Topic: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

I am about to get an Adi-2 interface of some sort to power my new headphones. And when I do that, I will of course integrate the two channels of DA conversion into my patchbay to be able to compare them with my current DAC. I have two Adi-8 QS, but for the monitoring I use the DACs of my crookwood monitor controller (fed by the AES out from the Adi-8 QS). Between the two I couldn't pick any favourite. Both sound good to me.

However, if I should hear a big difference between my current setup and those Adi-2 converters wanting to upgrade my monitoring DAC, there would be a problem, as I run a 5.1 surround setup. So, would the only possible option be to digitally route multiple Adi-2-devices to the digital outputs of my Adi-8QS (e.g. a Adi-2 Pro and a Adi-2/4 Pro)? Or is there an option with multiple outputs and the same conversion as in those units? Or is there any speculation wether such a unit might be on the way?

Of course I still hope I won't hear any difference and do nothing. That will be a lot cheaper ... ;-)

2 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-26 21:22:35)

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

A multiple of ADI-2’s for a 5.1 system doesn’t sound like the best idea ever.

There’s simply nothing supported for more than 4 channels in ADI-2 Pro or ADI-2/4 Pro SE, and 2 channels in ADI-2 DAC.


Better have a look at the UCX / UFX series of interfaces for 5.1 purpose, they would favorably integrate in your setup if you want to replace the Crookwood, and maybe even the ADI-8 QS.


If you hear a sound difference of the pure DACs / amps, or not, is a very personal thing.
Albeit, adding an ADI-2 with it’s comprehensive DSP functions can bring your headphones experience more than a little step further.
For me in fact it does.

3 (edited by trubadix 2022-12-27 13:21:07)

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

Thanks Kai! Since my whole studio is based on Madi, I will rather stay with my HDSPe Madi FX card than go for the UFX+. I only consider changing the converters - especially those for monitoring - when the difference would really convince me. I will for now probably stay with my system. It is a big PITA to change anything in a studio with a lot of gear where everything is exactly fit to each other.

But if I would consider it: The best candidate that might fit my needs would be the M-1610 Pro. It does have the FS-technology and it meets the channel count of 2 Ads-8 QS minus 8 output channels (wich I rarely need, anyway) and the AES/EBU option. But I wonder, is the M-1610 Pro comparable to the conversion of the Adi-2 Pro FS?

4 (edited by ramses 2022-12-27 18:42:31)

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

> But I wonder, is the M-1610 Pro comparable to the conversion of the Adi-2 Pro FS?

Kai found in a blind test that for him there was no audible sound difference between the ADI-2 Pro FS with AK and the ADI-2/4 Pro with ESS converters, see https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.ph … 0#p195160.

In contrast, for him, the choice of a certain D/A filter resulted in a difference for percussive sound material, see https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.ph … 41#p186341

It is also often mentioned that the converters in and of themselves have less influence on the sound than the implementation of the analog circuitry behind them. Configurable D/A filters deliver only subtle differences.

Looking at 8-32 ports studio converters now, IMHO the focus is more on recording all frequencies as linearly as possible and other things. However, unless I have missed something, I have yet to see an 8, 16 or 32 port converter with adjustable A/D and D/A filters.

I'm uncertain if this is just for cost reasons or just because for recording tracks and summing you first need only one D/A filter that records and plays back all tracks in optimal quality. Linear frequencies, avoiding phase shifts over frequencies, less latency.

Probably all the reasons that lead to the SD Sharp filter being the default for the ADI-2 DAC/Pro.  However, here you also read in the manual that at frequencies above 192 kHz the filter selection is disabled and a fixed Slow Filter is used. Why, I have not thought about it yet.

What I'm getting at is that for the usual studio work, you just need to get a good AD/DA converter from RME, all products focus on transparent A/D and D/A without any mojo or house sound. So, you should get equal quality from them, regardless of which product you choose. Perhaps with some differences in terms of technical data with the newer products, as converter technology improves (converter latency, …) or regarding features, whether you can set ref levels per port.

Additionally, though, I would think about investing in an ADI-2 Pro as well, to take advantage of certain benefits of the unit here for monitoring in stereo.

A first thought was to combine both and drive the two stereo speakers of your 5.1 and 7.1 setups via ADI-2 Pro FS and the remaining speakers via an additional purchased converter.
But I'm not sure to what extent that might have a negative impact if you were to use converters with different runtimes, although the differences are getting smaller and smaller with the latest products.

I think the M-1610 Pro is a great product, as forum colleague Robin Walsh uses it in his studio and is extremely happy with it. However, he also got himself an ADI-2 Pro FS for monitoring additionally. Maybe you can ask him about his experiences and about differences between M-1610 Pro and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE -> https://forum.rme-audio.de/profile.php?id=22951

In short, I would recommend trying both, M-1610 alone and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE for monitoring sound material in stereo.
Another use case for the ADI-2 Pro FS R could perhaps be recording the final stereo sum from an analog summing box, see converter shootout video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doHG32aXBDY

This is my opinion on the subject, I hope I could give some useful suggestions.

