Alpha-Audio.net tested 10 DACs side-by-side. Only one received the "Alpha-Audio Approved" award. That DAC was the Benchmark DAC3.
"Are you looking for the best DAC (d/a converter) in the price range from 1500 euro to 2500 euro? That’s great! Because we’ve put ten beauties side by side. And we tested it live on camera for you."
"The Benchmark – which we tested as the last one – comes across as very clean, detailed, dynamic and quiet."
"The DAC puts down a particularly well-balanced pallet."
"If we take the notes, we see terms like: kick, punch, inaudible, ink-black background. Your editor finds the ‘silence’ particularly striking with this converter."
"The silence between the notes can be heard and felt with this dac. And that’s very impressive considering the price tag of about 2000 euros."
"We can conclude that the Benchmark is definitely a good choice in this price range. It brings everything the discerning audio and music lover desires. And that in a cabinet that exudes functionality and a no-nonsense approach. Top product."
"It was incredibly instructive to put so many converters side by side. We clearly hear differences - and the viewers could as well. Also dacs with the same chips show differences. And that's logical, because not only is the output stage different (which gives a different signature to the dac), the implementation of jitter reduction, power supply and clocking are also different."
"One of the models we all agreed on is the benchmark DAC3. This is a delicious musical product. Virtually no coloring, nice stereo image and plenty of inputs. Approved!"
DAC3 - "Alpha-Audio Approved"
"There are many things that come into play when putting together a hi-fi system, one of which is synergy."
"After the arrival of the Benchmark Media Systems AHB2, I immediately thought of the matching HPA4 that colleagues Jaap and Yung were very pleased with."
"The key question, of course, was whether the HPA4 would really provide an audible improvement."
"Well you bet! The synergy between preamp and power amplifier is nothing short of magical, not to mention the DAC3 B that I got from importer Helios for the occasion."
"Not only a few curtains disappear, the whole window is gone."
- Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio
"The Benchmark AHB2 is a very fine sounding, easy to live with, zero-maintenance power amplifier that has enough power for most systems. If more power is needed, two amplifiers configured for mono can provide it. The decision to purchase the review sample and make the Benchmark AHB2 a new, long term reference took over a month of listening and comparisons."
"The outstanding musicality of the Benchmark AHB2 takes some time to convince the listener of its wholly musical presentation. This subtle excellence assures long term satisfaction."
-10 Audio, Perfect 10 Award
"Prior to reviewing these Benchmark components, I had heard the company’s products powering some of my favorite-sounding rooms at several audio shows. Based on what I’d heard at these shows, I was eager to hear how this equipment could perform in my own listening room."
"Listening to the Benchmark gear in my own room, I felt an immediate and gratifying emotional connection to the music I was hearing."
"The LA4 and AHB2 tear down so many of the usual walls that come between the listener and the music."
"If you value transparency and accuracy, the LA4 and AHB2 will perform beyond your highest expectations."
- Drew Gagliano, The Audio Beatnik