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 - 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 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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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

Benchmark Media Systems - September 15, 2016

Awards › DAC2 ›

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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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

Benchmark Media Systems - June 08, 2016

DAC2 › HiFi ›

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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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

Benchmark Media Systems - April 05, 2016

DAC2 › HiFi › Test Reports ›



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 - "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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