Topic: RME ADI-2 Pro FS as digital "preamp" success story and feature request
Recently added ADI-2 Pro FS in my system with great success getting a lot of unique benefits and wanted to share my experience. I use it in a way I've not seen mentioned in the forums and the manual does not explicitly show this configuration although I inferred from it that it would be possible.
Along the way I found some minor inconveniences that can be easily addressed with a firmware update and would also propose a major new feature I believe is possible to implement that's going to make the device even more valuable in similar use cases.
My system before ADI-2 Pro:
PC/Source ---> MiniDSP SHD ---(coax digital)---> DAC ---(XLR analog)---> amp ---> speakers
It sounds great and all, but I wanted in addition to have:
- Better volume knob
- Headphone amplifier with PEQ
- Single button switch between headphones and speakers
- Dynamic Loudness - can't emphasize how important this is when listening to lower volumes and only RME has a proper configurable implementation of this!
- Bass/Treble controls
I've used ADI-2 DAC before in the same configuration feeding its analog output to SHD's analog input that does analog to digital conversion(ADC), but this was not optimal as I was hearing audible degradation of the signal from SHD's ADC which also operates on attenuated signal. Feeding the source to ADI-2 Pro and connecting it digitally to SHD I got all the features and convenience I wanted and my system is now as perfect as it can be!
Here's the final picture of my system:
PC/Source ---> RME ADI-2 Pro ---(AES digital)---> MiniDSP SHD ---(coax digital)---> DAC ---(XLR analog)---> amp ---> speakers
\---> headphones \---> subwoofers
Notes on ADI-2 Pro setup to achieve that for anyone doing the same:
- Setup / Options / Device Mode:
Basic Mode = "DAC"
CC-Mode = "Stereo" (to change that disconnect USB temporarily)
Dig. Out Source = "Main Out". Very important, as when it's Default the digital output is at full volume.
- MiniDSP SHD's volume is set at 0db (max) and I don't ever change it, only using ADI-2 Pro to control volume.
What I miss in ADI-2 Pro vs ADI-2 DAC (feature requests):
- Indicator on the screen for Loudness, Crossfeed and PEQ enabled. ADI-2 Pro shows two rows with Main Out 1/2 and Phones 3/4 with their volume, so I understand there isn't much screen real estate left to show it the same way as ADI-2 DAC. Still I believe you can shrink the text a bit and come up with some icons that indicate the important modifiers of the signal being on or off. Ideally this would be a new main screen view to keep it "backwards-compatible" for whoever likes it the way it is.
- Ability to toggle switch between Phones 1/2, Phones 3/4 and Main 1/2 (digital or DAC). I like to have two pairs of headphones connected each with their own PEQ settings and such and would like to play only one of them at a time. To achieve that currently I need to mute and un-mute 1/2 and 3/4 manually which is cumbersome.
I think these features should be perfectly doable in software. My high expectations are that the Pro has everything that DAC has and more, not less and hope you would consider implementing them!
Thanks RME for creating such an awesome device, it has added much appreciated convenience in my setup and great improvement in my listening experience!
Special thanks to Matthias for his role in it and his helpful feedback on this and other forums!