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Benchmark DAC2 HGC

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #45 in DACs

Posted

Pros: Excellent sound quality, drives just about any headphone, plenty of input options

Cons: Some may find it too clinical and lacking in warmth

For the last few years I have used the older DAC1 HDR as my main DAC driving my Audeze XC headphones. The newer DAC2 HGC has been available for a while now and has been well reviewed. Other reviews have stated that the new DAC2 is like the old DAC1 only better, as I always liked my DAC1 I decided to upgrade.

 

There is a noticeable step up in sound quality over the older model. There is more detail giving extra space around the separate instruments; especially noticeable in the higher frequencies. The bass is firmer with more control and slam which really helps drive the song along and get your foot tapping to the beat.

 

The extra front panel indicators are nice if you have recordings at different sample rates as they give visual confirmation of what you are feed the DAC.

 

The only down side is that it is brutally honest in its rendition of the recording, some may find this too much. It is not kind to imperfect recordings showing them warts and all, not glossing over any imperfections.

 

Overall this is still one of the best DAC regardless of price you can buy. Additionally it has an great headphone amplifier built in which will drive awkward high end headphones with ease.

Posted

Pros: studio like sound, great build, nice remote

Cons: Usb can be finicky





The benchmark dac2 HGC surprised me in many ways. The studio like sound and honest nature paired very well with the HD600. Its performance rests between my Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP integrated amp ($4399), used with a Chord 2Qute DAC ($1799), and my Chord mojo dac ($600) used with the Venture Electronics Runabout 2.0 amp ($358).j The unit and remote areboth very well built, and even for their size, have a high end appearance. The Benchmarks quad chipset Dac has a very nice analog sound, giving me the bass detail and soundstage one would expect at this price. The motorized ALPS volume pot is a key feature, keeping the soundstage perfectly balanced while adjusting. The soundstage is very wide, with clear vocal and instrument separation, and good layering. Instruments have great detail, shading, and texture, which i can find the Chord Mojo lacking during complex passes. The detail, micro detail, and soundstage depth is lacking what the Primaluna/ 2qute combo brings to the show. The HGC, however, can make up for it with its own analog sound and presentation which i have come to admire over a few months. I recommend this to anyone looking for a great reference level kit.

 

I used a 2014 Apple mac mini running Tidal hifi, to a Wyred4Sound Recovery usb Femto reclocker, to all dacs in this review. My main headphones are the Sennheiser HD600, also I used my Venture Electronics Duke IEM, and Zen 2.0 Black edition. 

Benchmark DAC2 HGC
Description:

A New Reference Benchmark's DAC1 family of D/A converters have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1. The DAC1 has been the best-selling 2-channel reference-quality converter and is in daily use at many of the finest recording studios and mastering rooms. DAC1 converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. But, Benchmark has just raised the bar ... the DAC2 HGC now defines a new reference. Performance The DAC2 HGC outperforms the DAC1 in every respect. It has lower noise, lower distortion, improved accuracy, outstanding musical detail, precise stereo imaging, an advanced digital filter design, and a new high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock2™ jitter attenuation system. Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. Four balanced 32-bit D/A converter are summed together for each balanced output. The performance of the DAC2 HGC exceeds the measurement limits of today's state-of-the art test equipment. Discover the analog sound of the DAC2 HGC. DAC1 customers requested many new features which have been integrated into the new DAC2 HGC: Sample Rate Display Word Length Display More Digital Inputs (5 total) More Analog Inputs (2 total) More Analog Outputs (3 total) Digital Pass Through Native DSD Conversion Polarity Switch Asynchronous USB 2.0 Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1 Home Theater Bypass Bi-Directional 12 Volt Trigger Power Switch Low Power Consumption

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