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A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF - Page 10

post #136 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmac View Post

I believe that is only recommended when using an analog source since the DAC2 has a hybrid volume control (analog pot for analog sources and digital volume control for digital sources). The analog pot will be massively inferior to the digital volume control in tracking and noise, and channel imbalances will be greatest at either end of the volume spectrum, hence the recommendation to keep the analog pot above 11:00. When using a digital source and the digital volume control then the position of the volume knob should be irrelevant; tracking should essentially be perfect and contribute no noise at any position.

 

Tracking may not be a problem, but as you reduce a digital volume control, SNR is reduced. The DAC2 has a very high SNR, but you still want to keep it above 11 o'clock for "ideal" performance.

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post #137 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by CybDev View Post

Using it as a DAC for my STAX SR-009's now and it's pretty much the same good impression as when I had one on loan and directly compared it to Grace Design m903, MyTek Stereo192, Lynx Hilo, and Bryston BDA-2.

It has the lowest noise level of anything I've ever tried my Shure SE-535's with as well.

Oh, the HT passthrough is a bit of an overstatement tho, its basically a volume preset that will affect all the outputs...
Not a feature I plan on using a lot, so for me it does not matter, but thought I'd mention it.

I guess I should mention I started out looking for an amp for my HD800, and ended up looking for a DAC for my STAX SRM-323S/SR-009, but landed on the Benchmark DAC2 which has both the amp and DAC part.
I haven't listened much to the HD800 with it yet, just 5-10 hours when I did my comparations that I mentioned, but I felt it was a very good match for that aswell. Sadly I've shelved the HD800 after I got the STAX setup...

I went through a relatively long list (imo) of amps and DACs before I settled on the DAC2:
- Burson Soloist
- Auralic Taurus
- Schiit Mjolnir
- Schiit Lyr
- Auralic ARK MX+
- Schiit Gungnir
- Burson Conductor
- Schiit Bifrost
- Antelope Zodiac
- Sennheiser HDVD800
- Fostex HP-A8C
- Grace Design m903
- MyTek Stereo192

- Lynx Hilo
- Bryston BDA-2

Not saying I ended up with the "best" gear, but to my ears the DAC2 did excellent.

It has optical and usb inputs, both SE and balanced line-out outputs, it works both as a standalone headamp (2 jacks, one will mute the line out when connected (can be changed via jumper)) and drives both the Shure SE-535 sensitive IEMs as well as the HD800, and it performs excellent as a DAC/preamp, it plays DSD, comes with a remote control, and works fine in Mountain Lion, Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux 12.04 over USB without issues when switching wordlength and freq.

Granted, it does not look shiny, or classy, so if you're into design and big "impressive looking" things then this is not for you.
It's small, has a few buttons and clear blue LED's for indicators, no fancy LCD display or "simplistic" glossy finish.
You can get rackmounting brackets for it (it's more of a pro-audio than audiophile design I guess...)
Basically a very functional design.

It has one tiny drawback, but that might just be more of a preference thing, and that is that I find it a bit on the warm side when it comes to bass, but it has good resolution and isn't "boomy" or anything.

Hopefully this means I can hold off on more DAC upgrades for a few years :-)

No, I have no affiliation with Benchmark, but so far I've been impressed with them, both the product and their service(only dealt with Rory Rall).

Edit: s/Burston/Bryston/g

Any quick comments in comparison to the DACs in red?

 

Many thanks!

post #138 of 229

I am an engineer and audiophile as well. there is a reason they did not "replace" the dac1. the dac1 has a scalpel like clinical sound. the dac2 has a warmer more liquid sound. the dac2 would not be great for an engineer. likewise if an audiophile likes a neutral resolving sound. hence they left off the aes,bnc and calibrated fixed outputs on xlr. surprised they left off the bnc though. this is probably aimed at mid-fi. given the price as well. the dac1 is different because pro stuff has a different price schedule. the dac2 is a great entry into hi-fi. especially very good given the price.

post #139 of 229

A $2000 DAC that measures flawlessly is mid-fi? I don't agree at all.

