"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."
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."