Topic: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Just curious.

2 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-18 22:16:16)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

My subjective impression:
ADI-2/4 Pro SE is at least equally good as ADI-2 Pro 1st Gen.
If there are differences they are subtle.

When I find some time I will do a blind A/B.

At the moment I’m just very satisfied with what I get from ADI-2/4 Pro SE.

3 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-20 01:07:48)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

I did a short blind A/B comparison today, ADI-2/4 Pro SE vs. ADI-2 Pro 1st Gen.
It did not reveal any obvious sound difference, using the headphones outputs.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

I am very interested in this topic and would like to hear the opinion of others. Is it really possible that there is no difference between the two devices via headphone?!

5 (edited by ebmmbongo 2022-12-22 15:45:11)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:

I am very interested in this topic and would like to hear the opinion of others. Is it really possible that there is no difference between the two devices via headphone?!

Yes, to me it is not really strange either. RME have always delivered uncolored sound, and in my case it is on a level that is so high I have completely stopped worrying about sound quality in that part of the signal chain.
Also, you can trust KaiS:)

Babyface Pro FS, MSI GS66, Studio One

6 (edited by stzhvwg 2022-12-22 21:50:54)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

I had compared the ADI 2 Pro with the Hugo 2 via headphone (HD800S) a long time ago and I found the Hugo 2 generally noticeably better (for holographic sound, soundstage and resolution). Since the 2/4 has a new DAC, I honestly expected an improvement in the general sound characteristics. If that's not the case, that's pretty disappointing. The only reason I didn't keep the Hugo 2 is because it has noticeable latency when gaming.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

So you should simply listen yourself. Just bring your Hugo 2 to the shop and compare, then return to share your findings. But plerase do a serious ABX test, and be very very accurate with levels.

Babyface Pro FS, MSI GS66, Studio One

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Unfortunately, I no longer have the Hugo 2. I also need the DAC for gaming. And since the Hugo 2, as already mentioned, has a noticeably high latency, it is out of the question for me. The ADI is a good compromise between (very good) sound quality and (lowest) latency. Nevertheless, sound improvements between the ADI 2 Pro and the 2/4 were for me to be expected, very sad. Maybe should compare the ADI 2 Pro and if necessary return the 2/4, which costs more twice as much.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:

. I also need the DAC for gaming.

I just have to ask: Do you really care about the kind of stuff you mentioned (holographic sound, soundstage and resolution) when you are gaming? Ir is it just a desire to not have to switch between gaming and music listening? I am genuinely curious, as I can just as well game with the built in sound from my laptop as with a separate amp.

Babyface Pro FS, MSI GS66, Studio One

10 (edited by stzhvwg 2022-12-22 22:30:47)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

No, it's actually not important for gaming, it's for music and maybe movie; it's for convenience and cost that I want a single device.

If there is indeed no sound difference between the 2 Pro and 2/4, it would make sense for me in this case to return the 2/4 and buy both the ADI-2 DAC FS and a used Hugo 2 for the same price.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Well, you must of course test for yourself:) All I said was "in my case it is on a level that is so high I have completely stopped worrying about sound quality", but then I rarely use esoteric headphones either, I just meant I am happy with the headphone sound quality i get from RME products.

Babyface Pro FS, MSI GS66, Studio One

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:

I had compared the ADI 2 Pro with the Hugo 2 via headphone (HD800S) a long time ago and I found the Hugo 2 generally noticeably better (for holographic sound, soundstage and resolution). Since the 2/4 has a new DAC, I honestly expected an improvement in the general sound characteristics. If that's not the case, that's pretty disappointing. The only reason I didn't keep the Hugo 2 is because it has noticeable latency when gaming.

I've heard that about the ADI-2 DAC on occasion and the cause is some DSP has been enabled, like mono. That is quite easy to enable by accident from the remote unless you've remapped the keys as the remote button 1 is mono by default, but I don't know that is the case for ADI-2 Pro.

Chances are that you've not done the test properly (like level match) along with any DSP disabled and a very similar filter selected (why ever use NOS or similar, for Gods sake).

In this the status screen on the RME is your friend as this will show what you've enabled for the current output, but not which filter.

13 (edited by stzhvwg 2022-12-22 22:48:01)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Muffin wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:

I had compared the ADI 2 Pro with the Hugo 2 via headphone (HD800S) a long time ago and I found the Hugo 2 generally noticeably better (for holographic sound, soundstage and resolution). Since the 2/4 has a new DAC, I honestly expected an improvement in the general sound characteristics. If that's not the case, that's pretty disappointing. The only reason I didn't keep the Hugo 2 is because it has noticeable latency when gaming.

