"The Benchmark DAC2 offered one of the highest resolutions I have measured."
- John Atkinson, Stereophile
Fig.4 Benchmark DAC2 HGC, spectrum with noise and spuriae of dithered 1 kHz tone at –90 dBFS with: 16-bit data (left channel cyan, right magenta), 24-bit data (left blue, right red) (20 dB/vertical div.).
"The cyan and magenta traces in fig.4 show the spectrum of the processor's XLR outputs with its volume control set to its maximum while it decoded dithered data representing a 1 kHz tone at –90 dBFS. Other than the spike at 1 kHz, which peaks at the correct level, the traces show only the spectrum of the dither noise used to encode the system. Increasing the bit depth to 24 gave the blue and red traces in this graph. Note that I've had to extend the vertical scale to –160 dBFS to reveal the noise floor. The drop in the level of the noise floor with 24-bit data indicates that the DAC2 offers 21-bit resolution, which is state-of-the-art performance."
"With the very low level of noise and superb linearity, the DAC2's reproduction of an undithered 16-bit tone at exactly –90.31 dBFS was essentially perfect."
"Even driving a very demanding 600 ohm load, the DAC2 offered very low levels of analog distortion, with the third harmonic the highest in level, at –116 dB (0.00015%). Other than the second and fifth, all the other harmonics lie at close to –130 dB. Intermodulation distortion was also superbly low, again even into 600 ohms."
"Regarding channel separation and harmonic and intermodulation distortion for the analog inputs, the results were just as superb as for the digital inputs."
"I examined the Benchmark DAC2 HGC's electrical performance with Stereophile's loan sample of the top-of-the-line Audio Precision SYS2722."
"Summing up the Benchmark DAC2 HGC's measured performance is easy: It's simply superb."
- John Atkinson, Stereophile
"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
Alpha-Audio.net tested 10 DACs side-by-side. Only one received the "Alpha-Audio Approved" award. That DAC was the Benchmark DAC3.
"Are you looking for the best DAC (d/a converter) in the price range from 1500 euro to 2500 euro? That’s great! Because we’ve put ten beauties side by side. And we tested it live on camera for you."
"It was incredibly instructive to put so many converters side by side. We clearly hear differences - and the viewers could as well."
"One of the models we all agreed on is the benchmark DAC3. This is a delicious musical product. Virtually no coloring, nice stereo image and plenty of inputs."
DAC3 - Alpha-Audio Approved!