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BENCHMARK

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BENCHMARK ADC16 16-CHANNEL ANALOG TO DIGITAL AUDIO CONVERTER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK ADC16 16-CHANNEL ANALOG TO DIGITAL AUDIO CONVERTER

฿156,000

Music is a Beautiful thing...especially with the Benchmark ADC16, 16-Channel 24-bit 192kHz A/D Audio Converter.

"I played a Gibson Custom Shop '59 Les Paul, which has a fantastic warm humbucker tone. I have recorded this rig with other converters, but the Benchmark ADC16-recorded tunes played back through the DAC1USB (or even my Apogee DAC) blew them all away. I have never heard my guitar rig sound this good..."

- Jackson Macinnis, Everything Audio Network

Benchmark’s philosophy is very clear: digital converters should preserve all of the glorious nuances of the source so that the listener can simply engage with the music. Benchmark’s converters are world-renowned for fulfilling this mandate.

"I almost forgot that I had the ADC16 patched into my system over the review period - which is possibly the most flattering thing you can say about a unit designed to be transparent in use."

- Stephen Bennett

The ADC16 delivers the full performance of Benchmark's 2-channel ADC1 in a full-featured 16-channel package. With this channel density, Benchmark performance is surprisingly affordable.

DESIGNED, ASSEMBLED, AND TESTED IN THE USA

This Benchmark product was designed, assembled, and tested in the USA using USA and imported components. Most major components are made in USA.

BENCHMARK ANALOG INPUT STAGES

The ADC16 features 16-channels of transformerless balanced analog inputs. The analog front-end continues Benchmark’s tradition of exceptionally pristine, award-winning analog circuitry – a legacy that dates back to the early 1980's.

Each channel of analog input has a gain control (via a trim-pot) that has a 20 dB range. At 0 dB of gain, it can accept 28 dBu at the input without clipping. At max-gain, an 8 dB input-signal will drive the converters to full-scale.

ROUTABLE DIGITAL OUTPUTS

The ADC16 features three separate 16-channel output groups:

  • Balanced AES/EBU (16 channels at all sample rates)
  • Coaxial AES (16 channels at all sample rates)
  • Optical (AES or ADAT) (16 channels at all sample rates and formats)

There are two sources available for each output group:

  • A/D output (16 channels)
  • DAW return (16 channels) - if equipped with optional Firewire card

The control panel allows the assignment the source groups (A/D or DAW) to the output groups (AES, Coaxial, or Optical). This is very useful when the ADC16 is used in a studio with an analog console. The digital audio from the A/D chips can be sent directly to the digital outputs to a multichannel D/A to feed the console – completely bypassing the DAW while tracking. This reduces latency and DAW artifacts in real-time monitoring. At a press of a button, the return channels from the DAW can be routed to the same outputs for mixing.

MULTI-FORMAT OPTICAL OUTPUTS

The eight optical outputs on the ADC16 can be operated in SPDIF or ADAT mode at sample-rates up to 192 kHz (ADAT has SMUX2 and SMUX4 functionality).

The ADAT mode of the optical outputs makes the ADC16 a perfect companion for older Pro Tools LE interfaces, as well as other digital interfaces with ADAT and coaxial inputs, as it can fulfill the entire digital-input capability of the interface with state-of-the-art A/D performance.

ULTRALOCKDDS™ - JITTER-IMMUNE CLOCK SYSTEM

The clock performance of the ADC16 never varies. Benchmark’s new UltraLockDDS™ clock system utilizes the latest low-jitter clock technology leveraging systems developed for high-frequency RF communications.
The master oscillator is a low phase-noise, temperature-compensated, fixed-frequency crystal oscillator with a +/- 2 PPM frequency accuracy. The frequency accuracy and stability of the ADC16's oscillator makes it well suited to operate as the master clock for the entire studio. However, if an external master clock is available, the ADC16 can be slaved to the external clock without any performance penalty.
This ADC16's internal oscillator drives a 500 MHz Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) system that generates a 3072 x WC system clock. This high-frequency clock is divided by 6 and distributed directly to the A/D converters using a high-speed PECL clock distribution chip. Each of the 8 converters are driven directly from a dedicated, matched-impedance transmission line.

Jitter attenuation is achieved with digital filters in a custom FPGA that controls the DDS system. All jitter-induced distortion artifacts are well below audibility under all operating conditions. Jitter-induced distortion is always at least 135 dB below the level of the music. The jitter-performance of UltralLockDDS™ meets or exceeds the performance of Benchmark’s UltraLock™ system, but does not use asynchronous sample rate conversion (ASRC). The elimination of the ASRC processing significantly reduces system latency and provides the most direct path from the A/D to the digital interface.

FLEXIBLE FREQUENCY-AGILE CLOCK OPERATION

Benchmark’s UltraLockDDS™ system is frequency agile. It can lock to any sample rate between 28 kHz and 200 kHz, and it can do so in a few milliseconds. Special pull-up and pull-down sample rates for film to video transfers are no problem. Best of all, jitter is always attenuated to levels that are well below audibility. Jitter performance is identical in all modes of operation.

16-CHANNEL METER BRIDGE

The ADC16 features 9-segment meters for each channel. These meters are single-sample accurate, so that even the shortest peaks are registered. The meters can be set to display in 6 dB increments (48 dB range) or 1 dB increments (20 dB range). In both cases, the meters can be put in ‘peak-hold’ mode, which will hold the highest-valued sample until the ‘peak-hold’ mode is reset.

