How good is Benchmark DAC1 comparing to......

Has anyone compared the DAC1 against the other greats like Wadia, ML, Theta, MSB , Meridian or Accuphase etc?


I hope somebody will reply because i'm thinking about bying one myzelf.

please help me out
The stock Benchmark DAC-1 has the most pristine and clear highs of any of these DAC's. However, the op-amps used cause the midrange and mid-bass to be a bit thin. This can be improved by changing op-amps or other mods, but the highs will not be quite as good. The DAC's that sound best stock IMO are: Birdland, Electrocompaniet, dAck! and Benchmark.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Midrange and mid-bass a bit thin? I don't think so, nor has that ever been mentioned in any of the multitide of other reviews and posts on this dac.

As far as changing op-amps or other mods, I have yet to see any posts on this. The chief engineer at Benchmark specifically cautioned against changing op-amps.

The original question was a comparison against the top name dacs:
In S'phile (5/04), John Atkinson compared it against the $17,500 ML 30.6, which weighs in at 80 lbs. He said that at first he found it "surprisingly difficult to hear any difference." Later he said he felt the ML was a bit better. He also compared it favorably with the Musical Fidelity TriVista player ($6000). In giving the B. the 2004 Stereophile Editor's Choice Award, JA said he was "floored" by the B. and compared it favorably with the ML 30.6, Theta Gen VIII and Wadia 27ix, saying only that the DAC1 didn't sound "quite" as "expansive" or "smooth", but that its measured performance was "as least as good as, if not better than, the best..."

A few days ago on Audioasylum, John Marks of S'phile mentioned it as essentially equivalent to dacs costing $5,000 and $10,000 (except in the price, of course, which is what makes the DAC! so unusual).

The many pro and audiophile reviews and posts overwhelmingly support the above. I have posted this information since, as an owner for 4 months, I am constantly amazed at the DAC1. I never thought I would have world class digital equivalent to ML, etc. in my system in my lifetime, but now I do! I feel I owe Benchmark a vote of thanks.
Dne - I'm happy for you that you like it so much. It is better than the majority of DAC's available, however I compare it and all other DAC's to my reference DAC. Here is a post on some mods to the Benchmark:

So you see, improvements are possible. All of these consumer products are designed to a price point. There is nothing that is designed "cost-no-object".
Though I don't always agree with "Audioengr", I will have to say that, after owning the Benchmark, his comments are pretty much on the money. I found this dac to be relatively clear and dynamic with a simplicity of sound that was hard to dislike . These were it's stong points. The weak points, in my opinion, were a slight leading edge haziness, or thinness to musical notes and voice. Music seemed to emanate from a plane with limited depth. You might say, a 4'X8'X2' plane instead of the 8'X10'X6' plane which was the type sound field provided by the dcs Elgar/Purcell rig that sat next to it. The manner in which music starts, evolves and decays in free space from the dcs rig is in a different class than the Benchmark, as well as many other dacs and/or players that I have heard.

Another player on hand was a Jolida JD-100 and, yes, I owned this too. I preferred it to the Benchmard simply becuase it seemed to impart a certain "heart and soul" that seemed to elude the Benchmark. The Benchmark was a bit strident or steril by comparison. However, this is not meant to reduce the Benchmark. It was still a superb dac for the money and, just may be what many are looking for. My comments are only my opinion, based on my specific system and preferences.

The Benchmark stikes me as a reviewer's tool being starkly clean and dynamic. If your preferences lie with modern digital sound venue, it just could be your final cup of tea. Remember, although I favor the dcs sound very much, there are many who don't find the specific sound to their liking. It is really a preference thing so, listening yourself is the best way to judge it, not what some reviewer says. After all, it is your ears that must do the listening.
Audioengr, will have to agree with you. The Benchmark is a GREAT DAC at its price point, but compared to some references is quite inferior - thin, metallic (mids and highs). Soundstaging suffers too.

Sorry I could not make it on Monday. They had to tear the room apart late on Sunday so we all left.

Are we going around in circles here? No one is claiming that the Benchmark DAC1 is the world's greatest reference dac in absolute terms. Let's get this in perspective. What a multitude of people are saying, from pro reviewers and mags, to pro users, to respected audiophile reviewers and publications, to users like me, is that the DAC1 provides, at its relatively modest price, superb performance on an approximate par with much more expensive dacs, e.g., in the $5-$10,000 range.

We have been through this before. IMO, the posts above certainly acknowledge the positives of the DAC1 but always seem to offset these somehow with negative comments that, on balance, leave one with an overall negative impression.

Nealhood finds it a bit short in (only) certain areas in comparison with his $15,000-$32,000 dCS. To me that's really another strong endorsement for the DAC1, that it is good enough to be held in such comparison. With regard to the Jolida, very nice, but to my ears not in the same league.

Audioengr states positives then comments about the shortcomings and that there is room for improvement with mods. As a professional modder, of course his orientation will be for mods. Notwithstanding the audiocircle crew, there is still no consensus that I can find about the mods. Are they really improvements or just providing a different sound? I haven't heard the mods so I can't comment but there needs to be more input on this.

