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DAC3 - "A+ Recommended Component" - Stereophile 2020

by Benchmark Media Systems September 30, 2020 2 min read

DAC3 - "A+ Recommended Component" - Stereophile 2020

DAC3 HGC - Class A+ Recommended Component - Fall 2020 - Digital Processors

 

Benchmark's DAC3 HGC—the last three letters designate this as the audiophile version, with a headphone amp and two analog inputs—supports files up to 24/192 and DSD64, the latter as DoP (via USB). Bearing in mind the manufacturer's suggestion that there should be no audible difference between their DAC1 and DAC3, Jim Austin wrote, "In fact, I found the sounds of the two DACs quite different. The DAC1 was brighter . . . the DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects . . . I heard deeper into the music." The concise conclusion to John Atkinson's Measurements sidebar: "All I can say is 'Wow!'"

Read more at Stereophile →

'Class A+' is Stereophile's highest classification for digital processors. Stereophile defines Class A and the digital processor Class A+ as follows:

"Best attainable sound for a component of its kind, almost without practical considerations; "the least musical compromise." A Class A system is one for which you don't have to make a leap of faith to believe that you're hearing the real thing. With Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio, and Hi-Rez PCM and DSD files now available, we have created a new Class, A+, for the best performance in those digital categories."

In a Follow-Up, Jim Austin 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. 

More DAC3 Awards from Stereophile Magazine

Stereophile Overall Component of the Year - Winner

The DAC3 HGC was one of three products to receive Stereophile's top award for 2018, the "Overall Component of the Year".

Stereophile Headphone Product of the Year - Finalist

The DAC3 HGC was also nominated as a finalist for Stereophile's "2018 Headphone Product of the Year". Ultimately, this award went to the Audeze LCDi4 in-ear headphones. 

 



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