RME ADI-2 DAC and Friends
After failing in my patience and envy, I have now joined the ADI-2 DAC club and am now fully hypnotized by the digital spectrum analyzer dancing away as I listen to jazz music....
From bottom to top:
Monolith THX-AAA Balanced Amp/DAC:
I wrote a little short impressions thing a while back, and I still really do enjoy this amp today. It has a great sounding amp section and the DAC isn't all that bad either, as it features dual AKM4493 DACs. The user interface was clunky at first, but after getting adjusted to it, I can breeze through it quickly and efficiently now. The sound and power on it is pretty great, especially at the price. The parametric EQ works well, but limited in only 1 profile and while you can fine-tune down 50Hz, it is limited to only +/- 6dB. Works well in combination with shelf-EQ for my Focal Elex. Lots of input choices on this device, and nice knob.
Teac PD-301 CD Player with FM Radio and USB:
This is a nice compact tabletop CD player by Teac. It has a nice remote that can control everything. The item is very heavy and well-built with good quality metal materials. The item also features an FM tuner which I actually use from time-to-time, as well as USB input on the front panel. While it has RCA out and it's own DAC section, I have only used it with it's digital Coaxial output to one of my external DACs.
RME ADI-2 DAC:
I just got this today so my impressions will be quite limited. The unit is small and light, and I was suprised at first how small it really was. The display is fantastic and mesmerizing. There are way too many features in it that I have to dive into. Just out of the box though, I find the detail and resolution is excellent. I'm already hearing some stuff in the background that I may not have picked up on previously. Could be bias, but may be not. It could just be an extremely well implemented device. The 6.5mm headphone out, while works fine, does sound a tad compressed (like less dynamic) than my Monolith THX-AAA balanced output section. I have yet to try the 3.5mm IEM output yet.
Update: Turning on High Power on Headphone output fixes any compression issues. Sounds great! Who needs balanced?