Benchmark DAC-1


Hello.

I have the first Benchmark DAC-1, bought in 2005, I think.
What can I expect to benefit if I upgrade to a modern DAC in the price range of $2000-$4000?

Thanks in advance!
rune1
I don't know what you might expect for a new $2000-$4000, but I just bought a DAC 1 PRE, and I'm amazed at how good it sounds. I'm old now, but I don't expect to need anything else as far as a DAC is concerned.

Best of luck in finding a better DAC.

Regards,
Dan
Hey OP,

I've not listened to that model. I'll say this. If you hear a big difference between Redbook (44.1/16) and high resolution, upgrade.

The newer DAC's have much better CD performance.
I had the Benchmark 1 and now have the 3. I didn't keep the 1 very long I actually liked the dac in my old Pioneer CD player better. The 3 is a really nice dac plays everything with ease doesn't add or take anything away so lousy recordings sound just that but good recordings sound great. If you had the Benchmark 2 I would say to keep it but you could do better with a newer model dac even if it's a Topping D70 or D90 or something comparable. 
Thanks for the responses so far guys. I have an Ayre AX-7e, so I guess my dac suits the amplifier, but still I think there should have been some development for the last 15 years. I play almost all of my music through a PC using toslink, rest of the times I use an old Squeexbox 3 with RCA and Tidal.
My advice is, don’t buy anything before you hear it. Your current setup is good enough that it’s too much of a risk to buy before hearing.

The latest bargain darling is the Topping D90. I would be tempted by that if I needed a DAC. Its measurements show evidence of excellent engineering, and most comments I've seen about its sound quality have been quite positive. If bought from Apos Audio, it can be returned if you don’t like it.

Good luck, and have fun!
If you're looking for high technology there are plenty of candidates in that price range. If you're looking for music, consider a used Audio Note, or an Audio Note Kits 2.1 kit professionally assembled by them. 
I have had the DAC1, DAC2 and DAC3 from Benchmark. The DAC1 requires some other electronics to tame the harsh top end. So system matching is very important. The DAC2 and DAC3 are much easier to listen to and they sound similar.

You can always try the Benchmark DAC3 L (one without volume) for $1700 on a 30 day home trial from their web site.

If you like the DAC1 sound I think you would love the DAC3.

BTW - get a used Sonore microRendu for a few hundred dollars to improve your system by a huge amount. This will replace the Toslink from the PC to the DAC. You need a USB input on the DAC for that and also RJ45 Ethernet cable from your router or switch in your home network. I used to have my PC connected directly to the DAC and it was awful compared to the microRendu streamer. There are other streamer options but the microRendu is rather easy to use, one of the best in this category, and not too expensive.
I had Benchmark DAC1 for many years. I replaced it with DAC3 HGC that I have for more than 2 years. It sounds fuller and cleaner, at the same time. It has better treble extension while harshness is gone. It also has better bass extension. By "fuller" sound I mean lower midrange, that sounded a little thin with DAC1. HGC version comes with very nice and responsive remote. With "L" version you have to pay $100 extra. DAC3 L costs $2k with remote and $100 less without. I use DAC3 HGC with Benchmark AHB2 power amp and the sound is wonderful.
Thanks again guys. Good feedback!