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."
- Gary Galo, audioxpress
"The benchmark combination offers a full range of equipment that can hardly be topped, leaves nothing to be desired in terms of sound, and meets professional requirements without any ifs or buts."
"The HPA4 has the HIFIMan one hundred percent under control, eliciting neutral timbres, tons of spatial information and crisp dynamics."
"I connected everything the household had to offer in terms of speakers - Spendor S3 / 5, Ayon Seagull / c, Quad ESL57. It goes without saying that the American coped with the dynamic boxes with ease. But even the quads, which have some meanness on the part of their impedance, did not pose a challenge for the amp."
"There are many things that come into play when putting together a hi-fi system, one of which is synergy."
"After the arrival of the Benchmark Media Systems AHB2, I immediately thought of the matching HPA4 that colleagues Jaap and Yung were very pleased with."
"The key question, of course, was whether the HPA4 would really provide an audible improvement."
"Well you bet! The synergy between preamp and power amplifier is nothing short of magical, not to mention the DAC3 B that I got from importer Helios for the occasion."
"Not only a few curtains disappear, the whole window is gone."
- Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio
"The Benchmark AHB2 is a very fine sounding, easy to live with, zero-maintenance power amplifier that has enough power for most systems. If more power is needed, two amplifiers configured for mono can provide it. The decision to purchase the review sample and make the Benchmark AHB2 a new, long term reference took over a month of listening and comparisons."
"The outstanding musicality of the Benchmark AHB2 takes some time to convince the listener of its wholly musical presentation. This subtle excellence assures long term satisfaction."
-10 Audio, Perfect 10 Award