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Multitest – the best dac for 1000 euros!

Prijs: € 1000

RME ADI2

German company RME won’t be familiar to everyone; it’s a studio brand with a few prosumer products. They also make loads of “boxes” that convert, say, Dante to usb, AES67 to ADAT, et cetera. Handy stuff for studios.

With the ADI-2 (formerly AKM dacs, now ESS 9028Q2M) the brand also has a product for the consumer. A consumer who likes ultra dry and fast. Because yes… RME does not deny its background! A key technique of RME is the Steadyclock FS. A method to reduce jitter. (We see this clearly back in the measurements by the way). Because… as we all know: less jitter = more music.

Furthermore, we see on the back of the ADI-2 not only single ended outputs, but also XLR. Unfortunately no digital AES input, but there is: coaxial, optical and USB. That’s a bit sparse when we look at the rest. But well: you can not have everything. For those who want to operate from the couch: there is a small remote.

The sound

The RME is… present. Especially when we switch from the Amethyst to the RME we immediately hear that the high range has much more energy. With the standard power supply it is even a tad on the sharp side. With an Sbooster 12 volt power supply that edge is immediately gone: a bizarre difference. In short: we recommend a decent power supply with this converter.

What the RME also shows is extreme insight into the music. Both rhythmically and in terms of detail. It does not pull things out of context, but just lets the various sounds be heard very easily, partly due to the extreme ‘blackness’ we hear. And that is very impressive for a dac in this class.

Measurements

Not entirely surprisingly, the RME measures spot-on. Ultra-low jitter, super dynamic range, excellent channel separation, low distortion…. but it sends out somewhat loud, which is what we hear. This can be ‘trimmed’ via the menu by the way. But know that this ‘out of the box’ plays a bit loud. At the end of the day we think it is an excellent product for those looking for an affordable and good product. Put a nice power supply on it to get rid of the hard ‘s’!

Closing

Overall we are impressed with this converter. It’s a technically proficient piece of work that RME has delivered. It measures well and sounds good too; with a nice power supply attached. It really does what it needs to do!

Samples

Download the lossless samples here

Specifications

Brand/model RME ADI-2
Inputs Coaxial, optical, USB
Outputs XLR and cinch
Remote control Yes
Max bit / samplerate 32 bit / 768 (USB), 24 / 192 spdif – DSD
Dimensions 21.5 x 5.2 x 15 cm
Weight 1 Kg
Price 999

2 Comments

  1. Hi folks. Thanks for this. I know you compared 5 DACs already but can I ask you to add the Merason Frerot (sans the external power supply I guess) to the mix?

    Since you reviewed it positively in the past I’d like to know where it stands, especially versus the RME. I have the latter and I’m looking for a warmer DAC to diversify my stack.

    Thank you and keep up the good work. I follow the YouTube channel a lot.

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