Reviews

DAC2 HGC Review - Garrett Haines, Tape Op

by Benchmark Media Systems September 15, 2013 1 min read

DAC2 HGC - "I would put the new Benchmark unit against any 2-channel D/A on the market"

"The original Benchmark DAC1 has been used to master many Grammy-winning and chart-topping records. It is hard to imagine that even better performance has been squeezed out of that box, but the DAC2 HGC does that."

"More than an updated faceplate on the original DAC1, the DAC2 HGC offers its own reference sound that will be welcome in the listening environments of both audio engineers and audiophiles."

"Personally, I would put the new Benchmark unit against any 2-channel D/A on the market."

- Garrett Haines, Tape Op

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DAC2 HGC Review - Peter Aczel, The Audio Critic

by Benchmark Media Systems August 20, 2013 1 min read

DAC2 HGC - "Represents a new reference standard"

"The Benchmark DAC2 HGC represents a new reference standard in the category of 'DAC with line-level preamp'."

"Its sound is what any non-voodoo reviewer would expect on the basis of the Audio Precision measurements: the exact sound of the signal source, nothing more and nothing less."

 - Peter Aczel, The Audio Critic

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DAC2 HGC Review - Noble Hi-Fi

by Benchmark Media Systems July 14, 2013 1 min read

DAC2 HGC - "The audio quality is pretty stunning"

"The audio quality of the DAC2 is pretty stunning and like a lot of high quality amplifiers the first thing to jump out here was the soundstage."

"This and instrument separation gave a presentation which is hugely revealing and very enjoyable with good recordings although that comes with it an obvious double edged sword (depending on your preferences)."

"After these wow factors came the detail, now I'm not saying the detail is the 3rd best aspect, it's just that it hit me in that order. I think the best way to describe the detail is precise and edgy."

"Combine this machine with a pair of headphones that already display those traits and you have yourself a pretty impressive experience."

- Noble Hi-Fi

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DAC2 HGC Review - Hans Wetzel, SoundStage! Access

by Benchmark Media Systems February 15, 2013 2 min read

DAC2 HGC - "Far more refined than its price would suggest"

"The DAC2 HGC uses one of the best digital chipsets on the market today to produce a quality of sound that, until a few years ago, wasn't available for less than $10,000."

"It sounds far more refined than its price would suggest, and when you consider that it can serve as the keystone of a digital and analog system, on a desktop or in a listening room, it becomes all the more remarkable.

- Hans Wetzel, SoundStage! Access 

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DAC2 HGC Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems October 24, 2012 1 min read

DAC2 HGC - "Silky smooth sonic signature"

"Those who are used to the tight, bright and hard edge of the previous generation of DACs will be tickled by the DAC2 HGC’s silky smooth sonic signature."

"The DAC2‘s audio performance is stunning — in that it projects a smoother texture, with increased accuracy in the bass and mid-frequency soundstage. But the top-end is full of energy and detail. Usually, a DAC’s subjective improvements are subtle, but the DAC2 HGC’s audible improvements are obvious on first listen." 

"Benchmark has ensured compatibility with DSD by adding the DoP-decoding capability. Through computer software player programs, such as Pure Music, JRiver and Audirvana, computers can relay the DSD-on-PCM signal to the DAC2 HGC."

- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

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ADC1 Review - Tom Lyle, Enjoy the Music.com

by Benchmark Media Systems June 01, 2012 1 min read

ADC1 USB - "I've never used or heard a better analog-to-digital converter"

"The resulting sound of the files that ended up on my computer when using the Benchmark ADC1 USB had everything that Benchmark promises in their literature and more."

"The most noticeable quality of the Benchmark, even in my first casual listen off-axis to one of the first files that I recorded from LP was the separation of instruments in a huge soundstage. The inner detail of the music, that enabled me to hear instruments, sounds, and voices I thought once impossible to recover, and were made evident when making recordings of LPs of even the most complex orchestral and choral music."

"The take-away is that I've never used or heard a better analog-to-digital converter."

- Tom Lyle, Enjoy the Music.com

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ADC16 Review - Jackson Macinnis, Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems January 01, 2012 1 min read

ADC16 - "I am so impressed how real sounding these Benchmark converters are."

"Benchmark Media has designed reference quality professional and audiophile products for nearly 20 years. The reference quality ADC1 and DAC1 series of converters are some of the best digital converters on the market."

