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
"Thanks to the special, discrete analog circuit/relay attenuator, this may be the most transparent line-stage preamplifier in the audiophile world."
"If you got a great-sounding source, the LA4 presents the audio in its original state — with gain or attenuation to the amplifier. I have never heard such low-level detail from a pre."
"The better the DAC, the better you hear it through a quality amp and speakers. It is quiet as a top-notch DAC, with S/N exceeding -135 dB and, feature-wise, it comes with unbalanced/balanced I/O and a really slick user interface."
"I use the four-input LA4 for audiophile A/B testing of DACs, monitoring my Hi-Res home recording/editing/mastering projects, as well as just listening how good my vast collection of 24 bit and DSD music sounds through an accurate amp and speakers."
"A steal at $2,500!"
- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network
"Since the HPA4 arrived, I have rediscovered so many of my favorite works all over again with improved detail retrieval dynamics and transparency that it’s hard to pull myself away!"
"It drove my power hungry Abyss Phi TC headphones with complete authority, but it was still dead silent and nimble enough to amplify my easy to drive Focal Utopia headphones."
"Rarely have I come across such a wonderfully revealing amplifier that can drive many different types of headphones so darn well! The solid build construction and various controls make the $2,995 price tag seem a bit low based on the other headphone amplifiers in this market space."- Peter Pialis, Headphone.guru
"Benchmark Media Systems’ LA4 preamplifier presented an utterly realistic reproduction of what was contained on each recording I played through it -- and weak recordings stood out more than usual. The LA4’s clean, analytical abilities are unmatched by any similarly priced preamplifier I know of. The LA4’s touchscreen brings it up to date with current user interfaces, and permits functions, such as balance control and muting at the device."
"If you want a preamp that editorializes, look elsewhere."
"If, like me, you value a high-resolution, totally neutral musical performance, add a Benchmark LA4 to your system, particularly if you already own a Benchmark DAC."
- Erich Wetzel, SoundStage! Hi-Fi