DAC2 HGC Review - Erick Lichte, Stereophile

"Fantastic resolution, an even tonal balance, and an engaging, up-front perspective"

"A hi-rez download of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories (24/88.2 FLAC files, Columbia/HDtracks) provided fantastic listening via my Sennheiser HD600s. The tasty bass playing on the robot's "Give Life Back to Music" was full, controlled, solid, and driven, and Nile Rodgers's classic Stratocaster rhythm-guitar work really shone through the DAC2. What would normally be merely a pop song's background rhythm guitar was brought to the fore by the DAC2, allowing me to appreciate the subtle voicings and strumming patterns Rodgers chose for this groove. Hearing this track through the DAC2 made me appreciate why Nile Rodgers is the man."

"Turning to classical music, I played Arvo Pärt's Tabula Rasa, from violinist Gidon Kremer's excellent Silencio, with duo violinist Tatjana Grindenko and Eri Klas leading the Kremerata Baltica (CD, Nonesuch 79582-2). The DAC2 laid out a very quiet background and extraordinarily precise images. With recordings of solo violin, I always listen for the proper balance of the sound of the instrument's body, the bow on the string, and, most important, the way the violin's overtones can light up the acoustic of the space in which it was recorded. There should always be a halo and shimmer in the octave above the written note, with a nice balance of the fifth above the octave of each note complementing the fundamental. In this regard, the DAC2 delivered a convincing depiction of what a real violin sounds like."

"The DAC2 HGC is a step forward in every way from Benchmark Media's DAC1 models. It offers easy computer interfacing, a myriad of input options, remote control, and solid build quality, all from a company that has been around a while, and that stands behind its products. More than that, the DAC2 HGC is a fantastic value in terms of its sheer musical ability. It offers fantastic resolution, an even tonal balance, and an engaging, up-front perspective on the music. I can safely predict Benchmark's DAC2 HGC will be a hit."

- Erick Lichte, Stereophile

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Benchmark Media Systems
Benchmark Media Systems