I haven't heard either of these as a preamp, but the DAC portion of the Benchmark is MUCH brighter sounding than the Wyred4Sound.
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I have had the Benchmark, albeit not the PRE version, and now have the DAC2.
I was never able to settle on the Benchmark in any other mode than pure DAC. Every attempt to feed my power amp directly made me flip back using my preamp. The added harshness when controlling the volume in the DAC was unbearable with the Benchmark.
W4S is, in my opinion, a way better component overall, let alone the volume control section. If you have no analog source, then W4S is, in my opinion, by far the better choice.
I tried the Benchmark HDR in my system for a couple of weeks, and sent it back. Great energy, PRaT, and the best cymbal sounds I've heard, but too sterile and lean overall. All bone, no meat; all ash, no wood. I always perceived that I was listening to recordings and mixes, rather than listening to music and performances. (Fair enough, as that was what the Benchmark is designed for.) So a Wyred DAC-2 is on the way.
W4S question: Is the HT bypass essentially an analoge in that you could use with any source? (Is it subject to the DAC-2's volume control?) Hopefully yes.
I also had a Benchmark HDR for a couple weeks. As a DAC, I was impressed by the purity of its midrange, but it was leaner sounding that I like, and the top, while very extended, was sort of squeaky sounding. The Benchmark is so widely respected and has such great features; I wanted to like it, but it just didn't work out. Maybe the leanness and squeakiness are what come with neutrality and accuracy. In that case it needs bass and treble controls in addition to a volume knob.
I bought a Neko DAC after that and kept it. After rearranging the tubes in my BAT 3iX, I was more happy with it as a pre-amp.