DAC3 Review - Dan Worth, Hifi Pig

Benchmark Media Systems - February 09, 2017

Awards › DAC3 › HiFi ›

DAC3 - "Produced definitions of clarity that pushed away inner walls"

"My system felt like a dominant force when I introduced the Benchmark DAC3 HGC to the middle shelf of my rack. With the implementation of the latest ESS9028PRO chip from Sabre, Benchmark’s own team of experts, tweaking the accompanied circuitry and the feature rich design offered in this petite package, a genetically modified version of the already popular DAC2 is born."

- Dan Worth, Hifi Pig

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AHB2 - "Stereophile Amplification Component of the Year" - 2016 Finalist"

The AHB2 was one of only 11 finalists in Stereophile's "Amplification Component of the Year" category. The finalists included 6 power amplifiers, 2 preamplifiers, 2 integrated amplifiers, and 1 headphone amplifier. This elite selection of amplification products included power amplifiers ranging in price from $2,995 (Benchmark AHB2) to $52,000 a pair (Vandersteen M7-HPA).

At $52,000 the Vandersteen includes a chassis milled from a solid billet of aluminum, liquid cooling and a vibration dampening suspension. It is an impressive example of mechanical engineering and industrial design.

At $2,995, the Benchmark AHB2 delivers the quietest, cleanest power available at any price.

The AHB2 proves that top-quality audio can be affordable.

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DAC3 HGC - "More space, Increased Precision"

The Benchmark DAC3 is the first product to ship with the new ESS Technology ES9028PRO D/A converter chip.

"It may look like the DAC2 HGC, but the new DAC3 HGC offers a slew of better measurements and more notably, an incremental boost in sound quality."

"Via headphones I definitely could hear more space around the instruments and an increased precision in transients — like cymbals and upper-register piano notes."

"In terms of new functions, the DAC3 switches a lot faster between inputs, and gone is that audibly phasy transition when you initially switch between two digital sources."

John Gatski, Publisher, Everything Audio Network

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"I Took a Leap of Faith"

It's not the first time I've heard Error-Correction amplifiers, but those were prototypes that weren't working all too well. Classic feedback, TIM-free design was better, so I was afraid that AHB2 might be “wrong” somehow. It took a little bit of “leap-of-faith” to buy one, but I could not ignore the advice I was given about it, as it was given by people that are insiders in this Audio industry of ours. I'm happy to say that my thoughts of Error Correction approach being maybe wrong, could not be farthest from the truth.

AHB2 - "End of the Journey"

What can I say ... maybe the shortest way to summarize it would be this: the AHB2 is the end of the journey for me. I have no desire for ever going back to typical multi-thousand Dollar High-End amplifiers.

- Aleksandar Radisavljević, Founder and Director of RAAL

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AHB2 - "It could well be the last amp you'll ever own. Yes, it is that good."

"Benchmark Media Systems Pro-centric products tout exceptional specifications, and their AHB2 amplifier--developed in tandem with engineers from THX and using their patented HX Achromatic™ Audio Amplifier technology—uses some rather unusual patented designs to get to those remarkable spec numbers." 

DAC2 - "The Benchmark AHB2 is a very good amp, and the DAC2 is a very good DAC—it's no wonder that they have been slathered in near-universal praise."

"These two partners in musical misbehavior sound great together and cost less--with Benchmark cables included—than my Pass XA 30.8 amp alone. To be sure, my reference Pass is a fantastic amplifier, but the AHB2 has its own charms that I found played to my own listening biases."

"Yep. Good stuff, those BM boys."

- Gary L Beard, Positive-Feedback

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DAC3 HGC - "More space, Increased Precision"

"It may look like the DAC2 HGC, but the new DAC3 HGC offers a slew of better measurements and more notably, an incremental boost in sound quality."

"Via headphones I definitely could hear more space around the instruments and an increased precision in transients — like cymbals and upper-register piano notes."

"In terms of new functions, the DAC3 switches a lot faster between inputs, and gone is that audibly phasy transition when you initially switch between two digital sources."

John Gatski, Publisher, Everything Audio Network

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ADC1 USB Award - Stereophile A Rating

Benchmark Media Systems - September 15, 2016

ADC1 › Awards › HiFi ›

ADC1 USB - Stereophile "A-Rated Recommended Component", 2016

"Housed in the same small case as Benchmark's DACs, the ADC1 is a 24-bit USB A/D converter with a Texas Instruments TAS1020B USB chip and a 128x-oversampling, delta-sigma AKM 5394 A/D converter chip."

"The Benchmark produced a natural, coherent overall sound, with clean high frequencies and weighty, extended lows, said JA, who also noted superb measured performance."

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DAC2 HGC Award - Stereophile A+ Rating

Benchmark Media Systems - September 15, 2016

Awards › DAC2 ›

DAC2 HGC - Stereophile "A+ Recommended Component", 2016

"Although similar in appearance to previous Benchmark models, with a front-panel volume control and two 1/4" headphone jacks, the new DAC2 HGC uses four 32-bit ESS Sabre DACs, run in balanced configuration, for a significantly lower noise floor; has a new Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) for volume attenuation, which combines active analog gain control and passive low-impedance attenuators in the analog realm with a 32-bit digital DSP gain control for digital signals; and provides front-panel displays for both sample rate and word length."

"It had a pleasantly forward sound, with smooth highs, a solid bottom end, and excellent image separation, said EL."

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AHB2 - Receives The Absolute Sound's 2016 Golden Ear Award!

"Used within its 100Wpc rating, this is in any practical sense a perfect power source, with by far the lowest measured noise and distortion of any amplifier currently on the market."

"... if you need more power, buy two and strap them for dual mono at 380 watts a side."

"Either way, power just doesn't get any cleaner or purer than this."

"Neutrality and accuracy are the names of its game ... a sense of being plugged right into the source."

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HRA System - "I loved the open, colorful, well-balanced, and immediate sound of this system."

"I was happy to have finally heard the Benchmark AHB2 power amp that Kal Rubinson and so many others have raved about."




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