RME ADI-2 fs DAC: Not Loving It


I took the plunge about 6 months ago and replaced my Peachtree DACiTx with ADI-2.  I got the DACiTx to play files via computer and from my old but beloved JVC XL-Z1050 CDP.  

Can't say that I've noticed a marked improvement using the RME over the Peachtree. 

I picked the RME because of the glowing reviews and the fact that it had DSP.  I'm 61 yrs. old and last time I had my ears checked I haven't really lost much in the high freq's. But, I thought that it was inevitable that I would and the EQ that RME has may be a bonus.

In reality, it is not very user friendly and I'm no techie.  I thought by playing with it for a while it would get easier but really all I want to do is listen to music.

I'm no longer using a computer but a Bluesound Node 2i for my files and also use Tidal.

Not really a headphone guy but thought it would be nice to have the option seeing that neither of my preamps have a headphone jack.  I was only using my headphones with portable devices.  

I have mostly listened to vinyl over the years but really wanted to upgrade my digital front end as I'm getting lazy in my old age. 

The rest of my system :

Preamps: 
Classe CP-50
Rogue Audio Model 99 Magnum

Power Amps:
McCormack DNA-0.5 Deluxe Edition 
Black Ice Audio Fusion 3502P

Speakers:
PBN DP's
ACI Titan II LE subwoofer

Still using the JVC as a CD transport.   
I usually mix and match tubes with solid state.  Right now I'm using the Classe Pre with Black Ice Audio tubed power amp.

The RME sounds rather neutral, lean and dry to my ears.  Nothing exciting.  It doesn't make me sit up and take notice like when I first added the Peachtree to my system.  I was like wow! This is what I been missing all these years.  So, I thought the RME would be a significant upgrade over the Peachtree.  So far, not impressed.  Maybe if I was headphone guy?  Can't comment there other than both headphone outputs work.  

Any suggestions on what to try or what direction I should take next? 
nicktheknife
I would say it would sound compressed,  hard sounding.    If you look in the manual there is a section that shows what the dB level is equivalent to in volts.   Something like +5 is like 2.0 volts out of the RME .   Thats where I would set it first at whatever equalls 2.0 v which nominal for RCA connections.   The 13dB output will yield over 4 volts through RCA too I believe so you could overload the preamps input.    My preamps are both tube and full output out of the RME does not seem to overload , but it is depending on material.  You can see it on the horizontal post meter.   If you switch the RME screen to dark volume, the dark screen with the large white numeric volume readout , the numbers will actually turn red if the incoming signal is causing it to clip....

The things that box can do are amazing.   Keep playing with it, you will dial it in. 
Just another sidebar note: RME is an outstanding company who works to improve their product with firmware upgrades on a regular basis.

Was on version 35/35 and just upgraded to Firmware Update ADI-2 DAC 66 / 41. 

You can read about the technical details here: 
https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?pid=176455#p176455

For my big tube monblocks system, this is not a small improvement. Again, I do not use a preamp and have the RME ADI-2 running direct to each of the tube monoblocks. (Many people I've seen were reluctant to remove a preamp but until they did, had no idea it was an impediment to the RME's performance until they did.)

In addition, I run the RME on battery power with a $100 unit that has given it a boost in sound quality. For the moment, I'm trying to wrap me head around the firmware upgrade. It's that significant.

Happy listening and good luck. 

@ romanesq

My unit uses the AKM chip and I'm not using the USB input as of present.  Will the firmware update affect my unit the way I'm presently using it?
Nick, I don't know how other people run RME but I run everything flat. I would think most people don't use volume on RME going into a preamp, I could be wrong. I set mine to 0.0, anything above doesn't sound as natural in my system. Sometime I will back bass down to -0.5 and notice more detail maybe the bass is stepping on the information on some recordings but 98% of the time 0.0.


I also run balanced cables to preamp and also rca's to preamp out of the RME at the same time. Each cable has its own signature sound. My rca is a little warmer and rolled off so if I'm in the mood for a more rolled off sound I change inputs selection on the preamp for a different presentation.


Just learn to navigate the menu and use what sounds good to you, set up your EQ you can turn it off and on on the fly with the remote. I found that as little as RME is it still responds very well to footers and it's platform.