DAC2 vs DAC1 - "Prepare for emotional impact"
"The DAC2 measured specifications are a significant improvement over the already very impressive DAC1, due to the very high resolution ESS SABRE DAC, better components and improved circuit topology."
"However, the impressively improved measurements don't really prepare for the emotional impact of music played through the DAC2. Improvements in objective aspects of performances are there: I can hear keyboard, voice, drum, string and jazz saxophone articulation, timbre and instrument sound much more clearly. The intention of the artists through the mechanics of their playing is much more clearly audible."
"But the communication of emotion is even more greatly improved. Jazz swings better. Classical storms, soars and sings better. Rock would rock harder if most of it didn't have such dismal sonics to begin with. Great playback can't really improve bad recording. That said, well-recorded pop like the 96 kHz x 24-bit Fleetwood Mac Rumours DVD-Audio remaster reveals great writing and outstanding musicianship. 2014's fantastic 96 x 24 remaster of Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road absolutely rocks in its many special ways. At times, bluesey, orchestral, rocking, funky, overtly beautiful, and occasionally silly, the added resolution of this recording and this playback is magical. The title track really engaged me in a way I had never experienced before; a spine-tingling, outrageous serenade."
"Test conditions were informal A/B tests using CD and 96/24 DVD over Toslink from Pioneer Elite DV-58AV, and lossless FLAC CD rips over 96/24 USB from Foobar2000 Windows audio player, on Sennheiser HD 600 headphones with Cardas cable. Also, having listened daily through the DAC1 for several years I was highly familiar with its sound, so the DAC2 differences were immediately apparent. It just sounds much better, and that leapt out to me immediately. It was not at all subtle, and that surprised me."
- Jeff Chan, jeffchan.com
"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."
- Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile Magazine
"Laufer Teknik - The Note line array - The most immersive listening experience I had the entire show."
"There is no sweet spot because everywhere is the sweet spot. Even behind the speakers sounded incredible!"
"SVS Subs doing the low end work and Benchmark 380 watt class H monoblocked amps driving the arrays."
"I spent an extended amount of time in this room."