Topic: ADI-2 Pro Major Firmware Update 141 DSP 76
RME is proud to release a major firmware update for the ADI-2 Pro and AE (Anniversary Edition), which extends its functionality, usability and operation beyond expectation. So far the ADI-2 Pro has been a major blast in countless rave reviews, culminating in the statement 'all it lacks is competition'. With this firmware release the RME team adds even more exciting and unique features that turn the ADI-2 Pro into a reference of its own.
The list of new features, changes, and extensions is long. Updated manuals German/English are already available from RME's website, and the firmware includes a (shortened) readme text with all changes. Here is the place to explain the news in more detail. Let's start with the
- Fixed least significant bit error in the input channel 2 (analog right) that caused problems with DSD recording on Mac OS X (maybe also on Linux). We would like to thank our japanese distributor Synthax Japan, Mr. Noboru Murakami (author of Sound It), Mr. Kiyoshi Ishii from Korg Japan, and Paul Sanders (author of VinylStudio) for their help in identifying the problems. On a side note: the updated Windows driver 0.9610 fixes DSD recording via DoP and ASIO native with the Windows program VinylStudio.
- The Class Compliant hardware issued a mixer parameter (volume) that was invalid (this error did not cause any issues. Removed in version 132).
- Added buffer size check and correction to make Class Compliant mode immune against such errors.
- DSP code optimization: rewriting and restructuring parts of the DSP code lowered resource usage. That allowed us to activate the full frequency range for the third EQ band, which can now operate down to 20 Hz (before 150 Hz. Requested from several users to be able to use 3 bands in bass room correction). Additionally the freed resources allowed for several new functions, all described below, which are controlled and steered by the DSP.
Major overhaul of channel 1/2 handling:
- Separated settings memories for Main Output 1/2 and Phones Output 1/2. The internal structure has been completely reworked to provide individual settings for both outputs. Although front and rear output use the same DAC with the same audio signal, they can now have totally different settings, like EQ, Crossfeed, volume etc. - when used alternately. Note that different settings are not possible if both front and rear outputs 1/2 are used at the same time - for such a scenario Phones Out 3/4 exists.
When using front and rear independently/separately this scheme offers individual settings for front and rear outs 1/2. Activation takes place automatically when Mute v. TRS 1/2 is set to ON (SETUP / Options / Device Mode). As an example, this is very useful when one is forced to use PH 1/2 as phones output, because PH 3/4 is used as Line out for an effects loop with the analog inputs.
Don't be afraid - this is not complicated. Using the ADI-2 Pro it will be fully intuitive and logical to have EQs, Bass/Treble/Loudness, Crossfeed On or Off, and other settings differently for your speakers connected to the back and your phones connected to the front. So far this kind of functionality required to use Phones Out 3/4. Phones 3/4 still is the standard phones output with its own settings and an independent source selector to play back any source available, and should be used until there is a good reason to use the PH 1/2 output.
- The rear outputs now also ramp up the volume when either switching between front and back manually (explained below), or when removing a phones plug.
- Additionally before switching an output into the OFF state volume is temporarily reduced, because the quick mute by relay often resembles a click sound, which does not happen at lower volumes (inserting the phones plug with mute for the rear outputs, etc).
- Optimized digital volume control to preserve a full 190 dB distortion free resolution at the digital outputs (see new chapter 34.20 in updated manual).
- LCD Tint Control: Like with computer monitors and laptop screens, the IPS panels used in the ADI-2 Pro come in a wide colour range, from bluish white up to smoker-teeth yellow. LCD Tint Control (in SETUP / Hardware/Diagnosis) allows to adjust the basic tint (colour) of the display between blue (8) and yellow (-8), to compensate the display's colour deviation, and/or to make them suit your taste.
- To be able to recognize overload even in the non-level meter Dark Volume screen, the big Volume numbers flash red in case of Overs.
- Newly programmed controls: all encoders no longer suffer from ignored increments. This rare effect made the unit appear overloaded or unresponsive until the encoder was turned one increment further.
- When changing PAN in the VOL screens, a quick turn of encoder 2 will jump from L/R to <C> (center) and vice versa.
- When in the EQ settings screen, a quick turn of the VOLUME button will set EQ Gain to 0.
- In the Bass/Treble screen a quick turn of the B and T will set Gain to 0.
- In the Dark Volume screen B and T values of +0.0 dB are now shown without the + sign, to make the linear state more easy to recognize.
- Bass/Treble Enable On/Off. It can happen that Bass/Treble values are changed unnoticed to + or - values. To prevent that we added an entry 'BT Enable' to the menu Bass & Treble, that completely switches off this feature. It also allows to switch a specific Bass/Treble setting on/off to hear the difference without having to dial-in the necessary values all the time.
- Toggle between Phones and Rear outputs by pushing the Volume button for half a second. This new option under SETUP / Options / Device Mode (Phones <=> Line) can be activated for Phones out 1/2, 3/4, or both. Thanks to this new option switching between speakers and phones no longer requires to plug/unplug the phone. Toggling is also available via any function key when assigned via the new feature Remap Function Keys (see below).
