March 13, 2017
Dale Pro Audio recently took delivery of RME's all-new ADI-2 Pro digital audio converter. After getting one of the first units to hit the USA in our office, our Technology Development Manager Joel Guilbert and Product Specialist John DiMaggio took it for a spin.
Read on for Joel's product review:
This box is powerful. At it’s heart it’s a 2 channel Ad to D and D to A converter. Depending on how it’s plugged in, the functionality changes (this can be changed as well) For example: in default mode, when not attached via USB, the analog inputs will act as preamps.
The 2 independent headphone outputs feature their own DAC, and offer the same DAC options as the main outputs. The main outputs offer a number of filter choices.
For this test we listened to the ADI-2Pro via USB. After an uneventful driver installation, and subsequent firmware update, unit was seen as Madiface ASIO device. Using Reaper, sample rate changes made in the DAW were immediately reflected. For listening tests, we played back DSD files and 88.2 flac files using JRiver software. Selecting DSD bitstream in DoP format in JRiver, and we were off to the races.
We monitored through Beyerdynamic Custom 1 Pro headphones, and JBL M2 monitors with 1x Crown Itech5000 amplifier driving each speaker.
The sound – wow. Pristine. No matter what we threw at it, it felt like the converter was reproducing accurately. Some of the low end in the Arrabella Steinbacher DSD files was stupendous. You could accurately picture where the double bass section, the timpani, etc was in the recording. Not that it felt panned, but reproducing what was there. The headphone amplifier made the Beyerdynamics headphones sound better than ever had been witnessed. Adjusting the Crossfeed from off to 1 definitely made a difference, the sound went to feeling less direct and more open(as crossfeeding – sending some of the left signal to right, and vice versa - should do)
As previously mentioned, the AKM chip offer selectable filters, I preferred the Slow DA filter on Headphone, and Sharp filter on main outputs. These were from a small window of testing, some more time these opinions may change.
Looking at the box on the bench, it uses AKMs high end AK4490 converter chips, and AKM AK4127vf chip. The unit is extremely well constructed, very neat component layout with all audio jacks gold plated. Plenty of relays present. All SMD, but clean.
Although we only had a few hours for testing, there is more to be done, and be impressed by. At a list price of $2000, someone looking for an extremely high quality AD/DA(think DAD AX32, Merging Hapi/Horus, Lynx Hilo caliber), would be advised to take a look, and more importantly, listen, to the RME ADI-2 Pro.
Many thanks to our friends at RME and the Peter E Schmitt company for getting this in our hands!
For more on the ADI-2 Pro, check it out HERE.
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