RME DAC performance

On the website ASR, the now older RME 2nd generation DAC AKM4493EQ, has been measured as almost a top DAC and hence today are superseeded by newer.
However I claimed that the measurement has never been done with in my opinion outstanding “direct dsd” mode, which I claimed sounded superior. I should not have done that. Sitting duck hunting from the “grand contributors” specialists claiming if you cannot prove the claim with measurements, the listening experience is of no value and just yada yada… Every difference in sound is hence measurable. That is as firm as a physical law. Period. OK.

Now, have anyone done this measurement in a reasonably similar set-up as mine? I “feel” the difference is substantial to feed the RME, set to bypass its prorietary DSP, with a HQplayer resample setting as follows;
DSD256 DoP (max DSD speed), poly-sinc-gauss-xla, 32bit, 12880000 max bit rate, and auto selected actual bit rate by HQP, ASDM7v2EC.

Rest of setup:

  1. Source, Qobuz
  2. Playback and resample, HQPlayerd 4th generation (late) on Ubuntu Desktop (jammy) LTS
  3. NAA, self built PC running NAA image (latest), silent cool at about 16 dB
  4. USB output from NAA, Matrix Element H USB controller with isolated separate linear supply (Keces) and a comprehensive seal of any galvanical and airborn noise
  5. DAC, RME ADI-2 DAC fs, 2nd generation with AKM4493QE dac chip, set to direct DSD.
  6. Hypex nCore 400 monoblocks, custom filtering and anti-resonance added on speaker output
  7. Marten Parker Trio speakers
  8. Substantial attention to ground potential equalization between any of the hardware components in the rig and any signal path; network, analogue and digital, all shielded cabling, no radio transmission
  9. An almost ridiculous attention to mains, keeping it at a stable very low noise (15-16 mV @ 0-10MHz), no DC and no over-voltage transients.

Music from any genre has never in my life been presented with this kind of life-like accuray here at my place. IMHO I have the possibility and pleasure of compairing to other various systems.

I have recently been to Hamburg and Elbphilharmonie and enjoyed some classical music, one of the best musical experiences I have ever had, thanks to the new concert hall’s formidable acoustics. It showed how impossible sound reproduction really is, but nevertheless here we are.

I still claim the music reproduction from this RME is the closest to reality I have heard and that is compared to some pretty heavy condenders, conceptual and price-wise. It seems the particular game changing issue is the direct DSD mode? That unlocks a D to A conversion of its own? The usual claim of ■■■■ production is not not a show stopper anymore. Any of the old and gold tracks, eg Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammar and Cris Rea - The Road to Hell pt2, is no longer ripping my ears off and the level of detail and smoothness along with the partically inaudibe noise floor, makes any music and production quality quite enjoyable even if an inferior production is still a no-brainer to detect, but no longer a pain to enjoy. Is that measurable? Could that be presented in similar charts as ASR display?


I do not have personal experience with the mentioned RME, but I would not spend much time explaining anything on ASR as it will cost you time, nerves and you will most probably not gain anything.
If the direct dsd mode is what you like then fully enjoy it :wink:
Maybe current measurements of well known metrics might not ultimately cover all of what we hear as for example I had opportunity to hear couple of DACs in my system and their sound qualities did not correlate with their (SINAD based) placement in ASR ranking table…


I agree, the purpose is not primarily to have ammunition on ASR. My French nerves would simply cave in in the process …
I simply became interested myself. Is it possible to validate the sonic benefits from this unusual feature on a DAC? I mean, from the start, it must have been something Jussi realized was of great importance and others as well, who taught me this setting when I started my HQP odyssey.
Thanks for your reply :heartbeat:

Yes, and I’ve posted the results at couple of places, including ASR. But in the end I got banned from ASR.

In the end, they said that even if it’s better it doesn’t matter because it is inaudible. Yet the inaudible rating score table they keep is the most important thing they have. :joy:

So OK, they can have their opinion that every car that has 200 hp drives the same.


Ok, so that is the reason for the attack on my persona … hahaha, makes sence!

Have the results in your computer still? Love to see them posted if you could spend the time.
It would be so beautiful to see what I perceive in a graph …
Been trying to locate them on the ASR site, but was not able to make a search string good enough. Ended up scrolling for ages, still without success.

Or a link if you know the way …


thnx, Jussi :heartbeat:

Would you agree on that the RME provides even cleaner output with less noise with the modulator ASDM7v2EC and poly-sinc-gauss-xla (both error correction and apodising, DSD256, DoP)?

I won’t take up your time anymore, after this … :blush:

You get similar results with most of HQPlayer filters and modulators.