RME ADI-2 Pro Bi-Directional Converter with Dual Headphone Amp in Review

October 25 2017, 10:00
audioXpress September 217 featured a review of the RME ADI-2 Pro by Bennett Prescott and Stuart Yaniger. The sensational RME ADI-2 Pro Bi-Directional Converter with Dual Headphone Amps is a feature-packed update to the original RME ADI-2, providing incredibly precise audio quality and a host of innovative features that will appeal to both mastering engineers and high-end audio aficionados alike. After spotting the RME ADI-2 Pro at the NAMM show, Bennett Prescott requested the loan of a unit so he could examine it more closely. He also enlisted his colleague Stuart Yaniger to put the converter/headphone amplifier combination through a series of measurement tests. As Prescott found out - and Yaniger could attest with objective metrics - this is a very serious piece of equipment from a company that deserves wider recognition, outside its traditional recording market.

Bennett Prescott writes: "If you don’t know the German brand RME, it has a stellar reputation in pro audio and recording for making no-frills, technically perfect, supremely useful audio tools. Its product line includes optical and copper format converters, high channel count interfaces with and without microphone preamps, and several kinds of DAs and ADs for USB, Thunderbolt, and PCI. RME is also one of the strongest purveyors of MADI (AES10) multichannel audio hardware, used for transport in many high end concert and broadcast mixing consoles. The short story is that this company knows conversion and digital.

"The ADI-2 Pro (not to be confused with the older, less headphone-oriented ADI-2) is a sort of do-everything bi-directional digital-to-analog (DAC) converter with dual headphone outputs on the front, XLR and optical S/PDIF inputs and outputs on the back, plus copper S/PDIF and AES available on a breakout cable (included), which connects via DB-9. The converter came in a compact and well-padded retail box with nice graphics, and included an external power supply that solves one of my usual complaints by using a twist lock mechanism to hold its jack in place. The retail price is just under $2,000 US, and for that you get two powerful DSP engines and two powerful headphone amplifiers, plus the ability to work with PCM sample rates up to 768 kHz at 32 bits, and true native DSD support up to DSD256. The bottom line is this unassuming desktop unit will do instrumentation-grade conversion of audio in any imaginable format — today or probably until we start listening to quantum audio directly on our positronic brains."

Read the full review now available online.

This article was originally published in audioXpress, September 2017.
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