Benchmark DAC2 HGC
9 responses Add your response
Chord QuteHD. Contains the same technology as a previous DAC they made at about $9-10K but only costs $1.5-1.7k depending on how you get it. I compared it to the DAC's I have that cost $6-8k. It bested two of them and was close to a third. Very serious stuff indeed and drop dead value. It does get better though with an external power supply and USB converter like the Off-Ramp - that's when it takes on the more expensive stuff - still good mind you without it but really world class doing that.
I would be careful of the Benchmark - many people like myself find it dry, uninvolving, and analytical - make sure you hear it in your system first.
You don't mention what you're looking to improve upon or your price range, but some DACs worth looking into:
Empirical Audio Overdrive
Bel Canto DAC3.5VB
Berkeley Alpha 2
The only one I've had in my system is the Bel Canto and it is fantastic. Woulda bought it if I had the funds. Very transparent with nice 3D soundstage, very natural tonality, and no edginess or digititis. My guess is the Berkeley is just a touch warmer, but that's just going on what I've read from reviews so take it fwiw.
Best of luck, and please let us know what you find.
The bass weight of the Chord is a standout - one of the best, if not the best, I have ever heard - and believe me I have heard a lot.
My experience with the Benchmark is with he DAC-1 not the newer one. But all I am asking you to do is listen to it - you may like it even if the newer one sounds similar to the DAC-1 - some do.
Where you get the Chord obviously depends on where you live. I am in Australia and certainly if you live here I can tell you but I think its unlikely you do so you will probably have to a bit of an internet search. I also know some who are getting it from the UK where minus the 20% VAT they pay it works out cheaper than the $1700.00 we pay in Australia at about $1400.00 or so - that may be the cheapest way for you to get it. While I believe it is really an up-there DAC on par weith the $6-8k DAC's I also own it would be wise to hear it first if you order it from the UK.