I have lived with and heard a fair amount of players and dacs in the past and now have had the DAC1 for awhile. I agree with the many who think it offers superb sound, e.g., equivalent to $5-10,000 units, at a low price.
Rainchild, ...Another comparison:

A few of us audio industry guys got together today in SB to listen to a few items that came out of the G****** Technology rooms at CES. One item was actually a Gorgeous pair ... (oh behave) of high gloss black tubed mono blocks, but this is not the thread to discuss those. The main item of interest was the very beautiful $3950.00 Lector CDP-7T cd player with outboard PS. I'm going to cut to the chase... I had a chance to evaluate a Lector integrated amp a few weeks ago and it had a similar sound. Rich in immediate presentation but unnaturally balanced to the warm. The Lector's bass was far less natural sounding than the DAC-1. It sounded a bit like a poorly executed tube amp in comparison. With a slightly exaggerated lateral spread, little natural depth, and dynamically slow and undefined when compared to the Benchmark. What's interesting is that a major manufacturer chose this as his personal player and by many accounts this unit sounds pretty involving etc. But compared to the Benchmark dac-1 (properly set up!) everyone agreed it was the more involving, alive, nuanced, dynamic, rythmic, and needless to say, accurate and honest of the two. You could just walk into the soundstage of the dac-1 instead of "being impressed" with the "sound" of the Lector. What's really impressive though is what Harry Pearson (The Absolute Sound) said recently in his review of the Lector CDP-7T.
"The Lector CDP-7T plays music nearly on par with the over-60-grand top-of-the-line Burmester CD drive and DAC. At the very fair price, this piece is a solid steal.

If the four grand Lector is a steal what would you call the benchmark? a give away? Pretty close.

I'll add some thoughts on what has helped my dac-1 to sound its best in my next "response".
After-hours, that's very very interesting. Please do let us know what you found that helped the Benchmark to sound its best. Thanks.
I think I can roughly guess what kind of sound is the DAC1. Should be quite a safe bet. Or a win win bet rather. If I'm not wrong it's sonic characters should be toward the ML side. Highs is detail but toward the dry side, Mids is organic with a little bit of sweetness and Lows is like MSB Link III, play with conviction.

When is yr next response coming Afthrs.
Alex - Too bad we could not do the shootout. Guess we will never know now.. Unless you will be at the Denver show in Oct.??? I plan to be there. BTW - your buddy David C. spent some time listening in our suite - he wanted to hear the shootout too.

Rainchild - As for the Benchmark - the highs are not dry or dark, and the mids and bass are improved with mods. See this review (last post):

Actually the highs and upper mid are not dry at all. But rather are about as pure and vibrant as I've heard. The mid I wouldn't label sweet. That doesn't begin to convey the natural textures and uneditorialized presence that this dac is capable of. I distributed Linkdacs in the late nineties and the bass doesn't come close to the power, speed, agility and naturalness of the benchmark.
One thing I can add in comparing the Lector is... I might have left you thinking that the Lector was bigger and fuller but slower. It was way slower but the fuller impression came from noticably muted highs, somewhat small midrange presentation and exagerated mid-bass. Listening to the opening track of "the Poet" the voice was bigger and more life-like going through the benchmark with the sense of REAL "space" around it. On the same track using the Lector the voice sounded pinched, smaller and "cheaper" to quote a friend that was there.

Also, I did submit my response of helpful hints but the AG editors must be holding it. I made some "observations" in regard to the 'modder' so I may need to resubmit it.
In my experience the key to making the DAC-1 sound its best, without dropping $500.-$1k + for a modders interpretation of what he thinks sounds right, is to get a great inexpensive transport like a (an unmodded) S7700 and replace the plastic junk rca digital output jack w/ a high quality Cardas component BNC for the digital out, use a pair of 24 gauge or smaller silver wire as an impedence matching transmission line covered with a cotton jacket w/ BNC's as your cable. I know where you can get one back east at a fraction of what these guys are charging for digital cables. I guarantee it'll sound better. Putting a BNC on the S7700 was a snap. We used silver wire for the signal and it only needed to be a 1/4" long to reach the board and the ground tab attached right to the board...PERFECT. I'm not of the 'modder to the rescue/ gimme your money' persuasion. I love this hobby and livelihood.
In fact!
If any S7700/Benchmark owners desired to have this done I'd do it for next to nothing because It's easy for us to do and I've enjoyed meeting other benchmark owners. They're generally value minded and more sensible than to throw another 7 or 8 bills or more to have someone reinterpret its balance of sound.
Doing this swap and getting rid of the BNC-RCA adapter or the RCA/BNC terminated dig cable and replacing it with a SMALL gauge pure silver transmission line will improve the sound of your DAC-1 considerably. We build tube amps here for a major manufacturer and design x-overs and know how to handle audio gear.

I must add a comment in regard to the "Epirical" modder whos ONLY apparent aim in adding to ANY discussion is how he can benefit financially.
His arrogance is staggering.

