RME ADI-2 DAC fs - Official Thread

I’d like to start a discussion about RME’s consumer offering the ADI-2 DAC. I’ve recently purchased one and it came in the mail yesterday. I don’t have a lot of experience with it yet but, I have first impressions. Before I get into a community member review of sorts, I like to spend a week or two with a new piece of gear, this gives me time to compile my thoughts and understand what I’m hearing.

I’d like to get thoughts from other owners and of course have a thread for questions as well.

Moving forward I’m trying to change the narrative of how I talk about this product. I think that it can be judged as a stand alone DAC or an AIO. I’ve read threads elsewhere calling the unit thin, while that might be true if you are judging it as an AIO I certainly don’t think the DAC section is thin (spoiler it’s not). I find it confusing so I will be explicit when talking about it.

While I’m here I will also say I have a few other AIOs on hand that I may do a comparison against the RME, perhaps in a different thread.

As requested by @I_want_all_the_tacos here’s a couple of glam shots of the unit.

Small keyboard for scale.

Back/Front shots

Another from the front.

On my Ikea stand in my office. It’s dwarfed by the size of the NFB1 amp.


I’m liking mine. The internal amp is pretty decent compared to what I was expecting. It’s a tiny bit harsh and I hear some deadness to it but considering everything this offers as a package, I’m pretty happy.

The graphics are pretty neat too.


Come on guys, how are you going to kick off a thread for this unit and not show off how beautiful that sexy beast is?


I did a stream of consciousness review on the ADI-2 DAC in January. Most of my gear lasts for fewer than 3 months (usually less than 1).

I still feel the same about it now as I did when I got it more than 4 months ago.


Hey Luckbad! I read your review before I bought the unit, good stuff thanks for your thoughts! I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in this piece of kit to read @Luckbad’s review/stream of consciousness.


Done! Good call!

Absolutely love my unit :stuck_out_tongue: Couldn’t be happier after being shilled so hard into it. I would take some glamour shots but the lighting in my room is not the greatest and I see you have already done a great job yourself @Fishcommander.


From the review:

I’ve started transporting the ADI-2 DAC in a carrying case to work daily because I miss it when I don’t have it around.

Had this been a line in a novel, this would be the point where the reader realizes that the character is losing it.

EDIT: I should probably tag @Luckbad in this, since I’m quoting his review.


I actually think the transportability of this unit is a serious factor for many people considering it. This is a badass all-in-one unit with a small footprint that can fit anywhere (smaller than a textbook). I definitely know there are people that bring their serious headphones like ZMF closed back dynamics (Atticus/Eikon) back and forth to work every day, so it is no surprise people also carry their source gear as well.

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It’s shockingly small in size, at least it was to me. Whoever said big things don’t come in small packages is crazy.

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Yeah, sorry, that joke obviously fell flat. But try replacing “the ADI-2 DAC” in that sentence with something like “the spellbook” or “the ring”. I fully understand why he would bring it to work, I just thought his choice of words made it sound slightly obsessed. :slight_smile:

Either way, I didn’t mean to sidetrack the topic.

I’m sure it’s a great DAC, and I’m considering buying one myself. @Luckbad’s review was great and I didn’t mean to criticize it - I hope it didn’t seem that way.

I apologize to anyone whom I may have hurt with my comment.


Haha no worries, I didn’t take that as an offensive joke or anything. At first I thought it was crazy how much gear people lug around with them all over the place. But the deeper I get into this hobby the more I realized how crazy we all are and now nothing really seems extreme to me anymore. Like look at this custom case someone built:

Or others that bring Schiit Yggdrasil to headphone meets that don’t want to lose the dreaded “warm up” time so they keep it running on a UPS power supply and power inverters off the car battery:

Also another example of people transporting their tube amps all over the place (haha I love how obsessive we are):


Hmmm… I need to build some of these cases lol…but seriously people are crazy… I have a buddy that had one of those cases built to hold beer that he bought and needed to travel with…beer…let that sink in. Granted it was some good beer, but still :wink:


I bought an RME ADI-2 Pro AE (the black one, with the transparent top and orange LEDs) before the ADI-2 DAC was announced. That was driven principally by my not caring, at all, for RME’s standard color scheme.

I had the DAC version on order for a while and eventually gave up on it and decided to just stick with the Pro version. I need the ADC capability and additional channels for it’s studio role anyway, so that’s fine.

Surprisingly, the updates to the DAC version result in it sounding a little better (paying attention, in audition-style listening) than the original Pro build. There’s a “Pro FS” version now that incorporates the better clocking, etc.c, from the DAC build. Sadly there does not appear to be any intent to release an AE version with those changes.

Used as a DAC they’re (DAC and Pro) both excellent. I’m much less enamored with the headphone output however, and really only use it for monitoring purposes. It’s still very good, but isn’t up to the same level of performance as the DAC component.

Pictures of the blackness and soft, warm, glow, next time I’m in the studio.


Well, maybe in a couple of years when RME turns 25?

Even though you’re not a big fan of the amp-section of the RME, did you still play around with some of the features? If so, how did you like them?

Also, do you use this with all your amps or do you find some amps work well with it and others don’t? If so, which and why?

They’ll have graduated to the AKM4497EQ by then! :wink:

Yes, I’ve exercised the unit pretty extensively. The EQ/DSP capabilities are a god-send when not using a computer as a source (or when using one that you cannot install EQ software/plug-ins on). The feature set is wonderful and extensive, even if the UX is a bit unintuitive initially.

I’ve tried it with all of my amps … and all of them have been better than the built-in headphone amplifier (which isn’t bad, it’s just not up to what else I have). Which isn’t really surprising as the “lowliest” amp I have on hand right now is the Massdrop MCTH … and the next step up from there is the Pro iCAN …

In my “listening” rigs I have much higher-end sources, so the ADI-2 Pro remains in the studio and the on-board amp gets used for monitoring only. It’s not that I couldn’t use it as an all-in-one … just that I have better options on the headphone amp side of things in every place it’d get used for non-studio work.


I found myself, even after referencing the manual fiddling around with the UI for longer than I wanted to for EQ and display settings. It’s like anything I suppose, you get use to it.


@Torq and everyone else that has the RME ADI-2 would it be wise to get a NFB 28.11 first then eventually upgrade to this or save up and go right for the RME? I am trying to get a better DAC/amp feel, and I’m trying to see if it would be worth it to slowly work my way up to the RME or just “throw money at my screen” and get the RME next?

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I would skip the Audio-GD unit entirely as it is, at best, a side-grade from what you have (and I would actually argue it’s a downgrade) and just go for the RME unit.

It’ll cost you less in the long-run.

We should try and find some time to get together so you can hear some of these units …


I’ll have to start shopping for the RME then. Just let me know a good date and time. We are heading to Los Angeles in late July, but more or less free at anytime.

I found a really good deal on a NFB 11.28, so I picked that up just to play with and expand my knowledge of DAC/amps…I think I’ll start buying/trading to get a better feel for all these things… I’ll keep my eyes out for a RME though… I think it is one of the best looking pieces of tech, I will get one eventually, I’ll start putting cash away to pick one up. I like that the NFB lets you tweak it with jumpers and I wanted to mess with that a lil bit to hopefully get me to a place where I can better appreciate the RME.

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