I've heard that about the ADI-2 DAC on occasion and the cause is some DSP has been enabled, like mono. That is quite easy to enable by accident from the remote unless you've remapped the keys as the remote button 1 is mono by default, but I don't know that is the case for ADI-2 Pro.

Chances are that you've not done the test properly (like level match) along with any DSP disabled and a very similar filter selected (why ever use NOS or similar, for Gods sake).

In this the status screen on the RME is your friend as this will show what you've enabled for the current output, but not which filter.

Please excuse my question: I don't quite understand, should DSP be disabled or not? I thought so.

I know I had everything set exactly and the volume was about the same, the filter from the 2 Pro and Hugo 2 was default.

14 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-22 23:13:44)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Meanwhile I’ve conducted a 3 hours sound comparison between:
ADI-2/4 Pro SE vs. ADI-2 Pro 1st Gen:

• Blind A/B: the switcher’s cables were blindly replugged after each run, so I didn’t know which unit was A or B.
• Precisely level matched, by 1/100 dB.
• Same DA-Filter (Sharp) and PEQ on both, all other settings (Crossfeed etc.) disabled.
• HP 1/2 Output, Lo Power, -15 dB Volume
• Listening level upper range of comfortable, ca. 77 - 80 dBA LEQ measured.
• AUDEZE LCD-4 100 Ohm version headphones, “commonly” known as “hard to drive” - it’s not IMO.
• Same EQ setting (adapted ORATORY1990 RME/LCD-4, see footnote), so possible PEQ differences are part of this comparison.
• Counter-checked for measurable frequency response differences – found non between ADI-2/4 and ADI-2 Pro,
• All tracks from Tidal 44.1 kHz sample rate.

• For each music track I started with some sighted A/B to “learn” possible sound specifics.
• Followed by 10 runs through each track while A/B switching with periods of variable length.
Goal, to positively identify which unit sounds “better”, ADI-2/4 and ADI-2 Pro.
After each run the result was noted.


Result: for every track it was 5:5 or 4:6 or 6:4.
In summation I ended with 51 : 49, surprisingly insignificant!

Whenever I thought I could nail a difference, the next run it could be the other way round.


Conclusion:
If there is a sound difference, it’s very hard to detect, I couldn’t find any this time.



Footnote:
PEQ: ORATORY1990 RME/LCD-4, slightly adapted:

BB: Gain +4.0 dB  F  111 Hz  Q 0.6 Shelf
B1: Gain -2.0 dB  F  130 Hz  Q 0.5 Peak
B2: Gain -4.0 dB  F 1.09kHz  Q 0.9 Peak
B3: Gain -3.0 dB  F 3.0k Hz  Q 2.9 Peak
B4: Gain +9.0 dB  F 3.7k Hz  Q 0.6 Peak
B5: Gain -1.5 dB  F 7.8k Hz  Q 2.3 Peak
BT: Gain +2.5 dB  F 7.2k Hz  Q 1.5 Shelf

15 (edited by Muffin 2022-12-22 23:11:55)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:
Muffin wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:

I had compared the ADI 2 Pro with the Hugo 2 via headphone (HD800S) a long time ago and I found the Hugo 2 generally noticeably better (for holographic sound, soundstage and resolution). Since the 2/4 has a new DAC, I honestly expected an improvement in the general sound characteristics. If that's not the case, that's pretty disappointing. The only reason I didn't keep the Hugo 2 is because it has noticeable latency when gaming.

I've heard that about the ADI-2 DAC on occasion and the cause is some DSP has been enabled, like mono. That is quite easy to enable by accident from the remote unless you've remapped the keys as the remote button 1 is mono by default, but I don't know that is the case for ADI-2 Pro.

Chances are that you've not done the test properly (like level match) along with any DSP disabled and a very similar filter selected (why ever use NOS or similar, for Gods sake).

In this the status screen on the RME is your friend as this will show what you've enabled for the current output, but not which filter.

Please excuse my question: I don't quite understand, should DSP be disabled or not? I thought so.

I know I had everything set exactly and the volume was about the same, the filter from the 2 Pro and Hugo 2 was default.

For testing the RME against other devices DSP effects like mono, cross feed, PEQ, dynamic loudness, tone controls should be disabled as that of course will change the sound by design. Possibly the reference level was set to a fixed level with a too low power level for your head phones.

I don't think you should hear much, if any, difference compared to the Hugo 2. Assuming a proper test setup.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

This is really very helpful, thank you very much for your time and patience. Unfortunately, this is not the result I expected. Very, too bad.

