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A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF - Page 2

post #16 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by VandyMan View Post

 

 

The benchmark headphone amp is excellent. It measures beyond reproach. Some find it a bit bright or clinical, but I don't agree. I sometimes prefer a more relaxed tube sound with headphones, but also enjoy the DAC-1's headphone amp and listen to it frequently.
 

As a DAC-1 owner, I have to disagree. It is merely good. You could buy a $200 headamp that is as good or better.

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post #17 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by guildenstern View Post

RE the Benchmark headphone amp -- "Some find it a bit bright or clinical" -- yep, that includes me. Never could listen for very long through the Benchmark's headphone output. It might have been correct according to measurements, but it was, to my ears at least, quickly fatiguing in actual use (driving either Senn 650 or AKG 702).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VandyMan View Post

 

 

The benchmark headphone amp is excellent. It measures beyond reproach. Some find it a bit bright or clinical, but I don't agree. I sometimes prefer a more relaxed tube sound with headphones, but also enjoy the DAC-1's headphone amp and listen to it frequently.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonance View Post

As a DAC-1 owner, I have to disagree. It is merely good. You could buy a $200 headamp that is as good or better.

 

 

The headphone amp does appear empirically to be utterly neutral, completely flat and thus neither bright nor dark - in fact neutral is the term that springs to mind, another phrase that springs to mind is "highly accurate" or "high fidelity" - that some people find it to have some kind of anthropomorphic character is I feel an issue with them and not the item itself which seems by all rational criteria to be as close to flawless as makes no difference given our relatively poor human discrimination abilities...and No i do not own one nor do I aspire to own one either


Edited by nick_charles - 10/21/12 at 2:55pm
post #18 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

 

 

 

 

The headphone amp does appear empirically to be utterly neutral, completely flat and thus neither bright nor dark - in fact neutral is the term that springs to mind, another phrase that springs to mind is "highly accurate" or "high fidelity" - that some people find it to have some kind of anthropomorphic character is I feel an issue with them and not the item itself which seems by all rational criteria to be as close to flawless as makes no difference given our relatively poor human discrimination abilities...and No i do not own one nor do I aspire to own one either

 

"anthropomorphic" -- huh? -- I know what the word means, but I'm not sure what you mean in applying it to the "character" of the DAC-1's headphone amp.

post #19 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by guildenstern View Post

 

"anthropomorphic" -- huh? -- I know what the word means, but I'm not sure what you mean in applying it to the "character" of the DAC-1's headphone amp.

 

It was a poor choice of words. I wanted something like Metaphorical but that word is not quite what I am after either.

post #20 of 220

Quote:
Originally Posted by kLevkoff View Post

I have nothing against the way it looks overall (I rather like it), but they say it has "sample rate and bit depth" display.

Since it has the same few LEDs as previous models, and I only see four of them for "sample rate",

if they cover all the rates, then either they light in multiples, or they blink codes (maybe two blinks of 44 for 88),

or even light in multiple colors. The point is that I HATE trying to remember how to decode blinking LEDs or multiple lit LEDs.

(And I don't think I'd like it any more in a studio - I would hardly call that info "clearly displayed".)

They really could have fit in a few more smaller LEDs, or a small numeric display.

 

I have a DAC-1 Pre and I've always felt that "display capabilities" was its weak point,

so I really wish they'd have put a real display on the new one.

(Just try to see WHICH of those little LEDs is lit from across the room...)

 

 

I received mine today. The sample rate has 2 LEDs, one for 44.1 and one for 48, along with 2 additional LEDs indicating 2X or 4X. There are also 16 bit and 24 bit LEDs.

Thus if you are getting a 192/24 stream, the 48 LED will light up, along with the 4X LED and the 24-bit LED. Not as simple to use as a numeric readout, but it works.

post #21 of 220

Nice! Burn it in and tell us how it sounds! :D

post #22 of 220

Considering how clean and pure the DAC1 sounds (in normal DAC use and in headphone amp use via its HPA2), I am excited for this product. I believe that the people who find the DAC1's headphone amp "thin" or "bright" or "fatiguing" are people who prefer a darker sound than neutral, because all measurements (so many measurements) indicate that the HPA2 is about as neutral and accurate to source as an amplifier can be. No problem with preferences, but I will stand by the HPA2 as being pure, even if nothing else.  

  

Straight no-frills neutrality isn't for everyone, but if you think it is, this is definitely a dac/amp to look out for!

 

For me, though, I'm already so satisfied with the DAC1 that I am not certain the DAC2 would really sound much better. Is it possible? 

post #23 of 220

Hey majid, any early impressions yet?

 

If I had to make a price point and name my own feature set, the HGC is EXACTLY what I would be looking for.  But then I would be afraid of asking for just too much for the money... which makes me afraid the Benchmark will sacrifice other areas compared to recently released competitors (ie, they've compromised on sound quality - at least, relative to what else can be bought right now for a similar price, albeit with reduced features).  My hope is that what was "sacrificed" in the Benchmark budgeting/marketing process was investment in the aesthetics (let's face it, even if you're okay with the pro appearance, nobody will be writing home to say how beautiful it is, or what an artful evolution it is over the DAC1, or gushing with pride they would with Chord, Calyx, or AMR stuff)

 

and my 2 audiophile cents...

 

I find "neutrality" is a bad word for what people dislike in that general group of sound signature styles...

 

"Neutrality" is hardly a displeasing characteristic, assuming the music was recorded and engineered even half-way decently.  What is not "for everyone" are characteristics like upfront treble, especially when not balanced by good bass, or extreme clarity of detail not balanced out by good timbre or tonality.  Note, e.g., that a WEAK bass is not the same thing as a NEUTRAL or ACCURATE signature - if music is recorded to have strong bass that the system cannot reproduce, that deviation is by definition not "neutral" or "accurate."  I hope that when the above people talk about "neutrality" they do not mean a relatively low bass output partnered by relatively prominent treble, because such a sound would be most decidedly NOT neutral.

 

Without balance, neutral becomes analytical - and that's what people tend to dislike.  For example, a system can have a flat frequency response but different types and quantities of distortion (harmonic distortion, jitter, etc) and still be called neutral.  Or it can have a bump in the bass and some mid-treble lift, but be relatively low on distortion, and so still be called neutral.  Both sound types achieve a type of "faithfulness to the recording," and so both are accurate, but they will not sound the same and will have different adherents.  It's the way it gets pulled off - flat FR with impressive dynamics? low THD? fast rise times and long decays? low jitter? - that influences whether or not someone will prefer a neutral sound (composed of other characteristics, good or bad) to an imbalanced signature (but meeting audiophile criteria in other ways).

 

My point is that "neutrality" is not what puts people off, as there are different ways of achieving what can still be called "neutral."  If the Benchmark HPA2 is not well-loved, it is not likely for being "neutral" but for lacking other sonic traits that its detractors highly value.

post #24 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xymordos View Post

Nice! Burn it in and tell us how it sounds! :D

 

That'll take a while, unfortunately. A new baby and very busy work schedule don't allow me much listening time. I don't listen to music while I work, because:

  1. Good music should be listened to with one's full attention, not just as background
  2. You are less productive at mental tasks when listening to music, even if you don't perceive it (See DeMarco in Peopleware)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timestretch View Post

Considering how clean and pure the DAC1 sounds (in normal DAC use and in headphone amp use via its HPA2), I am excited for this product. I believe that the people who find the DAC1's headphone amp "thin" or "bright" or "fatiguing" are people who prefer a darker sound than neutral, because all measurements (so many measurements) indicate that the HPA2 is about as neutral and accurate to source as an amplifier can be. No problem with preferences, but I will stand by the HPA2 as being pure, even if nothing else.  

  

Straight no-frills neutrality isn't for everyone, but if you think it is, this is definitely a dac/amp to look out for!

 

For me, though, I'm already so satisfied with the DAC1 that I am not certain the DAC2 would really sound much better. Is it possible? 

It's quite possible. The DAC1 is already excellent. I haven't had the time to do side-by-side listening of the DAC2 with the DAC1, and that would probably require 96/24 content or better. One of the reasons I got the DAC2 is that the Toslink out on my Mac Pro is limited to 96kHz, whereas USB does not have that limitation. I am trying to get a PS3 with firmware < 2.55 in order to rip SACDs and use them with the DoP support on the DAC2, but it's not easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScuderiaHeadFi View Post

Hey majid, any early impressions yet?

Only superficial ones not pertaining to sound quality. The motorized volume control feels weird, and it takes a while to turn on or off. There are audible transients when powering on or off, which is distressing, although I understand how limiters would compromise the sound. The RCA jacks in the back are all white instead of the usual red and white, which is quite weird. I also haven't figured out yet how to have the line level outputs be at a constant level independent of the volume control (something that is available via a toggle switch on the DAC1).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScuderiaHeadFi View Post

(let's face it, even if you're okay with the pro appearance, nobody will be writing home to say how beautiful it is, or what an artful evolution it is over the DAC1, or gushing with pride they would with Chord, Calyx, or AMR stuff)

 

It's actually quite fancy for pro audio gear. I much prefer it to the Anedio D2 I evaluated as a prospective replacement. Feels just as solid as the DAC1. I would have preferred a straight numeric readout for frequency/word length, as with the Resonessence Invicta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScuderiaHeadFi View Post

I find "neutrality" is a bad word for what people dislike in that general group of sound signature styles...