"I played a Gibson Custom Shop ’59 Les Paul, which has a fantastic warm humbucker tone. I have recorded this rig with other converters, but the Benchmark ADC16-recorded tunes played back through the DAC1 USB (or even my Apogee DAC) blew them all away. I have never heard my guitar rig sound this good..."

"If ever an audio product deserved the Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award, it is indeed the Benchmark ADC16."

- Jackson Macinnis, Everything Audio Network

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ADC16 Test Report - Bascom H. King, BHK Labs

by Benchmark Media Systems December 21, 2011 1 min read

ADC16 - "Numbers that we come to expect from this engineering-driven company"

"The noise floor is an impressive approximate -120 dBFS but the distortion takes quite a reduction of input level to get there – approaching 0.0001%!"

"All in all, the basic measurement parameters of the Benchmark ADC16 are in or near the top of A/D converter performance standards — numbers that we come to expect from this engineering-driven electronics company."

- Bascom H. King, BHK Labs

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ADC16 Review - Stephen Bennett, Audio Media

by Benchmark Media Systems October 01, 2011 1 min read

ADC16 - "The highest quality analogue to digital conversion"

"During the review period, the ADC16 performed flawlessly. Because the routing and settings are performed from the front panel, set-up was simple."

"I almost forgot that I had the ADC16 patched into my system over the review period – which is possibly the most flattering thing you can say about a unit designed to be transparent in use."

"For those requiring the highest quality analogue to digital conversion, the Benchmark unit delivers exactly what it says on the box."

"With an ADC16 converting your current into digits, you need to have no worries that you’re losing any important information along the way."

- Stephen Bennett, Audio Media

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DAC1 HDR Review - Michael Brown, Maximum PC

by Benchmark Media Systems February 23, 2011 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "This little box delivers a mind-blowing audio experience"

"Listening to Irish folk singer Cara Dillon sing “The Lass of Glenshee,” from Live at the Grand Opera House on the DAC1, we were amazed at how much easier we could discern the lyrics through the singer’s lovely brogue. The acoustic guitar, fiddle, drums, and flute, meanwhile, were distinctly rendered so that you could place each note of each instrument in the broad sound stage."

"The DAC1 HDR is a phenomenal piece of gear ..." 

- Michael Brown, Maximum PC

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DAC1 HDR Review - Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound

by Benchmark Media Systems July 12, 2010 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "You will have to spend a very, very great deal of money to find a better DAC"

"When Benchmark Media’s DAC1 digital to analog converter was introduced a few years ago, it not only garnered rave reviews, but those reviewers who performed rigorous laboratory tests only wound up confirming Benchmark’s claims that it was a virtually distortionless device...every now and then, word gets out about really exceptional professional products...and soon audiophiles start buying them."

"... you will have to spend a very, very great deal of money to find a better DAC and linestage than are in this unassuming but nearly perfect unit."

- Peter Seydor, TAS

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DAC1 HDR Review - Doug Schneider, SoundStage! Access

by Benchmark Media Systems June 01, 2010 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "A rich feature set and top-quality sound"

 "The DAC1 HDR carries on Benchmark’s tradition of approaching cost-no-object performance for a very reasonable price."

"For audiophiles who can live with only one analog input... the DAC1 HDR delivers a rich feature set and top-quality sound for much less than you’d spend on three separate components."

- Doug Schneider, SoundStage! Access

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DAC1 HDR Review - Andre Marc, Audio Video Revolution

by Benchmark Media Systems May 12, 2010 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "The Benchmark delivers in spades"

"If accuracy, neutrality, and a very detailed sound is what you seek from your digital music collection, the Benchmark delivers in spades."

"If you like warmed over, lush, or retro sounding source components, you may want to look elsewhere.  I can conclude by telling you if I was building another system from scratch, it would more than likely include the DAC1 HDR to serve both as linestage and DAC for a music server and transport."

"I don’t believe you can do better if you are looking for a made in the USA DAC and preamplifier for $1895.  Buying a separate DAC and remote controlled preamp will without a doubt set you back more, and in my opinion, with no benefit of added performance."

- Andre Marc, Audio Video Revolution

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DAC1 USB Review - Robert H. Levi, Positive Feedback

by Benchmark Media Systems March 25, 2010 1 min read

DAC1 USB - "Enjoy top-notch performance from this truly great DAC"

"Hook up about anything that outputs up to 24/192, even your computer, and enjoy top notch performance from this truly great DAC."

"I loved the mids, highs, and bass which were all outstanding and easily outperformed the competition. I'd buy the Benchmark and forget about the many flavor of the month high priced DACs being touted today."

"The Benchmark DAC1 USB offers big-time sound at a low ball price. Highest recommendation!"

- Robert H. Levi, Positive Feedback

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DAC1 HDR Review - Jeff Rabin, Enjoy the Music.com

by Benchmark Media Systems March 01, 2010 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "The studio heritage of this Benchmark preamp is quite obvious"

"The studio heritage of this Benchmark preamp is quite obvious. I'd like to say the sound was lean but not thin. I expect this however is an artifact of my sonic memory, having listened to far too many tubby tubed pre-amps in my past. In fact, I believe it is merely neutral. And unlike all but the best solid state preamps or integrateds I have listened to, there was none of that solid state hash or haze heard through lesser designs. Detail was neither absent nor did it draw undue attention to itself. Highs were not rolled off, nor were they shrill. Bass was as it should be."

- Jeff Rabin, Enjoy the Music.com

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DAC1 HDR Award - Jeff Dorgay, TONE Audio

by Benchmark Media Systems February 08, 2010 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "Tone Audio Exceptional Value Award"

"I am proud to give the latest version of Benchmark’s DAC1 one of our Exceptional Value Awards for 2010."

"This is a fantastic anchor to a system in the $4,000 – $10,000 range and one that you will have to pay quite a bit more money to outgrow."

- Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio

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DAC1 HDR Review - Dr. Ken Taraszka, Home Theater Review.com

by Benchmark Media Systems November 09, 2009 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "A landmark piece"

"Fit and finish of this component is top notch. My unit came in the black finish and it was physically perfect."

"The Benchmark DAC makes for a smooth and pleasant presentation of music, even on older material like Jimi Hendrix's Blues album (MCA). On "Hear My Train A Comin'" the guitar was lively and clear, while bass of the drums was well portrayed. "Catfish Blues" had a depth and energy that made the piece so powerful to listen to, and the emotion continued through "Voodoo Chile Blues" keeping plenty of air around the instruments making for a very open presentation."

"The Benchmark DAC1 HDR is a landmark piece. Its small size and inclusion of not only a great DAC but remote controlled preamp with analog input as well as a flexible headphone amplifier make this a great piece for a top notch system at a reasonable price."

- Dr. Ken Taraszka, Home Theater Review.com

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ADC1 Review - Rick Schmidt, Home Theater and High Fidelity

by Benchmark Media Systems August 03, 2009 1 min read

ADC1 - "I loved what the ADC1 did for my vinyl recordings"

"I loved what the ADC1 did for my vinyl recordings. At this point I don't want to be without it so I will look into buying this review sample (I've been upgrading my systems a lot lately so its getting kind of painful pocketbook wise)."

"This little gem provides grain free, fatigue free recordings that I crave."

"... with the Benchmark the backgrounds were deeper, blacker and the voices, instruments all had more space around them."

- Rick Schmidt, Home Theater and High Fidelity

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DAC1 HDR Review - Peter Aczel, The Audio Critic

by Benchmark Media Systems July 07, 2009 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "Damn close to a perfect piece of equipment"

"What the Benchmark DAC1 HDR adds to or subtracts from its input signal is borderline unmeasurable, so the sonic character of its output is obviously the sonic character of its input."

"All in all, the Benchmark DAC1 HDR is damn close to a perfect piece of equipment. Neither its digital performance nor its analog performance could be meaningfully improved. That’s really all that needs to be said."

"There exist DACs and preamps at ten times the price of the Benchmark, but they aren’t any better. Let the high-end police come and take me away in handcuffs."

- Peter Aczel, The Audio Critic

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DAC1 HDR Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems May 07, 2009 1 min read

DAC1 HDR - "There’s a reason why so many pros use Benchmark"

"Through the USB and TOSLINK ports from my MacBook or the SPDIF input from the TASCAM HDP-2, all my recordings of acoustic guitar and jazz guitar cuts from my pro rig — sounded first rate."

"There’s a reason why so many pros use Benchmark D/As — accurate rendering of the digital PCM recordings with wide, deep and detailed imaging, and a total lack of harshness."

- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network"

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