KaiS wrote:

Meanwhile I’ve conducted a 3 hours sound comparison between:
ADI-2/4 Pro SE vs. ADI-2 Pro 1st Gen:

• Blind A/B: the switcher’s cables were blindly replugged after each run, so I didn’t know which unit was A or B.
• Precisely level matched, by 1/100 dB.
• Same DA-Filter (Sharp) and PEQ on both, all other settings (Crossfeed etc.) disabled.
• HP 1/2 Output, Lo Power, -15 dB Volume
• Listening level upper range of comfortable, ca. 77 - 80 dBA LEQ measured.
• AUDEZE LCD-4 100 Ohm version headphones, “commonly” known as “hard to drive” - it’s not IMO.
• Same EQ setting (adapted ORATORY1990 RME/LCD-4, see footnote), so possible PEQ differences are part of this comparison.
• Counter-checked for measurable frequency response differences – non ADI-2/4 and ADI-2 Pro,
• All tracks from Tidal 44.1 kHz sample rate.

• For each music track I started with some sighted A/B to “learn” possible sound specifics.
• Followed by 10 runs through each track while A/B switching with periods of variable length.
Goal, to positively identify which unit sounds “better”, ADI-2/4 and ADI-2 Pro.
After each run the result was noted.


Result: for every track it was 5:5 or 4:6 or 6:4.
In summation I ended with 51 : 49, surprisingly insignificant!

Whenever I though I could nail a difference, the next run it could be the other way round.


Conclusion:
If there is a sound difference, it’s very hard to detect, I couldn’t find any this time.



Footnote:
PEQ: ORATORY1990 RME/LCD-4, slightly adapted:

BB: Gain +4.0 dB  F  111 Hz  Q 0.6 Shelf
B1: Gain -2.0 dB  F  130 Hz  Q 0.5 Peak
B2: Gain -4.0 dB  F 1.09kHz  Q 0.9 Peak
B3: Gain -3.0 dB  F 3.0k Hz  Q 2.9 Peak
B4: Gain +9.0 dB  F 3.7k Hz  Q 0.6 Peak
B5: Gain -1.5 dB  F 7.8k Hz  Q 2.3 Peak
BT: Gain +2.5 dB  F 7.2k Hz  Q 1.5 Shelf

17 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-22 23:20:54)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:

This is really very helpful, thank you very much for your time and patience. Unfortunately, this is not the result I expected. Very, too bad.

No, it’s not!
The sound quality is extremely high, and there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to criticize on both ADI-2 versions.

The AUDEZE LCD-4 never sounded that good as in this configuration, all its famous strengths are fully served: bass punch, warmth, spacial cues etc.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

KaiS wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:

This is really very helpful, thank you very much for your time and patience. Unfortunately, this is not the result I expected. Very, too bad.

No, it’s not!
The sound quality is extremely high, and there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to criticize on both ADI-2 versions.

The AUDEZE LCD-4 never sounded that good as in this configuration, all it’s famous strengths are fully served: bass punch, warmth, spacial cues etc.

Well, in my case, it's a big disappointment: I've been waiting for the 2/4 since June, with the hope and expectation that the sound quality with the HD800S would be at least as good as that of the Hugo 2, if not better. Instead, it is obviously on the same level of the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS. Of course I don't mean that the sound quality itself is not good, on the contrary! Just not as good as that of the Hugo 2. In my case, it would not be worth keeping the 2/4 at all in terms of price, because I would have zero advantages over the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS - but 1500€ less, which I could of course save.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:
KaiS wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:

This is really very helpful, thank you very much for your time and patience. Unfortunately, this is not the result I expected. Very, too bad.

No, it’s not!
The sound quality is extremely high, and there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to criticize on both ADI-2 versions.

The AUDEZE LCD-4 never sounded that good as in this configuration, all it’s famous strengths are fully served: bass punch, warmth, spacial cues etc.

Well, in my case, it's a big disappointment: I've been waiting for the 2/4 since June, with the hope and expectation that the sound quality with the HD800S would be at least as good as that of the Hugo 2, if not better. Instead, it is obviously on the same level of the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS. Of course I don't mean that the sound quality itself is not good, on the contrary! Just not as good as that of the Hugo 2. In my case, it would not be worth keeping the 2/4 at all in terms of price, because I would have zero advantages over the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS - but 1500€ less, which I could of course save.

Why don't you just keep your Hugo 2 that you're so satisfied with? The RME device is not for you.

20 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-23 00:00:00)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

The Chord stuff seems to have it’s own special “House Sound” no one else offers, if you’re after this, there might be no way around.