post #140 of 229

well I just guessed that is what they were aiming for. mainly because they left off the bnc and calibrated fixed outputs. even very high end hi-fi hardly has aes/ebu anymore but a bnc I would kind of expect. I have no idea why they left that off. plus it has more of it's own sound then the dac1. that is fine though with me.

post #141 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

I am an engineer and audiophile as well. there is a reason they did not "replace" the dac1. the dac1 has a scalpel like clinical sound. the dac2 has a warmer more liquid sound. the dac2 would not be great for an engineer. likewise if an audiophile likes a neutral resolving sound. hence they left off the aes,bnc and calibrated fixed outputs on xlr. surprised they left off the bnc though. this is probably aimed at mid-fi. given the price as well. the dac1 is different because pro stuff has a different price schedule. the dac2 is a great entry into hi-fi. especially very good given the price.

 

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

post #142 of 229

just what is that supposed to mean?

post #143 of 229

A lot of very expensive "high-end" gear has no BNC or AES inputs. Up until a few years ago, one rarely saw either one outside of pro-audio. Don't get stuck on terms like "mid-fi" as they have no common definition, are often used derogatively, and encourage the assumption that more expensive always equals better sound quality.

post #144 of 229

I did not notice this thread is mainly comprised of folks that have less than 2000 posts. the dac2 is good. it is marketed to you and perhaps other audiophiles. benchmark saw their market and grabbed the bull by the horns. they have used all the right "catch" terms in their ad campaign. 32 bit,check. if anyone here understands the true meaning of that. better than the dac1? perhaps for home audio and they figured out how they all like it too. don't get me wrong it's a darn good home audio dac at that. that is what it is supposed to be. they saw who was really buying their product and tailored it to better suit. I am looking at it as an engineer. which is why I stated they are stil selling the dac1. I guess you could get either for home audio. depending on what signature one seeks. clean,flat,neutral,steril. or warm,round,liquid,,flowing prat. I know which we continue to make your music with.

post #145 of 229
I've always thought that too. If you don't have 2000 posts or more on this forum your opinion does not count, you are simply not qualified in the audio arts/sciences. wink.gif
post #146 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

I know which we continue to make your music with.

 

We? The secret society of engineers that's required to have 2000 posts on Head-Fi and identical ears and brains? Or maybe given the amount or bad music/mastering out there, you mean the another ELITE secret society which obviously you belong to?

post #147 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

I did not notice this thread is mainly comprised of folks that have less than 2000 posts. the dac2 is good. it is marketed to you and perhaps other audiophiles. benchmark saw their market and grabbed the bull by the horns. they have used all the right "catch" terms in their ad campaign. 32 bit,check. if anyone here understands the true meaning of that. better than the dac1? perhaps for home audio and they figured out how they all like it too. don't get me wrong it's a darn good home audio dac at that. that is what it is supposed to be. they saw who was really buying their product and tailored it to better suit. I am looking at it as an engineer. which is why I stated they are stil selling the dac1. I guess you could get either for home audio. depending on what signature one seeks. clean,flat,neutral,steril. or warm,round,liquid,,flowing prat. I know which we continue to make your music with.

 

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Bis.

post #148 of 229

I did not mean to be a jerk. people tend to start somewhere and keep upgrading. so often the threads populated with folks that have more posts tend to be about higher end gear. I did not mean that to be an insult,just a trend.  the dac2 is very good and probably better suited to home audio. there are higher end dacs and lower end ones as well. once again it is a good bargain from benchmark. I guess I was just thinking out loud as to what segment of the market it is actually aimed at.

post #149 of 229
Well I couldn't get my hands on a DAC1 so I have no idea what that sounds like compared to a DAC2, but from the ones I compared it did not come across as particularly warm/round/liquid.
Then again I don't do any mastering and I do use it at home.
Some of the other DAC's I compared it to does seem to be aimed at mastering tho...
It's been almost a year, and I still don't feel the need to upgrade smily_headphones1.gif
post #150 of 229

For the Benchmark DAC2, check out the Feb. 2014 issue of Stereophile.  It has the DAC2 on the cover and an extensive review, which was basically a rave (especially for the price.)  In a related review in the same issue of the Benchmark ADC (analog to digital converter), John Atkinson, editor, uses the word "remarkable" in describing the DAC2

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