- Application Notes
The DAC1 USB 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 This model has been replaced by the DAC2 Series D/A converters.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.
This model was originally replaced by the DAC1 HDR. The DAC1 HDR provides all of the functions of the DAC1 USB but adds remote control, analog inputs, an extra digital input, and a motorized volume control. The performance of the two units is identical. The entire DAC1 series has now been replaced by the DAC2 series.
The DAC1 USB (USB DAC) is a reference-quality, 2-channel 192-kHz 24-bit digital-to-analog audio converter featuring Benchmark's Advanced USB Audio™ technology, UltraLock™ clock system, and HPA2™ headphone power amplifier.
This Benchmark product was designed, assembled, and tested in the USA using USA and imported components. Most major components are made in USA.
The DAC1 USB preserves the exact topology of the audio path in the classic DAC1, while adding some of the most frequently requested features.
The DAC1 USB has all of the features of the DAC1 plus:
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 analog sound eliminates the fatigue that is caused by many digital devices. Audiophiles have also discovered the smooth and detailed sound of the DAC1, and it has become a centerpiece in may home listening rooms.
Digital interconnect cables, electro-magnetic interference, and many other variables introduce jitter into the digital audio. Jitter presents a major problem to most D-to-A converters. Jitter is a type of clock error that, if not properly addressed, can cause the D-to-A to misfire. The result of these misfires is a non-musical, digital distortion.
Many modern (and expensive) converters suffer from severe jitter-induced distortion. Jitter is NOT a problem for the DAC1 and DAC1 USB, which achieve jitter immunity by utilizing the proprietary UltraLock™ clock-recovery system.
With the UltraLock™ clock-recovery system, the digital-to-analog conversion-clock in the DAC1 and DAC1 USB is totally isolated from the clock of the digital audio input. This clock-recovery topology outperforms even the most well-designed two-stage PLL designs. Using state-of-the-art Audio Precision testing equipment, no jitter-induced artifacts can be detected with the DAC1 or the DAC1 USB. Any signal that can be decoded by the USB or AES/EBU receivers will be reproduced without the addition of any measurable jitter artifacts. The bottom line is this: Benchmark converters will consistently and faithfully deliver truthful audio with no jitter-induced artifacts, no matter what variables are present.
The USB interface of the DAC1 USB features Benchmark's unique AdvancedUSB technology. This USB interface is completely bit-transparent. In other words, every sample of digital audio is transferred from the computer to the DAC1 USB without modification. The DAC1 USB is natively compatible with Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000 and Mac OS X. As a native device, there are no drivers or other invasive software required to install or configure. The DAC1 USB is a true plug-and-play DAC USB, and is designed to begin playback immediately after the unit is connected to a USB port for the first time.
Unlike previous native USB audio interfaces, Benchmark's AdvancedUSB Audio technology supports 24-bit audio at sample-rates up to 96 kHz. It is very important to have a 24-bit USB path, even for 16-bit playback, because certain computer-related functions can increase 16-bit audio to 24 bits. If a 16-bit USB DAC is used, 8 bits of every digital audio sample would be truncated. Truncating digital audio causes severe, non-musical digital distortion. Benchmark's AdvancedUSB interface ensures a full 24-bit digital audio path to avoid truncation distortion.
Benchmark offers a no-nonsense selection of very high-quality cables. Benchmark cablesare designed for durability and transparency, and most are manufactured in the USA. Our optical cables are manufactured in Canada.
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.
The DAC1 USB features the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is arguably the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC1 USB to the headphones. The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under full load. The DAC1 USB has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel. The performance of the HPA2™ remains consistent even when two headphones are being driven simultaneously.
Detailed specifications and performance plots are available in the downloadable manual.