Hi Robertm394 and other audiophiles.
I felt like writing a somewhat different kind of response to you all after reading this thread.
You are communicating on the technical support forum of a professional audio company. The majority of people here are of a very different "school" than the (enthusiastic) audiophile looking for the best possible listening experience (that can be bought on Amazon) - and the kind of questions you are asking will trigger most professionals - even the staff .. so i offer you this:
I am a professional producer / audio-engineer, working 8 hours in a studio each and every day - like many other people here - and by sheer experience we have all come to know a common truth: it all comes down to room acoustics more than any other aspect .. end of story!
Acoustics are probably the least "sexy" thing to invest in; taking up space and involving careful construction that is hard to manage on your own. The idea of buying quality equipment - down to the very last power-cable - seems a lot more manageable than building corner-traps in your living room and putting up diffusers around the listening position.
But - and this is absolutely verifiable - *nothing* will have a bigger impact on the sound you perceive than acoustics! Granted - if we are talking about headphones, then it's a different conversation ..
Your ears are plastic - meaning that they don't sound the same day to day - or even minute to minute. A cup of coffee will change your hearing, as will the amount of sleep you had last night as well as the beers you drank two days ago; whether your body is stressed or at total peace with the universe matters.
On top of that you have the Fletcher Munson Curve, which, very simplified, is the "dynamic eq and compression" your ears and brain apply to whatever you hear - depending on volume!
So .. just to explain the vibe you are getting when venturing into this forum as a hopefully happy RME-customer looking to optimize your listening experience: it is all informed by hard science - since we all know our ears are an extremely unreliable source of reference and information!
Please - at least consider measuring what influence your room has on the carefully selected equipment you have purchased. An accessible tool for this, as mentioned prior in this thread, could be a SonarWorks product. This will measure with reasonable accuracy what issues are present in your room - and while promising to correct this, no professionals are actually using this for paid work (at least - they better not!) - we fix the acoustics instead! And i will wager my entire studio, that what you can achieve with a very modest amount of money spent on building materials for acoustic treatment will give you the most profound improvement in audio precision - and enjoyment - than any tweak will ever buy you for the rest of your life!
Just to inject some sense of scale into what i'm talking about, a pair of ruler-flat speakers (which btw doesn't exist!) playing in an otherwise untreated room, would probably have peaks and dips close to 6db and beyond .. which is way-way-waaaaay more than any other component in the audio-chain - like a power-supply or an interconnect cable - could ever account for! And on top of that, the room does not only affects frequency response but also the timing, since certain frequencies will sustain longer than others - and thus dramatically altering the timing and contents of the music .. mainly in the low end. This particular issue cannot be fixed in any other way than acoustics - seriously!! So please .. do measure whats going on - and i promise you, that with this knowledge in your hand, your next investment will be in acoustics and not a cable, power-supply, or some kind of gadget to put between usb-cables ..
All the best,
FishCorp / Copenhagen
This is just a thought, but since RME is now selling products crossing into audiophile territory, perhaps a well written chapter in the manual on room acoustics and its influence on sound observed is in order. I know that this is second nature to people working with audio for a living, but this could be yet another step in solidifying RME as a company of empirical science and excellence - and possibly take some weight of the forum as well <3 ..
Rune Borup @ FishCorp
Producer / Engineer / Composer
RayDAT > 2 x ADI-8 QS | AES+SPDIF > ADI-2 Pro