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Benchmark DAC1 now available with USB

post #1 of 3034
Thread Starter 
I got an email from them announcing an updated DAC1 with 24/96 USB input:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/eupdate



They claim no special drivers (e.g. ASIO) are required for it. You pay dearly for the privilege of USB, though, an extra $300...

Quote:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Benchmark Media Systems Announces First Native 96-kHz 24-bit "Advanced USB Audio"

SYRACUSE, New York, February 15, 2007 - Benchmark Media Systems reinforces its
position as a leading manufacturer of precision audio electronics with today's
announcement of the DAC1 USB - a 192-kHz, 24-bit, digital-to-analog converter
featuring "Advanced USB Audio", the world's first native USB audio solution that
supports 96-kHz, 24-bit audio.

Until now, special drivers were required for 24-bit word lengths and sample rates
above 48-kHz. Benchmark's Advanced USB Audio provides high-resolution,
bit-transparent playback just seconds after plugging into a computer's USB port
for the first time. There is no software to install, and there are no system
settings that need to be changed. Benchmark's Advanced USB Audio is compatible
with Microsoft Windows Vista/XP/2000 and Mac OS X.

"The ground-breaking performance and elegant simplicity of Benchmark's Advanced
USB Audio technology is the ideal addition to the DAC1's jitter-immune UltraLockā„¢
system", noted John Siau, Director of Engineering at Benchmark Media Systems.
"We conducted stringent audio-quality tests on four different operating systems
using a variety of audio playback applications. Our system delivers stunning
performance without the compromises normally associated with computer-based
audio playback."

"The DAC1 USB is the only PC audio interface device that is fully satisfactory;
in terms of bit-accuracy, sample-rate, and word-length performance", added Allen
Burdick, President of Benchmark Media Systems. "It's intuitive, it's easy - it's
USB audio done right."

The new DAC1 USB, which begins shipping worldwide on March 1, 2007 at a price of
$1275 USD, also includes high-current output drivers that can be configured to
mute upon headphone insertion. The classic DAC1, which does not include the USB
option and special high-current drivers, is still available for $975 USD. Both
options are available in the silver, black, and, black rack-mountable chassis.

Benchmark's DAC1 - a 2-Channel 192-kHz 24-bit digital-to-analog converter - is
the recipient of a multitude of awards and a consistent top-seller in both the
pro-audio and audiophile markets worldwide.

"The DAC1 set the mark for digital audio conversion - uncompromised sonic
integrity at an incredible value - the DAC1 USB does the same for PC audio",
emphasized Allen Burdick. "The importance of high-resolution, bit-transparent
computer audio playback simply cannot be overstated. Computer-based audio is
used almost exclusively in the broadcast world, it's commonplace in recording
studios, and it's revolutionizing home audio systems."

More information about the DAC1 USB is available on Benchmark's website at:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/eupdate

High resolution photos are available at:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac1/photos

For all the latest product announcements, news, and information about Benchmark
Media Systems, subscribe to the RSS feed:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/press/index.rss

Benchmark Media Systems, Inc. is a privately-held manufacturer of precision audio
electronics providing leading-edge performance to broadcasters, recording studios,
sound reinforcement contractors, and home audiophiles since 1978.

For more information, call Matthew Martin at: 1-800-262-4675 or email:

press@benchmarkmedia.com

BENCHMARK MEDIA SYSTEMS, INC.
5925 Court Street Road
Syracuse, NY, USA 13206-1707
Phone 800-262-4675, 315-437-6300
FAX 315-437-8119
http://www.benchmarkmedia.com
post #2 of 3034
I saw this and immediately hoped that they had reduced the price of the standard version. No such luck of course, but I certainly wasn't expecting a $300 premium! Hopefully the DAC1 price will come down in the future. Or perhaps we might see a rash of sales of the old version? I would sure love to get my hands on one but I can't justify that kind of cost right now.
post #3 of 3034
I just got an email about this. Looks pretty, interesting. Lately I'e been consider a computer as a source.
post #4 of 3034
I don't know what they're smoking at Benchmark, but clearly their DAC-1 success has gone to their head. Such baseless, ridiculous hyperbole is sad to witness. It might help if they revealed what exactly is so stupendous about their USB implementation.

