DAC2 HGC - "Better performance than DACs ten times its price"
"Distortion was exceedingly low at all levels and frequencies ..."
"At a recorded level of - 20 dB, the only harmonic distortion component visible on the spectrogram is a single third harmonic at -125 dB (0.0000562%). This is exceptionally good performance, unequaled by any DAC I've ever seen."
"... but look at the noise floor ... it's more than 140 dB down, including at low frequencies. Superb performance."
"The Benchmark DAC2 HGC also revealed superb performance in the area of intermodulation distortion... the two test signals at 19 kHz and 20 kHz have only single side-bands at 18 kHz and 21 kHz, and these are down around -117 dB (0.0001413%). At 1 kHz, where every DAC I've ever seen has produced some unwanted output, the Benchmark DAC2 HGC has no output at all - the perfect result."
"Frequency response was extraordinarily flat - so much so that Newport Test Labs 'zoomed in' on it ... this makes it relatively easy to see that the Benchmark DAC2 HGC's frequency response extends from 20 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 0.01 dB ... almost unbelievably good."
"Channel separation is outstandingly good, being better than 130 dB across almost the entire audio band, diminishing only at 20 kHz where the lab recorded it at 110 dB ... again one of the best figures I've ever seen at this high frequency."
"Channel balance, too, was exceptionally good, with just a 0.014 dB difference between the left and right channels."
"Phase accuracy was within measurement error almost all the way across the audio band, with a slight 0.24 degree error at 20 kHz."
"It was good to see that the DAC2 HGC has a de-emphasis circuit which will activate for those CDs that require it, plus that the circuit is very accurate, being perfect at 1 kHz, and a stunningly good 0.078 dB at 16 kHz."
"Superb: I have used that word a number of times to describe the results returned by the Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and there is really no better word to describe its overall performance as well.
"I have analysed the test results of a half-a-dozen of the world's best DACs, most of which sell for more than ten times the price of the DAC2, and across almost all parameters tested the performance of the Benchmark DAC2 HGC equals or exceeds that of every single one of those DACs."
"This is digital audio engineering at its very best."
"I'm asking because clearly Benchmark is a highly regarded company here, and plenty of ASR members own Benchmark amplification/DACs. We know they are top of the heap in terms of measured performance, outdoing plenty of the competition in terms of typical distortion measurements."
- @MattHooper, AudioScienceReview.com
AHB2, LA4, DAC3
Subtle aesthetics? Check.
Unobtrusive size? Check.
Solid build? Check.
Made in America? Check.
Best in class? Check.
Superior performance proven by Amir? Check.
Superior customer service? Check (and not just in audio world; best customer service I have experienced from any company, anywhere, ever).
Expensive? For me, yes. Limit of my budget, but buy once cry once.
"The afternoon before the start of the show I ran into John Siau of Benchmark Media Systems. He says to me quietly, “make sure you stop in our room, we have a surprise!” With curiosity suitably piqued, Co-Editor Jim Clements and I paid a visit ..."
"The results were pretty astonishing. A stable, enveloping stereo image that was devoid of any distortion whatsoever."
- Carlo Lo Raso, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
"Sound was extremely well-integrated and controlled, and the bass memorable."
"The Note received signal through the introductory version of the company's Liquid Cables. Each cable contains 27,000 wires. The company's introductory Elephant memory player joined Benchmark Media's AHB2 power amps, DAC3 B D/A processor, and interconnects."
"With the aid of a forthcoming DEQX HDP4 processor that's due in the fall, the system sounded super on a 16/44.1 file of the famed rendition of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, recorded by Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra for Reference Recordings."