OPTIONAL DAW INTERFACE

The ADC16 has a slot for an optional Firewire card. With a Firewire connection to the computer, the ADC16 can connect to a DAW, without the need for any other hardware. 

Note: The optional Firewire card supports Windows operating systems. It also supports older Mac operating systems (up through Version 10.6). Mac systems above 10.6 are not supported.

SPECIFICATIONS

SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +16 to +29 dBu

121 dB

SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +16 to +29 dBu

119 dB

SNR – A-Weighted at max gain, 0 dBFS = -10 dBv

117 dB

THD+N, 1 kHz at –1 dBFS

-102 dBFS, -101 dB, 0.00089%

THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS

-107 dBFS, -104 dB, 0.00063%

THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS

-105 dBFS, -102 dB, 0.00079%

Frequency Response at Fs=192 kHz

-3 dB, +0 dB, 2 Hz to 94 kHz

+/- 0.02 dB, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

 

BENCHMARK ADC16 16-CHANNEL ANALOG TO DIGITAL AUDIO CONVERTER
฿156,000
Music is a Beautiful thing...especially with the Benchmark ADC16, 16-Channel 24-bit 192kHz A/D Audio Converter. "I played a Gibson Custom Shop '59 Les Paul, which has a fantastic warm hum..
฿156,000

Available Options

BENCHMARK AHB2 POWER AMPLIFIER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK AHB2 POWER AMPLIFIER

฿118,900

THE QUIETEST, CLEANEST AUDIO AMPLIFIER ON THE PLANET

From the first watt to the last watt, no audio power amplifier offers lower noise or lower distortion than the Benchmark AHB2.Benchmark has raised the bar by introducing a new and revolutionary amplifier!

“I measured less distortion and noise in the AHB2 than in any other of the many power amps I've measured over the years.”

-Bascom King, BHK Labs

“If ever there were a giant-killer of an amp, this is it.”

"It is one of the -- if not the -- quietest, most resolving amps I've heard. Time and again, without ever having intended to, I wound up hours deep in listening to the fringes of my music collection, thanks to the AHB2’s reference-level transparency and obscene athleticism."

- Hans Wetzel, SoundStage!

"Benchmark Media Systems' AHB2 is an extraordinary amplifier. Not only does its performance lie at the limits of what is possible for me to reliably test, it packs high power into a very small package, especially when used in bridged-mono mode. It is truly a high-resolution amplifier."

- John Atkinson, Stereophile

TRUE HIGH-RESOLUTION PERFORMANCE 

The AHB2 is the ideal match to the performance limits of High-Resolution-Audio (HRA) formats. Benchmark's AHB2 power amplifier delivers musical details without introducing the masking effects of amplifier noise and distortion. The dynamic range of the AHB2 is 132 dB, making it 10 to 30 dB quieter than some of the very best reference-quality power amplifiers.

The frequency response of the AHB2 extends beyond 200 kHz. With the AHB2, you will discover previously overlooked nuances, dynamics, and detail in your favorite recordings and experience the full potential of the latest high-resolution 24-bit PCM and 1-bit DSD audio formats.

EXPERIENCE THE EMOTION

The musical details and emotion captured on today's finest High-Resolution-Audio recordings can only be fully appreciated when every component in the signal chain is capable of true high-resolution performance. Power amplifiers are a weak link in most audio systems. Most power amplifiers are well matched to the limitations of the CD format, but they fall well short of the capabilities of high-resolution formats. In contrast, the revolutionary AHB2 was specifically designed to deliver true high-resolution performance.

"Best Stereo Amplifier of 2017 ... masterfully detailed and transparent with spot-on tonality and some serious punch."

- Ben Shyman, Home Theater Review

FULFILLING THE NEED FOR BETTER AMPLIFICATION

D/A conversion technology has outpaced the development of new power amplifiers. This means that the power amplifier has become a limiting factor in many audio systems. For example, the noise and distortion produced by the Benchmark DAC3 D/A converter is 20 to 30 dB lower than that produced by most high-quality power amplifiers. Until now, this meant that the DAC3 could not be fully appreciated. Benchmark set out to solve this problem by creating an amplifier that matches the performance of the DAC3.

A RADICALLY DIFFERENT POWER AMPLIFIER

We had to look beyond existing amplifier technologies and explore some new and radical solutions. In our search, we learned of two new patents on a new amplifier technology from THX. This was exactly the technology we needed to build our new amplifier.

The AHB2 uses the new and revolutionary THX-patented AAA™ technology to virtually eliminate all forms of distortion. This technology uses feed-forward error correction to eliminate the distortion that is normally produced by the output stage. No other audio amplifier comes close to delivering the clean, quiet, and robust power of the AHB2.

DIFFICULT SPEAKER LOADS ARE HANDLED WITH EASE

Many loudspeakers have frequencies at which their impedance drops to levels that are much lower than the "nominal" impedance. The AHB2 drives difficult phase angles and low impedances with ease. Stereo loads as low as 1.4 Ohms can be cleanly driven to full output levels. Most power amplifiers produce higher levels of distortion when the load impedance decreases. In contrast, the feed-forward error correction system in the AHB2 keeps the output clean when driving difficult loads. The AHB2 produces almost no measurable distortion at any rated load condition.

In our quest to build the ultimate amplifier, we also focused on frequency response, output noise, drive current, damping factor, and reliability. The result is an amplifier that stands head and shoulders above the competition.

 

SONIC PURITY THAT SURPASSES CLASS A!

The AHB2is a linear amplifier that surpasses the sonic purity of all class-A amplifiers. No amplifier delivers lower noise or lower distortion. The small, passively cooled chassis, cleanly delivers 480 Watts bridged mono into 6 Ohms, with additional reserves for driving difficult speaker loads. Unlike power-hungry class-A amplifiers, the AHB2 achieves a power efficiency that rivals that of a Class D (switching) power amplifier.

DIFFICULT SPEAKER LOADS ARE HANDLED WITH EASE

Many loudspeakers have frequencies at which their impedance drops to levels that are much lower than the "nominal" impedance. The AHB2 drives difficult phase angles and low impedances with ease. Stereo loads as low as 1.4 Ohms can be cleanly driven to full output levels. Most power amplifiers produce higher levels of distortion when the load impedance decreases. In contrast, the feed-forward error correction system in the AHB2keeps the output clean when driving difficult loads. The AHB2 produces almost no measurable distortion at any rated load condition.

HIGH DAMPING FACTOR

The AHB2has a high damping factor that augments its extended low-end to deliver solid, well-controlled bass. This high damping factor also keeps the frequency response absolutely flat while driving speakers with large frequency-dependent impedance variations.

HIGH OUTPUT CURRENT

The AHB2can deliver up to 29 A peak to each channel simultaneously. This robust drive current easily handles some of the most demanding loudspeakers. The AHB2 has tightly regulated power supplies that keep the output clean while delivering high current.

DISTORTION IS BELOW AUDIBILITY

The AHB2 will never produce audible distortion. In most playback systems, the distortion produced by the AHB2 will never even reach the 0 dB SPL threshold of hearing. This means that the distortion could not be heard, even if it could be played while the music was muted.

The AHB2 allows you to escape the distortion limitations of classic amplifier topologies and enter the world of high-resolution audio playback.

"I very much enjoyed my time evaluating the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier and can heartily recommend it to those seeking one of the lowest distortion and lowest noise amplifiers on the planet—one that is very musically transparent and easy on the ears to boot."

- Frank Alles, Stereo Times

EXTREME PERFORMANCE OFTEN REQUIRES A RADICAL APPROACH

The AHB2 amplifier is radically different than traditional audio amplifiers. Two new THX-patented feed-forward error-correction technologies eliminate most sources of distortion. An unconventional power supply maintains tight regulation and low ripple while minimizing magnetic fields. A low-gain topology optimizes the gain staging between the D/A converter and the power amplifier while minimizing noise. Sophisticated shielding and star-quad signal distribution provide outstanding immunity to interference. A unique output stage incorporates class-H tracking power supply rails to improve efficiency. The result is that the cool-running AHB2 has a signal to noise ratio of 132 dB while distortion is at or below the measurement limits of the finest test equipment.

See John Siau's application note: "A Radical Approach to Power Amplification" for more details.

INTRODUCING THX ACHROMATIC AUDIO AMPLIFIER TECHNOLOGY™

The AHB2 is the only amplifier that leverages the patented THX-AAA Technology™. This patented system reduces distortion to vanishingly low levels while enabling several power-saving techniques.

"The Benchmark AHB2 is a powerful and efficient amplifier with prodigious low levels of noise and distortion. The fact that it is also very musical and non-fatiguing, courtesy of THX’s patented AAA Technology™, is the icing on the cake. Benchmark Media and THX have a lot to be proud of for the development and implementation of the new technology the AHB2 represents."

- Frank Alles, Stereo Times

BIPOLAR CLASS-AB OUTPUT STAGE

The AHB2 has a bipolar class-AB output stage that delivers high output current and low noise. The THX-AAATechnology™ provides accurate cancellation of zero-crossing errors, exceeding the performance of the best class-A amplifier.

FEED-FORWARD ERROR CORRECTION

Traditional class-AB amplifiers generate crossover distortion every time the push-pull output stage crosses 0 volts. This crossover distortion can be especially problematic at low playback levels.

In contrast, class-A amplifiers eliminate crossover distortion by keeping all output devices turned on at all times. This brute-force class-A approach solves the crossover distortion problem but it consumes lots of power while delivering very little to the speakers. The wasted power produces heat which must be dissipated into the listening space.

Class-A amplifiers eliminate crossover distortion but they suffer from high power consumption, poor damping, and limited output power. The AHB2 is the first amplifier to virtually eliminate crossover distortion without incurring the undesirable side effects of class-A amplification.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST WATT

Dick Olsher once said that "the first Watt is the most important Watt". We agree! From the first Watt to the last Watt, the AHB2 shows no evidence of crossover distortion.

In contrast, all conventional class-AB amplifiers have crossover-distortion artifacts.Traditional class-AB designs attempt to control distortion through the use of feedback. Unfortunately, these feedback systems have a limited ability to reduce the abrupt transients that are caused by output device crossover transitions. Feedback networks attempt to correct errors afterthey occur. In contrast, feed-forward networks can prevent errors before they occur.

THX-AAA Technology™ includes an ultra-clean low-power error-correction amplifier that runs in parallel with the high-power main amplifier. The correction amplifier actively drives the output while the main output devices transition between push and pull states. Like a class-A amplifier, the AHB2 shows no signs of crossover distortion. The feed-forward system virtually eliminates the errors that would have been produced by the output devices in the main amplifier.