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

5 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-27 14:59:08)

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

Would be curious what projects need 5.1 these days.

Music came back to straight stereo after some surround excursions, video heads to ##.#-surround channels (with # being quite high figures) and object oriented surround these days.

I have surround mixing facility here, but it’s no longer requested by clients.


Personally I’m not surprised the format did not break through, the music offerings mixed in surround I found are simply disappointing.
Why place speakers all around you to get some faint reverb from the back?!

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

Thanks to you both! The question why 5.1 is justified today! Atmos was not there when I started configuring that studio. What I mostly do is composing music and what I am asked for ist stereo (split to stems in some cases). The reason of having 5.1 is a mix of me enjoying working in surround (many orchestral libraries I use have a surround pair of microphones). For that purpose, 4.1 would be sufficient. But then I also like to watch some movies or listen to some surround music releases. That is why I have 5.1.

It is wasteful in a sense, but being inspired can sometimes matter. If I was forced to build a studio from stretch today, I would do it differently! I would only used larger monitors for a stereo set and do an atmos set with smaller speakers. The speaker size I went for (Adam S3x-V) is too large to build anything larger than 5.1 in my room. Well, sometimes a glance into the chrystal ball would help you to make better decisions for the future ... ;-)

7 (edited by trubadix 2022-12-28 14:23:55)

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

I think Kai did not want to imply that the immersive formats are irrelevant. It is just uncommon for the average studio (producing music) to have a proper atmos configuration installed! Most have full range stereo speakers. Those multichannel audio formats are often produced by specialized studios. However, being able to do multichannel mixes is getting more and more relevant and therefore more studios offer it. I visited one on my town during a Nuendo presentation of Steinberg.

8 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-28 18:40:53)

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

Aurelius wrote:
KaiS wrote:

..I have surround mixing facility here, but it’s no longer requested by clients.

... the music offerings mixed in surround I found are simply disappointing

.. some top engineers like Alan Parsons or Steven Wilson are doing many mixes in Dolby Atmos (Wilson mostly in remastering classic rock/pop albums and of course his own work). He said, that streaming services like Apple Music have significant increases in the spatial audio format.

I really like Steve‘s remixes. he breathes new life into old classics, like Jethro Tull’s “Songs From The Wood”.

Aurelius wrote:

But probably the majority of spatial audio listeners are listening on their smartphones to spatial audio ;-).

And here’s the point, did you ever hear those so called “Immersive” “360 Reality Audio” and other pseudo-binaural processed versions on headphones?

Sounds like you play your music on bad speakers in the bathroom - loads of extra reverb tries to simulate spatiality, completely destroying the original sound.


Here‘s the difference between real binaural recordings, and normal recordings, post-processed into binaural:

The real binaurals catch the real musicians in the real ambience that was present at the place the recording happened, using a dummy head microphone.
Chesky Records has brought this into perfection.
These recordings project real musicians in real spaces into an immersive experience on headphones.

The post-processed binaurals use regular stereo recordings that were perfected for normal playback as they are.
Then extra artificial reverb (and some faulty fitting HRTF EQ filtering) is added to simulate speakers in a room on headphones playback.

Even if that worked - it‘s by no means the same thing.

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

I use the ADI-2 Pro FS R for stereo playback as Ramses mentioned (using KaiS recommendation of the slow filter).

However, later this year I'll probably install an Atmos setup. For that I'll be using the M-1610 for monitoring and the UFX+ for additional outs. Hopefully I'll be able to control all of the channels as one with TotalMix and the ARC Remote (I still need to do the research there)

The M-1610 is an amazing addition to my UFX+ and ADI-2 Pro

Windows 11 / Nuendo 11 / UFX+ / M-1610 Pro / ADI-2 Pro FS R / Sonnet USB 3.0 PCIe

10 (edited by KaiS 2023-01-12 01:31:53)

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

Multiple surround channels are better served by a single Multi-output interface IMO.

RME offer such a variety of great interfaces, have a look there I suggest.
Still, the ADI-2 is great for stereo, regarding headphones e.g.

Re: Adi-2 pro for more channels (5.1/7.1 system)

KaiS wrote:

Multiple surround channels are better served by a single Multi-output interface IMO.

RME offer such a variety of great interfaces, have a look there I suggest.
Still, the ADI-2 is great for stereo, regarding headphones e.g.


Thank you, KaiS. I hear you. I might have to switch to the M-32 Pro later.

Windows 11 / Nuendo 11 / UFX+ / M-1610 Pro / ADI-2 Pro FS R / Sonnet USB 3.0 PCIe