AHB2 - Driving Martin-Logan ESL 11A Electrostatic Speakers

AHB2 - Driving Martin-Logan ESL 11A Electrostatic Speakers

by Benchmark Media Systems November 14, 2017

AHB2 - Driving Martin-Logan ESL 11A Electrostatic Speakers

Capital Audiofest 2017

"The folks from Benchmark and Martin-Logan teamed up to do something just a little different, and entirely enchanting, in the Jackson Room!"

"The resultant sound was extremely clean and fast, surprisingly dynamic, and the space, as you'd expect with good multi-channel, was get-up-and-walk-around through. Well done!"

- Greg Weaver, enjoythemusic.com

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DAC2 Award - Stereophile

DAC2 Award - Stereophile "2017 A+ Recommended Component - Digital Processor"

by Benchmark Media Systems September 15, 2017

DAC2 HGC - Stereophile A+ Recommended Component

"Although similar in appearance to previous Benchmark models ... , the new DAC2 HGC uses four 32-bit ESS Sabre DACs, run in balanced configuration, for a significantly lower noise floor; has a new Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) for volume attenuation, which combines active analog gain control and passive low-impedance attenuators in the analog realm with a 32-bit digital DSP gain control for digital signals; and provides front-panel displays for both sample rate and word length."

"It had a pleasantly forward sound, with smooth highs, a solid bottom end, and excellent image separation, said EL."

"JI noted the DAC2's good scale and sense of ambient space."

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DAC2 Award - Stereophile

DAC2 Award - Stereophile "Class-A Recommended - Headphone Accessories"

by Benchmark Media Systems September 15, 2017

DAC2 - Stereophile Class-A Recommended - Headphone Amplifier

"Although similar in appearance to previous Benchmark models, with a front-panel volume control and two ¼" headphone jacks."

"The new DAC2 HGC uses four 32-bit ESS Sabre DACs, run in balanced configuration, for a significantly lower noise floor; has a new Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) for volume attenuation, which combines active analog gain control and passive low-impedance attenuators in the analog realm with a 32-bit digital DSP gain control for digital signals."

"It had a pleasantly forward sound, with smooth highs, a solid bottom end, and excellent image separation, said EL."

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DAC3 Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

DAC3 Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems January 04, 2017

DAC3 HGC - "More space, Increased Precision"

The Benchmark DAC3 is the first product to ship with the new ESS Technology ES9028PRO D/A converter chip.

"It may look like the DAC2 HGC, but the new DAC3 HGC offers a slew of better measurements and more notably, an incremental boost in sound quality."

"Via headphones I definitely could hear more space around the instruments and an increased precision in transients — like cymbals and upper-register piano notes."

"In terms of new functions, the DAC3 switches a lot faster between inputs, and gone is that audibly phasy transition when you initially switch between two digital sources."

John Gatski, Publisher, Everything Audio Network

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DAC2 & AHB2 Review - Gary L Beard, Positive Feedback

DAC2 & AHB2 Review - Gary L Beard, Positive Feedback

by Benchmark Media Systems November 18, 2016

AHB2 - "It could well be the last amp you'll ever own. Yes, it is that good."

"Benchmark Media Systems Pro-centric products tout exceptional specifications, and their AHB2 amplifier--developed in tandem with engineers from THX and using their patented HX Achromatic™ Audio Amplifier technology—uses some rather unusual patented designs to get to those remarkable spec numbers." 

DAC2 - "The Benchmark AHB2 is a very good amp, and the DAC2 is a very good DAC—it's no wonder that they have been slathered in near-universal praise."

"These two partners in musical misbehavior sound great together and cost less--with Benchmark cables included—than my Pass XA 30.8 amp alone. To be sure, my reference Pass is a fantastic amplifier, but the AHB2 has its own charms that I found played to my own listening biases."

"Yep. Good stuff, those BM boys."

- Gary L Beard, Positive-Feedback

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DAC2 HGC Award - Stereophile A+ Rating

DAC2 HGC Award - Stereophile A+ Rating

by Benchmark Media Systems September 15, 2016

DAC2 HGC - Stereophile "A+ Recommended Component", 2016

"Although similar in appearance to previous Benchmark models, with a front-panel volume control and two 1/4" headphone jacks, the new DAC2 HGC uses four 32-bit ESS Sabre DACs, run in balanced configuration, for a significantly lower noise floor; has a new Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) for volume attenuation, which combines active analog gain control and passive low-impedance attenuators in the analog realm with a 32-bit digital DSP gain control for digital signals; and provides front-panel displays for both sample rate and word length."

"It had a pleasantly forward sound, with smooth highs, a solid bottom end, and excellent image separation, said EL."

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Benchmark at CAF2016 - Art Dudley, Stereophile

Benchmark at CAF2016 - Art Dudley, Stereophile

by Benchmark Media Systems July 14, 2016

HRA System - "I loved the open, colorful, well-balanced, and immediate sound of this system."

