Topic: Calibrating a -14dBfs level output of ADI-2 DAC question

Hello to you all!

My first post on the forum - I recently bought the ADI-2 Pro FS R BE and
I must say that I am totally blown away about the quality and capabilities of this device.

Originally, i bought it simply as a companion headphone amp to my HEDDphones.
But I see that there's so much more under the hood... I'm wildly excited to spend more time enjoying what this can offer.

To start... I thought I would shootout the ADI-2 DAC against my trusty Dangerous Music Convert-2 DAC. I have been using this for a few years now.

To calibrate both DA's...I ran a digital 1KHz tone of -14dBfs at the beginning of my signal chain  - through the system to obtain a similar -14dBfs post AD converter and getting a clean -14dBfs onto the record channel in the DAW.

All good there.. both converters calibrated to -14dBfs. The Dangerous has a preset of -14, -16 or -18 on the front panel.

Listening to playback of the ADI-2 was great a real joy - it has a full sound and very satisfying midrange. The Dangerous feels comparatively more scooped.

But then I noticed something odd.  Once the files were recorded and I went back to listen (and similarly looking at the wavforms) the ADI-2 was louder.. not sure by how much exactly but louder. The waveforms certainly show less visible range between the loudest point and the quieter passages. A denser waveform, for sure.

I feel like I'm missing something very obvious here - I've gone through the menus for clues but still not sure.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

Thank you!