"I’ll cut right to the chase: The Benchmark DAC3 HGC is a sonic marvel and an engineer’s wet dream."
"The DAC3 offers the following improvements over the DAC2:
• Active 2nd Harmonic Compensation • Active 3rd Harmonic Compensation • Lower THD • Lower passband ripple • Improved frequency response • Increased Dynamic Range • Faster PLL lock times • Faster switching between inputs
In short – it's everything you like about the DAC2 only mo’ better."
"I started my evaluation with the Black Keys’ El Camino album and their track “Sister”."
"The big bass drum kick that anchors this track has left me disappointed on other systems and pairings. The DAC3 HGC nailed it and kicked with the authority that I've often found lacking."
"Immediately impressed with the “grunt” of the HPA2 amp section, I moved on to my all-time favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers song – their cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”. I love Flea’s bass guitar in this track. The benchmark had me toe tapping to the “chicka-wow-wow” rhythm."
"I have some Florence + The Machine tracks that sounded dull and lifeless on other equipment, but popped on the DAC3 with new clarity and energy. You know you’re onto something special when a piece of gear can breathe new life into flat tracks."
"I queued up one of Dr. Chesky’s evaluation discs and got to listening. Perhaps the most interesting test (to me at least) was Rebeca Pidgeon’s cover of “Spanish Harlem”. Each shake of the shaker was indeed different. The DAC3 did an excellent job of resolving minute details in the material. Compared back-to-back against the DAC section of the ES9018 based Oppo HA-1, the Benchmark nailed it. It wasn’t one of those subtle differences that makes you go “hmmm” – it was a “wow” moment."
"I have some great tracks in my collection that are in DSD format. So Benchmark’s support for DSD was “must have” feature for me."
"I think it’s a fantastic sounding D/A converter. On well recorded material it does an outstanding job with detail and resolution. It brought new life to CD quality 16/44.1 material - even on tracks that weren’t particularly well mastered."
"I'm asking because clearly Benchmark is a highly regarded company here, and plenty of ASR members own Benchmark amplification/DACs. We know they are top of the heap in terms of measured performance, outdoing plenty of the competition in terms of typical distortion measurements."
- @MattHooper, AudioScienceReview.com
AHB2, LA4, DAC3
Subtle aesthetics? Check.
Unobtrusive size? Check.
Solid build? Check.
Made in America? Check.
Best in class? Check.
Superior performance proven by Amir? Check.
Superior customer service? Check (and not just in audio world; best customer service I have experienced from any company, anywhere, ever).
Expensive? For me, yes. Limit of my budget, but buy once cry once.
"The afternoon before the start of the show I ran into John Siau of Benchmark Media Systems. He says to me quietly, “make sure you stop in our room, we have a surprise!” With curiosity suitably piqued, Co-Editor Jim Clements and I paid a visit ..."
"The results were pretty astonishing. A stable, enveloping stereo image that was devoid of any distortion whatsoever."
- Carlo Lo Raso, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
"Sound was extremely well-integrated and controlled, and the bass memorable."
"The Note received signal through the introductory version of the company's Liquid Cables. Each cable contains 27,000 wires. The company's introductory Elephant memory player joined Benchmark Media's AHB2 power amps, DAC3 B D/A processor, and interconnects."
"With the aid of a forthcoming DEQX HDP4 processor that's due in the fall, the system sounded super on a 16/44.1 file of the famed rendition of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, recorded by Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra for Reference Recordings."