Benchmark DAC-1. How good is built in headphone amp
Nov 21, 2005 at 1:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

miziq

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I wonder how good is built in headphone amp. Does this machine works great as all in one combo.
 
Nov 21, 2005 at 6:08 PM Post #2 of 14

halcyon

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The reviews state that it is a decent headphone amp, although no match for separate high quality headphone amps.

Whether it's enough for you, well it all depends your taste, hearing, likes, etc.
 
Nov 21, 2005 at 6:16 PM Post #3 of 14

miziq

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I was hoping for all in one box. But as i read reviews over the net this tends to be one of the finest DA convertes.
 
Nov 21, 2005 at 6:36 PM Post #4 of 14

halcyon

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If you want an all in one box, there aren't many options:

- Benchmark DAC1
- Mytek Stereo96 DAC
- Lavry DA10
- Apogee Mini-DAC (may say the headphone amp here is lacking, I have no experience myself)
 
Nov 21, 2005 at 6:40 PM Post #5 of 14
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I don't think it is as bad as many people make it out to be. Obviously as tube amp can provide coloration lacking from the DAC1. I've tried a few different high-end SS amps with it (Grace m902, LaRocco Headcode, RS HR2), and found no real advantages for them over the DAC1's output. Perhaps we weren't using expensive enough cables, or perhaps the DAC1's XLR output is better sounding than the RCA, I don't know for sure. I'll have a working SA Dynahi here fairly soon, with a good silver-plated copper XLR->RCA IC, so we'll see what there is to be gained.
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 3:42 AM Post #6 of 14

gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by halcyon
If you want an all in one box, there aren't many options:

- Benchmark DAC1
- Mytek Stereo96 DAC
- Lavry DA10
- Apogee Mini-DAC (may say the headphone amp here is lacking, I have no experience myself)



Don't forget the Grace 902 also. I didn't think much of the Benchmark as a headphone amp but I really liked it as a DAC.
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 4:22 AM Post #7 of 14

socrates63

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During my recent research into the DAC1, I read a post where someone opined the DAC1's amp was comparable to a pimeta. I suppose if you don't a separate headphone amp, the DAC1 will be good enough to hold you over until you get one.
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 4:28 AM Post #8 of 14

Oski

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What about getting balanced cables for headphones and using the DAC1's variable RCA/XLR outputs as volume control? How does that sound?
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 4:31 AM Post #9 of 14

gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oski
What about getting balanced cables for headphones and using the DAC1's variable RCA/XLR outputs as volume control? How does that sound?


Heh, pity you didn't ask at the last NYC meet, I had the trappings to do that comparison. I would rate it better than the 1/4" jack but still not the system I would want to spend my life with...
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 4:44 AM Post #10 of 14

Oski

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Quote:

Originally Posted by socrates63
During my recent research into the DAC1, I read a post where someone opined the DAC1's amp was comparable to a pimeta. I suppose if you don't a separate headphone amp, the DAC1 will be good enough to hold you over until you get one.


I think the DAC1 headamp is unfairly maligned. It actually sounds surprisingly decent, much better than most anything under $300, primarily because unlike most amps in that price range, it doesn't do anything particulary offensive.
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 4:44 AM Post #11 of 14
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oski
What about getting balanced cables for headphones and using the DAC1's variable RCA/XLR outputs as volume control? How does that sound?


Well, using the XLR's works well with Sennheiser HD580/600/650's, since you can run them balanced and the DAC1 has a low enough output impedance on the XLR's (60ohm if no attenuation jumpers are set), to give a decent dampening factor of 5 with the Senns. Most other headphones (i.e. probably all but some 600ohm studio cans) wouldn't work as well, due to the lowering dampening factor (headphones' impedance divided by output impedance), and for the same reason, it would be a bad idea to drive cans with the RCA's as they have a much higher output impedance, 1250ohm.
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 4:54 AM Post #12 of 14

Oski

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
Heh, pity you didn't ask at the last NYC meet, I had the trappings to do that comparison. I would rate it better than the 1/4" jack but still not the system I would want to spend my life with...


Yeah, that's too bad...well, I'll have to put that on my agenda at the National Meet in a few months...that is if curiosity doesn't get the better of me before that and I do something silly like getting my DT880s balanced to try this....which would only invariably lead me to get something like the HeadRoom Home/Max Balanced or something like that.
tongue.gif
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 5:38 PM Post #13 of 14

Beauregard

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer
... it would be a bad idea to drive cans with the RCA's as they have a much higher output impedance, 1250ohm.


Dunno if it makes any difference to the discussion but, for the record, DAC1s shipping in the last year have an unbalanced output impedance of 30ohms.

Best,
Beau
 
Nov 22, 2005 at 7:55 PM Post #14 of 14

amb

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Quote:

Originally Posted by socrates63
During my recent research into the DAC1, I read a post where someone opined the DAC1's amp was comparable to a pimeta.


The DAC1 headphone amp stage is NE5532 opamp driving BUF634 output buffers. In other words, if you built a Pimeta without the ground channel and substituted NE5532 opamps you'd end up with something very much like what's in the DAC1.
 

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