"I was happy to have finally heard the Benchmark AHB2 power amp that Kal Rubinson and so many others have raved about."




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DAC2 Review - Paul Rigby, The Audiophile Man

DAC2 Review - Paul Rigby, The Audiophile Man

by Benchmark Media Systems June 08, 2016

DAC2 - "Taking the DAC1 ... and improving upon it"

Benchmark DAC2 HGC"I remember writing up a large group test, for a national UK Hi-Fi magazine, several years back, on DACs. I’d never heard of Benchmark before but the DAC1 trounced all of the other DACs on test to win the crown for that test. I was more than impressed and vowed to keep an eye on the brand from that day forward."

"Benchmark says that this, the latest iteration in the range, is superior in terms of sound quality to the DAC1."

"Immediately, right from the off, I was seriously impressed with the DAC2."

- Paul Rigby, The Audiophile Man - audiophileman.com

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DAC2 & AHB2 Review - Dimitris Stamatakos, AVMENTOR.net

DAC2 & AHB2 Review - Dimitris Stamatakos, AVMENTOR.net

by Benchmark Media Systems June 02, 2016

AHB2 - "A convincing example of what the future of power amplifiers can be"

"Benchmark dared to engage their power amplifier project from a different angle, discarding the standard approach ... and certainly succeeded. The theoretical advantages of their choices are both evident in the laboratory and heard during the listening sessions, thus justifying the whole approach."

"Based on a very interesting set of ideas, with a long history but few examples of a practical application, the Benchmark AHB2 could serve as a convincing example of what the future of power amplifiers can be. Combine it with a renowned D/A Converter like the DAC2 HGC, and what you have is a top quality system from which only the loudspeakers are missing!"

DAC2AHB2 - "The best preamplifier/power amplifier ... in this price range"

"Overall, the DAC HGC/AHB2 pair is the best preamplifier/power amplifier we had the opportunity to listen to in recent years in this price range."

- Dimitris Stamatakos, AVMENTOR.net

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DAC2 Lab Evaluation - AVMENTOR.net

DAC2 Lab Evaluation - AVMENTOR.net

by Benchmark Media Systems April 05, 2016

DAC2 HGC - "Offered a very high level of performance, with very low distortion"

"The noise spectrum shows that the DAC2 HGC is indeed a very quiet device without problems of interference or hum."

"Frequency response is flat across the entire range of measurement without a visible cut-off towards the lower frequencies, and with a rather mild roll-off at very high frequencies close to 80kHz. The differences between the two channels are small, in the range of 0.2dB."

"The THD+N Vs Frequency graph does not hide any unpleasant surprises. The curves (for an output level of 1Vrms) are below 0.003% with an apparent increasing trend from the 10kHz upwards but with minimal level-depended variation, an indication for a good analog stage design."

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DAC2 DX Review & Bench Test - John E. Johnson, Jr., Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

DAC2 DX Review & Bench Test - John E. Johnson, Jr., Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

by Benchmark Media Systems March 02, 2016

DAC2 DX - "had some of the lowest distortion of any DAC we have ever tested"

"Listening to my music collection via USB was a pleasure with this DAC. It had a very musical sound, reminding me of a Class A triode tube amplifier. When you check out the bench tests, you will see why."

"For my money, the Benchmark DAC2 DX represents one of the best values in high end audio today."

- John E. Johnson, Jr., Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

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DAC2 Award - The Absolute Sound 2016 Editors' Choice Award

DAC2 Award - The Absolute Sound 2016 Editors' Choice Award

by Benchmark Media Systems March 01, 2016

DAC2 HGC - "Combines digital with analog gain controls for an optimal result"

"The HGC moniker stands for 'hybrid gain control' which is a 'dual domain' attenuation system that combines digital with analog gain controls for an optimal result."

- The Absolute Sound

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AHB2 Review - Jason Kennedy, Hi-Fi+

AHB2 Review - Jason Kennedy, Hi-Fi+

by Benchmark Media Systems February 01, 2016

AHB2 - "An immediacy that makes for uncanny realism"

"Orchestral dynamics were also well served, as the amp has considerable speed and an ability to deliver serious power with alacrity, and there's no sense of overhang in the bass."

"Dr. Feelgood's 'Roxette' [Down By The Jetty, United Artists] raised the hairs on the back of my neck. The Benchmark has an immediacy that makes for uncanny realism, so a track like this is more intense and vital, more powerful in fact."

"The Benchmark SMS1 had been supplied with the amps with a view of doing a whole system eview, a state of affairs that came to pass with gusto when I discovered just how well the combination gelled."

"The Benchmark pairing proved analytical (in typical studio style) but not dry - just very revealing of recording style and balance."

