"Once again Benchmark looks to set its namesake on the field of digital conversion. The DAC3 hits the mark with its acute sound quality and massively diverse application from DAC to pre to monitoring system."
"Replacing a previous generationwith only a mild bump in cost, the upgrade makes perfect sense from both a technological standpoint and an acoustic one."
"Both the optical and USB connectivity started up without a hitch – no driver installation is necessary for Mac computers."
"It can fit on nearly any desktop for all-in-one headphone use and slides in under the television without too much fuss."
DAC3 DX with AHB2 - "A Significant Powerhouse in a Relatively Small Footprint"
"If you a take step back its easy to see how the Benchmark DAC3 can handle preamp capabilities just as easily and delicately as its digital duties are executed. Despite the pro styling and design elements, home theater and two channel endeavors are deftly covered much in the same detail-oriented manner as the now-mature conversion capabilities are. It is clearly one of the internal design elements for Benchmark, now offering a matching power amp called AHB2 ($3k) that plugs directly into the DAC3. Loaded into the theater-friendly ELAC UB-5 the pairing made for a very interesting system, one that really didn’t take up much physical space for the power and capabilities held within."
"If we had to categorize the sound of the DAC3 using three words, those words would be precision, precision and precision."
"Truth be told, the ELAC UB-5 never sounded so good as they do with the DAC3 plus AHB2 combination. That speaks volumes ... most DACs sound downright horrible as preamps, but not this fine specimen."
"Partnered with the AHB2 power amplifier, the system represents a significant powerhouse in a relatively small footprint."
"Overall the two part rig was so detailed and acute, resolution practically gushed out of the over performing bookshelf with little to no effort."
"While the combined price tag of over $5k may be out of reach for some, those in the market will find a complete system that pulls together some of the best parts of audiophilia without all the fuss and formality."
"Dynamics were surprisingly tight, quick and responsive in a manner that would make most audiophiles take another look at the “pro” side as a viable category to dip into for some two-channel populace."
"While most surprising may be the pre amp capabilities, the DAC3 would make for a great desktop listening station all on its own. But perhaps its greatest capability is the most obvious, it’s a solid DAC from end-to-end and fine complement to any system needing some additional digital to analog love."
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."