HIGH EFFICIENCY - GREEN NEVER SOUNDED SO GOOD!

The THX-patented feed-forward error correction used in the AHB2 is so effective that biasing of the class-AB bipolar output devices can be reduced to unusually low levels. Benchmark has chosen to maintain a small bias current in the output stage, but this bias current is not critical to the distortion performance of the unit. The benefit of low bias current is that very little power is wasted as heat when the amplifier is idle. The AHB2 only draws 12 W when idle, and less than 1/2 W in standby.

The feed-forward error correction also allows the use of class-H tracking power supply rails without the usual distortion-performance penalty. These tracking rails significantly improve the overall efficiency of the amplifier while the error correction keeps distortion nearly nonexistent. The AHB2 rivals the efficiency of class-D amplifiers while exceeding the sonic performance of power-hungry class-A designs. Green never sounded so good!

INNOVATIVE LOW-NOISE POWER SUPPLY

Most high-quality power amplifiers have linear power supplies, large toroidal transformers, and large banks of energy-storage capacitors. These linear supplies are usually unregulated and the capacitors help to remove ripple produced by the audio and by the AC line. In contrast, the AHB2 uses a tightly regulated resonant switching power supply that includes a very fast control loop. This control loop responds to audio-frequency load changes and keeps the supply voltage constant without the use of a large bank of capacitors. This active regulation is much more effective than capacitive energy-storage. Consequently, the peak power output of the AHB2 does not vary with line voltage or audio loading. The power supply rails maintain a constant voltage during audio peaks.

The power supply in the AHB2 switches at frequencies that are well above audible frequencies. This eliminates mechanical hum while significantly reducing the strength of stray magnetic fields. For a given amount of power, magnetic field strength decreases as switching frequency increases. The lower field strengths also provide a significant reduction in size. High-frequency transformers and coils are also much smaller than line-frequency components. This size reduction contributes to the small physical size of the AHB2.

The switching power supply used in the AHB2 is a zero-voltage switching, resonant power converter. This means that the power devices in the supply switch near zero voltage and zero current, eliminating the large switching transients produced by conventional switching power supplies. The power supply in the AHB2 is actually much cleaner and quieter than a conventional linear supply. 

The power supply In the AHB2 is well over 90% efficient, much more efficient than linear supplies. This means that little power is lost to heat.

PASSIVE COOLING

The power-efficient AHB2 uses passive heat sinks to maintain cool operation. The AHB2 delivers high power without the need for fans. The unit runs cool, even when playing audio at full output levels. The absence of fan noise is absolutely essential in a high-resolution listening environment.

LOW-NOISE INPUT AMPLIFIERS

The precision balanced inputs on the AHB2 are equipped with low-noise input amplifiers. Benchmark considers balanced inputs essential in a true high-resolution system. If balanced sources are not available, Benchmark sells unbalanced to balanced adapter cables that extend a 3-wire balanced connection back to the unbalanced source connectors. These adapter cables provide many of the advantages of fully balanced interconnects while providing full compatibility with all unbalanced sources.

LOW GAIN FOR LOW SYSTEM NOISE

The AHB2 is a low-gain design. Maximum output is not reached until the balanced inputs reach +22 dBu. This is a much higher signal level than is used at the input of most power amplifiers. High interface signal levels are required to achieve the best possible system signal to noise ratio (SNR). Most power amplifiers have far too much gain and consequently they suffer from poor noise performance. The AHB2 is 10 dB to 30 dB quieter than some of the very best power amplifiers on the market. A rear-panel gain switch can be used to set the AHB2 at higher gain settings if necessary. The low-gain setting is designed to interface directly with Benchmark DAC3 converters and other professional audio products.

BULLETPROOF PROTECTION SYSTEM - NO RELAYS

The AHB2 has a unique protection system that prevents damage from overloads and short circuits. The protection system monitors output voltage, output current, output distortion, output device SOA (safe operating area), power supply current, power supply voltage, AC line voltage, case temperatures, and power device temperatures. Fault conditions silently mute both output channels in order to protect the speakers and amplifier from damage. The amplifier outputs are also muted while the amplifier is turning on or off.

The mute circuits are fully electronic. There are no mechanical relays in the mute circuits. Our tests showed that relays are too slow to protect against certain fault events. Our tests also showed that relay contacts can add significant distortion as they deteriorate with use. The AHB2 is one of very few amplifiers that avoids the use of relays in the output stage. This means that the AHB2 will maintain its rated distortion performance after an unlimited number of power on/off cycles. 

Benchmark's unique distortion monitoring system mutes the amplifier if it is excessively driven into clipping. This system protects tweeters from an overdriven amplifier.

Benchmark's short circuit detection system is fast enough to fully protect the amplifier from events occurring at any output voltage or current. This system detects abnormal loads and instantly mutes the outputs. 

A status display shows the exact cause of the fault so that the problem can be corrected.

SPEAKON OUTPUT CONNECTORS

The AHB2 is equipped with high-quality binding posts, and SpeakON output connectors. The high-current SpeakON connectors are designed for heavy-duty commercial sound systems and provide much better electrical connections than binding posts. Benchmark highly recommends the use of the twist-lock SpeakON output connectors. We also highly recommend the use of our top-quality professional-grade speaker cables.

