Benchmark dac - why such diverging opinions?

I'm puzzled.
Audiophile sites and magazines continue to rave about the benchmark dac (HDR, USB, pre,...). Perfect rendition, studio quality, unbeatable value,...

Yet criticism stacks up high on many blogs. Too harsh, not musical enough,...

Why such divergence? Does its popularity make it the one one loves to hate? Are magazines just biased in their reviews? Are audiophile bloggers not good judges of quality. Are those considering buying a dac at that price having sub-par components whose imperfections the benchmark dac amplifies, while those going higher end don't consider the dac adequate vs a berkeley or weiss? Where is the catch?

I ended up buying a w4s dac. I considered the benchmark yet never had the chance to audition it.
Shardone, I actually bought one of these a few back due to some glowing reviews on here by many, including yourself. I have a question for you though; looking at your gear, pretty much anything would sound it's best running through that rig. Have you tried any of the newer DAC's to compare them to what you currently have?

1) Wyred DAC2
2) Bryton BDA-1
3) Eastern Electic Mini DAC
4) Berkeley Alpha
5) PS Audio Perfect Wave

I would be shocked it you didn't like any one of those better.

I hated mine, tried many afterward, maybe it just didn't match well with my gear, I had the problem with the AWESOME (all caps Linds-fart) McIntosh 501's. Great amp, sounded like crap with my gear. Went to a buddies system and lit up his B & W's like nothing ever has.

Fact is though, on A'gon it seems that most comments about the Benchmark DAC's have been negative.
Fact is though, on A'gon it seems that most comments about the Benchmark DAC's have been negative.
Given the non-audiophile approved gear used in your typical recording studio, I'm surprised your average audiophile has more than two albums he considers acceptable for listening.

(...ducking for cover)
"Fact is though, on A'gon it seems that most comments about the Benchmark DAC's have been negative."

Perhaps because most of people seek very warm sounding gear. Let see what Benchmark's Technical Director John Siau said about it:

"We designed the DAC1 for maximum transparency. If you want to add warmth, you can't add it with a DAC1. Personally, I do not like what warm sounding equipment does to the sound of a piano. Warmth is wonderful on vocals, guitars and certain instruments, but it beats against the stretched overtones of a piano. The overtones in a piano occur at slightly higher than harmonic ratios, and these create beat notes with the exact integer ratios produced by electronic equipment (and speakers). Too much harmonic distortion will
make a piano sound out of tune."

That would suggest to me that warmth is not a virtue and more experienced listeners, including professional reviewers prefer neutral sound. It is also likely that rest of the equipment they use don't have many faults that Benchmark ruthlessly reveals.
I suspect it true that most who do not like Benchmark are seeking warmth in their digital for whatever reason.

I have a warm sounding tube DAC (mhdt Paradisea) in my second system with speakers that tend towards the transparent and analytical side and a similr more "analytical" sounding ss DAC (mhdt Constantine) in my main rig which needs no additional warmth otherwise.

Gotta get the mix of ingredients right and to personal taste in any system to sound good.....

What I have sounds really good, but I wouldn't mind hearing what the BEnchmark sounds like in my main rig. I was leaning towards the BEnchmark originally for a SS DAC but the mhdt came in at less than half the price and sounds fantastic and is hard to fault.