He says:

"I'm happy for you that you like it (the dac-1) so much... however I compare it and all other DAC's to my reference DAC".

I've heard this "reference" dac a couple of times now. At T.H.E. show last week we went into his room and sat for a few moments listening to the same uninvolving "digital" sound I heard from his "reference" dac a year ago in my home.

Back to the excellent Benchmark!
I have more to share on getting the best performance from the dac-1 without major surgery (which is not easily reversible) which voids the warranty.
...But soon, must work now.
For those that put more trust in reviewer's ears, there is a review in the newest issue of Sensible Sound that many should find interesting. Interesting in that they decided employ the double-blind listening approach in the interest of objectivity.

In a nutshell, the reviewers simply could not tell the difference between the Benchmark and a discontinued Sony XA20 machine.

Be sure to catch this issue if you are interested in one of the more objective reviews of the Benchmark floating around the audiophile press.
Sensible Sound also has, for years, maintained that there is no difference between amplifiers, among other strange opinions. Nonsensical Sound.
If they can't hear a difference, then then there is something wrong somewhere and it ain't with the Benchmark.
"Be sure to catch this issue if you are interested in one of the more objective reviews"

What is the deal with these people that have nothing better to do than try to discredit a product that has more objective reveiws than any other dac in history from the toughest critics in the world, i.e. Studio engineers. The sensible Sound is pushing a philosophy that nothing matters and its all personal bias. Is that objective? Why do they exist?
Do you own a Benchmark? Do you know anything about its different set-up configurations. What do you have to do with this discussion? Knuckleheads like those S.S. subjective reveiwers just throw it in a system and spew away to affirm their philosophy which is self-serving unscientific/nonexhaustive.

This thread is lame.
I'm moving on to create a new thread where those who have a Benchmark and a clue can discuss and get the most from their extremely intellegent purchase...adios

Dna, I have not yet shared with you the one major configuration change that has elevated the performance of the benchmark to truely worldclass status.

Let's blow this popsicle stand.
i had the Benchmark DAC-1 in my system and it is an excellent DAC for the money. it has great highs, but it is thin in the midrange and bass regions when compared to all the DACs i've had an opportunity to hear in my system. those include the MW lev2 modded P-Tech P-3/A, the EA modded P-Tech P-3/A, the Dodson DA-263, the Dodson DA-217MkII, and the Dodson DA-218.
"No one is claiming that the Benchmark DAC1 is the world's greatest reference dac in absolute terms...the DAC1 provides, at its relatively modest price, superb performance on an approximate par with much more expensive dacs, e.g., in the $5-$10,000 range."

for $975 IMHO, the DAC-1 is a GREAT sounding DAC - WAY better than it has a right to sound. all the other DACs i compared it to were alot more money w/ the exception of the MW LII P-tech P-3/A which is $1200 still 23% more than the DAC-1. in comparison to the MWLII p-3/a, the DAC had more openness and transparency across the highs. the midrange was a bit harder sounding and the bass lacked a bit of articulation. the magnitude of these differences was so small that it took repeated a/b comparisons to determine. then i conducted a single blind test on a friend who did not know which DAC was being played and my friend came away with the same opinions of the 2 DACs that I had.
I have some interesting news. There is a little company called Audio Space (AS) from Hong Kong and they make amplifiers as well as digital stuff. A friend of mine swore by the AS dac (also called DAC1), claiming it to be the best he's heard. He replaced his Mark Levinson 360s with it. His cousin replaced his Wadia 27 with it. So, I thought I might want to AB this dac with the Benchmark.
Know what? No contest. The AS wins hands down. I returned the Benchmark the next day to the dealer. The stock AS only cost $1500 and you can upgrade it for another $350. This is a tube dac (I have nothing to do with this company). You guys may want to check this out.
Is it available in the US? Where can you find it?
Abrahavt, I'm not sure if you can find it in the US. You may have to contact them in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, I don't have their contact details. I will ask my friend to see if he has their contact number and I will revert to you as soon as I can.
As I have stated in other Audiogon forums, the DAC1 is great value for money, so much so that I could not resist buying one even though it spends most of the time in its box. BUT is not unique in being great DAC value for money.

I own both the Lavry Blue and the DAC1 and like them both. Neither sound like a good tube DAC, but if tube DACs are not your cup of tea then the Blue and DAC1 come close to the best DACs around in a medium cost system. In a top class system however the difference between them and the best DACs is indeed significant. I prefer my USD1200 Lavry Blue over my DAC1. The Blue costs more and it has only XLR connectors, and no switching or volume control. But the sonic improvements are significant.

I agree with the comments that the DAC1 sounds relatively thin through the mids and upper bass, but it does so without introducing anything objectionable to the sound - and that is its trick. The result is a degree of clarity that is very engaging. It is not what I hear live, but it is very musical and sounds lively even when the recording is a bit flat. In that respect the DAC1 is coloured, but it does not offend one's musical sensibilities in any way. But switching to the Lavry the naturalness of the sound improves, images are more palpable, subtle details are more apparent, textures are more like live sounds, soundstage is larger, bass is fuller, dynamics are better, etc.

