In today's auctions there is a pro basic2;my guess is it will go for 250/275---killer-for the price.
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just finished auditioning both of these, and the punchline is, the Benchmark went back for a refund and the ACK! is staying!
The Benchmark is a great DAC, no doubt - I can see where it garners rave reviews. It is highly detailed, very transparent, very exciting listening. But after awhile, its relentlessly detailed presentation gives you the proverbial digital headache. I started listening less & less. It would be great for studio use though.
The ACK! on the other hand reminds me more of my trusty VPI turntable and records - everything's there, and everything just sounds right, just like music should. No glare, sweet but not sugary, nicely balanced, dead quiet. And, you can listen for hours on end - you have to drag yourself out of the listening room because it's time to go to work. Bonus - it's half the price! Worth the wait.
In my modest system - Quicksilver monos, B&W CDM NTs, McCormack passive pre - it was no contest at all. Good luck & good listening!
p.s. If you love good female vocals, check out Christine Kane's latest CD at www.christinekane.com Fantastic!
I've improved my Ack! significantly by replacing the 3.3 mF AuraCaps with Dynamicaps, a pair of 5 mF and a .01 bypass per channel. It really opened up and the bass improved big time. I use it with an EAD T1000 with a Mapleshade/Insound Zepher dig link. Extremely open yet smooth, dead silent with wonderfull dynamics; the best I've heard.
audioengr, the dAck! is very dynamic and CLEAN, not warm and soft. The guy I auditioned it with at first is an excitement addict when it comes to stereo and very into rock. He loved it. A good rock guitar tube amp, just as an example, has tons of subtle texture that benefits greatly from finesse in the playback. Also, alot of rock mixes are obnoxiously aggressive and bright and could do with a bit of warmth. The Each to his own though, eh?