Their USB solution sounds like the usual run-of-the-mill USB/spdif chip that supports 24/96 (such as one in M-Audio Transit) that feeds their spdif receiver with the "ultralock" asynchronous upsampling circuit, which will feed their AD DAC chip. Big deal, and NO WAY is it worth $300 premium.

Unless they start releasing some specific info about some new, wonder USB to I2S technology with custom software optimization, the hot air will definitely escape.
post #5 of 3034
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post
I don't know what they're smoking at Benchmark, but clearly their DAC-1 success has gone to their head. Such baseless, ridiculous hyperbole is sad to witness. It might help if they revealed what exactly is so stupendous about their USB implementation.

Their USB solution sounds like the usual run-of-the-mill USB/spdif chip that supports 24/96 (such as one in M-Audio Transit) that feeds their spdif receiver with the "ultralock" asynchronous upsampling circuit, which will feed their AD DAC chip. Big deal, and NO WAY is it worth $300 premium.

Unless they start releasing some specific info about some new, wonder USB to I2S technology with custom software optimization, the hot air will definitely escape.
Some more info
http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/comput...usb_audio.html
They mostly emphasize on being the first driver less 24/96 bit-transparent device.
post #6 of 3034
Didn't think a PCM270x circuit feeding I2S is worth 300 bucks extra...that makes the Stello DA100 super worthy.
post #7 of 3034
There is of course the obvious question how they can be bit transparent with the standard Windows USB audio driver while nobody else can. I assume they test this with ASIO4all or kernel streaming at which point all the other USB solutions are bit perfect as well.

The whole section about pseudo-random samples is just a bunch of crap.

We will see.

Cheers

Thomas
post #8 of 3034
$1300 for a DAC is insane. can it really be THAT much better than, say, the PreSonus Centralstation? (that's what i plan to get for my first good external DAC...)

edit: also, i know that the central station isn't a usb device
post #9 of 3034
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaspf View Post
There is of course the obvious question how they can be bit transparent with the standard Windows USB audio driver while nobody else can. I assume they test this with ASIO4all or kernel streaming at which point all the other USB solutions are bit perfect as well.

The whole section about pseudo-random samples is just a bunch of crap.

We will see.

Cheers

Thomas
Standard windows drivers do not support 24/96, how they accomplished that without any proprietary drivers is beyond me.
post #10 of 3034
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaspf View Post
There is of course the obvious question how they can be bit transparent with the standard Windows USB audio driver while nobody else can. I assume they test this with ASIO4all or kernel streaming at which point all the other USB solutions are bit perfect as well.

The whole section about pseudo-random samples is just a bunch of crap.

We will see.

Cheers

Thomas

They claim no special software, so no fair to use Kernel-streaming or ASIO4ALL!

Steve N.
post #11 of 3034
Frankly, if I'm resorting to USB, I'll just use my MicroDAC. My Mac has optical out and the DAC1 handles that just fine.

I'm disappointed that this was their big news. I thought we'd be hearing about a discrete headphone amp in the DAC1.
post #12 of 3034
I'd be interested to hear the reviews. I had bought a USB to spdif converter so that I could do computer audio with my DAC-1. At first I thought mp3s sounded great through the Benchmark. Then I got into SACD and could hear a difference with a good CD transport. It's redbook playback for CDs sounds very good...so it would be interesting to see if there will be much 24bit audio sources for the USB version: seems like it might be a way to get 24bit DVD-Audio through the Benchmark. But since most albums out are for CD, I guess I'll just be using my current Benchmark as a CD DAC for sometime now. Would be great if I could get SACD out to it though.
post #13 of 3034
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT
Standard windows drivers do not support 24/96, how they accomplished that without any proprietary drivers is beyond me.
Hmm, that is news to me. My Audiotrak Optoplay seems to work just fine in 24/96 with the Windows standard driver.
post #14 of 3034
I guess they got tired of seeing someone making a boatload of money off the fact that their DAC1 didn't come with USB input. Even if their implementation of the USB input isn't as good as it might be, they will likely get quite a bit of sales from this move. Even though $300 isn't chump change, they can still claim that the DAC1 is pretty reasonably priced for what it offers, and USB inputs on DAC's, even if not ideally designed, do seem to be a big selling point these days.
post #15 of 3034
wrong thread
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