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 →
"RMAF 2018 was really good, with significant numbers of attendees, and more new-product introductions than I remembered ever seeing there."
"Led by engineer John Siau and based in Syracuse, New York, Benchmark Media Systems has built a sterling reputation for making compact, well-engineered, moderately priced electronics that challenge the state of the art, both on the test bench and in the listening room."
"What I took notice of were the specifications: total harmonic distortion of less than 0.00006%, and a signal/noise ratio exceeding 135dB from 20Hz to 20kHz."
"If those claims are true, and there’s no reason to believe they aren’t -- Benchmark gear has always performed as specified on the test bench -- the LA4 should be about as transparent-sounding a line-stage as you can find at any price."
- Doug Schneider, SoundStage! Hi-Fi
"Benchmark describes its product as a 'reference Stereo Headphone Amplifier and Reference Line Amplifier with Relay Gain and Input Control', which should give you some idea of what's going on here, but only hints at the fact that this is actually two completely separate products packed into one relatively compact unit."
"The headphone section is powered by a power amp from THX, employing the same AAA (Achromatic Audio Amplifier) technology first used by the company in its AHB2."
"Benchmark's line amplifier uses relays for input selection, gain control and muting while four independent 256-step attenuators ... feed the the headphone ... and preamp outputs."
"As PM notes in his Lab Report, this design gives the HPA4 not only outstanding performance, but also rather impressive - to say the least - signal delivery."
"All of a track or two should do the trick, as whether with revealing headphones ... or used as a preamp, the HPA4 simply drops jaws with the sheer impact, openness and vivacity of the way it plays music."
"It was one of those real 'performer in the room' experiences and I was instantly transported back to the time I spent monitoring the recording as it was being made ..."
- Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News, November 2018