Benchmark Dac3


I purchased the Benchmark DAC3 and hooked it up (with just the included Monoprice USB cable) to my MacBook Pro playing lossless files ripped from my CDs. Using the HT bypass to play through my Krell integrated amplifier into Audio Physic Virgo speakers (as well as listening through the headphone amp and HGC volume control driving Beyerdynamic DT 880s). With the panoply of input options I was able to do direct A/B comparisons between my Krell CD player and iTunes as well as between the digital and analog outputs of the CD player. I immediately discovered the balanced XLR connection making a huge difference in bringing out subtle details such as the breath of vocalists and the note decay of wind and string instruments.  Is this the case with all sources or just with this DAC?  If it is the case with all sources then I could never imagine purchasing a DAC (in an equivalent price range) which only provides RCA interconnections.  Is this more about the Benchmark DAC or the difference between balanced and single-ended operation?  Would you purchase a DAC without balanced XLR connections?
dave1215
XLR is always better than cheap crap RCA. However if you are lucky and using limited equipment (more gear = higher probability of ground loops) and short runs then RCA can sound just as good. 


XLR is always better than cheap crap RCA. However if you are lucky and using limited equipment (more gear = higher probability of ground loops) and short runs then RCA can sound just as good. 

I have both DAC1 and DAC2 from Benchmark. Just curious have you compared DAC3 to predecessors - the trouble is that the DAC1 was already so good!!!!! Can't say I can hear an improvement myself!!!

Shadorne, this is my first Benchmark DAC so unfortunately I am unable to provide a comparison with predecessors.

Nonetheless, so far I am very happy with this well-designed and excellently-built little piece of equipment...and certainly glad I didn't fall prey to purchasing an alternative DAC in the same price range without balanced connections. 

I would love to compare the Benchmark 3 to the new Gustsard pro.

Tim

Seems like there is very little experience on Audiogon with this relatively new Benchmark DAC 3. I just ordered one. I have also a DAC 1 and DAC 2 and my expectations are just more of the same clear dynamic neutral sound with an even lower noise floor. Since these are engineered products to the highest scientifically measured standards, I will be very surprised if I can actually hear a difference between all three. Once the new DAC 3 arrives, I will make a quick comparison to ensure it is fully functional and then sell my other two Benchmark DACs.
Shadorne from what l've read my guess is you have the right expectations going in.   Keep us posted.   
@mapman

I will comment but chances are my comment may be limited to whether it works or not. The measured performance of their DACs is to such high measured standards that they should sound alike or something is badly wrong.

Benchmark openly disagree with audio pseudoscience so most people here will not be interested in something that doesn’t have all the extra pseudoscience. And unlike Chord (which make great DACs) their product lacks high end aesthetics that telegraph I’m expensive visually.

For example, this is what Benchmark say this about cables,

"NOTE TO HI-FI USERS

If you are a hi-fi user, beware of the pseudo-scientific false claims of overpriced and underperforming hi-fi cables. Avoid these "hi-fi" cables and equip your system with the finest professional cables available. We offer our professional cables in lengths and types that are appropriate for home hi-fi systems. You will save money while getting the very best performance available."

Most readers here will stop at that and not waste time on a product built by engineers for engineers when in their minds everything and especially cables necessarily make a huge difference...


(((I will be very surprised if I can actually hear a difference between all three. Once the new DAC 3 arrives, I will make a quick comparison to ensure it is fully functional and then sell my other two Benchmark DACs.))
Shardone
We had a nice comparison with the Ayre XLR Codex Dac vs Benchmark 2.
All 5 of the folks listening picked the Ayre
2 of the folks owned Benchmark Dacs.
If you can get one to listen to it may be worth your efforts.
before your return privilege w/ BM runs away.
We have shot this unit succesfully up to pretty much anything to 5k
Listen to any RCA recording like Heifetz playing at his best.
the unique filtering choices,discreet analog Double Diamond output stage is a freak show with performance.
Also read the review below and see at the end blog report which i agree with.
Best JohnnyR

https://www.audiostream.com/content/ayre-acoustics-codex-usb-dac-headphone-amp-digital-preamp