ADC1 Review - Garrett Haines, Tape Op

ADC1 - "Very Natural Sounding"

"The ADC1 USB is very natural sounding. What I put in, is what it captures. Should I wish to color a track, I can call upon other gear in my rack."

"In a mastering context, a neutral, flat-sounding converter is very desirable."

"Benchmark’s trademarked UltraLock clocking scheme delivers quality conversion even when slaved to a suboptimal external clock."

"The best standalone clock in the world becomes irrelevant if the receiving converter’s locking system botches the signal. Unfortunately, many manufacturers skimp on PLL synchronization. Thankfully, not Benchmark."

"One of the non-obvious features provides multiple digital outputs. The ADC1 USB has a total of five digital outs: one XLR, two coaxial, one optical, and one USB. These can operate simultaneously at up to three independent sample rates."

"You could cut a CD-R via a 16-bit, 44.1 kHz signal to a standalone CD writer in real-time, while simultaneously recording to a DAW at 24-bit, 96 kHz."

"The effective input range of the ADC1 USB spans from −5 dB to +39 dB. At a gain setting of 0 dB, the converter will reach full-scale (0 dBFS) with a +24 dBu input level. Just flip a switch from variable to calibrated to remove the potentiometers from the circuit."

"Although I like the aesthetics of the black-faced Benchmarks, I must admit that the brushed silver units are impressive in person. The online photos do not capture the added dimensionality of the textured metal. For those with an odd-number of half-wide units, the company offers a blank plate in matching brushed silver with an engraved logo. After seeing it close-up, I confess I would happily pay for the panel. It’s really sweet."

Like most of the Benchmark line, the ADC1 USB is half-wide, which means you’ll need to sort out how you want to mount it if you’re committed to a rack. The manufacturer offers two options — a joiner plate and a custom tray.

- Garrett Haines, Tape Op

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Benchmark Media Systems
Benchmark Media Systems