A.H.B.

The letters A, H, and B allude to the unique topology of the amplifier's output stage. The AHB2 combines class-AB, and class-H topologies using a feed-forward error correction system.

But there is much more to the story -

The initials A.H.B. can be found on many of the circuit diagrams of Benchmark's early products dating back as far as 1983. These are the initials of Benchmark's founder, Allen H. Burdick. He personally designed many of Benchmark's early products.

Allen had a life-long passion for audio, and he became one of the leading innovators in the pro-audio industry. The AHB2 is named in his memory.v

CONTINUOUS AVERAGE OUTPUT POWER

< 0.0003 % THD+N at full rated power, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

  • 100 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 130 Watts per channel into 6 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 190 Watts per channel into 4 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 240 Watts per channel into 3 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 200 Watts into 16 Ohms, bridged mono
  • 380 Watts into 8 Ohms, bridged mono
  • 480 Watts into 6 Ohms, bridged mono

All speakers have variations in input impedance. Select loads based on nominal impedances not minimum impedances. The AHB2 is stable into all loads. The AHB2 is conservatively rated at an output level where THD+N is < 0.0003 % instead of the more typical 1% THD+N. Power at 1% THD will be higher.

OUTPUT VOLTAGE INTO VARIOUS LOAD IMPEDANCES

< 0.0003 % THD+Nat the following output voltages and load impedances, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

  • 29.03 dBV, 31.25 dBu, 28.28 Vrms into 8 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 28.92 dBV, 31.14 dBu, 27.93 Vrms into 6 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 28.81 dBV, 31.03 dBu, 27.57 Vrms into 4 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 28.57 dBV, 30.79 dBu, 26.83 Vrms into 3 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 27.14 dBV, 29.36 dBu, 22.76 Vrms into 2 Ohms, both channels driven
  • 35.05 dBV, 37.27 dBu, 56.57 Vrms into 16 Ohms, bridged mono
  • 34.83 dBV, 37.05 dBu, 55.14 Vrms into 8 Ohms, bridged mono
  • 34.59 dBV, 36.81 dBu, 53.67 Vrms into 6 Ohms, bridged mono
  • 33.16 dBV, 35.38 dBu, 45.52 Vrms into 4 Ohms, bridged mono

Use dBV to calculate the peak SPL from your speaker/amplifier combination. Use the following formula: Amplifier output voltage in dBV + speaker sensitivity at 2.83V - 9 dB. Example: (29.03 dBV at 8 Ohms) + (90 dB SPL @ 2.83V 1m) - 9 dB = 110 dB SPL at 1 meter

SNR & DYNAMIC RANGE

Rated output relative to output noise, inputs shorted

  • 132 dB A-weighted, Stereo Mode
  • 135 dB A-weighted, Mono Mode
  • 130 dB Unweighted, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, Stereo Mode
  • 133 dB Unweighted, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, Mono Mode

NOISE VOLTAGE

Output noise voltage, A-weighted, inputs shorted

  • -103 dBV, -101 dBu, 7.1 uVrms, Stereo Mode
  • -100 dBV, -98 dBu, 9.8 uVrms, Mono Mode

Use dBV to calculate the SPL of the noise produced by your speaker/amplifier combination. Use the following formula: Amplifier output noise voltage in dBV + speaker sensitivity at 2.83V - 9 dB. Example: Mono mode driving very high efficiency speakers: (-100 dBV) + (104 dB SPL @ 2.83V 1m) - 9 dB = -5 dB SPL at 1 meter. This means that the system noise will be 5 dB below the threshold of hearing when driving speakers with a very high 104 dB efficiency.

NOISE RELATIVE TO 2.83 VRMS

Output noise relative to 2.83 Vrms, A-weighted, inputs shorted

  • -112 dB, Stereo Mode
  • -109 dB, Mono Mode

THD+N

1 kHz, 80 kHz LPF, at full rated output into any rated load

  • < -118 dB (< 0.00013%), Stereo Mode
  • < -118 dB (< 0.00013%), Mono Mode

THD

1 kHz, 20 kHz LPF, at full rated output into any rated load

  • < -119 dB (< 0.00011%), Stereo Mode
  • < -120 dB (< 0.00010%), Mono Mode

CROSSTALK

  • Better than -115 dB at 1 kHz
  • Better than -92 dB at 20 kHz

FREQUENCY RESPONSE

  • Better than 0.1 Hz to 200 kHz, +0/-3 dB
  • -0.01 dB at 20 Hz, -0.17 dB at 20 kHz, 8-Ohm Load
  • -0.23 dB at 20 Hz, -0.32 dB at 20 kHz, 4-Ohm Load

DAMPING FACTOR

  • 350 at 20 Hz, 8-Ohms
  • 254 at 1 kHz, 8-Ohms
  • 34 at 20 kHz, 8-Ohms
  • 7 at 200 kHz, 8-Ohms 

MAXIMUM AUDIO OUTPUT CURRENT

  • 29 A peak, per channel, both channels driven

INPUT SENSITIVITY

  • Low-Gain = 22 dBu (9.8 Vrms), Gain = 9.2 dB
  • Mid-Gain = 14.2 dBu (4 Vrms), Gain = 17.0 dB
  • High-Gain = 8.2 dBu (2 Vrms), Gain = 23 dB
  • Use Mid-Gain or High-Gain settings for unbalanced inputs
  • Unbalanced inputs require RCA to XLRM adapter cables 