My main point is simply that the DAC1 is not unique in being great value for around a grand. Look at the Lavry Blue, the Stello, even the Mytek, perhaps the Audio Space. I am not telling you, don't get a DAC1, get a Lavry Blue - just that there are some other great value DACs you should listen to as well.

Despite my preference for the Blue over the DAC1, I hasten to add that I really like my DAC1. If I owned a DAC1 and then heard the Blue, I wonder if I would be bothered to make the change if it required me to take a loss on the DAC1 (unless the thinness of the DAC1 was creating a problem in my system, which it doesn't), simply because the DAC1 is so much fun to listen to.

I would also like to provide some balance to the reference to great reviews from audio engineers above. I follow pro audio and in everything I could find on the internet, whenever a pro audio guy compared the DAC1 with a Lavry Blue the Blue was preferred. Be careful of just accepting Benchmark's edited highlights of comments from the pro world. Benchmark is doing nothing unusual or shonky in its quotes, but do a little of your own research too.
Redkiwi, the Benchmark DAC1 is equivalent to the $8,500 Lavry DA2002 (not the much less expensive $1,250 Lavry Blue that you like so much), according to John Atkinson in his review of the $8,500 Lavry DA2002 in the 8/04 issue of S'Phile. This would seem to imply that the Benchmark would be superior to the cheaper Lavry Blue. I own the Benchmark but haven't heard either Lavry so I can't personally comment but I'm very glad you like your Lavry Blue.

According to JA in the article (regarding the $8,500 Lavry): "the Benchmark offers superb sound and suberb quality...", "in the low frequencies there was basically no difference between the ($8,500) Lavry and the Benchmark", "the Lavry's lower midrange had more bloom than the Benchmark...which wasn't always a benefit... robbing the bass guitar of some of its leading-edge energy".

In another comparison, he said that the $8,500 Lavry was "not outclassed" by the $12,000 Nagra DAC. So, if Benchmark DAC1=$8,500 Lavry DA2002, and Lavry DA2002=Nagra DAC, then it follows that Benchmark DAC1=$12,000 Nagra DAC.

To conclude: $975 Benchmark DAC1=$8,500 Lavry DA2002=$12,000 Nagra DAC. QED.
But that is not what I hear or what many others hear. You are entitled to John Atkinson's opinion DNE. I suggest you get your own opinion one day. Get a Lavry Gold and try it in your system then tell me it is equivalent to the DAC1. I would expect you to more likely find how laughable the 'equivalent' suggestion really is. The DAC1 is a great value DAC. That is why I could not resist buying one. But give us your opinion of its relative merits based on what you have actually listened to.

I am telling you that I own the DAC1 and the Lavry Blue and prefer the Lavry Blue in my system, and have found other similarly priced DACs that perform at a similar level. You have told me what you have read. Thanks - I can read too. I also read opinions from pro audio guys who almost without exception agree the Lavry Blue is superior to the DAC1. I also read opinions that the Lavry Gold and the DAC1 are not in the same ballpark. What I have done about it is heard each of them in my system, bought the two I could afford, and posted my findings here. Your response is that John Atkinson's words can be read as saying that the DAC1 is superior to the Lavry Blue, based on your selective editing of his various comments, and claim a QED?

By all means, accept John Atkinson's opinion over mine. I am here to share opinions and findings, not win some contest to prove who is right. Just don't tell me John Atkinson's opinion invalidates mine and proves me wrong. We could all just skip coming here and read Stereophile instead. With your reasoning John could select our purchases for us - he seems to have selected yours.

With your case irrefutably proven, I should now say to you 'DNE, I must be wrong after all. I say I prefer the Lavry Blue but there must be something wrong with my hearing. Because the selected words of John Atkinson do not lie. You have indeed bought a perfect DAC and I was wrong to ever cast any doubt on that based on my inadequate opinion. I will now box up my Lavry Blue and unbox my DAC1 and never listen to another DAC again - unless of course John Atkinson tells me to.' Sorry to disappoint, but I like my music too much. And find your QED to prove only one thing - and its got nothing to do with DACs.
Dne's juvenile defensiveness over the DAC1 reminds me a lot of Natalie and his/her treasured Coincidence CSTs.
I can understand the seductiveness of being able to believe that something I have purchased is the best there is. What a comfortable and anxiety free place to be. I have no doubt I indulge in self-delusion as much as or more than anyone else. I just don't see why I should have to support another's self delusion, or why DNE or anyone else should require me to do so. It suggests I am either really selfish or am self sufficient in my own self delusion and intolerant of DNE's lack of self sufficiency.
I think those of us involved in audiophilia are searching for our own sonic self-delusions. Our personal nirvana. The need to convince others that our way is the correct one, is pointless.
Nice post "Redkiwi". I too fail to understand the philosophy behind judgemental type decisions based on someone else's ears and a bit of vodoo math. Geeshh....

A quality debate and/or dialog is beneficial to everyone - and fun. And, for the most part, with perhaps the exception of a few posts, this thread has been enlightening. I have pretty much learned from experience how to riffle through posts concentrating on those of merit while at the same time riffling through those that go off course merely for the purpose of cooking up some innuendo. Fact is, in most internet chat type threads there is always quality dialog and, unfortunately there is usually always a dose of inappositeness.
has anybody compared the DAC1 and Apogee mini?

Yep Eastein. I prefer the DAC1, but if one needed a warmer smoother presentation I might plump for the Apogee. This is because the Apogee has less resolution (but read on) than the DAC1, but does not have the thinness of the DAC1 and is warmer/smoother. I can imagine how in some systems it could sound more natural. To me the DAC1 is so good at giving the outlines of the sound that in complex music it can be wonderful. In less complex music you don't hear into the subtle micro detail so well. It is there but that emphasis on the outlines takes over. Neither the Apogee or the Lavry Blue do that, so that you can hear more of the many sounds that say a plucked upright acoustic bass makes. With the DAC1 the driving propulsive beat of say an electric bass will stand out better in a complex piece of music, but a solo instrument will sound less like the real thing and more like a facsimile of it. These distinctions are not large so differences between systems and musical tastes will easily cause others to have a different view on this than me.

When I first heard the DAC1 do this I was somewhat startled and wondered what I was listening to - was it better or worse than I was used to - it was certainly different. In my view it was a greater emphasis on macro dynamics than on microdynamics and a touch more emphasis on the leading edge of sounds rather than the body and decay. Yet nothing of this diminished its musicality.

My view is the DAC1 is the product of a very skilled designer using an enormous amount of insight into DAC design to produce a 'flavoured' but high performing DAC using very cheap basic components. My guess is that the cheap as chips 5534 output ICs are the reason for the distinctive sound of the DAC1 as I recognise some of their characteristics from the days when I designed/manufactured/marketed a range of preamps. But I never got one to have the smooth sound that the DAC1 achieves - it is a real testament to the progress of design and the quality of cheap mass produced chips.

Just on the other point, I agree Gunbei and Nealhood, and thanks for your comments. We need to present our opinions as how the experience occurred to us. If we wish to add credibility to it by presenting supporting comments or facts then all the better, but it is pointless to use this place to try to prove one person's observation is right and the other's is wrong. They are both right unless one is a deliberate lie. The fact that the observations are different means that the observer or what was being observed, or some other variable was not identical - and why should we expect that they were identical and so only one observation can be right?

As you say Nealhood. We trade our opinions and observations and make our own judgements on the credibility or otherwise of another's post - but we do not need a public debate about that credibility and we will never prove anything by doing that. We each decide how much to use the opinions of others as an addition to our own experiences so that we can decide what to sell/buy/try/next, and each of us does that differently.

I see these forums as a place to give freely information that might help others, and receive the same thing freely. There is no transaction here and therefore no obligation to each other than to be truthful and civil. The gift of that information is best accepted for what it is, not against what you might prefer it to be.
Sorry Eastein I was less than clear. My best way of defining it is this. In general terms of 'audiophile' quality I would but the DAC1 a step above the Apogee and the Lavry Blue a half step above the DAC1. However added to this the DAC1 diverges from how the live event sounds more than the other two. The way it does that is truthful to the music, and is not objectionable, but has a distinctive editorial factor to it that you may just love, or you may find not quite acceptable. When we say it is slightly thin we do not mean it is hard or edgy or grainy. In fact there is probably no surer bet in audio than saying you will not regret paying a grand for the DAC1 if you just go and do it. With all the hype it has got you will probably also find it easy to sell if you change your mind. I have yet to find someone that says they just plain don't like it. However there are some who have said they prefer the Apogee Mini, and it is usually because it is fuller and more natural. Which of them you would prefer is hard to tell. For me the choice at this price level is between the Lavry Blue and the DAC1. The Lavry Blue sounds very similar to the Apogee in terms of character, but is just plain better in all respects - at a higher price. The choice between the Lavry and the DAC1, or between the Apogee and the DAC1 will be also driven by the difference in character.
Very interesting thread! Especially considering that with the purchase of a new vinyl rig, "going back to the future" has been a blast, and those little silver discs, and my Wadia 861 are gathering dust. BTW, the return to vinyl was a long time coming – after an over 2-decade long attempt at chasing the “perfect” digital grail. Sure am glad that I kept the 100’s of big black discs I collected over the years!

With that said, I would like to divest myself of the Wadia -- step down in cost -- use the proceeds to purchase more LP’s -- and obtain a very good, but not necessarily “great” digital front end.

From what I’ve read, the Benchmark may fit the bill; and may for the money, even be a lateral, rather than a sonically descending move.

The other DAC that sounds interesting is the dAck – especially the new version 2.0.

In any case, it would be interesting to hear of any comparisons between my Wadia and the Benchmark, and between the dAck and Benchmark.

