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RME ADI-2 Pro, swiss army DAC


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Picked one up mostly due to an interesting feature set. I've had good experience with RME gear being technically impeccable, but falling a bit short in listening tests. The ADI-2 Pro was intended to be an office rig, but I lug it to and fro work, it's that good. Ended up buying one of the limited Anniversary Editions, cuz it's black and has moar pretty.

It runs my HD800 balanced with 6x OPA1688 chips pre channel. Sounds as good or better as I've heard any HD800 perform. It also does 5 band PEQ which makes HD800's actually listenable. For my Equator Q12 I use the back XLR's and intend to hook up a MiniDSP via optical to integrate two custom 15" subs.

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Anyho - check this thing out, if you're looking for an interesting source unit. Cheerio.

P.S. Nudie (almost Gilmore sized)

Edited by RudeWolf
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3 hours ago, EdipisReks1 said:

RME stuff was always well thought of by the e-media department I supported.  People would scramble to grab the RME gear from the gear cabinet.  I'm not surprised it's very good.

Our head of RnD uses a Fireface UC and we've relied on a Babyface to not leave us with our pants down when we tour high profile LA studios. Rock solid drivers and well thought out controls. Sadly. they'll never outsell stuff like Behringer or Focusrite because it's hard to sell reliability to people who have never been burnt.

1 hour ago, robm321 said:

That's a good looking DAC

Sure is. But it's hard for me to just call it a DAC. The thing comes with a 80 page manual to cover all of the features and functions. You have ADC with actual 124dbA SNR, you can use it just as an analog input, but it wouldn't be out of place in a world class mastering studio. It has two headamps which can be configured to play different tracks, if your playback software allows it. Or you can just tell the unit to take each of the DAC outputs and utilize each headamp for differential drive. Oh, and it'll detect automatically if you're using SE or BAL...

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Okay.... but now look at this:

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It's just a bunch of opamps with standard off-the-shelf DAC and ADC chips, with some relays to do switching, just like pretty much every other pro audio gear. Not saying opamps are bad, but I don't see many headphone enthusiasts rocking CMoys and Mini3s these days. 

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OPA1688, OPA1612 and OPA1622 if I'm not mistaken. I think it's the first commercial device to use the OPA1688. Usually one uses opamp and a high current buffer to isolate the opamp from the load and get it to dominate small signal performance. The usual suspects back in the day were OPA134+BUF634 sharing the same feedback loop. In this case RME opted for three OPA1688 per channel to distribute the load, or six for balanced.

I personally don't subscribe to the Burson-esque notion that all IC's are bad. In my experience opamps excel in small signal environments with fixed or at least predictable operating conditions. Here RME proved me wrong with their headamp. Interestingly enough the headphone output shares the same distortion characteristics as the line outputs and can be used as such in a pinch (if one needs 4 analog channel output).

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