I suggest to use ADI-2’s options that Chord doesn’t offer, like Loudness, PEQ and even the various DAC filters.
I couldn’t live without it, the Chord’s would be of no use for me.

The Sennheiser HD-800 and HD-800S are clear candidates for ADI-2’s DSP processing.

The ADI-2/4 is the culmination of the series, offering unrivaled flexibility.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Muffin wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:
KaiS wrote:

No, it’s not!
The sound quality is extremely high, and there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to criticize on both ADI-2 versions.

The AUDEZE LCD-4 never sounded that good as in this configuration, all it’s famous strengths are fully served: bass punch, warmth, spacial cues etc.

Well, in my case, it's a big disappointment: I've been waiting for the 2/4 since June, with the hope and expectation that the sound quality with the HD800S would be at least as good as that of the Hugo 2, if not better. Instead, it is obviously on the same level of the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS. Of course I don't mean that the sound quality itself is not good, on the contrary! Just not as good as that of the Hugo 2. In my case, it would not be worth keeping the 2/4 at all in terms of price, because I would have zero advantages over the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS - but 1500€ less, which I could of course save.

Why don't you just keep your Hugo 2 that you're so satisfied with? The RME device is not for you.

The Hugo 2 had a (for me) too high latency when gaming, so I didn't keep it. The ADI 2 was perfect in that regard at the time. I think I will buy it again, compare it myself and keep it if necessary and return the 2/4.

22 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-23 00:03:03)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:

The Hugo 2 had a (for me) too high latency when gaming, so I didn't keep it. The ADI 2 was perfect in that regard at the time. I think I will buy it again, compare it myself and keep it if necessary and return the 2/4.

A thoroughly conducted A/B would be very interesting.

Simply plugging around some ‘phones isn’t a fair A/B, something you learn once you do it right.

Where are you located?

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

KaiS wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:

The Hugo 2 had a (for me) too high latency when gaming, so I didn't keep it. The ADI 2 was perfect in that regard at the time. I think I will buy it again, compare it myself and keep it if necessary and return the 2/4.

A thoroughly conducted A/B would be very interesting.

Simply plugging around some ‘phones isn’t a fair A/B, something you learn once you do it right.

Where are you located?

I don't know what to say. At the time, I had dealt with the issue for a very long time, because I really wanted to keep the ADI 2. I had made the comparison for hours and on different days. But the Hugo 2 clearly had the better overall sound quality in the end. I still wanted to keep the ADI 2 because of the gaming, until I then read about the 2/4. So I waited until now. And again, if the 2/4 has the same sound quality from the 2 Pro, which in turn has the same sound quality from the ADI 2, then it's not worth it for me to use the 2/4 exclusively for gaming, the ADI 2 would be perfectly adequate and much cheaper. By the way, I read the same thing in other two well-known forums.

I live in Berlin, why?

24 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-23 00:22:23)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:
KaiS wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:

The Hugo 2 had a (for me) too high latency when gaming, so I didn't keep it. The ADI 2 was perfect in that regard at the time. I think I will buy it again, compare it myself and keep it if necessary and return the 2/4.

A thoroughly conducted A/B would be very interesting.

Simply plugging around some ‘phones isn’t a fair A/B, something you learn once you do it right.

Where are you located?

I don't know what to say. At the time, I had dealt with the issue for a very long time, because I really wanted to keep the ADI 2. I had made the comparison for hours and on different days. But the Hugo 2 clearly had the better overall sound quality in the end. I still wanted to keep the ADI 2 because of the gaming, until I then read about the 2/4. So I waited until now. And again, if the 2/4 has the same sound quality from the 2 Pro, which in turn has the same sound quality from the ADI 2, then it's not worth it for me to use the 2/4 exclusively for gaming, the ADI 2 would be perfectly adequate and much cheaper. By the way, I read the same thing in other two well-known forums.

I live in Berlin, why?

Karlsruhe.
If we had lived closer we could have meet once you have a Hugo again.

I’d say, ADI-2/4 is for people like me who need the extra connectivity and / or features like RIAA vinyl pre.

A lot of people are well served with ADI-2 DAC and can be assured they get the same high sound quality.

25 (edited by stzhvwg 2022-12-24 17:39:25)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

So, in the meantime, I just had to order the ADI 2 Pro and compare for myself. This I did, the device arrived today and I spent a few hours comparing.

