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2pororom

I buy a new dac? RME ADI-2 DAC?

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Hello friends!

It has gone through many dacs connected to a CD transport (in my case, a Cyrus CDT). When the Cyrus showed signs of starting to fail I decided to park and venture to the direct connection to my Mac Mini through the USB port.

It's been a long time since I stopped testing with dacs and I acquired and I have my reference DAC, a Bel Canto DAC 1.5 (for me, its natural sound capacity is another world)

My team is the following:

Mac Mini end of 2012 (16Gb RAM)

Playback software (upsampling enabled) Amarra 4 luxe (24/88) and Audirvana + (24/96)

Transparent USB Cable Audio Performance

Dac Bel Canto 1.5

JPS Labs interconnect cables

Amplifier Rega Elicit-R

Floor Standing monitors Audiovector SR3 super

Listen to Classical Music and Jazz

I will expose my doubts ...

I want to take advantage of the possibility of uploading the sample up to 192 Kbps of my players (Amarra and Audirvana) since I understand that there is a gain in hearing and I think I have two options:

1) Acquire a USB / SPDIF interface to take advantage of the entry SPDIF Bel Canto that accepts 192 Kbps (it would be the cheapest option, here I need a good interface, maybe Wyred 4 ulink sound + audioquest audio cable) but that represents around of 400 -500 USD spending, between the interface and cable and more things on the desktop ...

2) Buy a new DAC! I am among the 2 options that are within my reach:

Chord 2Qute in 1000 USD but old ... and the new RME ADI-2 DAC in 1000 USD too.

After all this roll that I just told, my big question comes:

Do you think I would get a real improvement with the change of Dac? Which of the 2 seems more views indicated my preferences?

I lean towards the RME because the AK chip that I've always liked a lot when I've listened to it implemented in mini dacs for Iems, versatility (I can connect my audio JH Iems Rosie and Michelle) but I do not know if it's comparable in terms of naturalness and musicality to the signature of Bel Canto.

I know you may tell me, buy a new Bel Canto, but I'm going to budget ... I want to spend 1000 USD maximum to improve and renew, no more or stay as I am if the improvement will not be noticed!

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Given how incredibly well engineered the RME ADI-2 is I wouldn't even entertain spending a penny more.

 

There isn't going to be a $10,000 or $100,000 that is going to outperform the RME unit. They may measure differently (non-linear, raised noise floor, poor jitter performance, IMD problems and there are audiophiles that like that added noise) but they aren't going to outperform what the RME is capable off.

 

You are looking at what I would consider the current state of the art.

 

Here is the bench measurements for the RME ADI-2. Plus it's Headphone Amp is phenomenal.

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I think the DAC you have is a good DAC.  I don't know how noticeable a difference you might get in sound quality.  Certainly the RME ADI-2 is an excellent DAC in terms of performance.  If you intend to upgrade in that price range it is among the most excellent choices I think. 

 

You might want to read the manual or some reviews as some have disliked the way you interface with the menu.  I don't think it would be too terrible, but worth looking into before you try one out.  I don't know where you live, but some pro sound shops might let you try one out if you are near such places of business. 


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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Thank you for your recommendations
Gridlock74 can tell me with what equipment he has it connected and, above all, what are his sincere opinions regarding his personality. Mainly I want it to be a ventilated and musical DAC with an analytical touch and a good separation of instruments without being too quirurgical, that is to say that it allows long auditions without fatigue (wow, I want it all!) Hahaha)
You have it with Mac, can you up upsample directly it to 192Kbps for example?
Thanks in advance

(Esldude I live in Europe, It's not possible in my country to try it before buying it, although I think you can return it in Thomann if you buy it and you do not like it...)

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28 minutes ago, 2pororom said:

Thank you for your recommendations
Gridlock74 can tell me with what equipment he has it connected and, above all, what are his sincere opinions regarding his personality. Mainly I want it to be a ventilated and musical DAC with an analytical touch and a good separation of instruments without being too quirurgical, that is to say that it allows long auditions without fatigue (wow, I want it all!) Hahaha)
You have it with Mac, can you up upsample directly it to 192Kbps for example?
Thanks in advance

(Esldude I live in Europe, It's not possible in my country to try it before buying it, although I think you can return it in Thomann if you buy it and you do not like it...)

 

Yes in that case, if you decide to try it Thomann sounds like the best place if you can return it.  My guess is you will want to keep it.  

 

Also I just noticed these are your first posts.  Welcome to Computer Audiophile forums. :)


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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18 hours ago, plissken said:

Here is the bench measurements for the RME ADI-2. Plus it's Headphone Amp is phenomenal.

 

And if you run it at DSD256 in DSD Direct mode, it'll perform even better... ;)

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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14 hours ago, Miska said:

And if you run it at DSD256 in DSD Direct mode, it'll perform even better... ;)

 

 

Perhaps, but then the headphone amp is not operational. Gotcha police.