- The digital output's source can now be changed so that they get their signal from Mains Out 1/2. This way users of monitors with digital inputs can use all the advanced features of the ADI-2 Pro, like Volume, EQ, Bass/Treble etc. also with those speakers via the ADI's AES, SPDIF and ADAT output (SETUP / Options / Hardware/Diagnosis, Dig. Out Source - Main Out).
So far the ADI-2 Pro did not offer a mute button. It is easy to quickly turn down the volume and raise it again, so there was no inherent need. But sometimes a dedicated mute button is a useful and preferred option. So we added lots of mutes!
- Added a 'Mute' entry in the I/O menu of outputs 1/2 and 3/4 (subpage Settings)
- Pressing encoder B while in the VOL menu activates mute. In that state the current volume value in the lower status bar is replaced by 'mute', and the text 'channel xx – muted' is also shown in the upper blue area of the VOL screens. In the VOL Linked screen one can toggle mute on/off for both analog outputs, intuitively by pressing encoder 1 (B) and 2 (T).
- The new option 'Phones <=> Line' toggles mute between the Phones and the rear Line outputs. If you use only Line out or only phones, this new feature works as quick mute (press VOLUME for half a second).
- Another way to mute 1/2, 3/4, or both simultaneously (Mute all) is via the new feature Remap Function Keys (see below).
The new features caused us to rethink some known shortcomings and brought up a simple, yet uber-effective solution:
Remap Function Keys
Function keys are the four buttons VOL, I/O, EQ and SETUP.
- Imagine you have a fixed setup and would like to have a mono button that activates the 'Mono to L' function on output 1/2, because you need this very mono feature several times a day. So far you had to enter the menu and activate/deactivate it in there.
- Imagine you want to be able to quickly turn off the sound processing functions, EQ as well as Bass and Treble. That requires menu and encoder operation, and unless you use the Setup functionality there is not even a simple way to go back to the former state (EQ and Bass/Treble can be switched off in the I/O menu, but both is still not as good as a single button doing this directly).
- Imagine you want to mute a specific output with a button directly, with immediate action (via VOL it's just two button presses, but anyway).
- Imagine you have configured and stored up to four Setups, and you need to constantly change between them. The Setups might include completely different basic modes, switch from USB mode to listening to the digital input, or switch between 4 EQ presets.
Wouldn't it be awesome to have four buttons on the unit to quickly call up such functions? This is exactly what 'Remap Function Keys' offers. Under SETUP / Hardware/Diagnosis, Remap Function Keys can be activated. Then four entries below are now longer greyed out and allow to select the desired function for the respective key. 26 different functions/actions are available:
Setup 1 to 9, Mono 1/2, Mono 3/4, Mono to L 1/2, Mono to L 3/4, Mute 1/2, Mute 3/4, Mute all, Loudness 1/2, Loudness 3/4, EQ In 1/2, EQ Out 1/2, EQ Out 3/4, BT Out 1/2, BT Out 3/4, EQ+BT+Loudness 1/2, EQ+BT+Loudness 3/4, Toggle Phones/Line.
So if you select Setup 2 for the I/O key, each time I/O is pressed a message box on the screen will state that Setup 2 has been loaded. For other functions the message will even state that the desired function has been activated or - on the second push - deactivated. Effective, simple, quick, useful - configurable usability at its best!
But wait - how to get into the I/O menu now that a different function is called by that key? Simply press it for half a second, then the original function and menu is entered. Once in there it behaves as before - for example in the EQ menu simply push the button quickly to enter the EQ settings and exit it again. Therefore it is also no problem to deactivate Remap Function Keys, by pushing the SETUP key for half a second, entering the standard SETUP menu.
That's a lot of text about a new major feature, but selecting and using the functions via the keys can't be easier! By remapping one or several not often used keys, functionality is in direct access that has been missed by some. For example the above mentioned monitoring of the digital input while USB is connected - a typical application for HiFi home use, which requires a change of the Basic Mode, perhaps changing current source of the output and even the clocking state. Once this is done it can be easily stored as Setup (even given the name 'Digital In Monitor'). Also store the standard USB operation as 'USB Mode'. Now simply assign these two Setups to the VOL and the I/O key, and you get immediate switching between USB and digital input listening - voilà!
Bit Test (USB, AES and SPDIF Bit Transparency Test)
Ever wondered whether your OS, its core drivers, the player software, the interface driver and the interface format all work with full bit accuracy? A bit transparency test can give an answer. RME provides several test files (wav) as free download. These wav files can be easily played on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Playing them back with bit accuracy will issue a message on the ADI-2 Pro's display, saying 'Bit Test – 16 Bit, 24 or 32 Bit passed', according to the used file and available resolution. There is no need to set anything at the unit.
The files are extremely short and small. Their audio content resembles a short click sound. No harm is done to speakers or ears. In case the audio path includes any change, like volume, EQ, polarity, channel swap, stuck bits, dither etc., the message will not show up. An error message or analysis is not provided. See new chapter 34.21 in the manual for details.
All files (Bit Test, firmware update, driver update, manuals) are available on the ADI-2 Pro's web page:
Please report back here if you think you found a bug or error. The changes were so numerous that one might have slipped through our testing.