers but the audio interface must also support DSD. On a PC, you will need to install the Madiface USB drivers (if I remember well, they are common to many RME devices, including the ADI-2, and can be found on their site). That will enable DSD native through ASIO. If you then want DSD direct mode in ADI-2, that has to be enabled through the ADI-2 menu and it does NOT work with the headphone output, only with the rear outputs and you cannot change volume. Otherwise ADI-2 will convert to PCM and you could have done that in Roon of course.

I enabled the option in the dac but still no native dsd. With my cma400i its working on the same endpoint. But i think that the rme can “only” do dsd over pcm in roon. Can someone confirm that or is there anybody out there who runs the rme with roon and native dsd configured?