The DAC2 D offers the same dynamic accuracy, yet warm, smooth analog character as the "HGC." It just has a few less bells and whistles, but it is lower in price. In my opinion, both Benchmark DAC2s set the standard for today’s full-featured, modular high-resolution audio DAC.
|DAC2 D's lower price means no analog inputs|
As with the Benchmark DAC2 HGC, the DAC2 D sound quality is A+. Via its headphone amp and line outputs, the sound is ultra-detailed with a wide soundstage — not a hint of harshness. Drums, cymbals, piano single notes and acoustic guitar flat picking are presented in an honest fashion, with instruments perfectly placed in the mix.
I had several DACs on hand including my Mytek Stereo192/DSD, and a review sample of the new TEAC UD501 for comparative listening. Most of the audio samples were 24/96 or 24/192 kHz. To test DoP playback, I took original recorded acoustic guitar recordings made on a TASCAM DVRA1000 in DSD-64. They were than transferred to computer and played via the Mac through Audirvana playback software.
That ultimate smooth factor added that much more to the realistic sheen of my original recordings’ playback. Through my AKG K702 headphones, for example, my Martin acoustic guitar 24-bit recordings were vivid in their presentation The recording rig, without any compression, limiting or multi-track layers, imparts an immediate, live feel to my acoustic guitar recordings; the DAC2 relays the A/D recording, like its big brother, with an enveloping accuracy that was not possible ten years ago from such an affordable DAC.
|Dac2 D word/sample rate status LEDs|
Through the MartinLogans, the breadth of the Tom Jung-recorded SACD of Warren Bernhardt So Real, dubbed to 24/192 PCM, filled the room with layers of detail of percussion and piano. Within the playback system, the Benchmark helped make a virtually live performance in my listening room.