INPUT IMPEDANCE

  • 50 k Ohms, normal mode
  • 1 M Ohm, common mode

INPUT CMRR

  • 80 dB at 20 Hz, typical
  • 80 dB at 1 kHz, typical
  • 65 dB at 20 kHz, typical

TRIGGER I/O

  • 12 VDC 200 mA current-limited output to trigger turn-on of remote devices
  • DC input for slaving to remote devices
  • Input responds to 3.3 V logic and higher, VIL = 1.26 V, VIH = 2.7 V
  • Absolute maximum input voltage = 30 VDC
  • Absolute minimum input voltage = -0.3 VDC
  • Input Impedance = 20 k Ohms

PROTECTION CIRCUITS

  • Fully Electronic, No Relays
  • Mute Sequencing
  • Distortion Detection
  • Short Circuit Detection
  • Over Current Detection
  • Over Temperature Detection
  • SOA Detection (Output device safe operating area)

DIMENSIONS

NON-RACK-MOUNT VERSION:

  • 11.04" W x 3.88" H x 9.34 " D - Including feet and binding posts
  • 11.04" W x 3.47" H x 8.33 " D - Excluding feet and connectors
  • Faceplate height is 2RU

RACK-MOUNT VERSION:

  • 19.00" W x 3.88" H x 10.62 " D - Including binding posts, handles and removable feet
  • 19.00" W x 3.47" H x 8.33 " D - Excluding feet and connectors
  • 9.09" rack depth, including binding posts, excluding cables
  • 11" rack depth, including cables
  • Faceplate height is 2RU

WEIGHT

  • 12.5 lbs., 16 lbs. shipping - Non-rack-mount version
  • 13.5 lbs., 17 lbs. shipping - Rack-mount version

AC INPUT

  • Auto-ranging AC Input
  • 100 to 120 VAC +/- 10%, 8 Amps, 50 - 60 Hz
  • 220 to 240 VAC +/- 10%, 8 Amps, 50 - 60 Hz
  • Idle Power Consumption = 20 W
  • Standby Power Consumption < 0.5 W
BENCHMARK AHB2 POWER AMPLIFIER
฿118,900
THE QUIETEST, CLEANEST AUDIO AMPLIFIER ON THE PLANET From the first watt to the last watt, no audio power amplifier offers lower noise or lower distortion than the Benchmark AHB2.Benchmark has r..
฿118,900

Available Options

BENCHMARK DAC2 DX - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK DAC2 DX - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

฿73,800

BENCHMARK PERFORMANCE

The DAC2 DX is Benchmark's newest 2-channel D/A converter. When compared to the legendary DAC1, the DAC2 has lower noise, lower distortion, and improved accuracy. The DAC1 became a reference standard in many of the finest recording studios and mastering rooms. The DAC2 defines a new reference.

DAC2 converters deliver outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. They employ an advanced high-headroom digital filter design, and a new high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock2™ jitter attenuation system.

Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. Three balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to form the main output bus. Two channels are reserved for the auxiliary RCA output bus.

The performance of the DAC2 DX exceeds the measurement limits of today's state-of-the art test equipment.

NATIVE DSD CONVERSION

DSD (in DoP 1.1 format) is automatically detected on USB, coaxial, and XLR digital inputs. The system seamlessly switches between native DSD and native PCM conversion. DoP 1.1 is supported by many media players, and DSD downloads are now available from several sources.

Enjoy seamless transitions between native DSD and native PCM playback.

DIRECT CONNECTIVITY TO POWER AMPLIFIERS AND POWERED MONITORS

Benchmark DAC1 and DAC2 converters are designed to directly drive power amplifiers and powered speakers. Benchmark converters feature adjustable low-impedance passive attenuators at the XLR outputs that can be used to optimize the interface to the power amplifier (or powered monitor). The sonic importance of these attenuators cannot be overemphasized. Proper gain matching between the DAC/preamplifier and the power amplifier is essential for achieving peak system performance. The attenuators allow precise matching to all amplifiers and powered monitors.

Passive output attenuators are only found on Benchmark converters - don't settle for anything less.

SONICALLY NEUTRAL

All Benchmark converters are designed for maximum transparency. This transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain. DAC2 converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems. In home applications, the DAC2 delivers the sonic signature that was created in the recording studio.

Hear the music exactly as it was heard in the studio.

TAKE THE STUDIO HOME

When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment.

Discover the natural, uncolored, analog sound of the DAC2.

THE DIGITAL-ONLY DAC2 FOR AUDIO PROFESSIONALS

The DAC2 DX is the DAC2 of choice for users who do not need analog inputs.

The DX is well suited to the needs of professional users and includes an XLR AES digital input. The DAC2 DX is the only DAC2 model that includes dual stereo output buses. The analog output buses can be independently set to fixed or variable gain. The DAC2 DX is also the only DAC2 available in a rack-mount version.

A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1

Benchmark's DAC1 family of D/A converters have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1. The DAC1 has been the best-selling 2-channel reference-quality converter and is in daily use at many of the finest recording studios and mastering rooms. DAC1 converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. Benchmark has raised the bar ... the DAC2 defines a new reference.

