Topic: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

Dear RME engineers and marketing people, dear fellow users,

I registered to this forum in order to make the following suggestion for a new product that I would love to buy from RME : a ADI-2 network player with Ethernet connection instead of USB (maybe both) and support for the DLNA protocol.

I understand from the launch of the AD-2-DAC that RME is targeting a new segment of customers, audiophiles. This product seams very attractive, but thought it's DAC and headphone amp seam to be outstanding, having only USB connection to a computer might quickly make this product obsolete : more and more music listeners use NAS servers which stream music over a local network to a network player without having the DA conversion done close to the NAS or the computer... This one is stored in a remote place because it is ugly bulky and noisy (fan an hard disk).

I do believe than an ethernet connection and a good implementation of DLNA would be sufficient to make a very attractive evolution of to the ADI2. USB has to be kept at least for upgrade purpose. Support for Wifi may be useful, though I do not consider it mandatory : an optional Wifi key could be plugged into a USB interface. No need for all the embedded software that you get in mots commercial network players (internet radio players, Tidal, Spotify Quobuz) since these apps can run on the computer.

Looking forward your feedback on this suggestion.

Pierre

2 (edited by ramses 2018-03-12 08:56:41)

Re: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

I understand your point .. But meanwhile you could do what I do to get a very nice working and round solution.

Get a RME recording interface with ADAT or SPDIF out and connect it to your PC.
The PC has access to local Storage or NAS where your FLAC files reside.

Take a 15m TOSLINK cable to connect recording interface to the ADI-2 PRO or DAC in front of your HiFi.

In the case of the ADI-2 DAC you can use its remote control to control the ADI-2 DAC.
As Music Player on the PC I recommend MusicBee as it has a plugin which allows you
to control it remotely via Android App. And its a nice looking one with many useful features.
Its the best which I know.

If you have "normalized" all your music "Ctrl-Shift-V" (gets a Gain Tag into the FLAC header)
then you have nearly everything on the same level and only need little volume adjustments.

While listening on your HiFi you can make use of the very nice dynamic loudness of the ADI-2 Pro / DAC.
Or other features. A perfect / round solution.

Shall you disover (and you will wink that this is what you want to have for all of your other digital sources,
then get an Oehlbach Optosel 4:1. This is a small unit with 4 optical inputs and one optical output.
You can place it nicely in front of the ADI-2 Pro/DAC. It has a small remote control but you can select
also at the device which of the 4 optical inputs shall be connected to the optical output.

This enables you to connect 4 digital sources (PC, TV, Blueray, ...) to the Optosel and from there to the ADI-2 Pro.
So all of these digital sources can now participate from the excellent D/A conversion and all other feature
of the ADI-2* like dynamic loudness which is even on high end HiFi a real must have.

This is also a money saver: this makes epensive Blueray Player with a very good analog section of its own
completely unnecessary (like i.e. an Oppo for around €1750). Take a normal Blueray Player which you like, it only needs an optical SPDIF output. Then you can participate from the Reference D/A conversion quality of the ADI-2 Pro.

At the end towards your HiFi it comes down to a good analog connection between ADI-2* and the HiFi.
I personally use a symmetric connection as my HiFi Amp supports this.

Amp to -50db (my usually loudest level) then on the ADI 2 DAC Auto Ref level.
Then I usually hear with -13 - -20dB to get a little bit of the Loudness (default between -10 - -30dB).
Thats it.
And no matter which volume, it always sounds sweet with enough bass and treble by the dynamic loudness correction of the ADI-2 DAC. Better is not possible.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

Thank you for your quick and comprehensive answer.

As a matter for fact, my suggestion for an ADI-2-Network player was more generic than for the sole purpose of solving my specific needs which are slighty different frome the generic businessopportunity (NAS servers with remote DAC) that I described.

The solution that you suggest, as I understand it, is a point-to point Toslink connection between the file server and the DAC. It would certainly work, but it is not well adapted to my personal configuration that I describe below. More generally, a network player as I suggest it has the benefit of working on a LAN wich is more flexible than a point-to-point.

I currently have an old high-end Lyngdorf DAC/Processor/Active-filter/Balanced-preamp that I use only with digital sources : Blu-Ray, TV and a MacMini running Audirvana. The Lyngdorf has no USB input and I am using an optical connection from the MacMini, with an iFi Ipurifier Toslink/Toslink signal cleaning and recklocking device, that I plan to replace with a Mutec USB. I previously had a M2Tech USB  to Pdif/RCA interface, but it did not work well with my recent MacMini which has a very very noisy USB interface.

Within a few monthes, I shall move to a new home where I plan to have 2 rooms for music : the living room where I plan to install my full configuration with the Lyngdorf preamp, and my "home office" where I plan to listen with headphones or desktop speakers or short-range monitors. This second room will require a new DAC, the RMI ADI2-DAC being my favourite candidate.

