"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
AHB2 - Class A Recommended Component - Fall 2018 - Power Amps
'Class A' is Stereophile's highest classification for recommended components. Very few components receive this elite classification. Stereophile defines 'Class A' as follows:
"Best attainable sound for a component of its kind, almost without practical considerations; "the least musical compromise." A Class A system is one for which you don't have to make a leap of faith to believe that you're hearing the real thing."
DAC3 HGC - Class A+ Recommended Component - Fall 2018 - Digital Processors
'Class A+' is Stereophile's highest classification for digital processors. Stereophile defines Class A and the digital processor Class A+ as follows:
"Best attainable sound for a component of its kind, almost without practical considerations; "the least musical compromise." A Class A system is one for which you don't have to make a leap of faith to believe that you're hearing the real thing. With Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio, and Hi-Rez PCM and DSD files now available, we have created a new Class, A+, for the best performance in those digital categories."
AHB2 - "Tightness, accuracy and punch"
"The most identifiable positive trait (there are many) of the AHB2, and that is low end control. Tightness, accuracy and punch."
"The AHB2 has power in spades, especially with two units running in mono mode."
"A single amp in stereo will suffice for most normal situations, and was in full control of all sonic responsibilities with every pair of loudspeakers we threw at it."
"The low end tightness and thrust is just where it should be, and pass though information is the name of the game."
"The sound of the amplifier is true to source and one that takes many queues from the production world of balance and monitoring."
"... will rock the house (or sooth the baby to sleep)."