Of course, I made sure that the settings between the two devices are exactly the same, the same of course for the volume. I tried both the default EQ settings and Oratory1990's recommendations for my HD800S. The result is: extremely disappointing for me, in fact I simply cannot detect any difference in sound quality between the ADI 2 Pro and ADI 2/4 Pro. IF there is one, is just so subtle that it is just barely noticeable. I tried in each case to focus on individual aspects (such as soundstage, extension, resolution, etc.). I listened to short clips of several tracks and again, for me there is simply no difference in sound quality. In gaming, of course, it would be even less noticeable. It struck me that for a (perceived) equal volume, I have -30.5 on the 2 Pro and -29 on the 2/4. But I thought that the 2/4 be stronger!? I tried both auto ref and hi power.

I thank sinarca very much for posting this question, because it saves me a lot of money, the 2/4 is definitely going back. It would never have occurred to me that the 2 Pro could have the same sound quality. I couldn't believe it myself and I tried to notice a difference but couldn't.

I'll send the 2/4 back in early January and I'll have until then to compare further - if anyone would recommend something to me on this subject.

Merry Christmas to you all.

26 (edited by beat8000 2022-12-24 18:10:21)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

I have done a sound comparison between the Adi 2 DAC and the Adi 2 Pro AE in a mastering studio when I bought the AE device in 2019.

To my opinion you should warm up both devices playing at least one hour before serious listening.
Additionally I recommend to use e.g. either the analog inputs for both devices or USB inputs from two Computers for a comparison.

Win10 Pro, ADI-2 Pro, Basis 1, Adam A3X; RL 906; Grace M902B, Glockenklang Bugatti, Strauss SE-NF-3

27 (edited by stzhvwg 2022-12-24 18:13:21)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

beat8000 wrote:

I have done a sound comparison between the Adi 2 DAC and the Adi 2 Pro AE in a mastering studio when I bought the AE device in 2019.

To my opinion you should warm up both devices playing at least one hour before serious listening.
Additionally I recommend to use e.g. either the analog inputs for both devices or USB inputs from two Computers for a comparison.

Both devices were turned on for more than an hour while I tested them. And both are connected to the PC via USB. Differences in sound quality were not noticeable, I checked this again because it is somehow unbelievable for me.

28 (edited by beat8000 2022-12-24 18:23:36)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Ok, in that case I suggest to try it also with the analog and the optical inputs.
Usually I use two Astell & Kern DAP players for this purpose and I have executed the comparison with the balanced analog and with the optical inputs.

Win10 Pro, ADI-2 Pro, Basis 1, Adam A3X; RL 906; Grace M902B, Glockenklang Bugatti, Strauss SE-NF-3

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

beat8000 wrote:

Ok, in that case I suggest to try it also with the analog and the optical inputs.
Usually I use two Astell & Kern DAP players for this purpose and I have executed the comparison with the balanced analog and with the optical inputs.

I have already compared optical and USB on the 2 Pro and 2/4 and the audio quality was the same (as was latency in gaming). Analog is out of the question for me and I dare to doubt that there could be a difference there as well.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

I don't really understand the frustration. If you like the Pro then keep the Pro. No one ever said the sound quality would be different, it's the FEATURES of the 2/4 that are advertised as upgraded, not the sound quality.

https://musicwall.app/hermetech

31 (edited by beat8000 2022-12-24 19:34:05)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

As a next step I suggest to compare both devices e.g. with a DAP player DAC connection.
I have just done it with my HD800. To my opinion there are subtle sound differences between e.g. the Astell & Kern AK320 DAC and the Adi 2 Pro AE ASIO Madiface DAC.
However both devices are using the AKM 4090 DAC as far as I know.

Win10 Pro, ADI-2 Pro, Basis 1, Adam A3X; RL 906; Grace M902B, Glockenklang Bugatti, Strauss SE-NF-3

32 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-24 19:48:18)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

The funny thing, your expectation asks for the more expensive units to sound “better” in some way.


What you experience, by true level matched blind A/B comparison, is a myth killer and eye opener:

Technologie has reached such a high level if done right like with the RME stuff, there’s no significant room for sound improvements if you want a real, uncolored sound.

Only special stuff like the effects of low NFB tube amplifiers or other signal “bending” devices really do sound different, and sometimes even less that the idea about it would imply.

The rest, most you read in the internet about “night and day differences” is pure imagination, expectation bias driven self delusion:
“It has to be better because I just bought it and it was expensive”


It’s not, and I have done loads of serious A/B and A/B/X comparisons, here and even at German National Broadcast, that confirmed the above.


Meanwhile:
Use ADI-2 2/4 Pro’s, ADI-2 Pro’s or ADI-2 DAC’s unique features like PEQ, Loudness Correction, Crossfeed, selection of DAC Filters, ... , etc.,  for real, audible sound improvements, listen and enjoy your music - as I do right now, Merry Christmas!

