Fourlegs

RME ADI-2 DAC with different power supplies

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Super Wammer

There is a long thread running to do with different power supplies with the Node 2i streamer and I have been using different power supplies with DACs for some time now. The manufacturer of the RME ADI-2 DAC has always said that it performs within specification using the supplied power supply and so there is no point in using any different power supply.

I have been listening this morning to a Denafrips Ares 2 DAC and I thought it would be useful to compare it to a few other DACs including the RME ADI-2 (more of that later in a different thread).

Following on from that and whilst I had the RME ADI-2 plugged into the system I tried a few different power supplies with the RME.

In price order they were :-

Paul Hynes SR4-19 T (set to 15v), £420

Farad3 15v, ~ £526

Sean Jacobs DC4 (15v), £3000

After listening to a few tracks I homed in on the Fink track called 'Biscuits' on the Wheels Turn beneath My Feet album. Around 5 minutes into the track there is a section which to me was sounding rather hard and ultimately fatiguing with the RME but with all of the other power supplies this sounded more refined and less 'in your face'. I found myself wanting to listen to more of the track with each of them where with the RME stock supply I found myself wanting to reduce the volume. I was happy that it was better sound quality with all three alternative power supplies.

If anyone has an RME ADI-2 DAC it might be worth seeing if you can borrow a power supply to try for yourself. Those near me can borrow mine if it is of interest after lockdown.

The RME was connected to a Music First Audio Baby Reference preamp by RCA cable which outputted to Pass Labs XA60.8 power amplifiers and Spendor SP200 speakers. The source was an Innuos Statement server connected to the RME by USB.

Thanks to @TheFlash for the loan of the Baby Reference.

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22 minutes ago, Fourlegs said:

There is a long thread running to do with different power supplies with the Node 2i streamer and I have been using different power supplies with DACs for some time now. The manufacturer of the RME ADI-2 DAC has always said that it performs within specification using the supplied power supply and so there is no point in using any different power supply.

I have been listening this morning to a Denafrips Ares 2 DAC and I thought it would be useful to compare it to a few other DACs including the RME ADI-2 (more of that later in a different thread).

Following on from that and whilst I had the RME ADI-2 plugged into the system I tried a few different power supplies with the RME.

In price order they were :-

Paul Hynes SR4-19 T (set to 15v), £420

Farad3 15v, ~ £526

Sean Jacobs DC4 (15v), £3000

After listening to a few tracks I homed in on the Fink track called 'Biscuits' on the Wheels Turn beneath My Feet album. Around 5 minutes into the track there is a section which to me was sounding rather hard and ultimately fatiguing with the RME but with all of the other power supplies this sounded more refined and less 'in your face'. I found myself wanting to listen to more of the track with each of them where with the RME stock supply I found myself wanting to reduce the volume. I was happy that it was better sound quality with all three alternative power supplies.

If anyone has an RME ADI-2 DAC it might be worth seeing if you can borrow a power supply to try for yourself. Those near me can borrow mine if it is of interest after lockdown.

The RME was connected to a Music First Audio Baby Reference preamp by RCA cable which outputted to Pass Labs XA60.8 power amplifiers and Spendor SP200 speakers. The source was an Innuos Statement server connected to the RME by USB.

Thanks to @TheFlash for the loan of the Baby Reference.

The cheaper ones are a bit on the expensive side at around 60% the price of the DAC.

How does the RME with your Chord DAC?

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Super Wammer
1 minute ago, tuga said:

The cheaper ones are a bit on the expensive side at around 60% the price of the DAC.

How does the RME with your Chord DAC?

Sure, they are all not cheap but then a cheap one might not make any improvement. They are just what I had to hand. A MCRU power supply which I am trying with the Qutest DAC is probably a more likely price (£250 ish?) but I only have a 5v version of that. The first objective was to see if I could hear a difference at all before then thinking about how cheap one could go and still make an improvement.

I did try stock RME vs the Chord Dave (no Mscaler) but that is hardly a fair comparison (and it showed in my listening) especially as I am running the Dave with a £4400 Sean Jacobs power supply!

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Super Dealer

From the RME- ADI-2 manual,

6. Power Supply
In order to make operating the ADI-2 DAC as flexible as possible, the unit has a universal DC input socket, accepting voltages from 9.5 Volts up to 15 Volts. An internal switching regulator of the latest technology with high efficiency (> 90%) prevents internal hum noise by operating above audible frequencies. Internally the switching regulator is followed by standard linear regu- lators, followed by super low-noise linear regulators. Therefore the ADI-2 DAC achieves its technical specs even with less optimal power supplies. Or in other words: the choice of power supply is not critical.

