DAC2 HGC - "The audio quality is pretty stunning"
"The audio quality of the DAC2 is pretty stunning and like a lot of high quality amplifiers the first thing to jump out here was the soundstage. This and instrument separation gave a presentation which is hugely revealing and very enjoyable with good recordings although that comes with it an obvious double edged sword (depending on your preferences). After these wow factors came the detail, now I'm not saying the detail is the 3rd best aspect, it's just that it hit me in that order."
"I think the best way to describe the detail is precise and edgy. Combine this machine with a pair of headphones that already display those traits and you have yourself a pretty impressive experience."
"This is a neat, light and well constructed little machine. It's straight forward simplicity and low-key flair seems to reflect it's sound design as well."
"The DAC2 also boasts features like four balanced 32bit DACs, a Bi-driecrional 12v trigger (HGC only) and a configurable coax to name just a few. The latter feature turns one of the digital coax inputs into a digital output, which can pass through Dolby Digital, or DTS (eg. to a home theater receiver) and even bit-perfect DSD."
- Noble Hi-FiRead the full review →
Stereophile's editors chose 10 products to receive their top award, the "2018 Product of the Year - Editor's Choice Award". Two Benchmark products made this exclusive list - the AHB2 power amplifier and the DAC3 HGC D/A converter.
"I was impressed by this revolutionary stereo amplifier but it became an obsession when I mated three as monoblocks to a trio of Benchmark's DAC3s."
"The AHB2 is deadly silent, musically revealing, surprisingly compact, and quite powerful."
- Kalman Rubinson
"Benchmark has created a long line of DACs (several of which I've purchased) that present recordings with as little embellishment as is possible at their price points. The latest incarnation, the DAC3, is no exception, and excels at presenting the unvarnished truth, as the artist intended."
- Jon Iverson
The competition in the amplification category was very tight. There was a two-way tie for first place between two amplifiers that cost $30,000 a pair and $13,500 a pair.
The Benchmark AHB2 was just two points behind the leaders when the Stereophile reviewers cast their final votes. In all, there were 13 amplifiers that made Stereophile's select list of finalists. The Benchmark AHB2 was the least expensive amplifier on the list, yet it received top scores from the reviewers. The list included amplifiers with stratospheric prices. Six amplifiers were priced between $25,000 and $118,000 a pair!
At Benchmark we believe that a great audio system shouldn't set you back by the cost of a sports car.
For 2018, Everything Audio Network has selected just one product for the honor of "Product of the Year". That product is the Benchmark HPA4 headphone/line amplifier.
"One of the most transparent audio products I have ever heard at any price"
"Marvelously open and clean"
- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network