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DAC2 and AHB2 Review - Tom Fine, Tape Op

DAC2 and AHB2 Review - Tom Fine, Tape Op

by Benchmark Media Systems January 29, 2016

AHB2 - "Conspicuous Only in Its Absence"

"Before she joined Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick was in a band called The Great Society. They made an LP, Conspicuous Only in Its Absence, the title of which has stuck in my mind ever since I first heard it as a teenager. (The album also contains some killer psychedelic rock riffing, but that’s another story for another time.) That album’s title is a perfect description of how the new Benchmark AHB2 power amplifier fits into a studio monitoring system."

- Tom Fine, Tape Op

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DAC2 DX - 2015 Product of the Year - Everything Audio Network

DAC2 DX - 2015 Product of the Year - Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems January 12, 2016

DAC2 DX - "Home Recording/Audiophile D/A Converter Product of The Year"

"Take the ultra accurate PCM/DSD DAC2 converter add AES/EBU and dual buss output and you now have the ideal studio or hi-fi DAC for headphone or speaker listening — the $1,995 DAC2-DX. And no DAC measures any better."

- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

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DAC2 DX Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

DAC2 DX Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems December 31, 2015

DAC2 DX"I cannot emphasize enough the DAC2's sound quality"

"Ever since Benchmark released the DAC2 Series a few years ago, the D/A’s measured performance, ultra-accurate smooth ESS-chip audio delivery has made, it, er, the Benchmark of D/A converters. Every DAC I get in for review, I always compare to the Benchmark."

"If you like a clean, transparent, yet smooth and detailed D/A converter for your home pro (or larger separate pro facility) or hobbyist studio, the DAC2-DX should be on your short list of DACs to consider."

"I cannot emphasize enough the DAC2's sound quality. If your only experience has been with the old DAC1 Series, you are in for a treat. The DAC2 blows it away in terms of listenability. Significantly smoother, especially with Pop music."

"Like the DAC2-HGC, the DAC2-DX receives our Stellar Sound Award and an 2015 EAN Product of The Year Award nod in the home recording studio category."

 - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

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DAC2 HGC Review - Jason Kennedy, hi-fi+

DAC2 HGC Review - Jason Kennedy, hi-fi+

by Benchmark Media Systems December 18, 2015

DAC2 HGC - "A small but remarkable contender to add to the must hear list"

"Benchmark was the brand that introduced the first serious small scale digital to analogue converter. Before the original DAC1, most converters were either full width or not taken seriously. All that has changed with a plethora of high-spec, all-singing DACs that are primarily designed for the headphone market but which also have preamp outputs. The DAC2 HGC has a lot more competition than its forbear, so Benchmark has upped the ante in terms of conversion capability, but it remains very similar in facilities terms."

"The latest incarnation of the Benchmark DAC remains a comprehensively equipped and highly capable piece of kit. Those looking for flexibility of operation will find little that competes while listeners in search of the ultimate affordable DAC have a small but remarkable contender to add to the must hear list."

- Jason Kennedy, hi-fi+

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HRA System Review - Martin Pipe, Hi-Fi World

HRA System Review - Martin Pipe, Hi-Fi World

by Benchmark Media Systems November 01, 2015

HRA System - "I was impressed with the sense of space"

"I was admittedly quite cruel with my initial choice of listening material ... Vladimir Homyakov playing Bach organ works on the Eule organ at St. Alexander Church in Cheylyabinsk. Yes, we're going to try playing organ music on a modestly-sized pair of bookshelf speakers! And my jaw dropped. Unexpected depth there is, and natural it sounds too. I was also impressed with the sense of space the system created; it felt uncannily as if I was in the church"

"Benchmark ... has managed an impressive feat. If you want a large-scale yet musical sound but don't have the space for big boxes, they're well worth checking out."

- Martin Pipe, Hi-Fi World
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HRA Music System - Best Sound Under $10,000 - RMAF 2015, Enjoy the Music.com

HRA Music System - Best Sound Under $10,000 - RMAF 2015, Enjoy the Music.com

by Benchmark Media Systems October 04, 2015

HRA System - "My favorite true sub $10,000 system"

"The best 'budget' system at the show ... my favorite true sub $10,000 system was a great offering from Benchmark Media Systems, at just $7,500 dollars for a very capable system cables and all, this system takes the cake."

- Rick LaFaver, Enjoy the Music.com

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DAC2 HGC - Test Report, Steve Holding, Newport Test Labs

DAC2 HGC - Test Report, Steve Holding, Newport Test Labs

by Benchmark Media Systems September 16, 2015

DAC2 HGC - "Better performance than DACs ten times its price"

"Superb: I have used that word a number of times to describe the results returned by the Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and there is really no better word to describe its overall performance as well."

"I have analysed the test results of a half-a-dozen of the world's best DACs, most of which sell for more than ten times the price of the DAC2, and across almost all parameters tested the performance of the Benchmark DAC2 HGC equals or exceeds that of every single one of those DACs."

"This is digital audio engineering at its very best."

- Steve Holding, Newport Test Labs

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