New Gear/New Toys Review: RME ADI-2 DAC

Pictured showing both its front and back panels along with its remote, the RME ADI-2 DAC is a compact two-channel, digital-to-analog converter that has a wide range of conversion options for its compact size--just a 9.5-inch chassis (that's a ½ rack space).

For digital inputs, the ADI-2 has S/PDIF RCA jack and a TOSLINK optical spigot for either ADAT or S/PDIF. It will accept up to 768 kHz sample rates and well as DSD and Direct DSD playback via the rear-panel USB 2.0 jack.

For analog outputs, it has a pair of balanced analog XLR outputs and RCA unbalanced jacks that utilize the same circuit design as the RME ADI-8 DS unit.

I was first attracted to the ADI-2 DAC's front panel with its easy-to-read display and AutoDark feature that allows the display to go dark after ten seconds--this mode is selectable and the screen lights back up if you touch any button or knob to select a digital input or setup function.

The ADI-2 DAC has both 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch jacks for both audiophile-level headphones and In-Ear Monitors that are powered by the Extreme Power Headphone amp. This amplifier has an output impedance of nearly zero ohms and touted as having an extremely low noise floor.

The RME ADI-2 DAC has an external switching 12-volt power supply but will run on batteries on any voltage from 7 to 30 VDC such as from the cigarette lighter socket in your car or boat.

The RME ADI-2 DAC sells for under $1,000 MSRP.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com