ADC1 - "I highly recommend the ADC1 for transferring your LPs to digital"
"Benchmark's versatile and full-featured ADC1 USB both measures superbly well and produces digital files that sound equally superb. It offers performance for which, a decade ago, you would have had to pay five times its price. It also offers better resolution than you get from inexpensive converters like E-MU's popular e404, whose nominally 24-bit A/D converter section actually has about 17-bit resolution."
"I highly recommend the ADC1 for transferring your LPs to digital."
DAC2 HGC - "Offered one of the highest resolutions I have measured"
"Note that I've had to extend the vertical scale to –160 dBFS to reveal the noise floor. The drop in the level of the noise floor with 24-bit data indicates that the DAC2 offers 21-bit resolution, which is state-of-the-art performance."
"With the very low level of noise and superb linearity, the DAC2's reproduction of an undithered 16-bit tone at exactly –90.31 dBFS was essentially perfect."
"Even driving a very demanding 600 ohm load, the DAC2 offered very low levels of analog distortion, with the third harmonic the highest in level, at –116 dB (0.00015%). Other than the second and fifth, all the other harmonics lie at close to –130 dB. Intermodulation distortion was also superbly low, again even into 600 ohms."
"Summing up the Benchmark DAC2 HGC's measured performance is easy: It's simply superb."
DAC2 HGC - "Fantastic resolution, an even tonal balance, and an engaging, up-front perspective"
"What would normally be merely a pop song's background rhythm guitar was brought to the fore by the DAC2, allowing me to appreciate the subtle voicings and strumming patterns."
"The DAC2 HGC is a step forward in every way from Benchmark Media's DAC1 models."
"It offers easy computer interfacing, a myriad of input options, remote control, and solid build quality, all from a company that has been around a while, and that stands behind its products."
"The DAC2 HGC is a fantastic value in terms of its sheer musical ability. It offers fantastic resolution, an even tonal balance, and an engaging, up-front perspective on the music. I can safely predict Benchmark's DAC2 HGC will be a hit."
DAC2 HGC - "Sonically as neutral a DAC as I have ever heard"
"The Benchmark DAC2 HGC is sonically as neutral a DAC as I have ever heard. It borders on a somewhat light sonic texture with absolutely no digital hardness or extreme brightness. The sound is quite detailed and well defined with no warmth or added richness. One attribute of the DAC2 HGC I enjoyed was its very well defined and articulated bass."
"What I enjoyed most about the Benchmark DAC2 HGC was the way it handled native DSD files. DSD playback added richness to the sound with additional midrange weight that added realism to the reproduced music."
"The DAC2 HGC was a pleasure to listen to with PCM and especially with native DSD files. Its acoustic honesty and functional precision was easily observed and appreciated."
DAC2 HGC - "This company is called Benchmark for a reason."
"The original DAC1 was aimed squarely at professionals, but was subsequently embraced by the audiophile market. It remains an excellent D-A converter, and its ability to completely isolate interface jitter sets it apart from most D-As, including some of the much more costly models. However, digital audio technology continues to make incremental improvements, and in the eight years since I reviewed the DAC1 the state of the art has clearly advanced."
"The DAC2 HGC is undoubtedly a major step forward in technical performance compared to its forebear and, although it costs almost double the price of a DAC1, it does also offer a lot of additional features and facilities."
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."
"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."
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."
"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."
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."
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."
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."
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."