RME ADI-2 DAC fs - Official Thread


So… do you think ADI-2 Pro’s balanced out headphone amplification quality matches the performance of dedicated amps like Drop THX 789? (ignoring the power output being 6 watts per channel @ 32 ohms instead of 2.9 watts with the adapter on ADI-2 Pro)

I would much rather listen via the balanced output of the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R BE than through the THX AAA 789.

The only headphones that really need more power than the RME ADI-2 Pro can provide are the HE6 variants and the Susvara.


Thanks a lot. It is quite difficult to find answers to odd and specific questions like these, so your replies (to other members too) have been very helpful in researching on these devices and making the purchase decision. :slight_smile:


I´d love an all in one RME ADI 2 DAC, with mic inputs, phantom power, etc. as well. Guess that won´t happen.

if you have to do research on interfaces - I can recommend you the YT channel from “Julian Krause”
he is quite respected, by most enthusiasts and even many “pro” guys recommend his content.

like @Torq mentioned… Julian is also a fan of the Motu units and that is why I went and ordered the M4. Just have to wait another 7-9 weeks, until it may be available at Thomann.

in the meantime I use my RME ADI 2 (non pro) with the THX AAA 789 and a balanced cable to the HEDDphone

for online meetings, I use the Zoom H8 mobile audiorecorder, as interface with a Shure SM7b(incl. FetAmp)

i did a lot of reasearch in the last 3 months, regarding microphones and interfaces, as I had to build a studio for our company from scratch, with cameras, lights, teleprompters, microphones and broadcast switchers…
So I often talked to the trusted Thomann people, which are very patient and helpful.

The Motu M4 is highly recommended - you won´t find any quirks. Even the software/driver stuff is stable, after a few minor problems at the start.

hope that helps.


Has anyone compared the RME ADI DAC directly to a Motu M2 or M4?

Kind of a shot in the dark but: Has anyone compared the RME to any of the Universal Audio Apollo X interfaces (just for DAC quality)?

Hey guys,

I’ve been bit by the audiophile bug for about 5 years. Long story really short. The #1 priority IMHO is a great (not good) amp. Next: headphones. Yes, you need a DAC for this to work. Yes, DACs can make a difference–whether it’s noticeable is another discussion. But the real deal is cans with the sound you like coming from a great amp. Same for a portable setup.
My amps? Violectric HPA V550 and Cayin N6.
Best on your travels (I refuse to use “journey” )

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Wait: I meant Cayin C9…

The Motu stuff is alright but not as nice as the RME, and the UAD stuff has sort of scratchy, lo-fi sounding analog stages. Just run a mix straight i/o of the UAD… not my thing. RME uses similar AKM converters to both Motu and UAD but their analog designers seem a lot more thoughtful about designing it for both the scope (measurements) and actual sound. It might not be Merging or vintage Lavry but I like the sound of the RME implementations better than the typical ‘throw a converter chip and some opamps in a box’ approach.


Have both – the RME ADI 2 DAC fs (new 4493 version) and the Motu M4.

The M4 doesn’t come close to the Velvet sound of the RME.
It’s ok – not worlds apart – but I‘m happy when I switch from Motu to RME.

My brother in law has his Apollo for ages and is producing electronic music for/since decades.
He loved my RME to ADAM Audio T8Vs Setup, as he is used to his KRKs.

Not sure if this helps.


Can anyone tell me how good the HP out of ADI-2 DAC is compared to it’s IEM out for IEMs? Like is that really required? I got ADI-2 Pro and ADI-2 DAC, so I was thinking about letting go of the ADI-2 DAC, but then I won’t have it’s IEM out, so is that really important for IEMs? (I review things so having good IEM out was important for reviewing IEMs).

I have the ADI-2 DAC, but haven’t used the IEM out so far - I don’t have any IEMs good enough to warrant using it, and don’t see any reason to use IEMs at my desk.

However, if I were into IEMs and considering buying a high-end set plus a desktop DAC/amp to pair them with, I know noise floor would be one of my foremost concerns. I would be very interested to know how their performance out of a standard headphone jack compared to a dedicated IEM out like the one on the RME, and whether the noise floor was noticeably lower on the latter.

As a reviewer - especially if you focus on IEMs - I think it would therefore make sense for you to keep the ADI-2 DAC so that you can help your viewers determine whether they need to spend the extra on a desktop DAC/amp with a dedicated IEM out. I imagine this will vary from one IEM to another according to sensitivity, so keeping the ADI-2 DAC could make you a really useful resource in this regard.

Of course, if you’ve already tried the IEM out with a range of IEMs and heard no difference compared to the standard 6.35mm output, this is useful experience to share with your viewers in itself.


I have a review coming out of this unit soon, and I found the IEM output pretty decent and quiet with my most sensitive IEMs (Rai Penta) however I’d probably go with a DAP or some kind of portable thing. I don’t really use IEMs at my desktop though. Just my two cents - hope that helps!


Thanks man, would be great to see your take on this (I absolutely love both of my RME units, as a person who uses EQ on everything, it’s really impossible to go back to something else), also really liked your SPL amplifier review. :slight_smile:

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Hi Sid as you are a reviewer I would say it’s a necessity to have a decent Dap to pair with Iem’s when reviewing them. If you only review Iem’s very infrequently then maybe not. But most serious iem users have a Dap these days. I know I’m generalising here but it’s just my take on it. Best luck in moving forward a I hope I can get to read some of your reviews.


Thanks, the DAP suggestion is something that I’ll definitely consider now that I have heard it from multiple people I know. I make videos on my Youtube channel, recently I reviewed ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, and compared it with the ADI-2 DAC for people who may be confused between the two: :slight_smile:


No worries Sid. Good luck with your reviews. I will try catch some.


Thanks! Yeah, video should be up sometime soon. I think it’s a great little unit. The DAC is stunningly good, and the featureset is spectacular.


Great review Grover, and really glad to see you joining the Headphones.com team.

I have the RME ADI-2, as well as a few solid state amps (Jot 2, Asgard 2, THX 789, JDS El Amp II). I can’t consciously pinpoint differences between them in blind A/B testing, but I fully accept that others can, and also suspect that these differences (consciously perceptible to me or not) contribute to things like listening fatigue, and therefore my overall enjoyment over extended listening sessions. For whatever reason, I find myself gravitating towards the Jot 2 and El Amp II.

In your experience, do amps in the class of the Jot and El Amp address the deficiencies you hear in the RME’s amp output? If not, is there a solid state amp that pairs particularly well with the RME and Ether 2?