Topic: Using the ADI-2 as headphone amp with an external DAC

I would like to use my ADI-2 (PRO/DAC) as headphone amplifier with an external DAC connected through any of the analog inputs but so far I read in the manual the analog signal is always routed through the ADC-DSP-DAC stage before it reaches the phones outputs.

Is there a way to bypass that?

Re: Using the ADI-2 as headphone amp with an external DAC

oliman wrote:

I would like to use my ADI-2 (PRO/DAC) as headphone amplifier with an external DAC connected through any of the analog inputs but so far I read in the manual the analog signal is always routed through the ADC-DSP-DAC stage before it reaches the phones outputs.

Is there a way to bypass that?

No. But why would you want to use another DAC?

3 (edited by KaiS 2022-09-20 20:49:10)

Re: Using the ADI-2 as headphone amp with an external DAC

You can use a high sample rate at ADI-2 Pro, like 192 or 384 kHz.

Then ADI-2‘s AD-DA converter’s path is so transparent that the special sound colors of your DAC come through unchanged, while benefiting from all the features ADI-2 offers.

Look at manual page 37, “Preamp Mode”, for details.


If you have an extra Optical-, Coax- or AES-digital output left from your source, connect it to ADI-2 Pro’s input, so you can switch between your DAC and the direct feed.
Make sure SRC is active for the chosen digital input, so you can stay at 192 kHz with ADI-2’s int. sample rate, which is the SRC’s upper limit.

Re: Using the ADI-2 as headphone amp with an external DAC

Kai, the SRC only works up to 192 kHz, check manual ch 8.6.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: Using the ADI-2 as headphone amp with an external DAC

ramses wrote:

Kai, the SRC only works up to 192 kHz, check manual ch 8.6.

Thanx, didn’t see that.

Re: Using the ADI-2 as headphone amp with an external DAC

Thanks guys for the answers.

I'll give a try to the preamp mode but I am afraid this would just introduce extra unwanted processing artifacts (for minimum they can be in the ADI-2) to my already more resolver R2R DAC. But let my ears to have the final words. Still a dedicated headphone amp should be preferred.

Re: Using the ADI-2 as headphone amp with an external DAC

oliman wrote:

Thanks guys for the answers.

I'll give a try to the preamp mode but I am afraid this would just introduce extra unwanted processing artifacts (for minimum they can be in the ADI-2) to my already more resolver R2R DAC. But let my ears to have the final words. Still a dedicated headphone amp should be preferred.

May I ask which R2R DAC you have? Does it have better THD+N than the Adi-2 pro?