Benchmark DAC 1 as preamplifier??

Well since I am in need of a pre (and a good DAC at a decent price) I am considering to buy a used Benchmark DAC 1 (not the DAC-pre model) for economics sake. The DAC 1 will drive a pair of Rotel monobloks Rb 1091. I understand the DAC 1 has a variable rca output which is controlled by the knob in the front plate of the DAC 1. Does this variable rca output mean that the DAC 1 can be used as a preamplifier?? Will this setup compromise the sound quality of my system?? Any comments out there would be of great help. Thanks in advance.
Consider the Grace unit if you haven't already done so. As I recall some of the original reviewers who gave the Benchmarks high marks sort of recanted them when faced with comments of the inconsistency of them after they reviewed very favorable the Grace unit. I believe this all appeared in the Stereophile magazine in the past 5 years.

FWIW, probably not much. :-)
When you say compromise the sound of your whole system, are there other sources, possibly. If not, thats a different story. You say that you don't have a preamp, so if you are using it to drive your Rotels, I think it will sound pretty good; that's why they put the volume control on there in the first place. The only place it might mess you up is on future upgrades. Eventually, if you want better sound, a separate active preamp will probably be necessary. Keep in mind, though, you will need a very good (Usually expensive) preamp to equal or better the sound of the DAC direct. A cheap one won't do it. Also, at that point, you will definitely want to bypass the DAC's volume control to get the best sound if, and when, you do upgrade. I'm not that familiar Benchmark so you would have to find out the details on that.

All said; I do have experience with this type of thing, but with other brands. My best guess is that you will be very happy with the sound. It's a sensible upgrade and if it were me, I would do it.
Blk25 - that's exactly what I do. Three digital sources (HDTV, DVD, Airport Express) with Benchmark DAC1 connected directly to Rowland 102 (class D) power amp. Sound is outstanding IMHO and the only drawback is lack of remote that also forces me to get off the sofa.

According to Benchmark engineers, signal path with or without volume pot is identical. The only bad thing could be tracking of inexpensive pot but it is very good (I listen in 8-11 o'clock position).

Pot on Benchmark created some static after couple of years of use but I sprayed contact leaner/pot lubricant inside (lifting one corner of the pot's back-cover plastic) with needle and since then it is perfectly quiet (most likely will be forever).

You have to protect switch on the back from accidental switching to "direct" position and possibly damaging speakers. I placed plastic stab in the hole but gluing metal plate might be even better. I use differential output of Benchmark in 0dB position.

Airport Express has very respectable jitter (258ps according to this review: further suppressed by Benchmark. Negative side of such setup is limitation to 16 bit (all my CDs are 16 bit) but it keeps computer (and its noise) away, makes playback program irrelevant, since data has no timing being transferred as compressed packs. Also type of the computer, amount of memory etc. have no effect. It saves one set of ICs using inexpensive high quality short glass Toslink from instead. Apple TV might be even better (costing the same $99) but I've never tried.
Thank you all for your responses! It seems to me that the benchmark will fit necely in my system. Cheers!
Just remember: three digital sources only. Toslink, coaxial (BNC or RCA w/adaptor), and AES/EBU.
No analog sources accepted.
I have interest in the BEnchmark pre.

I have been curious about the dac and its reclocking/jitter suppression capabilities for awhile and also how it might work as a SS pre-amp in my main rig. I would need to add a phono preamp as well if I liked the digital. ARC pre-amp might go to second system as an enhancement there if the BM panned out. I really like the ARC but a SS option that might do as well or better would work for me.
Well I decided to get the dac 1 to feed the rotel´s. The results are a lot better than I expected! Better highs, mids and the bass is more relaxed and articulated. The sound in my system improved in every way. Better and wider soundstage. Very clean sound.I can not complain about buying this little dac. Thank all for your responses!

What did you use prior?

An old Adcom pre gtp-350!! Before I was using a Bel canto SETi integrated amp and a Primare I21 integrated. I still have to use the dac 1 with the Bel canto.