THE DAC2 DX REPLACES THE DAC2 D

The DAC2 DX replaces the DAC2 D while adding several important features:

  • Dual analog output buses
  • XLR AES digital input
  • 12V trigger I/O
  • Improved DIM and MUTE functions

PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS

  • Reference-Quality Studio Monitoring
  • Sound-Card Elimination for Computer Audio
  • Stand-Alone Headphone Amplifier for Digital Sources
  • USB to SPDIF Transfer Device

HI-FI APPLICATIONS

The DAC2 DX uses digital connections (USB, Optical, Coaxial, or AES) to bypass the low-quality built-in converters that are included in many audio products. 

  • Audio Output Device for Music and Video Servers
  • Home Hi-Fi Playback from Digital Sources
  • Audio Output Device for TV and Home Theater Systems 

ADD BENCHMARK CABLES TO COMPLETE YOUR NEW SYSTEM

Benchmark offers a no-nonsense selection of very high-quality cables. Benchmark cablesare designed for durability and transparency, and most are manufactured in the USA. Our optical cables are manufactured in Canada.

BENCHMARK TECHNOLOGIES

Benchmark includes some exciting technologies in the DAC2:

  • Hybrid Gain Control
  • Low-Impedance Passive Output Attenuators
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • High-Headroom 32-bit DSP
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Digital Diagnostic Display
  • Volume-Control Bypass
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Distributed Power Regulation
  • "Zero-Ohm" HPA2™ Headphone Amplifier

HYBRID GAIN CONTROL

The DAC2 DX combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. All analog outputs are controlled by the rotary volume control unless the volume-control bypass function is selected. This volume control moves in response to commands from the remote control. Audio does not pass through the volume control. The position of the rotary knob is precisely measured, and digital gain coefficients are calculated. The gain coefficients are filtered and passed to a 32-bit high-headroom DSP system. The 32-bit output of this system is connected directly to the array of 32-bit digital to analog converters. This system can provide a wide range of volume control without losing resolution. The DSP system preserves precise L/R balance, and precise stereo imaging, while avoiding any source of noise and distortion.

The volume control is one of the most critical functions in the audio chain, enjoy the best system available.

LOW-IMPEDANCE PASSIVE OUTPUT ATTENUATORS

Benchmark's unique passive output attenuators provide distortion-free gain reduction without reducing the dynamic range (or SNR) of the converter. The attenuators optimize the gain staging between the DAC2 DX and the power amplifier. This optimization is absolutely essential for maximizing the dynamic range of the entire playback system. Much of the success of the DAC1 and DAC2 converters can be attributed to the passive output attenuators. Musical details can be obscured by system noise whenever a preamplifier and power amplifier are improperly matched. The passive attenuators enable full use of your power amplifier's dynamic range.

Experience new details in your favorite recordings.

ULTRALOCK2™ JITTER ATTENUATION SYSTEM

UltraLock2™ is an improved version of the UltraLock™ system used in the DAC1 and ADC1 product families. DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of hearing.

Benchmark's UltraLock2™ system eliminates all audible jitter artifacts.

HIGH-HEADROOM DSP

All D/A converters need 3.5 dB "excess" digital headroom, but few have any headroom above 0 dBFS.

All of the digital processing in the DAC2 DX is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS. Most digital systems clip signals that exceed 0 dBFS. The 0 dBFS limitation seems reasonable, as 0 dBFS is the highest sinusoidal signal level that can be represented in a digital system. However, a detailed investigation of the mathematics of PCM digital systems will reveal that inter-sample peaks may reach levels slightly higher than +3 dBFS while individual samples never exceed 0 dBFS. These inter-sample overs are common in commercial releases, and are of no consequence in a PCM system until they reach an interpolation process. But, for a variety of reasons, virtually all audio D/A converters use an interpolation process. The interpolation process is absolutely necessary to achieve 24-bit state-of-the art conversion performance. Unfortunately, inter-sample overs cause clipping in most interpolators. This clipping produces distortion products that are non-harmonic and non-musical . We believe these broadband distortion products often add a harshness or false high-frequency sparkle to digital reproduction. The DAC2 DX avoids these problems by maintaining at least 3.5 dB of headroom in the entire conversion system.

We believe this added headroom is a groundbreaking improvement delivering significant sonic advantages.

QUAD 32-BIT BALANCED CONVERSION SYSTEM

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters deliver audio to Benchmark's low-impedance current to voltage converters. The main bus feeds the balanced XLR outputs and one set of unbalanced RCA outputs. The main bus uses 3:1 redundancy to reduce conversion noise by 4.77 dB. The redundancy also tends to reduce distortion. A fourth set of conversion channels are reserved for the auxiliary bus that feeds the second set of RCA outputs.

Similar redundancy is built into the native DSD conversion system.

The analog circuits that follow the D/A converter are carefully designed. Benchmark has leveraged its long history of building high-end analog audio equipment, in order to create an outstanding analog output stage.

Digital converters are never better than the analog stages that support the conversion process.

MULTI-MODE ASYNCHRONOUS USB SYSTEM

Benchmark's USB system supports USB Audio 2.0, DSD, and USB Audio 1.1. It is frequency agile, and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software. In all modes the USB communications are asynchronous in order to eliminate unnecessary sources of jitter.