33 (edited by Muffin 2022-12-24 20:07:51)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

KaiS wrote:

The funny thing, your expectation asks for the more expensive units to sound “better” in some way.


What you experience, by true level matched blind A/B comparison, is a myth killer and eye opener:

Technologie has reached such a high level if done right like with the RME stuff, there’s no significant room for sound improvements if you want a real, uncolored sound.

Only special stuff like the effects of low NFB tube amplifiers or other signal “bending” devices really do sound different, and sometimes even less that the idea about it would imply.

The rest, most you read in the internet about “night and day differences” is pure imagination, expectation bias driven self delusion:
“It has to be better because I just bought it and it was expensive”

It’s not, and I have done loads of serious A/B and A/B/X comparisons, here and even at German National Broadcast, that confirmed the above.

Meanwhile:
Use ADI-2 2/4 Pro’s, ADI-2 Pro’s or ADI-2 DAC’s unique features like PEQ, Loudness Correction, Crossfeed, selection of DAC Filters, ... , etc.,  for real, audible sound improvements, listen and enjoy your music - as I do right now, Merry Christmas!

+1

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

You are right, of course. Nowhere did it say that the audio quality would have been better. The problem was simply my expectations, since the 2/4 is new(er) and has a better DAC compared to the 2 Pro. So I just thought that there would have been improvements in audio quality as well. So it's my fault.

And yes, it's true that these advertised vast differences between DACs are mostly just wishful thinking. I had compared the Hugo 2 to the Hugo TT2 at the time and differences in sound quality were quite marginal for me, barely noticeable; anyway, given the price, the TT2 was absolutely not worth it. I had used the HD800S.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

To my opinion there could be sound differences at least regarding the THD difference between the two devices. But I think it might be impossible to recognize it with a volume of about - 30.

I usually have the same issue because I'm mostly also listening with about 70 db.

Win10 Pro, ADI-2 Pro, Basis 1, Adam A3X; RL 906; Grace M902B, Glockenklang Bugatti, Strauss SE-NF-3

36 (edited by KaiS 2022-12-27 09:59:59)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

beat8000 wrote:

To my opinion there could be sound differences at least regarding the THD difference between the two devices. But I think it might be impossible to recognize it with a volume of about - 30.

I usually have the same issue because I'm mostly also listening with about 70 db.

Low figure THDs are not impossible, but very hard to detect by ear.
They are hidden in the music’s own overtones.

With ADI-2/4’s expert setting (see manual page 30) you can experiment and dial in THDs up to ca. 0.1 % (a figure that would classify a typical SS-amp as “bad” by today’s standards BTW), even individually accessible for K2 and K3.



Something that can’t be ignored either:

Music recordings contain THD of 3% or more quite often, contemporary pop master easily reach 20% - 50% and more for peaks that are cut by the limiter, without much people complaining.

The distortions are obviously audible, e.g. in the Amy Winehouse and Adele recordings, in a way I can’t stand them on headphones.


I just listened to two Ina Deter albums, “Neue Maenner braucht das Land” and “Frauen kommen langsam - aber gewaltig”.

Both don’t use much limiting of peaks, have an explosive dynamic and are, therefore, about 10 dB quieter than usual “loudness war” tracks.
Dial up 10 dB and enjoy the unrivaled extra 10 dB of impactful sound without distorted peaks.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Not familiar with Chord products but differences often caused by some tuning in frequency response of the device, maybe you can do a sweep of frequency if there's a chance. Pro audio devices will have to avoid unintentional equlization so level matched professional transparent audio devices should sound the same, if not, then they are neither professional nor transparent.

38 (edited by Cortyadln 2023-01-13 17:09:04)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Out of curiosity, shouldn't it be the case that the 2/4 Pro SE should deliver better sound at least with the 4.4mm connector, or am I mistaken? So 4.4mm should be better in this regard than 6.3mm?

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Cortyadln wrote:

Out of curiosity, shouldn't it be the case that the 2/4 Pro SE should deliver better sound at least with the 4.4mm connector, or am I mistaken? So 4.4mm should be better in this regard than 6.3mm?

No, it will not, apart from that the power output is higher if you need that.

40 (edited by ramses 2023-01-13 19:15:18)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Cortyadln wrote:

Out of curiosity, shouldn't it be the case that the 2/4 Pro SE should deliver better sound at least with the 4.4mm connector, or am I mistaken? So 4.4mm should be better in this regard than 6.3mm?

See post #13 as a basement regarding sound.

