DAC2 DX - "Sonic Performance in an Entirely New League"
Gary Galo reviews the DAC2 DX from the perspective of an accomplished audio professional. He shares his listening experiences with the DAC2 and several other popular D/A converters. He also takes a detailed look under the hood of the new Benchmark DAC2 DX. If you are looking for descriptions of the sonic characteristics of the DAC2 or if you are looking for technical details explaining what makes the DAC2 family unique, then this is a great read. - John Siau
"The sonic performance of the DAC2 DX is in an entirely new league when compared to the DAC1 (I still have a DAC1 USB available for comparison). First, the tonal balance is extremely neutral, without any of the DAC1’s brightness. The DAC2 DX also has a harmonic richness which, by comparison, I find somewhat lacking in the DAC1."
"Since I reviewed the OPPO BDP-105 in audioXpress, I’ve been searching for a reasonably-priced D/A converter that will actually improve the OPPO’s performance as a stand-alone player."
"Over the past two years I’ve reviewed some affordable D/A converters that have offered excellent performance in their price classes, especially the Parasound Zdac and the PS Audio NuWave. The NuWave, which retails for $995, came the closest. In my review I wrote: 'The PS Audio NuWave DAC offers a slight improvement (over the BDP-105) in soundstage size and localization. The low-order THD added by its discrete output circuitry provides a harmonic richness that is musically extremely engaging. In other areas, (e.g., tonal balance, high-frequency smoothness, and detail), I prefer the BDP-105.'"
"The Benchmark DAC2 DX is a hands-down improvement over the OPPO as a stand-alone player, especially in the areas of inner detail, soundstaging, high-frequency airiness, and bass. The extreme low end is both deeper and better controlled than the OPPO. Dynamics, across the spectrum, are excellent. The DAC2 DX doesn’t offer the slight euphonic coloration that many listeners will find appealing about the NuWave. Benchmark’s goal in all of its products is ultimate precision and accuracy, and the DAC2 DX tells the truth about every source it’s fed, while being free of unmusical artifacts sometimes associated with digital audio."
LA4 - Receives Stereophile's Highest "Class A" Rating for Preamplifiers
"Benchmark's usual approach to design is to out-spec the competition, and so it is here. Like other Benchmark equipment he has tested, the affordable LA4 challenged the resolution of John Atkinson's test instruments, with'superb'channel separation,'extremely low noise, and virtually no power-supply-related spuriae.'"
"Benchmark's LA4 is the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I have encountered."- John Atkinson
"In his listening room, Kalman Rubinson compared the LA4 to a cable—and couldn't hear any difference. He concludes,'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.'"
"The DAC3 B is a stripped- down, lower-priced version of the DAC3 HGC, which omits the headphone amplifier, balanced and unbalanced analog inputs, volume, mute, and polarity controls."- Stereophile
"The DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects...I heard deeper into the music."
"All I can say is Wow!"
- John Atkinson
"In a Follow-Up, JCA 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."