RME ADI2 DAC Review – Peak Audio Quality?

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Last updatedLast updated: May 13, 2024
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As music enthusiasts and tech aficionados, we’ve recently had the chance to test the RME ADI2 DAC, a top-tier DA converter designed for both audiophiles and professional studio settings. Its ability to render audio with extreme clarity and precision caught our attention. The unit presents itself with minimal distortion and an impressively low noise floor, catering to the detailed listening needs of musicians and engineers and home hi-fi setups.

Our experience was marked by the converter’s holistic range of features, such as its versatile connectivity options – boasting both balanced and unbalanced outputs, a potent headphone output, and a gentle in-ear-monitor output for nuanced listening experiences. The SteadyClock FS technology ensures impeccable synchronization and audio quality. RME’s implementation of the ESS’s ES9028Q2M chip in this DA converter elevates its performance to professional standards that are hard to match.

The RME ADI2 DAC’s thoughtful design also includes a user-friendly AutoDark mode, dimming the display and buttons after a period of inactivity, which we found keeps the focus on the music without unnecessary distractions. The extended multi-remote support is a boon, enabling easy changes even in low-light conditions.

Bottom Line

The RME ADI2 DAC stands out in the crowded field of DA converters, offering both precision for professional applications and refined listening for audiophiles. Its breadth of features, ease of use, and exceptional audio quality left us thoroughly impressed.

This DA converter is a solid choice for those seeking impeccable sound reproduction and a feature-rich audio interface.

Considering upgrading your audio experience? Click here to purchase the RME ADI2DACFS and hear the difference it can make.

Unlocking Audio Excellence: RME ADI2DACFS Overview

In our quest for audio clarity, we came across the RME ADI2 DAC DAC, a two-channel DA converter that’s a cut above the rest for those demanding uncompromised sound quality. It’s clear that the unit’s true forte lies in its remarkable capacity to deliver ultra-fidelity digital to analog conversions. For us audiophiles and music professionals, what stands out is the DAC’s ability to present music with negligible distortion and a near-silent noise floor, which is critical for nuanced listening and detailed audio work.

The DAC excels not just with its high-resolution audio playback of up to 768 kHz but also through its versatile functionality. The balanced and unbalanced connections, paired with an extreme power headphone output, cater to various listening preferences and headphones, including power-hungry models. Users with in-ear monitors will appreciate the specialized lower noise output, ensuring the full dynamic range is experienced without the annoyance of background hiss.

Moreover, RME’s proprietary SteadyClock FS technology guarantees pristine sound quality, free from the jitter common in digital audio. The innovative AutoDark feature also caught our attention; it switches off the display and controls after 10 seconds of inactivity for a distraction-free environment – an indication of the thoughtful design aimed at user comfort and convenience. And despite its pro-level qualities, the device maintains simplicity in connectivity, even for those integrating it into a home setup.

Our hands-on experience confirms that the RME ADI2 DAC is about polished sound and marrying function with an intuitive user experience. It’s a piece of tech that endeavors to serve the detail-oriented listener without overlooking those who seek both performance and ease of use from their audio equipment.

Balanced/Unbalanced I/O and Headphone Output

In our hands-on experience with the RME ADI2DACFS, we found the inclusion of both balanced and unbalanced inputs/outputs to be a significant advantage for audio professionals and enthusiasts alike. The balanced I/O ensures minimal interference and signal degradation over long cable runs, an essential feature for studio environments. On the flip side, unbalanced I/O provides compatibility with a wider range of equipment, which benefits home users or on-the-go setups.

Moreover, the headphone output stands out with its high fidelity. During our testing, it was evident that the headphone amp is built to cater to demanding headphones requiring more power. The output remains clean and articulate, even at higher volumes. We appreciate this level of versatility; it allows users to pair the RME ADI2 DAC with a wide selection of headphones, ensuring a top-notch listening experience without worrying about mismatched impedances or insufficient power delivery.

Professional Quality with ESS ES9028Q2M Technology

Our hands-on experience with the RME ADI2 DAC, including the ESS ES9028Q2M technology, is a standout feature that merits discussion. Known for its premium performance in audio conversion, this chip provides a clear and accurate representation of sound that can satisfy audiophiles and professional users alike.

We found that the audio detail delivered by the RME ADI2 DAC is top-notch, with a sound that maintains its integrity across various types of audio content. Whether it’s the finesse of high-resolution classical pieces or the deep lows in electronic tracks, this converter handles it precisely, avoiding any audible coloration or distortion.

However, it’s worth noting that while the clarity is remarkable, some users might prefer a sound with more character, which this clinical precision might not provide. The professional quality is undeniable, but personal preferences for sound ‘warmth’ might vary.

Overall, the ESS ES9028Q2M chip elevates the RME ADI2DACFS to perform at a level that rivals more expensive units, solidifying its position as a reliable tool for both high-fidelity enthusiasts and professional studios.

