"The DAC2 DX had some of the lowest distortion of any DAC we have ever tested"
"Listening to my music collection via USB was a pleasure with this DAC. It had a very musical sound, reminding me of a Class A triode tube amplifier. When you check out the bench tests, you will see why."
"IMD was less than 0.001%, so I have to say, “Excellent”. See any peaks at 14 kHz, 21 kHz, etc? Neither can I. Now we know why the DAC2 has a bit of Class A triode in it. When peaks are present, they are only at the second harmonic, which is the triode signature."
"The DAC2 is one of the few D/A converters that can handle intersample overs without DSP overloads or analog clipping. DSP overloads occur in most DACs and these cause bursts of non-harmonic distortion. Some DACs avoid the DSP overloads but still exhibit analog clipping of intersample peaks. In contrast, the DAC2 cleanly reproduces intersample peaks. This seems to be a big issue from an audibility standpoint when listening to CD-format and MP3-format sources."
"I have used Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man as a test track more than any other. That is because it has everything: tremendous dynamics (it’s an early Telarc disc and there is no compression), very loud percussion, blaring brass, and whatever else you want to throw in there – it’s just a great recording."
"The sheen of the gong and bright overtones of the brass were stunning through the Benchmark DAC2 DX. This may be an old DAC in HiFi time, but it is certainly up to date in sound."
"The Benchmark DAC2 DX represents a product that was initially released several years ago. They perfected it over that time by small changes and addition of features. The result is a DAC that has virtually inaudible distortion, and a full set of codecs, all at a price of less than $2,000. This compares to some other DACs that are new and unproven in reliability. It makes sense to put aside that, “Got to have the latest and greatest,” attitude that most of us have, and consider a DAC that has had several years to work out all the bugs and really deliver a superior sound."
"For my money, the Benchmark DAC2 DX represents one of the best values in high end audio today."
- John E. Johnson, Jr., Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
"This little unit will change the way you look and listen to amplifiers."
"My first taste of this remarkable new amplifier came earlier this year in April at Chicago's AXPONA where I discovered it driving a newly redesigned Studio Electric Pasadena loudspeaker, also bearing the Benchmark trademark. Now called the SMS1, the Pasadena's crossover had been reworked by Benchmark, upgraded with very low tolerance components, and the new look, more in line with the look of the rest of the Benchmark product line up, had been adopted."
"The subsequent sound in this room was one of the most musically engaging I encountered at this year's event, a remarkable result considering its modest overall system price of just over $7000, sans source."
- Greg Weaver, EnjoythMusic.com
Jim Austin wrote, "The DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects . . . I heard deeper into the music."
The concise conclusion to John Atkinson's Measurements sidebar: "All I can say is 'Wow!'"
In a Follow-Up, Jim Austin 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.
- Stereophile Magazine
"Class A+" is Stereophile's highest award for Digital Processors
"Benchmark's LA4 is the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I have encountered."
- John Atkinson, Stereophile
"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."
- Kalman Rubinson, Stereophile
"Class A" is Stereophile's highest award for preamplifiers.