Benchmark Dac1 HDR vs Bel Canto 2.5????


Has anyone compared these two Dacs? I have the Benchmark Dac1 HDR now,and I wonder if the Bel Canto would be an Upgarde or a lateral move?
Also, any thoughts on the newer Benchmark DAC2 HGC?
I will be using the Dac as a Pre-amp also,straight to the Amp.

I had the DAC1Pre and moved from that to a DAC3.5. I found that move to be an upgrade. I think the DAC2.5 is similar to the basic DAC3.5 with the LNS power supply.

The Benchmark was clinical sounding and sterile compared to the Benchmark which sounded fuller without any loss in detail.

I then upgraded the DAC3.5 with the VBS and then upgraded the 3.5 to MkII, and also had the REF power cables.
The Dac1 HDR is not as sterile as the Dac pre. Are you running
your Bel Canto straight to your amp or with a Pre-amp?
Also, what is the difference in sound between the 3.5 w/LNS power supply compare to the VBS MK2 supply?
The HDR is fundamentally the same as the DAC1 Pre, just with a remote controlled volume pot.

I preferred the DAC3.5 via the Pre3 but with the 3.5MkII, I preferred that direct.

3.5 with LNS has a higher noise floor vs 3.5 with VBS.
Sounds like the Bel Canto 3.5 is hot ticket!
FWIW I don't use the Bel Canto these days and prefer the EMM Labs/Playback.

One thing I do miss from the Bel Canto is the ability to play DSD which you can get from the new Benchmark 2. Not sure how it sounds tho.

Another option I'd consider is the TEAC UD-501. It doesnt have a volume control but it does DSD as well and I like the rich sound it creates.

It's quite cheap as well. Does 32/384 and up to 2xDSD.
Great advice, I think I will upgrade to the Benchmark Dac2 HGC
Audition in your own system, of course, but I preferred the NAD M51 over the Benchmark DAC2 HGC, going direct into my ATC power amp.

I read your review, very nice! But for me, I prefer the more
Transparent sound of the Benchmark. I did audition the NAD M51 before I got my DAC1 HDR, and I thought it sounded great.

The Bass is more Round and bigger than the Dac1, but the Dac1 bass was Faster, tighter and more extended in my room.

It's all about System matching!
I have listened to both, and in fact own the Bel Canto 2.5.

I would agree that the Benchmarks are more neutral sounding, and that is fine, given that you have other audio equipment that will color the sound the way you want it to. As I understand it, Benchmark products have a much longer history in the audio engineering/production business than home listening, thus the more neutral sound.

One thing I like more about the DAC 2 is that it offers native DSD conversion, instead of the unit having to process the digital signal to PCM, which allows for sound degradation in the conversation from one format to another. More and more music is becoming available in DSD format, from digital files to SACDs themselves. The only issue is that you would have to have a SACD transport thats transports a true DSD signal.

Why did I end up with the Bel Canto 2.5? Wide dynamics, detailed, smooth and full sound. I also though I would like the headphone amp on the Bel Canto more than the neutral DAC 1/2. And lastly, the Bel Canto has a built-in power supply upgrade, AND has an ADC to digitize phono/analog music. And lastly, at the time i bought the 2.5, I didnt realize how much i would be getting into SACD/DSD in the future.

Did you get a DSD dac?
I've had the Bel Canto 2.5 now 2 weeks. First a little of my dac history. It is replacing my long-term favorite Benchmark DAC1. Bought one 5 years ago,a 2010 version. I liked it so much that i decided to "upgrade" to the Benchmark DAC1 HDR - big mistake, finding it indistinct & I sold it on and re-acquired a then 2012 version of the plain Jane DAC1 again. Details, depth, black background again!
THEN I had the chance hear a Bel Canto 2.5...which had sweetness and musicality without losing any of the detail and precision. My wife and I love both the sound, the look and the remote! Very happy!