DAC2 HGC Review - Steven Plaskin, Audio Stream

"Sonically as neutral a DAC as I have ever heard"

"The Benchmark DAC2 HGC is sonically as neutral a DAC as I have ever heard. It borders on a somewhat light sonic texture with absolutely no digital hardness or extreme brightness. The sound is quite detailed and well defined with no warmth or added richness. One attribute of the DAC2 HGC I enjoyed was its very well defined and articulated bass."

"Playing Jane Monheit’s The Heart of the Matter 24/88.2 (HDtracks) I found that the Benchmark DAC2 HGC did a fine job of focusing Jane Monheit’s voice in the studio soundstage with exceptional clarity. This is a wonderful recording with Jane’s voice highlighted with a slightly up-front presentation. The interplay of the strings, flute, guitar and voice were beautifully reproduced by the Benchmark in the song "When She Loved Me". Each of the instruments were reproduced in their own acoustic space with no blurring of Jane’s voice."

"A fine example of what the Benchmark DAC2 HGC can do when it comes to reproduction of the sonic space of a recording was with the Chesky Binaural+ release C.C. Coletti Bring It On Home 24/192 (HDtracks). This recording captures the acoustic space of the room with a deep and wide sonic presentation of the vocals, guitar and percussion. C.C. Coletti’s blues vocals were floated in this acoustic space with excellent focus as were the accompanying instruments. The Benchmark DAC2 HGC was able to reproduce the three dimensional feel of the acoustic space on this recording."

"What I enjoyed most about the Benchmark DAC2 HGC was the way it handled native DSD files. DSD playback added richness to the sound with additional midrange weight that added realism to the reproduced music."

"This is the first DAC I have reviewed for AudioStream that is priced under $6,000. While my initial expectations were not great, I was surprised at the level of sonic and functional performance offered by the DAC2 HGC. The DAC2 HGC was a pleasure to listen to with PCM and especially with native DSD files. Its acoustic honesty and functional precision was easily observed and appreciated. No doubt, John Siau and his team have designed a DAC that does not have to make any apologies to DACs costing considerably more. At its price of $1,995, I consider the DAC2 HGC to be a solid value."

- Steven Plaskin, Audio Stream

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Benchmark Media Systems
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