I’ve not had a lot of digital audition experience, but I have heard a Resolution Audio Opus 21 , Levinson 39, and a CEC/Wavelength DAC combo in my system. So from my prespective, comparisons between them and the dAck, and Benchmark would be relevant.
In response to some of the comments above, let me first say that some of them are understandable since the posters are apparently unaware that this thread is simply a continuation of a prior thread started on 11/1/04.

My goal in that thread and this one has been to promote discussion and provide a balanced viewpoint of the Benchmark DAC1, as an offset to a persistent negativity by certain individuals, e.g. Redkiwi, Nealhood and others. I wanted to do this so that readers looking to buy a dac can have unbiased information to make an informed purchase. (I have in fact received 5 emails from potential buyers asking quesions.) And to have fun. My intent has never been to start a flame or to provoke the strangely self-righteous or even self-serving statements reflected by the above individuals. However, the unwarranted nature of their comments unfortunately requires a reply, at a time when I am already bored with this thread.

I stated in a post above that "No one is claiming that the Benchmark DAC1 is the world's greatest reference dac in absolute terms. What a multitude of people are saying...including users like that the DAC1 provides, at its relatively modest price, superb performance on an approximate par with much more expensive dacs, e.g., in the $5,000-$10,000 range."

So much for the pseudo physological verbiage about wanting to purchase "the best there is", to "reduce anxiety", and indulging in "self-delusions", etc. Where does that nonsense come from? I could care less whether the ML, Lavry or any other is ultimately held in higher regard by anyone. I don't have an agenda.

However, by contrast, in the prior thread I and others commented upon Redkiwi's, Nealhood's, and some other individuals' perplexing negativity, posted in multiple threads. And there may well be an agenda there, unwittingly or not. Others posters said "What is the deal with these people...trying to discredit a product..." As mfgrs. and/or dealers who apparently know one another, do they have an agenda?

Redkiwi seems to acknowledge this when he says in the prior thread: "As one of the "negative guys"..."I acknowledge a backlash (against the DAC1)..." And some other similar comments too.

Redkiwi's unfortunate and defensive response to my comments indicates that he is guilty of the very things he accuses me of. Is there an attempt here to stifle discussion? Am I not entitled to offer criticism without being attacked? Can't he take the heat of the forum without lashing out, couched in eloquent but defensive language? He would be well served to heed his own advice.

As for Nealhood, when will the comparison with the $32,000 dCS end?

Regarding the quote from John Atkinson, it is absurd to misinterpret this and say I was taking JA's written opinion instead of listening and forming my own opinion. I own a DAC1 and an Apogee -- do you? I was simply stating that Redkiwi is a less credible source than JA. They are both just "writers" who have listened and provide their opinion. Is there any debate about credibility-- JA v. Redkiwi? (Redkiwi who?) We all compare reviews, reviewers and their mags all the time. So what else is new? That doesn't imply we don't listen or have our own opinion.
Re: "QED": anyone have a sense of humor here? I guess not.

So, to conclude, I am most surprised at the defensive, sharp and unwarranted reactions by the above individuals to some legitimate criticism, put forth by me and others as well. I hope those individuals can in the future tolerate some opinions that differ from their own.

Lastly, to quote another individual from the prior post, in response to the same comments that I am responding to now: "This post is lame. I'm moving on to a new thread where those who have a Benchmark and a clue..." And I too am moving on, and won't even get to enjoy the inevitable self-righteous comments that will follow here. See you in the next thread.
Bravo, DNE! You wrote what a lot of us where thinking....
What negativity DNE? I have stated over and over what a great DAC the DAC1 is, and fantastic value for money, and have even bought one. What you don't seem to be able to cope with at all is anything that implies the DAC1 is bettered by any other DAC in someone's system, or that the DAC1 is not the equivalent or better than any other DAC on the planet. Read my posts again and your last post becomes a 'doth protest too much, me thinks'. If you really wanted a balanced discussion about the DAC1, how come you are incapable of allowing posts where someone provides balance, without a childish response defending the perfection of your DAC? At least, from Uva hifi, we discover that your narrow-mindedness about others' honestly expressed opinions has company.
My mistake was clearly to think you actually wanted a balanced discussion. Instead you obviously wanted a collective little 'w-word' without interruption. Most adolescents lock the door and do it in private. Otherwise they just look ridiculous.