 

My point is that "neutrality" is not what puts people off, as there are different ways of achieving what can still be called "neutral."  If the Benchmark HPA2 is not well-loved, it is not likely for being "neutral" but for lacking other sonic traits that its detractors highly value.

It's a question of taste and also depends on your musical tastes. I like neutral sound for Classical and Jazz and would rather not have euphonic distortion, e.g. tubes.

post #25 of 220

I much prefer the DAC to be neutral and resolving, and use the amp/headphone to adjust sound and distortion to your tastes. It would be nice to post some impressions :D:D Pretty starving here!

 

Though I will be awaiting for your comparison with D2 and DAC2 if possible :P

post #26 of 220

/\  I'm with the funny sweating egg!  /\

(Sorry head-fi members can be so demanding!)

post #27 of 220

 This one looks to be pretty special.One of the salespeople at music direct said the unit is a very impressive performer.I like the output flexibility.It looks like it has two analog line outputs which could be used for active speakers with rca inputs and a subwoofer.I have emotiva 5s so I am looking for a suitable dac preamp for use with them and my martin logan subwoofer to augment the lower bass to form a good stereo system for my living room and possible video sound for my flat screen.The balanced outputs give me flexibilty with the emotivas as well.

  If the performance is as good as the preliminary comments that I have read about it the hgc 2 should be the cornerstone of a pretty good living room system.I am looking forward to reading some reviews of the benchmark dac 2.

  Any user comments would be welcomed as well.


Edited by buson160man - 11/23/12 at 4:33pm
post #28 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by majid View Post

I am trying to get a PS3 with firmware < 2.55 in order to rip SACDs and use them with the DoP support on the DAC2, but it's not easy.

 

They come up on eBay all the time. BTW, I gather you mean 3.55 and under. One thing to be careful is that occasionally sellers may just be doing a quick reflux on a YLOD PS3 v3.55 or under then selling/auctioning them off. Those PS3s may not necessarily last for along time before YLODing again. I'm on my 3rd PS3 - hopefully this lasts.

 

I'm currently running a HP-A8 v2.01b with DoP and am particularly curious how the DAC2 will perform. Prior to my HP-A8 I was using a DAC1 Pre (non DSD) for about 7 months and found the DAC1 Pre sounded rather 2D. I wonder if the DAC2 will improve on the imaging in addition to running DoP mode.

post #29 of 220

  Just read the exclusive review of the dac 2.This one looks like a real winner from what I had read.The review was pretty good and the reviewer coverd just about everything that the unit can do.

The unit has displaced his dac-1 as his reference unit.

  I am going to start saving my pennies for this one.I have a decco 2 which works pretty well for me but I think this would really elevate the performance of my emotiva activ 5s in both computer sound and as a high quality preamp for video use with my flat screen tv.I have not heard any benchmark products so I can not comment about their performance as a headphone amp.I do not know how they stack up against my burson ha-160 or my raptor otl which are dedicated amps.I presently toggle between my akg 701s and my audeze lcd2 v2s.The 701s are especially tough on headphone amps and it takes a fair amount of drive to get the best out of them.Of course that has been covered countless times in head-fi so it is nothing new.

  Anak chan commented about the dac-1 preamp beeing rather 2 dimensional does anybody else share this opinion?

My decco 2 was somewhat lacking in dimensionality as well until I upgraded the fuse to a hifi tuning supreme fuse and a kubala sosna emotion power cable.I had a couple that i was using in my speaker based setup but switched to another cable that worked better in that system.This is a pretty expensive cable to use on something like a decco 2 but it seemed to be more dimensional with the decco 2 than any of my other cables.So I am putting it to good use.

  I think the benchmarks preamp section should better the preamp section in my decco 2 but any opinions would be appreciated.


Edited by buson160man - 12/11/12 at 11:57pm
post #30 of 220

The Benchmark DAC2 has all the specs I would ever want. However, I'm not a fan of the front plate. There are way too many LEDs (16 by my count). Looks like a spider's face with a bunch of little eyes. I don't care that the DAC2 is designed for "professionals"; the product manager for this unit should take a class in user interface design.

 

 

 

The previous DAC1 series looked much more refined and easy to use.

 

 

An obvious competitor is the Grace m903, which I think looks great.

 

 

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