"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."
LA4 - Receives Stereophile's Highest "Class A" Rating for Preamplifiers
"Benchmark's usual approach to design is to out-spec the competition, and so it is here. Like other Benchmark equipment he has tested, the affordable LA4 challenged the resolution of John Atkinson's test instruments, with'superb'channel separation,'extremely low noise, and virtually no power-supply-related spuriae.'"
"Benchmark's LA4 is the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I have encountered."- John Atkinson
"In his listening room, Kalman Rubinson compared the LA4 to a cable—and couldn't hear any difference. He concludes,'the LA4 is probably the most transparent and revealing audio component I've ever used. It does not seem to leave any fingerprints on the sound.'"
"The DAC3 B is a stripped- down, lower-priced version of the DAC3 HGC, which omits the headphone amplifier, balanced and unbalanced analog inputs, volume, mute, and polarity controls."- Stereophile
"The DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects...I heard deeper into the music."
"All I can say is Wow!"
- John Atkinson
"In a Follow-Up, JCA wrote of using the Benchmark processor with the same company's AHB2 power amp—a combination of high source output voltage and modest amplifier gain that he describes as 'optimal for minimizing noise and distortion' —and reported hearing 'richer and more interesting' reproduction of very subtle details."