To rectify my mistake I shall just tiptoe from the room and leave you boys to it. Enjoy!
Redkiwi, your only posts to this forum lately have been to belittle this product and tout what YOU own as the best piece for EVERYONE. You declare it a set in stone fact that the piece you own is superior to this product, and everyone must agree with YOU and YOUR TASTES! So, who is the narrow minded one here, really. Also, do you really think that you are making Dne look immature by your last post? Give us all a break from your rhetoric and inability to answer questions in an adult, let alone logical and methodical fashion and keep your opinions as what they are, just your opinion....
Abrahavt, sorry I can't get hold of the Audio Space contact details. If I do get them, I'll let you know.
What planet are you on Uva? Where have I belittled the DAC1? By saying I prefer the Lavry Blue? When did I ever call the Lavry Blue the best? I can think of at least three DACs I have heard in my system that are better than the Lavry Blue. When have I said the Blue would be a better DAC for anyone else? You are simply making up stories. When I say the DAC1 is a great DAC, is that belittling it? When I say I bought one, is that belittling it? All I have done Uva is report what I have heard from these DACs in my system. I have not criticised what anyone has posted here about their experiences. Yet that is how small minded little twerps like you and DNE have reacted to my straightforward reporting of my experiences. From what I can tell, you guys are finding it unacceptable that I have pointed out that there are other DACs at around the same price that compete with the DAC1. What is it about such a suggestion that upsets you? Why do you feel so insulted when someone like me praises the DAC1 yet says he prefers a slightly more expensive DAC? I thought DNE a bit over the top - you have managed to top even him.
The saving grace of these debates is that while the thread rages on, most of us privately and quietly make up our minds concerning whose opinions are actually useful (whether we agree with them or not). Some members have, over a long period of time, demonstrated that they not only listen to lots of gear but can describe what they hear
1) with precision (not "A blows B away" or even--sorry--"A was much more musical than B"),
2) comparatively across competing products, so we readers have a better chance of actually having a reference point based on our own listening, and
3) in reference to their own tastes, so we have a better chance of factoring in/out some of the copious amount of subjectivity that goes into such opinions.

These criteria are not easy to meet, and they add up to a degree of authenticity of opinion that makes the opinion useful.

Opinions that rely heavily on appeals to outside, "expert" opinions simply don't have this authenticity. Stereophile only costs $10/year and has lots of slick pictures to boot. I don't have to come here to read S'phile's opinions.

Fortunately, in the end it doesn't matter who shouts loudest or gets the last word or invokes the most "experts", except to those for whom that's what the hobby is mostly about.

Redkiwi, PERSONAL NAME-CALLING ATTACKS HAVE NO PLACE HERE. You owe an APOLOGY to Uva-hifi and me. We will see if you post one.

You just called Uva-hifi a "small-minded twerp" and made certain sexual allusions. And, as I said earlier, about me you put forth some psycho-babble about my alleged "self-delusions" and "need to reduce anxiety", in an exagerrated and overly-defensive response to a post submitted by me in good faith.

Redkiwi, here's the way it works: In this forum, if you want to take issue with a post, you can do so objectively and in a civil manner. You don't get personal here--get it?

If you objected to my methodology in citing a reviewer (sin of sins!), you could have, and should have, said something like: "Dne, I disagree with your methodology in citing a reviewer. I think it is flawed because..."

Instead, you chose to start flinging around personal recriminations and resort to calling names. As I said in my post above, this is unwarranted and overly-defensive. Why are you so defensive? You try to give the impression of a high-minded expert but instead you get down in the gutter. One would not expect this from an apparent industy person, nor from your cosy coterie of associates who post with you.

I thought I was through here but I cannot stand idly by when I see comments like these.

I look forward to reading your posts (only) when they are objective and focus on the product and not on the poster personally. That's what I try to do.

Now I, and presumably, Uva, are ready to accept your apology.
Indeed! Well said Jayboard.

Let's get back to discussing what each of us hear, without petulant reprisals for failing to toe the party line. I was beginning to wonder if this was Audiogon or the Benchmark Evangelist Church.

One last time - I really really like the Benchmark. AND, I have heard DACs that I prefer to it, all of which cost more money. That is what I hear, and I do not claim it to mean anything more than that. If that is unacceptable here, then I will happily go elsewhere.
DNE, our posts crossed.

The behaviour of both yourself and Uva in attacking my posts, where I did none of the things Uva accused me of, and where your post in reply on 26 January was about the most mindless set of arguments I have ever seen posted, in pursuit of proving the unprovable caused me to think you guys were a bunch of ...(expletive deleted)... Read my post of 25 January again and see if you can quote me in reasonable context to have done anything other than report my honest opinion based on what I have heard.

Yes I have slapped you two around for your inappropriate posts. You claim your post of 26 January was merely quoting a reviewer. Go read it again DNE - it was a ridiculous argument directed at me, whereupon I believed the best cause of action was to point out how ridiculous it was. That does not strike me as inappropriate.

What then ensued, was merely an escalation. My apology is to Audiogon for once again falling for being baited by unwarranted attackes from DNE and Uva. If anyone was upset by my derogatory references to DNE and Uva, then I do apologise.

As for DNE and Uva. Go read these posts again and tell me you believe I started this. I can't see that at all. If you cannot tolerate opinions about a product that are different from your opinions without attacking, then it is you who is posting inappropriately here. If you still cannot see how you started this, then lets just be grown ups and let it go.
"here's the way it works: In this forum, if you want to take issue with a post, you can do so objectively and in a civil manner."

Dne, you really need to take your own advice. Your initial post set the entire negative tone of this thread...

"Midrange and mid-bass a bit thin? I don't think so".

Where's there room for discussion here? This statement eliminated any and all friendly and objective sharing of experiences.

