DAC3 Review - Dan Worth, Hifi Pig

February 09, 2017

DAC3 Review - Dan Worth, Hifi Pig

DAC3 - "Produced definitions of clarity that pushed away inner walls"

"There’s no denying that Benchmark are well known in the Hifi world for producing DACs which produce clean, uncoloured and truthful music."

"The core characteristic of all Benchmark DACs is to extract all the detail as transparently as possible, remain flat and cohesive in its presentation and allow the listener to engage deep into the music."

"Harmonically the DAC3 produced definitions of clarity that pushed away inner walls, giving height, depth and a feeling of surround sound."

"The precision in which the DAC3 produces each note is combined with a real flow to the music."

"Nils Lofgren’s live version of ‘Keith Don’t Go’ showed the potential speed and precision of the DAC3, strings started and stopped on a dime, decays were never sacrificed for precision and using the DAC3 really and truly lifts a veil from the system. Combinations of full bodied undertones and crisp leading edges brings music to life, extracting far more information in all areas of the frequency range than DACs costing quite a fair bit more… and the implementation of the ES9028PRO is just superb."

"When a female artist such as Rachelle Farrell takes a breath, it’s a breath that is heard, not a sound that resembles a breath. When Joss Stone’s lips touch in-between words a moistness can be heard. When Chris Jones has a little hum while the intro is being played it’s very evident and puts a smile on my face as I can then imagine him eager to get going. All these small significant moments increase the reality of a performance."

"There’s a lot of praise I could give to the Benchmark and some of it in all honesty is to my surprise, I am most taken aback by the sheer cohesiveness produced in conjunction with the amounts of detail available; it’s all done so effortlessly."

"Precision, depth, tonal accuracy and the freedom of the music within the soundstage and for whatever genre I played. The hybrid volume control is very nice and the tactile feel of the knob itself is very good, the facility itself was used with the active setup and its implementation is very well done. Equally so was the remote control which I used generally to adjust volume levels in this setup and also when listening to my headphones through the DAC."

"My system felt like a dominant force when I introduced the Benchmark DAC3 HGC to the middle shelf of my rack. With the implementation of the latest ESS9028PRO chip from Sabre, Benchmark’s own team of experts, tweaking the accompanied circuitry and the feature rich design offered in this petite package, a genetically modified version of the already popular DAC2 is born."

- Dan Worth, Hifi Pig

Read the full review →



Also in Reviews

LA4 Review - Gary L Beard, Positive Feedback
LA4 Review - Gary L Beard, Positive Feedback

April 09, 2019

"My initial impression was simple: The LA4 preamp plays everything that is, and nothing that isn't...Neutrality in Audio... and that's really all this review needs to convey."

"The LA4 preamp may occupy neutral audio country, but it is a sweet piece of audio kit. I love its form-factor. I love its simple operation. And I love that it allows the sound of the signal to flow through to the downstream components."

"The LA4's specifications are unquestionably excellent. When using pro-level balanced interconnects, the LA4 manages a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) greater than 135 dB, and Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of -125 dB."

"The LA4 has a noise floor that is not just low, it's bats-strain-to-hear-it low."

"The Benchmark LA4 is an excellent preamp, an operationally solid spec-monster that also happens to sound great."

- Gary L Beard, Positive Feedback

Read More
HPA4 -
HPA4 - "Best Headphone Amplifier" - AV Tech Media Awards 2018/2019

January 22, 2019

"The headphone section, with its choice of 6.35 mm stereo or four-pin balanced XLR connectors ... really impresses with a smooth signal delivery."

"While on the one hand it can rock out when it needs to – its prodigious output means it can give as much power as your headphones can take – its sheer impact, openness and vivacity is jaw-dropping."

"An immaculate all-analogue design, the aptly named Benchmark is both technically and sonically as good as it gets."

- AV Tech Media Awards 2018/2019

Read More
Stereophile 2018 Product of the Year - Editors' Choice Awards
Stereophile 2018 Product of the Year - Editors' Choice Awards

January 03, 2019

Stereophile's editors chose 10 products to receive their top award, the "2018 Product of the Year - Editor's Choice Award". Two Benchmark products made this exclusive list - the AHB2 power amplifier and the DAC3 HGC D/A converter.

AHB2 - 2018 Editors' Choice Award 

"I was impressed by this revolutionary stereo amplifier but it became an obsession when I mated three as monoblocks to a trio of Benchmark's DAC3s."

"The AHB2 is deadly silent, musically revealing, surprisingly compact, and quite powerful."

- Kalman Rubinson

DAC3 HGC - 2018 Editors' Choice Award

"Benchmark has created a long line of DACs (several of which I've purchased) that present recordings with as little embellishment as is possible at their price points. The latest incarnation, the DAC3, is no exception, and excels at presenting the unvarnished truth, as the artist intended."

- Jon Iverson

Read More