Rather unlikely that just another plug standard on the phones outputs should deliver better sound quality.
Furthermore, the higher output volume should not deliver audible better sound.
By this, it can simply drive headphone of high impedance even better.
The new 4.4 mm Pentaconn plug can simply be regarded as nicer plug standard for balanced phones.
If I remember right, RME/MC wrote something about it here or on the RME product page on web.

If you want to get or upgrade to the ADI-2/4 Pro then for the additional features or to be "up to date". Or to get even lower THD. Measurable, but much likely not for audible better sound. The ADI-2 DAC/Pro FS deliver already excellent quality.

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

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Cortyadln wrote:

Out of curiosity, shouldn't it be the case that the 2/4 Pro SE should deliver better sound at least with the 4.4mm connector, or am I mistaken? So 4.4mm should be better in this regard than 6.3mm?

Really, not!
Connectors don’t have a “sound”, they either work or not.

The technology behind is almost the same for both ADI-2 Pro and ADI-2/4 Pro SE.
Both have balanced HP out options in case one needs them.
The ADI-2/4 has slightly more power, both devices provide more power than ever needed.
The 4.4mm Pentaconn makes connection a little more easy.


The only real audible difference:

ADI-2 Pro uses AKM AD/DA chips, ADI-2/4 Pro SE uses ESS ones.
These chips have the same quality level, but do offer different DA-Filters, even though they do use the same names like “Slow” e.g.

This fact is well documented, if you compare the frequency response graphs in the user manuals, BTW.



The only DA-Filters that are similar are the “Sharp” and “NOS”, all others are “slower” on the AKM chip.
The difference is audible at sample rates of 44.1 and 48 kHz only, for higher SR's the filters are out of the audible band anyway.


Therefore I did my sound comparison 1st Gen Pro vs. 2/4 SE with the “Sharp” filters and 44.1 kHz files selected, but couldn’t find any audible difference for this case:
https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.ph … 60#p195160


With, e.g, the “Slow”-filters engaged a difference is obvious, but it’s hard for me to score this in qualitiy levels - specially as you have the choices of various DA-Filters anyway.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

ramses wrote:
Cortyadln wrote:

Out of curiosity, shouldn't it be the case that the 2/4 Pro SE should deliver better sound at least with the 4.4mm connector, or am I mistaken? So 4.4mm should be better in this regard than 6.3mm?

See post #13 as a basement regarding sound.

Rather unlikely that just another plug standard on the phones outputs should deliver better sound quality.
Furthermore, the higher output volume should not deliver audible better sound.
By this, it can simply drive headphone of high impedance even better.
The new 4.4 mm Pentaconn plug can simply be regarded as nicer plug standard for balanced phones.
If I remember right, RME/MC wrote something about it here or on the RME product page on web.

If you want to get or upgrade to the ADI-2/4 Pro then for the additional features or to be "up to date". Or to get even lower THD. Measurable, but much likely not for audible better sound. The ADI-2 DAC/Pro FS deliver already excellent quality.

Half the contact resistance

ADI-2 DAC, ADI-2 PRO, DigifaceUSB, UCXII, ARC, HEGEL.h80, KEF.ls50, HD650, ie400pro _,.\''/.,_

43 (edited by KaiS 2023-01-15 00:32:26)

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

Happy_amateur wrote:
ramses wrote:
Cortyadln wrote:

... that the 2/4 Pro SE should deliver better sound at least with the 4.4mm connector, or am I mistaken? So 4.4mm should be better in this regard than 6.3mm?

See post #13 as a basement regarding sound.

Rather unlikely that just another plug standard on the phones outputs should deliver better sound quality...

Half the contact resistance

I wouldn‘t bet my life on that.
Same number of contact points in the signal path.


Contact resistance is a function of materials, contact pressure, contact area and dirt (call it “contamination).

Typically 0.01 Ohm (Neutrik) when new.
https://www.neutrik.com/en/product/nj3fd-v
ADI-2’s output resistance is 0.1 Ohm nominal, 10 times higher.
Headphones cables are ca. 1 Ohm, 100 times higher.
Headphones are ca. 50 Ohm, 5000 times higher.
All these resistances are chained, in series, the current has to run through all of them.


More important is contacting reliability.
Pro-plugs often are better in this regard, cause the stick “harder”.

If there is a contacting problem is usually very obviously audible.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

stzhvwg wrote:
KaiS wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:

This is really very helpful, thank you very much for your time and patience. Unfortunately, this is not the result I expected. Very, too bad.

No, it’s not!
The sound quality is extremely high, and there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to criticize on both ADI-2 versions.