Since the electricity is going to be refurbished, I have asked for a ethernet LAN to be installed, but I do not believe it is possible to install a fiber link because of the weird cable pathway. I shall install the MacMini in the living room since unlink a NAS server, it has a silent SSD disk and no fan and connect it to the Lyngdorf. I will have a MacBook notebook in my "home office". Thus, the simplest solution would be to connect the DAC to the MacBook in the "office", and access the music files on the MacMini over the LAN. Unfortunately, this has several potential drawbacks :

1) It will not work when the MacBook is away, off or is not on the desktop.

2) The MacBook also has a noisy USB output. I am concerned that the USB noise will pollute the DAC sound. I don't know if RME has designed the USB input of the ADI-2 DAC in order to eliminate the noise. At least, since the USB input is asynchronous, it should not be affected by the USB jitter.

I could connect the MacBook in my "office" to the DAC with SPDIF/Toslink, but there would be no point anymore to buy a USB DAC. Furthermore, from my reading of the ADI2-DAC documentation, it does not use it's internal clock when connected to a SPDIF input and uses the input's clock. This significantly reduces the interest of the ADI2-DAC in such a configuration.

Thus, in my configuration, a network player connect to the LAN that would receive DLNA streams from the MacMini would be the best solution. And I believe there is a point for a generic product from ADI.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer.

4 (edited by pianopictures 2018-03-12 12:22:18)

Re: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

I think it is a very valid request for a consumer/audiophile device to have a wireless functionality nowadays.

Re: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

Thank you for your comment.

Wireless is certainly important for the consume audio and audiophile market nowadays. In the case of a DAC & Headphone amplifier, it makes sense only as an input. 

Ethernet LAN is mandatory, but I am not sure that wireless has to be buily-in in the device or if an optional external key supporting Wifi would be sufficient. There are cost/price issues, but there might also be noise problems due to the Wireless electronics. I would feel more confident with a wired Ethernet connection to a Wifi router, since the Ethernet provides isolation.

But from a marketing point of view, built-in Wireless is certainly an important feature.

6 (edited by ramses 2018-03-12 17:55:13)

Re: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

I would use LAN / Wireless only for the datatransfer of music content (FLAC) from the source
("wherever" could be either NAS or another PC acting as server)
to the PC where an ASIO capable music player is running (i.e. MusicBee).

Then you have zero issues with any latency or retransmissions, as the reliable transport
will be performed by TCP which is a session oriented and reliable network protocol,
no matter whether you use LAN, WLAN or dLAN.

The application (the music player) is able to buffer enough music data which it gets from the Network
via TCP. Even if there is jitter or whatever, as long as enough data arrives to keep the music going
nothing bad can happen on the network side (assuming you have a good enough network). Of course packet loss and retransmission can also kill the performance of the data transfer.

Then in your new workroom you can easily connect the ADI-2 DAC to your Laptop via USB cable
to feed the DAC with music using a stable and reliable ASIO Driver.
Or if you do not like big cables you can use a BBF Pro and use ADAT to connect the BBF Pro via
TOSLINK ~15 (maybe up to 20m) to your HiFi assuming the ADI-2 DAC to sit in front of the HiFi..

To sum up .. the content is somewhere in the LAN or eventually also mirrored to your Laptop.
And from their you have two choices to
- either directly connect this PC to your ADI-2 DAC via USB or
- with i.e. BBF Pro in between, via ADAT, TOSLINK cable, then ADI-2 DAC.
Using optical connection also prevents any potential issue of creating a ground loop.

To implement a WLAN chip on the DAC is IMHO a weak solution, as
- the WLAN quality through walls decreases much
- and every 1-2y a new WLAN Standard comes out
So it makes IMHO no sense to integrate WLAN directly on such a device.
It would only increase cost for no reason, would make the device ugly with the antennas
and 1-2y later you are dissatisfied that the device doesnt support latest WLAN standards
or shall there be a compatibility problem between WLAN devices in your LAN.

WLAN better do on already available devices with a builtin bridge to one or more Ethernet ports.
These you can replace more easily at lower cost, if standards or your demands are changing.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

7 (edited by Jaroslav_Stika 2018-11-20 06:47:08)

Re: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

Did you know anybody about this? https://www.nativsound.com/en/music-server

Re: Suggestion for a RME ADI-2-NPL (Network player)

Jaroslav_Stika wrote:

Did you know anybody about this? https://www.nativsound.com/en/music-server

One shop review, that I found (translated from french to english): https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/network- … 12264.html

"I was looking for a streamer for Qobuz ... What a disappointment. Of course it's a pretty object but it stops there!
The Qobuz app is the Android phone version except it is not really suited to Nativ. It reacts with a delay, scrolling takes a long time, it crashes, etc. And from time to time, once every two or three hours of listening, the music is suddenly replaced by noise type bad FM band! You have to restart everything to resume listening. No, really at this price, avoid this product! Is there anyway a good HI-RES streamer with a Qobuz application that holds the road?"

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB