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DAC3 Series - FAQ

Benchmark DAC3 HGC with Remote

Frequently Asked Questions: Benchmark DAC3 Series

Q: What is the Benchmark DAC3 series?

A: The Benchmark DAC3 series is a line of high-performance digital-to-analog converters designed and manufactured by Benchmark Media Systems. It comprises different models with varying features to cater to different audio needs.

Q: What are the main models in the DAC3 series?

A: The main models in the DAC3 series are the DAC3 HGC (Hybrid Gain Control), DAC3 L (Line Level), and DAC3 B (Basic). Each model offers distinct functionalities to suit different audio setups and requirements.

Q: What is the Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) feature?

A: The Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) is a unique volume control system found in the DAC3 HGC and DAC3 L models. It combines digital volume control for digital inputs and analog gain control for analog inputs, providing precise volume adjustment and a consistent user experience.

Q: Does the DAC3 series support high-resolution audio?

A: Yes, the DAC3 series supports high-resolution audio playback. With advanced digital-to-analog conversion using ESS Sabre DAC chips and sophisticated circuitry, the DAC3 series can handle high-quality audio formats up to 24-bit/192kHz.

Q: Are the DAC3 models compatible with different audio sources?

A: Absolutely. The DAC3 models feature a variety of inputs, including USB, AES/EBU, S/PDIF, and TOSLINK, ensuring compatibility with various digital audio sources such as computers, media players, CD/DVD players, and more.

Q: Can I connect headphones directly to the DAC3 models?

A: Yes, the DAC3 HGC model includes a built-in headphone amplifier, allowing direct headphone connectivity. However, the DAC3 L and DAC3 B models do not have headphone amplifiers and are designed for line-level output to be connected to power amplifiers or preamplifiers.

Q: Can the XLR and RCA outputs on the DAC3 be used simultaneously?

A: Yes, the Benchmark DAC3 provides the capability to use the XLR and RCA outputs simultaneously, which is particularly useful when you want to drive subwoofers and main speakers at the same time. By connecting the XLR outputs to your main speakers and the RCA outputs to your subwoofer, you can achieve a comprehensive audio setup that delivers enhanced low-frequency response and full-range sound reproduction.

Q: What is the purpose of the XLR attenuator jumpers on the DAC3?

A: The XLR output attenuators on the Benchmark DAC3 offer three different settings: 0 dB, -10 dB, and -20 dB. These settings provide flexibility in adjusting the output signal level based on the type of equipment you are connecting to.

When set to 0 dB, the attenuators are bypassed, and the DAC3 delivers the full output signal level. This setting is suitable for driving professional audio equipment that typically operates at line-level signal levels.

The -10 dB setting is designed for driving consumer hi-fi equipment, which often has lower input sensitivities compared to professional gear. By engaging the -10 dB attenuation, you can ensure that the output signal level is compatible with consumer audio devices, preventing potential issues such as excessive volume or distortion.

The -20 dB setting is specifically intended for driving equipment with microphone-level inputs. This level of attenuation is necessary to match the lower input sensitivities typically found in microphone preamps or audio interfaces designed for microphones.

By providing these three different attenuation options, the DAC3 enables you to optimize the output signal level for different types of equipment and applications. Whether you're connecting to professional gear, consumer hi-fi systems, or microphone-level inputs, the XLR output attenuators ensure proper signal matching and compatibility, delivering the best audio performance in any scenario.

Q: What are the differences between the DAC3 HGC, DAC3 L, and DAC3 B models?

A: The DAC3 HGC includes the Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) feature and a built-in headphone amplifier. The DAC3 L features the Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) but does not have a headphone amplifier. The DAC3 B is a basic model without volume control or headphone amplification.

Q: Do the DAC3 models offer balanced and unbalanced outputs?

A: Yes, all the DAC3 models provide both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs, allowing you to connect to a wide range of audio systems and components.

Q: What is the recommended usage scenario for each DAC3 model?

A: The DAC3 HGC is recommended for those who require the flexibility of a headphone amplifier and versatile volume control. The DAC3 L is suitable for applications where direct connection to power amplifiers or preamplifiers is desired. The DAC3 B is designed for systems that already incorporate volume control, such as a preamplifier.

Q: Are there any software or firmware updates available for the DAC3 series?

A: Yes, Benchmark Media Systems periodically releases software or firmware updates for the DAC3 series to improve performance, add new features, or address any potential issues. Please check the official Benchmark Media Systems website or contact customer support for the latest updates.

If you have any additional questions about the Benchmark DAC3 product family, or need further assistance, please feel free to reach out to our customer support team.

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