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I want to upgrade from my Nuforce Icon HD to a Benchmark DAC1, but I'm not sold on it yet.

  1. Timestretch
    The Nuforce Icon HD is reputable as a very nice DAC with a USB input and it's a great value at $350. Am I being silly to try to upgrade from that? I know the Benchmark DAC1 has far more features and would look much nicer on a desk, but at triple the price of the Icon HD (more or less depending on DAC1 model) is it really even noticeably better in performance and sound quality?
     
    I currently use the Icon HD as DAC and amp for Denon AH-D5000 headphones. If I upgrade to the Benchmark DAC1, I would use it for the same purpose as an all-in-one unit, although I do have plans to eventually try out separate amplifiers and of course more and better headphones than the Denons. 
     
    So what do people here think? It wouldn't kill me to buy a DAC1, and it certainly would look great on my desk.... but how much better would it sound and how much more versatile and useful would it be in the long run? Is it really worth it?
     

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