The new DAC2 HGC is worth a listen. You can get it on 30-day home trial from Benchmark directly or from some of the usual suspects.
Based on my recollection of the DAC1, which I also owned, the new model is definitely higher resolution but retains that quiet background and crystal clarity.
Since you like Benchmark, the natural progression from the DAC1 would be to audition the DAC2 HGC, and if it isn't pleasing, as mentioned you can return it. You don't mention a budget, but it will set you back about 1995. I had one and the only reason I don't still have it is that I have a built in DAC now.
Don't let me forget to mention a DAC that is getting great praise now, the Chord QuteHD. If I was in the market for a new DAC, I would have a hard time resisting a try, based on some seasoned fellows at computeraudiophile etc. who have great feedback on this DAC. It's also less than the Banchmark.
Yes, the Chord is a must-hear if you don't need the volume control or analog inputs of the Benchmark.
Uh, thanks guys but the downside of the whole story is that I'm in Russia, that means no 30 days trial and no DAC2 available anywhere. One that I possibly can audition is Chord. BTW, why are you directing me towards the Chord, is that sounds like DAC1? Or it is simply a good one? Since there are planty of great DACs but they all sound different.
My budget is near $5k for used device.
How will you use the DAC? Your MA2275 has volume control and analog inputs, so seems you don't need that.
Will the source be a computer? If so, the USB-to-SPDIF "module" will be key. I say module because it could be part of the DAC or could be a separate unit. Many people say getting this right should be a priority, including Steve Nugent (audioengr user here) who's the brains (and marketing manager too) for Empirical Audio, that makes one of the best USB converters around - but expensive.
With such a budget you might want to consider the top contenders for such converters: Berkeley, Empirical's Off-Ramp, Audiophilleo with PurePower, BelCanto RefLink. These go for $1-2k in the US. Maybe after adding one of these you decide you don't need to replace your current DAC.
Just a thought. I hope it helps.
To be honest, I don't have the DAC1 already and the USB to SPDIF is some clever guess! Never thought of that as possible improvement. Yes I plan to use the DAC with MacMini (USB) and/or with my Apple TV (toslink) to line in in my amp.
Theppd, the Chord Qute is considered by some to be one of the best right now, thus my recommendation. You are a long way from the US! It's wonderful that the internet gives us the ability to share our common interest in audio half way across the world!
I recently learned of a company that you might be able to use to purchase audio here in the US and have it shipped to you. You might also be able to return audio through them if you needed to. I don't know for sure, but you can investigate the possibilities. Maybe this would help you pursue audio that has 30 day auditions like the Benchmark DAC. (I could be wrong about this but it might be worth investigating since you live in Russia). A fellow who lives in Italy I sold to had me ship audio gear to this company and the company shipped it to him in Italy. The company is called:
TNT Worldshop https://www.tntworldshop.com/
Also have a listen to the TEAC UD-501 which also plays DSD and up to 32bit/384kHz using BurrBrown 1795 chips. No volume control preamp but there is a volume control for the headphone amp.
It's the cheapest DSD DAC by far.
Other well reviewed option is the Mytek (abt 500 bucks cheaper than the Benchmark DAC2)
If you just need USB because you are using a computer and given the sound you are looking for I think you would like an Ayre QB-9. You'll save a lot of money and shouldn't have too much trouble finding one.
One suggestion before you move on from the DAC1: You mention a lack of resolution, which is surprising since resolution is one of the strong points of the DAC. Could there be an issue with the unit you have; and are you using a top notch digital cable and a very good transport or computer source -both of which dramatically affect the sound of the DAC1?
Re the Benchmark DAC2, it does sound very different - and much improved - from the DAC1, with improved resolution and clarity, more articulate and better defined bass and midrange, and a warmer smoother overall sound.
I recommend the Mytek. They have a version of it which can be used as a preamp. Does dsd if you are interested in that. I have it and it is really quite wonderful. I no longer feel a need to listen to my vinyl which is saying quite a lot. Also Mytekdigital is a polish company so you might be able to get it fairly easy. go to Mytekdigital.com
@Dne, ...and a warmer smoother overall sound... that's what I wouldn't like to hear. The DAC1 that I was using was connected via toslink only to variety of sources. Maybe that was the reason. But I've sold the DAC1 a year ago. Right now I'm buying it again (3rd time actually for the last 3 years) at head-fi the Pre version because of upgraded op-amps. I pland to hook it up via USB at the moment. A little bit later will buy the Berkeley USB, and then some fancy cables.
Will see what's gonna change with USB and op-amps only.
Lately, 've listened Mytek, Electrocompaniet EMC1, MCD500 upgraded and T+A 3000 CD player. Across them all, liked more MCD500 and Mytek, but overall, it wasn't my type of sound at all. MCD500 and Mytek were like twins.
Still waiting my DAC1 PRE...
@Dne, just to clarify my previous experience with DAC1, I've had non USB version and fed it from Apple TV/MacBook Pro via Toslink. So maybe that was an issue source?
Right now, I'm waiting for the PRE version of the DAC1 and gonna feed it via stock USB at first, then I upgrade the power cable, since I've bought an amaizing RCA cable already it's Acrotec 2050 (really awesome sound for me), and then I'm about to buy top AQ USB cable, next up is Berkeley USB. So here are my plans for that setup. Oh, and the source is gonna be the Mac Mini.
@Theppd, I would expect that the improvements you're making in the power cord and usb cable will make a big difference. The toslink that you used previously could have contributed to the lack of resolution if, like many people, you used just a standard plastic toslink. Those are bad.
I first used one awhile back, then went to an inexpensive glass toslink, which was much much better, then went to a Wireworld glass toslink which blew away the inexpensive glass toslink. Tremendous improvement in all areas!
I just started feeding my Benchmark DAC1 through a Wireworld Starlight USB from a Windows 7 laptop, and have been listening to Radio Paradise at 192kb. I think it sounds great, and like it better than when fed from CD player over coax. Seems smoother, or maybe it's just new.
The M2Tech Young with Palmer (battery) Power Station would be an excellent upgrade. Well received by Stereophile in latest May 2013 issue. It was actually compared to the Benchmark DAC and was preferred.
@jpn2020, Just to clarify, the Benchmark dac used in the article was the DAC1 USB ($1,195) not the Benchmark DAC2. Price of the M2Tech Young with power station was shown as $2748.
I actually have an ability to a/b those dacs by myself as soon as I'll get my DAC1 Pre. Hope soon.
Meanwhile I've received my DAC1 Pre and at the same time the Acrolink 1400 speaker cable. Have to say, the Pre version is definately sounds more refined and no way harsh as it was in regular version. I really love the sound of my system now and there is nothing I would change almost 100%. Still waiting for another cable upgrades which are in the air (AQ Diamond USB, VHAudio Flavor 4, Hi-end fises).
Anybody had success with the newer BEnchmark dac2 hgc as pre-amp and DAC? If so, what if anything did it replace?