I'd heard great things about this DAC so I popped in here to hopefully gain some insight, information and an idea of what type of sonic character the Benchmark imparted.

Instead what I read was infantile knee jerk reactions to anyone who disagreed with you and your daddy John.

Hey kid, we all have different ears, different equipment and different tastes. Why is it so important that anyone who doesn't see things the way you do has to come around to your view?

You've got good feedback here, so it seems you're an honorable person. So why do you find it necessary to post a rebuttal to anyone with a different opinion and list everyone from Abe Lincoln to Bette Midler who agree with you? As some of the posters here have mentioned, that has very little relevance. Audiogon members are interested in "sharing" experiences and discussing why certain differences might exist. Associated equipment? Room acoustics? Cabling? Different priorities?

I had read the other thread a week ago you referred to, and I thought Redkiwi was quite complimentary of the Benchmark. IN FACT, HE'S ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS I EVEN CONSIDERED GETTING THE DAMN THING!

Redkiwi, Benchmark Evangelist Church is right. Or maybe more like Sunday school.
I have been following this thread for a while but staying out of it. I have to come down on the side of Redkiwi. All he did was state that in his system he preferred The Lavry Blue to the Benchmark and he was attacked for saying that. This forum is for people to express their opinions and experiences. You may or may not agree with any one person's opinion. Doesnt mean you have to attack them for it. Any decision that a person makes is based on many opinions not that of one individual. If you do not agree you can state as much in a nice way and describe your own experience. There is no need to take these things personaly. I think everyone should desist from name calling and return to a civilized exchange of ideas and experiences. There is no life and death issue involved here.
Man, this is too easy, but here it goes anyways, as it’s a lazy sunday and I’m ripping hundreds of CD’s to my hard drives:

You say first "The behaviour of both yourself and Uva in attacking my posts" (ie., in merely disagreeing with YOU) is unacceptable, yet you later go on to preach,

"If you cannot tolerate opinions about a product that are different from your opinions without attacking, then it is you who is posting inappropriately here"

is the biggest load of crap I've read in a while! I'm shaking my head in a stupor, here. Usually folks have the presence of mind to put these statements in different topics, or at least different posts! Give us a break. Anyone with good conscience and logic could have attacked ridiculous posts like these. Dne and myself apparently where then only two people bored enough to do take on this epic "challenge."

You then go on with your Benchmark ridiculing; with whatever agenda you are pushing, in calling those here that enjoy the product in reference, among those reviewers are recording engineers, musicians, and highly experience owners and listeners of the highest quality digital, part of "the Benchmark Evangelist Church." Everyone sees through your petty pseudo-praise of the Benchmark dac. You're putting up a false front as a 'good-guy' fellow owner only to deflect some of the deserved criticism of your approach to relaying your OPINION as the true or superior one, which I'm feeling fewer and fewer are holding in much esteem based on your behaviour in your last few posts. Get over yourself and your precious obscure dacs and let others have their own opinions without it making your throw a hissy fit, is my advice to your mental and physical health. You like other dacs better, that’s super. Do you really need to let everyone know everytime the DAC1 is mentioned that YOU found something that suites YOUR TASTES better? Me thinks not.

And here's the kicker:

"My apology is to Audiogon for once again falling for being baited by unwarranted attackes from DNE and Uva. If anyone was upset by my derogatory references to DNE and Uva, then I do apologise."

!!!! WOW, what to say to that!....So, you look like a REALLY big man, now. You really touch a lot of hearts with that bit of conceited dribble. Grow up, take responsibility for your ignorant and inappropriate posts that are plain for all to see for what they are, apologize to those deserving an apology (I could care less if a child insults me, personally), and learn how to behave yourself in a public forum and, by that, I'm hoping you'll live another 10 years. Oh, and have a great day....
I personally am tired of this, personal recriminations have no place here, a half-way apology is better than none at all, we agree on many points, let's move on. Life's too short.
Lastly, and the good news on the Benchmark DAC1 is that there is an improvement coming along that will, wonder of wonders, make this whole post obsolete, thank god.

Because it improves the DAC1 so much that the DAC1 bypasses most of the other dacs discussed and, as a poster said in the prior thread, makes the DAC1 really "world class", i.e., truly equal to the ML, etc. and, yes, maybe up to the dCS!!

It's really an "adjustment" and was alluded to in the prior post. It will be announced in not too long. I already have it and I can tell you (from listening and comparing) that it is the real thing. More to come...
I will leave your post to speak for itself Uva.

That is very interesting Dne. I look forward to trying the adjustment with my DAC1. Rest assured that if it does what you say it will oust my Lavry, and I will be happy to report on that.

I tried a lot of permutations with the DAC1, including various combinations of internal and calibrated gain, and removing both switching and the volume control from the equation, and some certainly sounded better than others. So I am intrigued to hear about the one you are advocating.
What is the adjustment?

I have been considering buying a DAC1 - is the adjustment an aftermarked modification, or should I wait to buy until the 'adjustment' has been implemented?