Link Spotlights

Link Spotlights
The Pinnacle of The Electrostatic Sound

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breaking News!
Audiophile DAC Preview:
Benchmark DAC2-HGC
PCM/DSD D/A Converter


PCM/DSD D/A Converter
Benchmark Ups High-Res DAC Ante



See Updated, Complete Review!


by John Gatski

  Benchmark Media has introduced a new D/A converter, the DAC2 HGC, that utilizes the latest ESS Saber-32 chip and a custom analog/digital hybrid volume control. The new DAC also can play native DSD audio files from various software-based players now on the market. The Everything Audio Network already has a sample for testing and a full, subjective review will be posted within a few days.
   Priced at $1,995 and available for purchase Oct. 19, the DAC2 HGC features Hybrid Gain Control integrated analog and digital volume controls, High-Headroom DSP, and Benchmark’s noted UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System. The DAC2 HGC supports USB audio playback through its Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System, and it can be remotely triggered by companion audio devices for integrated operation. Another highlight is the separate word length and sample rate indicators, which are so important when playing back computer audio files.
  “The order of priority for Benchmark is high-resolution sound, high-quality computer playback, jitter elimination, and a rich feature set,” said John Siau, director of engineering and VP of Benchmark. “I am proud to say that the DAC2 HGC has excelled in every one of its priorities. This is the best Benchmark digital-to-analog converter to date.”
  Besides the major step up in audio performance, the DAC2 has lots of connectivity, including SPDIF, TOSlink and USB inputs, analog inputs, digital pass-through, balanced XLR analog outputs, and two stereo headphone jacks. Other features include polarity switch, audio mute, motorized volume operation with remote and class-A headphone amplifier.


 At EAN, we are excited about the DAC2’s DSD native playback, which we have confirmed with Pure Music and Audirvana, and the fact that Benchmark has switched to the highly-regarded ESS Saber-32 DAC chip.

  At EAN, we are excited about the DAC2’s DSD native playback, which we have confirmed with Pure Music and Audirvana, and the fact that Benchmark has switched to the highly-regarded ESS Saber-32 DAC chip, utilizing four balanced 32-bit D/A converters that are summed together for each balanced output. The DAC2 HGC’s D/A is implemented in a custom DAC system that offers more resolution and much better specs than the old DAC1 (measured signal to noise is close to 130 dB, according to Siau).
  Siau said the High-Headroom DSP circuit enable the DAC2 to stay audibly smoother at higher digital signal levels, creating a more, true-to-life, live analog presentation than previous DAC designs.
  During my initial listening sessions, the DAC2 HGC revealed a smoother, more layered presentation than the DAC1 and other converters I had on hand for the review. And the DSD playback, via a Macbook Pro and the Audirvana software, worked really well. The DOP.1 DSD file protocol allows DSD files to be output, via the encoding/playback software, over a USB-fed PCM 24/176 signal, then decoded by the compatible converter. Pretty slick and it works. Look for the full review of the DAC2 HGC on EAN during the week of Oct. 15.

©Articles on this site are the copyright of the Everything Audio Network. Any unauthorized use, via print or Internet, without written permission is prohibited.


No comments: