With DSD recordings, results are on a par with PCM. Modern classical recordings, such as a Marianne Thorsen recording of Mozart’s Violin Concerto in D major (TrondheimSolistene, 2L), sound beautifully open, detailed, and just a tiny bit bright, but spectacular nonetheless. Contrasting the Benchmark with a Hegel HD12 DSD (£900) made a case for the extra cost of the newcomer, but only in terms of openness. While you get more of the hall acoustic with the Benchmark, in other respects the two are more or less at level pegging.
The latest incarnation of the Benchmark DAC remains a comprehensively equipped and highly capable piece of kit. Those looking for flexibility of operation will find little that competes while listeners in search of the ultimate affordable DAC have a small but remarkable contender to add to the must hear list.
Type: Solid-state high-resolution PCM and DSD-capable digital-to-analogue converter/preamplifier.
Digital inputs: Two Coaxial, two Toslink, and one USB 2.0 DoP V1.1 transmission protocol supported through USB only
Analogue inputs: Two single-ended pairs (via RCA jacks)
Analogue outputs: One stereo single‑ended (via RCA jacks), one balanced (via XLR connectors), two headphone (via 6mm jacks).
DAC Resolution/Supported Digital Formats: All PCM from 44.1KS/s to 192kHz with word lengths up to 24‑bit, DSD64 (2.8224MHz)
Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz, +0dB / –0.04dB
Distortion (THD + Noise): < 0.00035%, 20Hz–20kHz at 0dBFS
Output Voltage: not specified
User Interface: diecast metal remote handset
Dimensions (HxWxD): 44.5 × 249 × 237mm
Tel: +1 315-437-6300
UK Distributor: SCV Distribution
Tel: +44(0)3301 222500