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A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF - Page 7

post #91 of 229

Got my DAC2 D today, but unfortunately I will not be able to listen to it yet.  There was a problem with the left channel output.  I am getting some low level white noise on the left channel even when nothing is playing.  When something is playing, the left channel has lower volume, and clicks/pops/static sounds.  This is happening with both XLR output and the headphone outputs, and with the built-in USB and coaxial inputs.  

 

When I called Benchmark, they said a new one will be shipped out to me today.  They are including a prepaid label so I can ship the defective one back to them when I receive the new one.  They have great customer service!  The phone was picked up immediately, and the person I talked to at tech support was nice and friendly.  

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post #92 of 229
My DAC2 should arrive tomorrow. I will try to do some comparison between DAC2, gungnir and Yulong DA8
post #93 of 229
The Absolute Sound magazine's three DSD Dac shootout is out (page 153)

Here is his conclusion in quote, " Personally, I could live happily with any of them. The
Mytek 192-DSD-DAC, Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and the Lynx
Hilo are all sonic and ergonomic winners in my book."
post #94 of 229
Reviewer's take on DAC2

"While I would never be so brash as to even suggest that further improvements in DACs,
USB interfaces, and analog circuitry aren’t possible or won’t result in better sound quality, the
Benchmark DAC2 does make a strong case that the current-generation digital-to-analog interfaces
are no longer the weakest link in the reproduction chain, if indeed they were in the past.
For me the bottom line on the Benchmark DAC2 HGC is that is it not only good enough to live with
long-term, it’s good enough to use for any mastering or recording projects that might come up.
The DAC2 HGC is easy to listen through, highly revealing, and with well-recorded material astonishingly
three-dimensional."
Edited by tgx78 - 6/12/13 at 2:43am
post #95 of 229

Saw a mint silver HGC demo-unit for 1850€ so had to pick it up!

 

Could be expectation bias for now, but damn, sounds so good with HD800. There's just something extra special compared to my Concero+G109, more clear, 3d.. a probable winner. wink.gif

post #96 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post

Could be expectation bias for now, but damn, sounds so good with HD800.
I really don't think that it is. I had relatively low expectations - the DAC2-HGC was a big purchase for me, which generally means that I am going to be super critical about it, and I was really unsure about whether it would be worth buying one or just being happy with something like the O2+ODAC.
I was fully expecting to return it and buy something a lot cheaper if I didn't think the DAC2-HGC was a worthwhile upgrade for the price.

I ended up buying the DAC2-HGC because I wanted a professional unit with the build quality, strict tolerances, and reliability that brings, a lot of input/output options rather than just USB, the convenience of having a remote etc.

I honestly didn't know what to expect, but the improvement in my system with the DAC2-HGC is a lot more than I had hoped for.
Honestly, with all the talk about DACs sounding the same, the main thing I was expecting was the lack of any kind of background hiss, and being able to go as loud as I wanted with the headphones. (while I normally listen at low levels, downmixing 7.1 content to stereo reduces the volume a lot)

I have to agree with the quote from that review - I really don't see any reason that I would want to upgrade from this. Its performance is not lacking in any areas at all.
My only complaints are functional ones, and those are very minor things which have nothing to do with audio quality. (like the LEDs being brighter than I want in a dark room)


Maybe my previous setup just wasn't as good as I thought, and I would have been singing the praises of any DAC/Amp over a certain level of quality, but somehow I doubt it, when you have impressions like that coming from professional reviewers.

And when I just pass analog audio into the DAC2 rather than a digital signal, audio sounds better going through its headphone amp, but it really does seem that the DAC stage is what's making the biggest improvement.

It's too bad that there isn't more discussion of the DAC2, and the focus here is on "audiophile" brands instead.
Edited by StudioSound - 6/12/13 at 10:19am
post #97 of 229
It would be very interesting to see how one would stack up against the "audiophile" ones in blind testing
post #98 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post

I really don't think that it is. I had relatively low expectations - the DAC2-HGC was a big purchase for me, which generally means that I am going to be super critical about it, and I was really unsure about whether it would be worth buying one or just being happy with something like the O2+ODAC.


I'm very critical also, if I don't hear repeatable differences, I'm not one to announce them.. haven't bothered to try that many dacs/amps but so far even the Violectric/Soloist stuff didn't make much if any change or desire to own them. It seems DAC2 is my first "a-ha" gear. biggrin.gif If it's due to the dac or amp, I don't know. Frankly I'm tired of testing stuff that much deeper. Going to do some more A/B'ing, but right now it's ticking all the right boxes for me feature, engineering and soundwise..

 

I was considering Lynx Hilo, but firmware updates seem slow and reported hissings from amp didn't sound promising. Also HDVD800, but stupid secrecy about specs/design, and the 43 ohms output impedance.. maybe it sounds better that way, maybe not, I don't even care anymore (and it would be pretty much usable for HD800 only).


Edited by hekeli - 6/12/13 at 12:09pm
post #99 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post

It seems DAC2 is my first "a-ha" gear. biggrin.gif If it's due to the dac or amp, I don't know. Frankly I'm tired of testing stuff that much deeper. Going to do some more A/B'ing, but right now it's ticking all the right boxes for me feature, engineering and soundwise.
..
maybe it sounds better that way, maybe not, I don't even care anymore
This is pretty much my feelings since getting the DAC2-HGC. As I said in my post a couple of weeks back (which was after using it for a few days) it's an "endgame" product for me.

I haven't heard anything that has made me question my purchase, and my opinion of it is just as good as it was when I first started listening to it - which is a rare thing.
With most products, I am finding problems after using them for a few weeks. With the DAC2, I just can't imagine myself looking at other DACs or headphone amplifiers now - if I want to upgrade anything, it will be my headphones or a new speaker setup. (which the DAC2 will be central to)
Edited by StudioSound - 6/12/13 at 1:09pm
post #100 of 229
Just a shame it can't drive electrostats wink.gif
post #101 of 229

If I had to complain about something, the remote is abysmal. Unnecessarily heavy blob of metal (to make silly impression of quality?) with terrible feedbackless buttons. There. biggrin.gif

post #102 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post

If I had to complain about something, the remote is abysmal. Unnecessarily heavy blob of metal (to make silly impression of quality?) with terrible feedbackless buttons. There. biggrin.gif
I agree, it's like a cheap Chinese remote that happens to be made from aluminum. The weight and feel is fine, but the buttons are awful, and actually made worse by the fact there’s no flex in the aluminum body.

I'd much rather it accepted Apple remote codes like the Mytek DACs, or had a learning function so I could just use my TV remote. (Sony know how to make good remotes)

I do appreciate that it uses discrete codes for everything though. And of course I appreciate that it has a remote at all, unlike most DACs.
Edited by StudioSound - 6/14/13 at 3:24am
post #103 of 229

Which USB Streaming Mode and ASIO Buffer Size are you guys using?  (This these settings are found in the USB Audio Class Driver Control Panel that was installed with the drivers.) 

Lower settings seem to give a more clearer sound, but I cannot be sure.  Could be imagining it :-) 

post #104 of 229
I don't use ASIO mode in general, for windows I generally go for the foobar2k WASAPI (event) output module.

In theory the buffer size should be irrelevant as long as you don't get underruns, and having too much of a buffer could cause noticeable delays between hitting play/next and hearing it I suppose...
Latency should be a non-issue for simple audio playback, unless you're trying to sync it with video.
Edited by CybDev - 6/16/13 at 9:09pm
post #105 of 229
Something else I have noticed after using the DAC2 for a few weeks, is that I am now constantly aware of background noise if I plug my headphones into other devices.

Previously there were some devices that I would have said were "silent" with higher impedance headphones, but now that I am used to the truly silent background of the DAC2, it stands out to me.
I've yet to try anything else that I can stand to connect my more sensitive headphones to directly now.

For now, I have to use a 75 ohm adapter. (it came with a pair of IEMs I bought years ago) This has a negative impact on the sound quality, but does quieten the background noise of most devices.
I should probably start looking into a good portable amplifier now. (if only Benchmark made portable devices...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmf22 View Post

Which USB Streaming Mode and ASIO Buffer Size are you guys using?  (This these settings are found in the USB Audio Class Driver Control Panel that was installed with the drivers.)

Lower settings seem to give a more clearer sound, but I cannot be sure.  Could be imagining it :-)
I use Extra Safe with an 8192 sample buffer. It doesn't affect audio quality, it affects latency and how likely audio is to be interrupted during playback.
Low latency is not a priority for me, but stability is. Even stressing the CPU and USB bus at the same time, I can't cause audio to drop out with these settings.

If you are changing the streaming mode or buffer size, play at 24/192 when doing so, as the driver allows you to choose a combination of the two which does not support high sample rates. If you are playing 24/192 audio, it warns you if your new settings do not have a large enough buffer to support it when you make a change. (and you will probably hear the audio sound very strange indeed)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CybDev View Post

Latency should be a non-issue for simple audio playback, unless you're trying to sync it with video.
Because 8192 samples is a lot, I upsample everything to 192kHz during video playback to reduce the delay, keeping it fixed at 43ms so that I can correct it in my video player, rather than it varying depending on the sample rate of the audio track.

1÷192×8192 = 42.67 + 0.47ms (refer to the manual for the DAC's output latency at a specific sample rate)
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