 

 

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Hi. I use it with an auralic aries le, going into a class d nord with some standmount kudos c10s. Works well for me I have it set on the filter it came with (sd sharp?) that measures the best and have listened to everything from tool and black crowes to Agnes obel and never got fatigue. I find it musical and relatively analytical depending on the recording. The most important thing for me though is it just shows what's on the file. If you want to mess about there's eq and various filters etc. Best thing is to try one out. I got mine with a 30 day sale or return, most pro audio shops will do a similar deal from what I've found.

 

Your current dac is good, whether you'll notice a difference is up to you. All I can say I noticed a significant improvement in accuracy over my leema elements dac.

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6 minutes ago, ronkuper said:

Perhaps, but then the headphone amp is not operational. Gotcha police.

 

Yes (sort of), because it's digital volume control doesn't work in that mode. (I say sort of, because the second headphone output cannot be switched to DSD Direct mode and is still operational.) But it's not a problem. that's why I use a separate headphone amp with it on my office desk headphone stack:

Previously I used Fostex HP-A8C as a headphone amp, but I needed second set of analog inputs for the Cyan and wanted also balanced inputs. So now ADI-2 is connected to the balanced inputs and Cyan to unbalanced. Works fine!

 

On the second rig I have ADI-2 (non-AE version) connect to preamp for loudspeakers and the preamp has also headphone amp.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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39 minutes ago, Miska said:

that's why I use a separate headphone amp with it on my office desk headphone stack:

How do you compare using it directly (should be a good amp!) versus the Jotunheim? Notice a difference at all (PCM)?

 

Also - How would you rate the iFi iDSD Micro BL (you mentioned you have it in another thread) compared to the ADI-2 sonically? 

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I'm about to shoot, but I have a fundamental doubt.
My idea is to connect it as my DAC Bel Canto, that is:
Bel Canto unbalanced RCA output is connected to the Rega Elicit-R stereo amplifier integrated by one of its analog RCA inputs and I control the volume from my amplifier.
The Bel Canto I have to have it in fixed output mode and with its volume at 100 (the maximum)
How should I configure the RME?

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It has digital volume control so just set it 0db. They give some excellent information why digital volume is actually better than analogue volume control. The instruction manual is downloadable and extremely comprehensive! Give it a read before you buy to give you a bit of insight into how it works. In practice its not has complicated as it seems. There may be a fixed volume control option but I'm not sure as that's never how I wanted to use it.

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That is, if I understand it well there is no variable or fixed output like Bel Canto (variable is for use with active monitors as pre with digital volume of the Dac, and fixed is for use as only Dac)

I understand that the RME I connect it by the output rca to the rca input of the stereo amplifier with 0db and I control the volume from the amplifier ... Is that so?

Thanks!

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I think I did not express myself well, I do not want to use the volume of the dac, the route would be mac mini + RME by USB + integrated amplifier Rega Elicit-R connected to the RME by unbalanced RCA and use the volume control of the Rega amplifier (this is what I do now with my Bel Canto with fixed output)

The instructions of Bel Canto:

"Pressing the Fixed / Variable Output switch on the rear panel to the input position sets the DAC1.5 to a fixed output operating mode.

This mode is used when driving an analog preamplifier or an integrated amplifier input. The volume control function is provided by the associated preamplifier or integrated amplifier.

To use the fixed Ouput mode, set the output level to 100.0 for a maximum level of 2 Vrms of the RCA outputs or to the 4 Vrms level for the balanced XLR outputs If you want the outputs to be set to a lower level, adjust the volume control to a lower level, for example, at approximately 2 Vrms from the balanced outputs, set the volume control to 94.0.This represents an output level of approximately 2 Vrms on the balanced outputs When the level is set, press the Fixed / Variable Output button on the rear panel The front panel display now Selected entry. Turning the knob will move to the different inputs and Volume and Mute functions on the remote control will not work."

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On 09/04/2018 at 11:26 PM, Miska said:

 

Yes (sort of), because it's digital volume control doesn't work in that mode. (I say sort of, because the second headphone output cannot be switched to DSD Direct mode and is still operational.) But it's not a problem. that's why I use a separate headphone amp with it on my office desk headphone stack:

Previously I used Fostex HP-A8C as a headphone amp, but I needed second set of analog inputs for the Cyan and wanted also balanced inputs. So now ADI-2 is connected to the balanced inputs and Cyan to unbalanced. Works fine!

 

On the second rig I have ADI-2 (non-AE version) connect to preamp for loudspeakers and the preamp has also headphone amp.

 

 

How does it compare to the Holo Cyan?

Is the Cyan worth the difference?


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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1 hour ago, 2pororom said:

I think I did not express myself well, I do not want to use the volume of the dac, the route would be mac mini + RME by USB + integrated amplifier Rega Elicit-R connected to the RME by unbalanced RCA and use the volume control of the Rega amplifier (this is what I do now with my Bel Canto with fixed output)

The instructions of Bel Canto:

"Pressing the Fixed / Variable Output switch on the rear panel to the input position sets the DAC1.5 to a fixed output operating mode.

This mode is used when driving an analog preamplifier or an integrated amplifier input. The volume control function is provided by the associated preamplifier or integrated amplifier.

To use the fixed Ouput mode, set the output level to 100.0 for a maximum level of 2 Vrms of the RCA outputs or to the 4 Vrms level for the balanced XLR outputs If you want the outputs to be set to a lower level, adjust the volume control to a lower level, for example, at approximately 2 Vrms from the balanced outputs, set the volume control to 94.0.This represents an output level of approximately 2 Vrms on the balanced outputs When the level is set, press the Fixed / Variable Output button on the rear panel The front panel display now Selected entry. Turning the knob will move to the different inputs and Volume and Mute functions on the remote control will not work."

2

 

In my previous reply, I mistakenly wrote "(RME/Bel Canto)" instead of "(RME/Integrated Amp)". 

 

The answer is still - Yes. No Problem.

The RME uses a DSP based digital volume control so simply setting it to 0db is all you need. 

 

Having said that - there's nothing bad about using the RME's volume, in fact - it is fantastic (as in - probably better than the integrated's volume).  Simply try and see what works best for you. It's all good. 

 

Here is the manual btw for information about the DSP volume and a lot more -

https://www.rme-audio.de/download/adi2dac_e.pdf

 

  

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On 2018/4/10 at 6:26 AM, Miska said:

 

Yes (sort of), because it's digital volume control doesn't work in that mode. (I say sort of, because the second headphone output cannot be switched to DSD Direct mode and is still operational.) But it's not a problem. that's why I use a separate headphone amp with it on my office desk headphone stack:

Previously I used Fostex HP-A8C as a headphone amp, but I needed second set of analog inputs for the Cyan and wanted also balanced inputs. So now ADI-2 is connected to the balanced inputs and Cyan to unbalanced. Works fine!

 

On the second rig I have ADI-2 (non-AE version) connect to preamp for loudspeakers and the preamp has also headphone amp.

 

Hi, Miska, which sound would be better between RME ADI-2 and Cyan if they all run at DSD256 by HQplayer?

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On 10-4-2018 at 12:26 AM, Miska said:

 

Yes (sort of), because it's digital volume control doesn't work in that mode. (I say sort of, because the second headphone output cannot be switched to DSD Direct mode and is still operational.) But it's not a problem. that's why I use a separate headphone amp with it on my office desk headphone stack.Previously I used Fostex HP-A8C as a headphone amp, but I needed second set of analog inputs for the Cyan and wanted also balanced inputs. So now ADI-2 is connected to the balanced inputs and Cyan to unbalanced. Works fine!

 

On the second rig I have ADI-2 (non-AE version) connect to preamp for loudspeakers and the preamp has also headphone amp.

 

Hallo  Jussy,

If running  at DSD256 in DSD Direct mode the DAC  cannot be used as Pre-Amp ?

Is that correct or do misinterpret your post and the bulky manual too?

 

How do you rank the RME ADI- 2 on your own stereo installation ? This compared with the list showed on yr web-page? What is money wise a good DSD DAC in terms of SQ?

 

screenshot_108.jpg

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13 minutes ago, ambre said:

Hallo  Jussy,

If running  at DSD256 in DSD Direct mode the DAC  cannot be used as Pre-Amp ?

Is that correct or do misinterpret your post and the bulky manual too?

 

How do you rank the RME ADI- 2 on your own stereo installation ? This compared with the list showed on yr web-page? What is money wise a good DSD DAC in terms of SQ?

 

screenshot_108.jpg

 

With DSD Direct mode and DSD input, it bypasses all the DSP features of the DAC. Since volume control is digital, also that one. Of course one can still use digital volume control of HQPlayer. If you want to use both DSD Direct and PCM format inputs and have equal output level for both, set volume in ADI-2 to  -3.5 dB, then it matches the output level of DSD also for PCM inputs. But you have certain dangers if relying solely on software volume control, it is quite prone to accidents. If you prefer to use volume control / DSP features of ADI-2, I recommend send 705.6/768k PCM there. It will still limit some of the DSP features, but bypasses digital filters of the DAC chip.

 

With ADI-2 Pro, the 3/4 headphone output with volume is still functional, since it never has DSD Direct mode (there are two DAC chips in ADI-2 Pro).

 

Since lot of the sound quality experience is subjective and different devices have different price points and feature sets, I prefer not to directly rate devices against each other. That list is a good starting point to pick devices for your audition.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Hallo Jussy,

 

Many thanks for your quick reply.

 

You mean  send 705.6/768k PCM there in DOP = max 256 DSD .

Instead of DIRECT DSD  due to the fact I have an iMac. 

Right?

 

Best regards, Andreas

 

 

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11 minutes ago, ambre said:

You mean  send 705.6/768k PCM there in DOP = max 256 DSD .

Instead of DIRECT DSD  due to the fact I have an iMac. 

Right?

 

It is DoP always, there's no other way to send DSD to ADI-2.

 

I mean that if you like to use volume control of ADI-2, send max rate PCM there instead of DSD, if you cannot use DSD Direct (no volume control).

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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