I used a DAC1 HDR, as well as a DAC1 PRE, as a preamp. In both cases the Benchmark drove Bel Canto amps (S300 and REF150), in balanced mode. The Benchmarks worked great directly into the Bel Canto amps. The Benchmark DAC is honest and clean. It adds no romantic warmth, but neither do I think it is harsh or bright, as some folks claim. I think it pretty much passes on whatever you feed into it, without adding much in the way of editorial comment. It also does a great job of driving my Sennheiser HD650 headphones. My only (very minor) complaint about the HDR is that the front panel LED flickers for an annoyingly long time to indicate loss of digital signal input (whenever my transport stopped). Not a big deal, but I don't understand why Benchmark designed that feature into an otherwise eminently sensible piece of gear.
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