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."
- Steven Plaskin, Audio Stream
AHB2 - "Amazing clarity, but no over the top edginess"
"The Benchmark brings out nuances of reverb, quick percussive guitar attack with amazing clarity, but no over the top edginess..."
"The -130 dB noise/dynamic range just gets us that much closer to the live music signature that we yearn to hear from our beloved electronics."
- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network
DAC2 HGC - "Inspired me to just listen to music for hours on end"
"To my surprise, all of those words that audiophiles & engineers use to describe sound (depth, detail, focus, realism, etc) were even better with the DAC2 when compared to the DAC1."
"Several years ago I bought a Benchmark DAC1 to replace the built in converters of my RME Multiface II interface. This was a revelation for me as the difference was more than just subtle."
"The DAC2 HGC inspired me to just listen to music for hours on end and get lost in sonic bliss - that is a testament to its quality."
- captainj, Gearslutz
DAC2 HGC - "Does so many things, and does them so well, it's easy to recommend"
"As a headphone amp: I sampled the DAC2 with both Grado 325i's and Focal Spirit One cans. The DAC2 was more than capable of driving either of these and made them each sound their best."
"The Benchmark DAC2 HGC does so many things – I didn't even get to all of them – and does them so well, it's easy to recommend."
"Got an old amp and you need a preamp to make a system out of it? DAC2."
"Want a first class headphone amp? DAC2."
"Computer audio? Of course."
"The sound is sweet, engaging, and long on textural detail without fatigue."
- Rich Schmidt, Home Theater and High Fidelity
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."- Hugh Robjohns, Sound On Sound
DAC2 HGC - "The bottom line ... good for any mastering or recording project"
"With all the headphones I had available the DAC2 headphone amp rivaled the sonics of the stand-alone iFi iCan headphone amplifier ..."
"For me the bottom line on the Benchmark DAC2 HGC is that is it not only good enough to live with long-term, it’s good enough to use for any mastering or recording projects that might come up."
"The DAC2 HGC is easy to listen through, highly revealing, and with well-recorded material astonishingly three-dimensional."
- Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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