Buy 2 components and get 4 free cables. Free shipping on USA orders over $700.


Your Cart is Empty


Benchmark DAC1 PRE - Digital to Analog Converter - Discontinued


The DAC1 PRE has been discontinued. This model has been replaced by the DAC2 Series D/A converters. The DAC2 series has higher performance and many more features.

Buy a Factory Refurbished DAC1 exclusively on our website!


Benchmark DAC1 HDR - Factory Refurbished ad



Benchmark DAC2 Silver closeupThis model was originally replaced by the DAC1 HDR and now the entire DAC1 series has been replaced by the DAC2 Series. The DAC2 series has higher performance and many more features.

View the latest D/A converters from Benchmark


Benchmark DAC1 PRE

The DAC1 HDR is a reference-quality 2-channel digital-to-analog audio converter. The DAC1 PRE features 5 digital inputs and two relay-selected analog inputs.


This Benchmark product was designed, assembled, and tested in the USA using USA and imported components. Most major components are made in USA.

Added Features

The DAC1 PRE preserves the exact topology and sound of the audio path in the classic DAC1, while adding some of the most frequently requested features.

The DAC1 PRE has all of the features of the DAC1 plus:

  • Relay-selected analog inputs
  • USB Audio 1.1 interface (96 kHz, 24 bits)
  • 1 additional digital input for a total of 3 coaxial, 1 optical, and 1 USB
  • Rotary input selector
  • High-quality gold-plated machined RCA connectors
  • Concealed calibration trimmers (to prevent tampering)
  • Programmable headphone gain with 3 settings (0 dB, -10 dB, and -20 dB)
  • Programmable mute switch on left headphone jack

An Industry Standard

Benchmark's award-winning DAC1 has become a standard in the finest recording studios and mastering rooms.  Audio engineers rely of the accurate, uncolored, and precise sound of Benchmark DAC1 converters. The DAC1 is free from digital artifacts and its sound has a true analog character that eliminates the fatigue caused by many digital devices. All DAC1 converters are designed for professional applications, but many audiophiles have discovered the smooth and detailed sound of the DAC1. Benchmark's professional DAC1 converters have become a centerpiece in may home listening rooms.

The DAC1 PRE is a reference-quality professional converter that is equally suited for the finest audiophile systems.

Five Digital Inputs

With a generous selection of digital inputs (3 coax, 1 optical, and 1 USB), the DAC1 PRE can serve as the heart of expansive media and entertainment system. The DAC1 PRE replaces the low-quality converters that are built into typical consumer devices. The DAC1 PRE will enhance the audio performance of your digital television, digital cable box, DVD/CD player, computer, music/media server, satellite radio, and any other device with a digital audio output. The DAC1 brings studio-quality sound to home listening rooms. Many professional users also appreciate the flexibility provided by the 5 separate digital inputs.

All digital inputs on the DAC1 PRE (including the USB) feature Benchmark's jitter-immune UltraLock™ clock system. The USB interface operates with Benchmark's AdvancedUSB™ native 24-bit, 96-kHz USB technology.

Analog Input

The DAC1 PRE has a pristine analog input path that allows the connection of analog-only devices. The stereo analog input passes through the motorized volume control and out to the analog outputs. This input allows a connection from an analog source such as a phono stage, FM tuner, iPod, VCR, or tape deck. In the studio, this input provides quick access to the studio monitoring system when a client brings a demo on a portable device.

International Power Supply

The large internal power supply supports all international voltages and has generous margins for over and under-voltage conditions. The voltage settings can be changed quickly and easily by rotating an insert in the fuse drawer. The power supply is sized to supply the demands of the HPA2™ headphone power amplifier when driving two sets of low-impedance headphones.

Calibrated or Variable Output Levels

The front-panel gain control sets the output level of the headphone jacks. It can also be used to control the output level of the balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog outputs. A rear-panel switch selects "Variable" or "Calibrated" output levels. In the "Calibrated" setting, the rear-panel outputs are controlled by internal multi-turn calibration pots.

Direct Interface to Power Amplifiers

All Benchmark DAC1 and DAC2 converters are designed to directly interface with power amplifiers and powered monitors. The DAC1 PRE features high-current output stages that are designed to cleanly drive difficult loads. The XLR outputs are equipped with Benchmark's exclusive low-impedance passive output attenuators. These attenuators can be set in 10 dB steps (0 dB, -10 dB, -20 dB and -30 dB) to optimize the gain-staging between the DAC and the power amplifier. This important feature maximizes the signal to noise ratio of the entire playback system. At Benchmark, we believe that this is one of the most important features of our converters. Proper gain-staging is an absolute necessity in a high-performance system.

Jitter-Immune UltraLock™ Clock System

Benchmark's proprietary UltraLock clock system achieves an unprecedented immunity to jitter. Many modern (and expensive) converters suffer from significant jitter-induced distortion, generating non-musical sideband tones and digital distortion. Benchmark's highly-regarded UltraLock™ clock system ensures that jitter is never a problem, even under extreme conditions.

Even in the presence of extremely high input jitter, no jitter-induced artifacts can be detected on the outputs of the DAC1 HDR (using state-of-the-art testing equipment by Audio Precision). UltraLock™ will block more then 12.5 UI of jitter (@ 1 kHz). The UltraLock™ clock system easily outperforms even the best-designed two-stage PLL designs.

The bottom line is this: Benchmark converters will consistently and faithfully deliver truthful audio without jitter-induced artifacts, no matter what variables are present.

AdvancedUSB™ Audio Technology

The USB interface of the DAC1 PRE operates with Benchmark's unique AdvancedUSB™ technology. Unlike many USB-equipped D/A converters, Benchmark's AdvancedUSB™ technology supports 24-bit audio at sample rates up to 96 kHz without the installation of any drivers or other special software. Benchmark's UltraLock™ clock system isolates the converter from the high levels of jitter that are found on USB interfaces. The DAC1 PRE achieves transparent, audiophile-quality playback through a true plug-and-play solution.

Audio streamed via USB is subject to significant amounts of jitter. The AdvancedUSB™ interface utilizes the UltraLock™ clock system. Consequently, the performance of the USB input is equal to the performance of the other inputs, regardless of the jitter present.

The DAC1 PRE is natively compatible with most Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android operating systems. As a native device, there are no drivers to install or configure.

Add Benchmark Cables to Complete You New System

Benchmark offers a no-nonsense selection of very high-quality cables.  Benchmark cables are designed for durability and transparency, and most are manufactured in the USA. Our optical cables are manufactured in Canada.

Add a Rack-Mount Kit

All Benchmark DAC1, DAC1, ADC1, and MPA1 products are housed in a 1/2-wide 1 RU chassis. Two units can be mounted side-by-side in a 1-RU tray.

HPA2™ Headphone Power Amplifier

The DAC1 PRE includes the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC1 to the headphones. The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under a full load from two sets of headphones. The DAC1 HDR has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel.


Detailed specifications and performance plots are available in the downloadable manual.

DAC1 PRE Manual


DAC1 Reviews