Optimized Listening Experience for IEM Users

In our testing, the low noise floor for in-ear monitors (IEMs) on the ADI2DACFS significantly enhances the listening experience. A key advantage is the device’s ability to convey the full dynamic range to IEMs, elevating the music’s clarity and detail. We found that the RME ADI2 DAC stood out for its utility in home and hi-fi settings, ideal for music lovers seeking unparalleled sound fidelity.

The ground noise floor being notably lower than the Extreme Power output allows for a crisp and pristine sound quality, even at high volume levels. This converter’s nuance and richness of audio are impressive, and the sound remains clean and undistorted from the deepest bass to the highest treble.

Moreover, our experience with the AutoDark feature found it to be surprisingly practical. Lights and display dimming ensured minimal visual distractions during our critical listening sessions. This attention to detail reflects the manufacturer’s commitment to both sound quality and user experience.

While some may argue about the weight and sturdiness of the unit, it doesn’t detract from the exceptional audio performance delivered to IEMs. With its professional-level quality conversions and thoughtful design, we can confidently say the listening experience with the RME ADI2 DAC is top-notch for discerning ears.

Effortless Accessibility with AutoDark and Remote Control Features

When we first got our hands on the RME ADI2 DAC, we were eager to test its much-touted AutoDark mode. What we found was genuine convenience. Once activated, the AutoDark feature dimmed the display and controls after just 10 seconds of inactivity. It’s a subtle touch that reduces potential distractions while allowing quick access when any button is nudged. This is ideal for a seamless audio experience, especially when settling into a long listening session.

This device also comes with an impressively clear and well-organized remote control. The buttons are distinct and legible, making adjustments a breeze even in dimly lit environments. When working on intricate mixes or simply enjoying our favorite tracks, the remote made tweaking settings from across the room hassle-free. There was no need for frequent trips to adjust volume or inputs; it all felt like a streamlined, intuitive extension of our setup. However, while the convenience is noteworthy, a bit more heft to the remote would be welcome for an even more solid hands-on feel.

Pros and Cons

After thoroughly testing the RME ADI2 DAC, we’re excited to share our findings on this high-end DA converter. Known for its versatility and professional-level quality, this device has much to offer to audiophiles and casual users.


  • Versatility: The unit offers an extensive array of I/O options, including balanced and unbalanced connections, which cater to a wide range of audio setups.
  • Powerful Headphone Output: For headphone enthusiasts, the extreme power output is impressive, easily driving various headphones with different impedance levels.
  • Quiet Operation for In-Ear-Monitors: Those using in-ear monitors will appreciate the dedicated output that delivers a full dynamic range without introducing distracting noise floors.
  • High-Quality Internal Components: Using ESS’s ES9028Q2M chip, optimized by RME’s engineers, means that audio fidelity is top-notch, catering to even the most discerning ears.
  • User-Friendly Features: Features like AutoDark, which dims the display and buttons when not in use, contribute to an immersive listening experience and enhance the overall aesthetic of our setup.
  • Compatibility and Sampling Rates: The RME ADI2 DAC‘s class-compliant USB compatibility and support for high sampling rates up to 768 kHz ensure future-proofing for upcoming high-resolution audio formats.


  • Build Quality Concerns: Although sturdy, the device does not have the heft one might expect from a high-ticket item. We found that forceful cable interactions could shift the unit, suggesting that better weight distribution might be beneficial.
  • Remote Labeling Visibility: Despite being a minor inconvenience, the labeling on the multi-remote might be challenging to read in dim lighting conditions, which could frustrate some users.
  • Cost: The high quality comes with a high price tag, making this DAC a significant investment that might not appeal to everyone, especially those who do not require professional-level audio fidelity.

Our experience with the RME ADI2 DAC has been largely positive. However, a few minor tweaks could enhance its practicality and user-friendliness; its outstanding performance makes it a potential jewel in a sophisticated audio system.

Customer Reviews

Our community has shared their real-world experiences with the ADI-2 DAC FS, and there’s a consensus on its solid build—though some users note that it’s a bit lightweight for its high-end price point. One downside is that it can shift position on a desk when adjusting controls, which is less than ideal for such an investment.

In terms of functionality, users are happy with its performance in a home office setup for their PC and Mac, thanks in part to seamless connectivity with various digital streamers via optical audio cables. However, there’s a clear acknowledgment that this DAC, with its considerable cost, comes with expectations of top-notch audio quality and a premium feel that extends to all aspects of its design and use.

Overall, the feedback indicates that while the RME ADI2 DAC delivers on the audio front, a small detail in the design could enhance the user experience.


After spending quality time with the RME ADI2 DAC, we are impressed by its solid construction and high-fidelity sound output. Though it’s not the heaviest, which led to some slight movement during use, this doesn’t detract from its functionality. It seamlessly integrates into a desktop audiophile setup, catering to both PC and Mac users with aplomb. Its performance with digital streamers like the WiiM, using an optical audio cable connection, is noteworthy. While the price point is higher, the outcome is a clear, crisp audio experience. With an average rating of 4.5 stars, customers generally seem to share our appreciation for this high-quality DA converter. Despite a few niggles about the weight, the RME ADI2 DAC holds its own as a top-tier piece of audio equipment.

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