Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF - Page 14

post #196 of 220

The one I tried too made pops through my monitors on two occasions : when switching it on or off, or when going from analog to digital inputs (in addition to relay clicks). Not that I particularly cared for that or that it risked damage them (since they have a limiter), but indeed it felt a little unrefined.

 

I also hated the motorised volume pot, which developed a little play early on, behaves in difficult ways to comprehend, doesn't always turn back on at the volume it was turned off, is noisy, and imprecise for comparative purposes. I think Benchmark should have saved us the trouble and featured a LCD display for digital inputs and the motorised pot for analog inputs only.

I believe the digital only version of the Benchmark DAC2 still features this pot, which is IMHO totally unnecessary.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #197 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

The one I tried too made pops through my monitors on two occasions : when switching it on or off, or when going from analog to digital inputs (in addition to relay clicks). Not that I particularly cared for that or that it risked damage them (since they have a limiter), but indeed it felt a little unrefined.

I also hated the motorised volume pot, which developed a little play early on, behaves in difficult ways to comprehend, doesn't always turn back on at the volume it was turned off, is noisy, and imprecise for comparative purposes. I think Benchmark should have saved us the trouble and featured a LCD display for digital inputs and the motorised pot for analog inputs only.
I believe the digital only version of the Benchmark DAC2 still features this pot, which is IMHO totally unnecessary.

Yeah I agree about the volume control as well.
post #198 of 220
Well it makes sense for the DAC2 HGC and DAC2 L.
With a digital source they use it to control the digital signal level, which is less precise than it could be, and unnecessary for remote control - they could have stripped it out from the DAC2 D.
With an analog source though, it acts as a potentiometer and is what directly controls the playback volume. Having this motorized is very useful in my opinion.
I am rarely within arm's length of the DAC's volume control, and use the remote all the time.

I agree that the "memory" for the volume control can be confusing, and I don't remember the manual explaining it fully.

The main thing I've noticed is that it always wants to go to about 10 o'clock if I mute the DAC at a volume level lower than this and then unmute it.
If you were above 10 o'clock it should restore you to the previous volume.
I presume that this is because the manual mentions that anything below this position is potentially reducing the audio quality - which I take to mean that it's dropping below a certain effective number of bits with the digital volume control.
If you are often listening at a level below 10 o'clock, I would suggest reducing the output padding to -20dB. (it ships at -10dB)

If you use dim rather than mute, it should return you to your previous playback volume no matter what level it was.
If you adjust the volume while "dim" is active (red light on) then this sets the level that it will dim to the next time you use it.

Just like the mute function always returns you to 10 o'clock or higher though, the dim function will not store a setting lower than 7 o'clock.
post #199 of 220

digital volume controls and motor pots are known to not be great for audio. I trust benchmark though. this was made for audiophiles. with some convenience in mid too. the dac1 remains the strudio workhorse. not that the dac2 does not sound better overall. it does. for listening to already recorded music. which is what you all are using it for.

post #200 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post
 

The one I tried too made pops through my monitors on two occasions : when switching it on or off, or when going from analog to digital inputs (in addition to relay clicks). Not that I particularly cared for that or that it risked damage them (since they have a limiter), but indeed it felt a little unrefined.

 

I also hated the motorised volume pot, which developed a little play early on, behaves in difficult ways to comprehend, doesn't always turn back on at the volume it was turned off, is noisy, and imprecise for comparative purposes. I think Benchmark should have saved us the trouble and featured a LCD display for digital inputs and the motorised pot for analog inputs only.

I believe the digital only version of the Benchmark DAC2 still features this pot, which is IMHO totally unnecessary.

 

Agree completely.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

digital volume controls and motor pots are known to not be great for audio. I trust benchmark though. this was made for audiophiles. with some convenience in mid too. the dac1 remains the strudio workhorse. not that the dac2 does not sound better overall. it does. for listening to already recorded music. which is what you all are using it for.

 

But the DAC2 features digital volume control (of digital sources).  The whirring of the analogue pot when varying the digital gain is both unnecessary (you can't see it anyway), annoying (it makes a noise) and silly (it wears the pot out, and these things have a surprisingly short life before the tracks start to wear and they get crackly.)

 

I would have been infinitely happier if the analgue pot was only used for analogue volume control.

 

And the clicks ARE a pain. I switch between digital and analogue all the time and I cringe every time. The power on from cold one is worst - that could be speaker-damaging, but fortunately I only do that every few months.  Power on from standy (I do daily) is rubbish as well, more clicks.

 

Oh, and another thing.  The remote is dreadful as well.  Terrible.


Edited by Chippy99 - 5/13/14 at 4:58am
post #201 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post

digital volume controls and motor pots are known to not be great for audio. I trust benchmark though. this was made for audiophiles. with some convenience in mid too. the dac1 remains the strudio workhorse. not that the dac2 does not sound better overall. it does. for listening to already recorded music. which is what you all are using it for.


 

I'm not really sure why you think the pot is bad for audio, or why the DAC1 would be better than the DAC2 in the studio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

But the DAC2 features digital volume control (of digital sources). The whirring of the analogue pot when varying the digital gain is both unnecessary (you can't see it anyway), annoying (it makes a noise) and silly (it wears the pot out, and these things have a surprisingly short life before the tracks start to wear and they get crackly.)

The level of the pot is what directly controls the digital signal level inside the DAC.
The pot has fixed stops on the ends, and an indicator spot, so its position matters - it tells you at a glance what the current volume level is. (note: a dot of white paint is a lot easier to read than the red Benchmark used)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

And the clicks ARE a pain. I switch between digital and analogue all the time and I cringe every time. The power on from cold one is worst - that could be speaker-damaging, but fortunately I only do that every few months. Power on from standy (I do daily) is rubbish as well, more clicks.

I hate that it does that loud pop when turning on - but like you, it just means my DAC lives on standby.
I don't believe there are relays inside the DAC1 HDR which disconnect the analog inputs from the signal path, which is why you won't be getting those pops - the analog section is active all the time. (and potentially degrading digital playback)
However I think it's at least partly your amplifier at fault if it's popping every time you switch inputs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

Oh, and another thing. The remote is dreadful as well. Terrible.

Agreed 100%. It's essentially a cheap Chinese remote like this, but made out of aluminum. The buttons are horrible.


There are quite a few things about the DAC2 design that I would like to change. The motorized pot is not one of them.
And while there are things I would want to change, there still aren't any better options on the market that meet my requirements. There are very few DACs which even have analog inputs at all.
One thing I can't complain about at all would be the sound quality - and ultimately that's the most important thing.
Edited by StudioSound - 5/13/14 at 12:25pm
post #202 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post

Well it makes sense for the DAC2 HGC and DAC2 L.
With a digital source they use it to control the digital signal level, which is less precise than it could be, and unnecessary for remote control - they could have stripped it out from the DAC2 D.
With an analog source though, it acts as a potentiometer and is what directly controls the playback volume. Having this motorized is very useful in my opinion.
I am rarely within arm's length of the DAC's volume control, and use the remote all the time.

 

Of course that's the reason why they did it this way. It does make sense, but I think the execution is rather poor, and I wonder if Benchmark could have chosen other solutions instead.

Obviously, the simplest alternative is to have different volume controls for the analog and digital section. Could bother some people though.

The other one would be to have an analog stepped attenuator combined with a LCD screen, just like on the Lavry DA11. I think that would be the best solution from an operational point of view since it would allow one to do exactly what the current implementation does, without all its drawbacks, with precise steps as a bonus, and the possibility to have separate memories for digital and analog inputs as an option (which could be useful if your analog source's level is widely different from the level at which you usually listen to digital inputs). Perhaps Benchmark judged that this wasn't worth the added cost, but as far as I'm concerned their current solution is 40% of the reasons I decided not to keep mine past the 30 days return policy and I suppose I'd have gladly payed a few more bucks to avoid it.

post #203 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

Obviously, the simplest alternative is to have different volume controls for the analog and digital section.

Using different volume controls for digital and analog inputs is the opposite of keeping things simple.
Using a single control for both, which indicates the current volume setting at a glance, is the simplest solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

The other one would be to have an analog stepped attenuator combined with a LCD screen, just like on the Lavry DA11.

The Lavry DA11 is a digital-only device, yet it uses an analog volume control. Digital volume control in a modern DAC should offer better performance than analog control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

I think that would be the best solution from an operational point of view since it would allow one to do exactly what the current implementation does, without all its drawbacks, with precise steps as a bonus, and the possibility to have separate memories for digital and analog inputs as an option (which could be useful if your analog source's level is widely different from the level at which you usually listen to digital inputs). Perhaps Benchmark judged that this wasn't worth the added cost, but as far as I'm concerned their current solution is 40% of the reasons I decided not to keep mine past the 30 days return policy and I suppose I'd have gladly payed a few more bucks to avoid it.

Or perhaps it was not a cost reason, but a quality one. The custom motorized ALPS pot is not a cheap solution either.
Or maybe they simply don't like the interface. I would much rather have a pot than a switch to control volume.


There is no "ideal" DAC on the market in my opinion - they all have design trade-offs.
For my requirements, there doesn't really seem to be a good alternative to the Benchmark DAC2 HGC.
Edited by StudioSound - 5/13/14 at 3:23pm
post #204 of 220
@Studiosound

Thank you but you have told me nothing i don't know.

And i find your comment that it must be something wrong with my power amps, frankly quite condescending. You have no clue who I am, nor how qualified i am. You don't even know what power amps I have. I even explained to you how the DAC1 does not produce audible clicks with the same power amps, so your comment is not even logical. It is NOT the power amps.

And whilst i am at it, your comments about relays are nonsensical. Quality relays should not produce these horrible clicks. My 12 year old Tag McLaren AV32R192BP has relays to mute output whilst switching signals and it is still *completely* silent on the output with respect to clicks and pops (with the same power amps, I might add).
Edited by Chippy99 - 5/13/14 at 3:37pm
post #205 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

Obviously, the simplest alternative is to have different volume controls for the analog and digital section.

Using different volume controls for digital and analog inputs is the opposite of keeping things simple.
Using a single control for both, which indicates the current volume setting at a glance, is the simplest solution.

 

Agreed, it's the simplest from an intuitive point of view. I was just suggesting what I think is the technically simplest non-ideal solution from an ergonomical point of view to what I find to be a non-ideal volume control design for the reasons mentioned above.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

The other one would be to have an analog stepped attenuator combined with a LCD screen, just like on the Lavry DA11.

The Lavry DA11 is a digital-only device, yet it uses an analog volume control. Digital volume control in a modern DAC should offer better performance than analog control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

I think that would be the best solution from an operational point of view since it would allow one to do exactly what the current implementation does, without all its drawbacks, with precise steps as a bonus, and the possibility to have separate memories for digital and analog inputs as an option (which could be useful if your analog source's level is widely different from the level at which you usually listen to digital inputs). Perhaps Benchmark judged that this wasn't worth the added cost, but as far as I'm concerned their current solution is 40% of the reasons I decided not to keep mine past the 30 days return policy and I suppose I'd have gladly payed a few more bucks to avoid it.

Or perhaps it was not a cost reason, but a quality one. The custom motorized ALPS pot is not a cheap solution either.
Or maybe they simply don't like the interface. I would much rather have a pot than a switch to control volume.

The problem with Benchmark's system IMHO is that they tried to have the pot directly control analog attenuation which is the source of all its volume control problems. Basically, Benchmark's solution is to have a digital input for digital volume control, and an analog input for analog volume control, all in one knob that's motorised (because that's the only way to be able to remote-control an analog input), while I think they should have gone for a digital only input + LCD screen to control both a stepped analog volume control and the digital volume control for each respective kind of sources. The Lavry DA11's volume control input is DIGITAL, yet its volume control itself is analog, that's why you can remote-control its analog volume control without the need for a motor. Of course I'm certainly not asking for its awful metallic lever to be copied, it's rubbish. But you seem to like volume pots, and it's a perfectly feasible digital input interface (only that it would have to be a 360° wheel). The Invicta's got one for example.

Now the question is : will a stepped analog volume control for the analog inputs compromise IQ in comparison to an ALPS pot ? This I can't answer, but I don't really see why it should. In fact stepped analog controls are widely seen as preferable to continuous pots, and digitally controlled analog volume controls even more so since they aren't prone to tear and wear anyway. Of course, the 32bit digital volume control would remain for the digital inputs, it's better.

The other problem is that the ESS 32 bits digital volume control is finely grained in 0.5 dB steps, and I'm not sure it's economically feasible to have such a finely grained analog stepped volume control. In which case Benchmark could have several solutions, like a different number of steps between digital and analog volume controls (and for example change the LCD colour to clearly tell you that you're in the analog or digital volume control domain) and a different memory between digital and analog inputs (which IMHO makes sense anyway since your analog inputs might have a different level than your digital inputs), or "rounded" steps to the nearest dB for the analog volume control (basically, if you've set the volume at -57.5 for digital inputs, it would go to -58 for the analog volume control). I don't know. I'm not saying that's going to be easy, but I'm saying that I'm not the only one who despise the DAC2's current volume control and that a redesign would greatly improve the DAC.


Edited by MayaTlab - 5/13/14 at 4:00pm
post #206 of 220

you all say the pot is lousy. yet you ask why I think it would be bad for audio? motorized pots suck imo. plus it is not exactly a high end part. a resistor ladder pot would have been more in order. of course they could have used one that increased the price $500 too. the dac1 is better in the studio because it is more geared towards that. aes/ebu for one thing. bnc for another. I said the dac2 sounds better for listening pleasure but you won't see many in studios. not mine at least. you do not find wireless remotes in most studios either. I am not bashing it. I said it sounded better than the dac1. there are better dacs for either purpose. for more money.

post #207 of 220

The Benchmark volume pot is not "lousy." It is accurate and silent except for faint motor noise when it is adjusted. It is untrue that it is "not exactly a high-end part." The analog section of the Benchmark measure better than the majority of high-end pre-amps. The digital volume is essentially perfect, measurement-wise. Maybe motorized pots have issues in theory, but please point us to any online reports of the Benchmark ones becoming noisy. I've got thousands of hours on my Benchmark DAC-1 HDR and DAC-1 USB. Both are completely silent, even with sensitive IEMs. Unless you constantly change the volume, I can't see why the sound of the servo motor would be a big deal.

 

On the other hand, the issue with popping sounds is what keeps me from upgrading to the DAC-2. It is probably harmless, but my speakers cost too much to take a chance.


Edited by VandyMan - 5/14/14 at 12:42pm
post #208 of 220

The DAC2 volume control only makes noise when using the remote. Presumably then you're too far away from it to hear it..?

 

As for the annoying clicks when switching inputs, I don't hear them through the headphone output. Do they definitely propagate out through the analog outputs? Any difference between RCA and XLR?

post #209 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by VandyMan View Post
 

The Benchmark volume pot is not "lousy." It is accurate and silent except for faint motor noise when it is adjusted. It is untrue that it is "not exactly a high-end part." The analog section of the Benchmark measure better than the majority of high-end pre-amps. The digital volume is essentially perfect, measurement-wise. Maybe motorized pots have issues in theory, but please point us to any online reports of the Benchmark ones becoming noisy. I've got thousands of hours on my Benchmark DAC-1 HDR and DAC-1 USB. Both are completely silent, even with sensitive IEMs. Unless you constantly change the volume, I can't see why the sound of the servo motor would be a big deal.

 

On the other hand, the issue with popping sounds is what keeps me from upgrading to the DAC-2. It is probably harmless, but my speakers cost too much to take a chance.

 

Benchmark tends to be proud of their measurements, in that sense I personally don't doubt the analog pot measures very well indeed.

As far as I'm concerned it's its operational qualities that I find lacking. Big time.

 

If you have powered / active speakers with a limiter, I doubt they'll take much damage from the DAC-2 pops. If not... well indeed I'd have second or even third thoughts about it.

post #210 of 220

it may be good and measure well. an rk50 it is not. of course that pot costs 50% of the dac2. I am just saying. Yamaha has very good motor pots too. it's not the best there is. the problem is they tend to get real scratchy over time. so not in a studio. at home no one adjusts it that much. electronic volume control can have balance issues. resistor ladder is best. you all can disagree but that is my feeling.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components

Gear mentioned in this thread:

Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF