Buy 2 components and get 4 free cables. Free shipping on USA orders over $700.


Your Cart is Empty

DAC3 Review - Mark Marcantonio, Tone Audio

DAC3 Review - Mark Marcantonio, Tone Audio

Tone Audio Magazine logo

Benchmark DAC3 HGC Black with remote

DAC3 HGC - "At the Top of its Class ... Highly Recommended"

"Listening to a 24-bit piano solo of Dick Hyman’s Thinking About Bix, the DAC3 HGC reveals both the expansive smoothness as well as the energetic impact this unit gives the listener. The tickling of the ivories in “Ostrich Walk” is packed with playful jabs."

"I’m immediately struck by the way the depth presented by the current model immerses you in the recording, high or low resolution in nature. One of my favorite go to tracks, Handel’s Saul, HMV 53: III. Allegro with its luscious woodwinds leading the violin melody is beautifully rendered."

"Having put the DAC3 through its paces with a wide range of tube and solid state amplifiers for The Audiophile Apartment, as the core of a high performance, yet highly compact system, the DAC3 is a charmer, indeed." 

Benchmark DAC3 HGC Silver with remote

"The three-dimensionality is the best I’ve achieved on my reference system."

"Other playlist favorites achieve the same degree of sonic involvement. Even Bob Seger’s classic live recording of “Turn The Page” has more front to back energy than expected. Seger’s vocals have a smoothness that shouldn’t be available from a 1970’s concert recording. This is a special digital product indeed."

Benchmark DAC3 HGC Silver closeup

DAC3 HGC - Includes the HPA2™ Headphone Amplifier

"As a headphone amp, the ability to set the output level makes the DAC3 HGC a versatile performer, allowing whatever headphones you have at your disposal to perform at their best. From an easy to drive pair of Grado’s, to power hungry HD series Sennheisers, the DAC3 HGC handles them all with ease."

"Benchmark’s years of studio experience comes in handy, as they understand the importance of matching the available level of gain to the intended device."

"Those not needing headphone capabilities, can save a few bucks by choosing the standard DAC3 L model."

"FYI, the quality of the headphone amplifier included in the DAC3 HGC is way better than anything you’ll find for three hundred bucks, so if you’re even considering a headphone amp, this is money well spent."

Tone Audio Exceptional Value Award

Tone Audio Exceptional Value Award logo"Since the introduction of the original DAC1, Benchmark has set the industry on its ear, providing a true reference quality DAC at an easily approachable price. While the cost has more than doubled, so has the performance. We gave the original DAC 1 our first Exceptional Value award in issue 3, and the current DAC3 HGC is an equally good value, earning this award again in 2017."

- Marck Marcantonio, Tone Audio

Read the entire review in Tone Audio Issue 85 →

Also in Reviews

AHB2 Review - Constantine Soo, Dagogo

AHB2 Review - Constantine Soo, Dagogo

by Benchmark Media Systems April 02, 2024


Benchmark AHB2 - Black


"The AHB2 bridgeable stereo amplifier ... was the topic of a recent discussion between American electrostatic panel speaker manufacturer Sound Lab’s president, Dr. Roger West, and me."

"In our discussion, he related his highly positive experience in driving even his largest, $55k Majestic 945 panels with the $7,000 pair of Benchmark Media AHB2 monoblocks, along with the $3,050 LA4 Preamplifier and factory XLR cables."

"Dr. West described the AHB2 as a class AB design using “feed-forward distortion reduction [thus removing] any possibility of pushing the margin of safety of a standard feedback loop, used in most amplifiers, into an unstable oscillatory mode.”"

"He further shared with me that “this is of most concern on powerful musical transients. The distortion of the amplifier in the balanced mode is astonishingly low even at just below the clipping level of 380 watts.”"

"The prospect of the AHB2’s specified distortion level of 0.00015% or lower when at full volume is comical at first glance, but upon actual audition the impact of the achievement is very audible from medium-high listening levels and upward."

"It was unlike any other sub-$20,000 amplifier I have auditioned."

"My audition of the Benchmark Media AHB2 amplifiers underscores the reason Dr. West is so taken by it, and confirms the design is best described as a watershed moment in the high-end audio industry."

- Constantine Soo, Dagogo

Read Full Post
DAC3 Review - Jerry Del  Colliano

DAC3 Review - Jerry Del Colliano

by Benchmark Media Systems April 02, 2024

Benchmark DAC3 B with Silver Faceplate

"Benchmark is a stalwart brand in pro audio, but has carved out a very respectable niche in the audiophile world with their diminutive but powerful components."

Benchmark DAC3 B Studio Version with Rackmount Faceplate

"The audiophile world sometimes looks to the professional audio world for enlightenment, especially on the digital side of things, and Benchmark Media is one of the companies that we put high on a pedestal."

"They are hardcore digital engineers freezing their asses off in upstate New York as they come up with some pretty innovative ways to get your varied digital sources sounding as much like the master tape as possible. Thank you for your service, gentlemen."

"If you really want to hear what your music sounds like in today’s streaming-driven world, this might just be the DAC that you need to test out."

- Jerry Del Colliano, Future Audiophile

Read Full Post
DAC3 & AHB2 - System Review, Trevor Butler,

DAC3 & AHB2 - System Review, Trevor Butler,

by Benchmark Media Systems March 28, 2024

Editor's Choice Award - DAC3 and AHB2 -

"I began with the DAC3 HGC and AHB2 powering the glorious Morel Avyra 633 three-way floorstanders."

"This pairing created a full-bodied sound which brought the recording to life."

"Notable from the off was the bass from the DAC3 HGC and AHB2."

"Wow! It was deep, tight and conveyed a real feeling that the electronics were in charge of the transducers."

"Involuntary foot-tapping confirmed the timing ability and the overall presentation was spot-on, the Benchmark electronics created a fluent sound across a vivid soundstage; performers evident both tonally and spatially in an easy-to-believe presentation that brought the performance close."

"The Benchmark’s ability to retrieve deep-down detail and display it so well across the soundstage, with accurate positioning and convincing layering, made for a glorious re-creation of the recordings."

"To my mind the AHB2 is an amplifier with no obvious characteristics of its own: the level of transparency is sublime."

"Above all, the improved transient response performance stood out in a presentation that was not only lively but incredibly fast and revealing. The attack and decay displayed was awesome and not something I expect at this price point."

"The Benchmark DAC3 HGC and AHB2 are cracking products, sonically superior to a lot that’s available and well priced."

"They are superbly designed and built to an extremely high standard."

- Trevor Butler,

Read Full Post