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.
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
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.