The AUDEZE LCD-4 never sounded that good as in this configuration, all it’s famous strengths are fully served: bass punch, warmth, spacial cues etc.

Well, in my case, it's a big disappointment: I've been waiting for the 2/4 since June, with the hope and expectation that the sound quality with the HD800S would be at least as good as that of the Hugo 2, if not better. Instead, it is obviously on the same level of the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS. Of course I don't mean that the sound quality itself is not good, on the contrary! Just not as good as that of the Hugo 2. In my case, it would not be worth keeping the 2/4 at all in terms of price, because I would have zero advantages over the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS - but 1500€ less, which I could of course save.

I suspect that you have become accustomed to the more shrill sounding Chord and that the RME doesn't provide the exagerated upper frequency you were expecting. I believe there are many Chord buyers who have buyers remorse down the road when they realize that they purchased a very inflexible piece of gear, that has one sound that can't be modified depending on source material, without additional outboard gear. It's only natural that it won't be the best that they have to offer when they have DAC's that run 5x's as much, with better, if more than likely inaudible technical specs, a massive jump in diminishing returns, and a desire to get you to spend more money for the bragging rights.
Not to mention the small segment that it appears you represent, that are dissatisfied with the latency issues of the Chord.
Because RME is primarily pro-audio/studio gear, I'd fully expect it to have very low latency.
The intelligent play would be to hang on to the ADI 2/4. Your desire for 1/10th of 1/10th of 1/10th of 1%, real or imagined difference that is highly debatable, and won't gain much traction on this forum, with regards to other DAC's doesn't have sound justification beyond the scope of your query.
With gaming audio a distant 2nd in the sensory input priority for game developers, it's odd that it's of such great importance in this case (to me anyway). For most it's simply a backdrop and a navigational, dialog, or effects tool within the whole of the experience and hardly worth more than what it takes to achieve that end. I wasn't aware that gaming audiophiles were a niche.

Re: ADI-2 Pro (first gen) vs. ADI-2/4: any audible difference ?

donmcnevin wrote:
stzhvwg wrote:
KaiS wrote:

No, it’s not!
The sound quality is extremely high, and there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to criticize on both ADI-2 versions.

The AUDEZE LCD-4 never sounded that good as in this configuration, all it’s famous strengths are fully served: bass punch, warmth, spacial cues etc.

Well, in my case, it's a big disappointment: I've been waiting for the 2/4 since June, with the hope and expectation that the sound quality with the HD800S would be at least as good as that of the Hugo 2, if not better. Instead, it is obviously on the same level of the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS. Of course I don't mean that the sound quality itself is not good, on the contrary! Just not as good as that of the Hugo 2. In my case, it would not be worth keeping the 2/4 at all in terms of price, because I would have zero advantages over the 2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC FS - but 1500€ less, which I could of course save.

I suspect that you have become accustomed to the more shrill sounding Chord and that the RME doesn't provide the exagerated upper frequency you were expecting. I believe there are many Chord buyers who have buyers remorse down the road when they realize that they purchased a very inflexible piece of gear, that has one sound that can't be modified depending on source material, without additional outboard gear. It's only natural that it won't be the best that they have to offer when they have DAC's that run 5x's as much, with better, if more than likely inaudible technical specs, a massive jump in diminishing returns, and a desire to get you to spend more money for the bragging rights.
Not to mention the small segment that it appears you represent, that are dissatisfied with the latency issues of the Chord.
Because RME is primarily pro-audio/studio gear, I'd fully expect it to have very low latency.
The intelligent play would be to hang on to the ADI 2/4. Your desire for 1/10th of 1/10th of 1/10th of 1%, real or imagined difference that is highly debatable, and won't gain much traction on this forum, with regards to other DAC's doesn't have sound justification beyond the scope of your query.
With gaming audio a distant 2nd in the sensory input priority for game developers, it's odd that it's of such great importance in this case (to me anyway). For most it's simply a backdrop and a navigational, dialog, or effects tool within the whole of the experience and hardly worth more than what it takes to achieve that end. I wasn't aware that gaming audiophiles were a niche.

Thank you for the informative reply.

In the meantime, I have thought that it would be right for me in the long run to keep the 2/4 Pro SE, this among other things because of the 4.4mm connection and the latency, which should be even lower. Yes, I am of course aware that these are differences that are extremely small - if they are perceptible at all somehow! Nevertheless, I also just want to know that I am optimally equipped.

The Hugo 2 really had too much latency for me in gaming and it was clearly noticeable. The TT2 was even worse in that regard. And also, I have started to use the EQ possibilities from the RME and I really like this. Of course, neither the Hugo 2 nor the TT2 has this option.