Keith

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Super Wammer
3 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

From the RME- ADI-2 manual,

6. Power Supply
In order to make operating the ADI-2 DAC as flexible as possible, the unit has a universal DC input socket, accepting voltages from 9.5 Volts up to 15 Volts. An internal switching regulator of the latest technology with high efficiency (> 90%) prevents internal hum noise by operating above audible frequencies. Internally the switching regulator is followed by standard linear regu- lators, followed by super low-noise linear regulators. Therefore the ADI-2 DAC achieves its technical specs even with less optimal power supplies. Or in other words: the choice of power supply is not critical.

Keith

You always seem to quote someone else Keith. Do you actually have anything to say?

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, Fourlegs said:

After listening to a few tracks I homed in on the Fink track called 'Biscuits' on the Wheels Turn beneath My Feet album. Around 5 minutes into the track there is a section which to me was sounding rather hard and ultimately fatiguing with the RME but with all of the other power supplies this sounded more refined and less 'in your face'. I found myself wanting to listen to more of the track with each of them where with the RME stock supply I found myself wanting to reduce the volume. I was happy that it was better sound quality with all three alternative power supplies.

Did you notice any difference in music reproduction between the third party power supplies?

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Super Dealer
9 minutes ago, DomT said:

You always seem to quote someone else Keith. Do you actually have anything to say?

The ‘belief’ that an additional  external power supply will improve sound quality is not new, some twelve years ago I ordered two Paul Hynes supplies to conduct some comparative tests for myself, I compared two components that used stock SMPS , a Weiss INT converter and a Metric Halo DAC, I was able to compare Unsighted two units directly one with standard supply one with linear, I could perceive no difference.

That is not to say that a heroically poorly designed component may not be improved with a ‘better’ power supply ASR has shown that even today extremely poorly designed equipment is still being manufactured but properly designed equipment will not benefit from a ‘boutique’ external power supply.

Keith

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Super Wammer
21 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

From the RME- ADI-2 manual,

6. Power Supply
In order to make operating the ADI-2 DAC as flexible as possible, the unit has a universal DC input socket, accepting voltages from 9.5 Volts up to 15 Volts. An internal switching regulator of the latest technology with high efficiency (> 90%) prevents internal hum noise by operating above audible frequencies. Internally the switching regulator is followed by standard linear regu- lators, followed by super low-noise linear regulators. Therefore the ADI-2 DAC achieves its technical specs even with less optimal power supplies. Or in other words: the choice of power supply is not critical.

Keith

That quote is carefully worded. It says that the rme achieves its spec with the supplied power supply and the power supply is not critical to achieving that spec. What I am saying is it can sound better with a better power supply. There is no conflict between the two statements. Why not do some listening for yourself on this?

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Moderator

Just switch the filters to NOS and be done with it.....;)

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This topic is well covered in the RME manual, as Keith states, and on the RME forum.  The ADI-2 DAC’s designers are quite clear that there is no way a different power supply could make an audible improvement to sound quality.

 https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=27006

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1 hour ago, Fourlegs said:

Around 5 minutes into the track there is a section which to me was sounding rather hard and ultimately fatiguing with the RME but with all of the other power supplies this sounded more refined and less 'in your face'. I found myself wanting to listen to more of the track ...

So for 5 minutes of a 5:48 track the stock RME DAC was ok? Perhaps it was the splashy cymbals around that time were the reason?

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Super Dealer
3 minutes ago, jas0_0 said:

This topic is well covered in the RME manual, as Keith states, and on the RME forum.  The ADI-2 DAC’s designers are quite clear that there is no way a different power supply could make an audible improvement to sound quality.

 https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=27006

That was going to be my next gambit!

Keith

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, PuritéAudio said:

The ‘belief’ that an additional  external power supply will improve sound quality is not new, some twelve years ago I ordered two Paul Hynes supplies to conduct some comparative tests for myself, I compared two components that used stock SMPS , a Weiss INT converter and a Metric Halo DAC, I was able to compare Unsighted two units directly one with standard supply one with linear, I could perceive no difference.

That is not to say that a heroically poorly designed component may not be improved with a ‘better’ power supply ASR has shown that even today extremely poorly designed equipment is still being manufactured but properly designed equipment will not benefit from a ‘boutique’ external power supply.

Keith

Good to know. You reference ASR quite a lot. Are they a recognised authority in the hifi world? 

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Super Wammer
14 minutes ago, Speedskater said:

Any DAC that is sensitive to reasonable external power supplies, is a poorly designed DAC indeed.

Maybe thats why DAC manufacturers say that an external power supply will not improve the DAC!!! Seems logical to me.  Just as Harbeth saying that all amps sound the same.  And DAC manufacturers saying that all transports sound the same.  Hmmm can anyone seem a pattern?

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