The DAC2 DX has a low-jitter master clock which controls the transfer of audio data from the computer to the USB sub-system. The computer asynchronously transfers audio data to a buffer in the DAC2 DX. The contents of the buffer are then asynchronously transferred to the D/A conversion sub-system. This second asynchronous transfer eliminates any traces of jitter that accumulate as the data is transferred between the USB and conversion subsystems. No traces of jitter-induced distortion are measurable to our measurement limits (better than -150 dBFS). This truly represents the state-of-the art. Enjoy the convenience of computer playback without compromise. The Asynchronous USB system supports USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192kHz, and DSD playback. No drivers are required for MAC operating systems. An easy-to-install driver adds 192 kHz and DSD capabilities to Windows operating systems.

An asynchronous, driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode supports sample rates up to 96 kHz. This USB mode can be selected from the front panel or from the remote control. The driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode allows quick plug-and-play connections to Windows, MAC, iOS, and many Linux operating systems without installing drivers. Just plug in the USB, and the DAC2 DX becomes an available audio device.

The USB subsystem remains active when the DAC2 DX is powered down. This prevents interruptions to the computer playback operations and eliminates the need to reconfigure the computer every time the converter is turned on.

Enjoy the convenience of USB connectivity without any compromise to audio performance.

DIGITAL DIAGNOSTIC DISPLAY

Ever wonder why that 192 kHz 24-bit download on your computer just doesn't sound right? Your media player may be down-sampling to 44.1 kHz and/or truncating to 16-bits. Many media players apply poor-quality sample rate conversion and truncation. Fortunately these problems can be eliminated with the selection of a good frequency-agile media player. The sample-rate and word-length displays on the DAC2 DX confirm the proper operation of your media player. These tools are also essential in the studio - get instant confirmation of sample rates and word lengths. The DAC2 measures the sample rate and examines bit activity, it does not use metadata flags (which are often incorrect).

Know when High-Resolution Audio is being delivered to your DAC.

VOLUME-CONTROL BYPASS

The DAC2 DX has two analog output busses. Each bus can be placed in a volume-control bypass mode in order to provide a full-level output to a downstream analog volume control. This is useful in many professional applications and is also useful when the DAC2 DX is feeding a Hi-Fi preamplifier.

The bypass function should be enabled whenever a Hi-Fi preamplifier is inserted between the DAC2 DX and the power amplifier. However, for best performance, Benchmark strongly recommends connecting the DAC2 directly to the power amplifier. The DAC2 DX performs all the functions of a DAC and a Hi-Fi preamplifier - a separate downstream Hi-Fi preamplifier can only degrade the performance.

The Volume-Control Bypass provides flexibility for specialized applications.

DIGITAL PASS-THROUGH FUNCTION

The second coaxial input can be reconfigured as a digital output. In output mode, any selected digital input (including USB) will pass through to the coaxial output. The digital pass through is bit-transparent and even supports DSD (DoP 1.1). Dolby digital and DTS formats can be passed through to a surround processor.

The Pass-Through Function provides a coaxial output for any USB-connected computer.

POWER SWITCH

The DAC2 DX will enter a standby mode if the selected digital input is inactive for more than 5 minutes. Operation will resume when the selected digital input become active.The power switch places the DAC2 DX in "full shutdown". Power consumption is less than 0.5 W in "full shutdown". The DAC2 DX will respond the IR remote or the 12V trigger while in "full shutdown".

The DAC2 DX saves energy by meeting or exceeding all standby power standards.

LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

The DAC2 uses high-efficiency low noise power supplies and may be operated from any standard international voltage without adjustment. Low-noise audio circuits require generous amounts of power. High-efficiency circuits in the DAC2 deliver this power without wasted energy.

Power consumption is 12 W - typical.

DISTRIBUTED POWER REGULATION

To achieve the lowest possible noise, the DAC2 D uses distributed power supply regulation. Each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator.

This power system is so effective that there no evidence of any AC line-related hum or noise at the output of the DAC2 - to a measurement limit of -160 dB FS.

"ZERO-OHM" HPA2™ HEADPHONE POWER AMPLIFIER

The DAC2 features the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is arguably the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC2 to the headphones. The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under full load. The DAC2 has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel. The performance of the HPA2™ remains consistent even when two headphones are being driven simultaneously.

The 0.11-Ohm output impedance of the HPA2™ maintains tight control of headphone transducers.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE

Fs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)

SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu

126 dB

SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu

123 dB

THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS

-109 dBFS, -109 dB, 0.00035%

THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS

-110 dBFS, -109 dB, 0.00035%

THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -109 dB, 0.00035%

THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS

-112 dBFS, -108 dB, 0.00040%

Frequency Response at Fs=96 kHz

+0 dB, -0.04 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.04 dB at 10 Hz

-0.04 dB at 20 kHz

-0.04 dB at 40 kHz

-0.7 dB at 45 kHz

Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz

+0 dB, -0.04 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.04 dB at 10 Hz

-0.04 dB at 20 kHz

Crosstalk

-116 dB at 20 kHz

-130 dB at 1 kHz

-137 dB at 20 Hz

Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)

< -144 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS test signal

< -138 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones

< -147 dB

Maximum Amplitude of AC line related Hum & Noise

< -140 dB

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Stereo Pair – any sample rate)

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Between DAC2 HGC Units Fs<110 kHz) Any sample rate.

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Maximum Lock Time after Fs change

400 ms

Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time

50 ms

Mute on Receive Error

Yes

Mute on Lock Error

Yes

Mute on Idle Channel

No

50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable

Automatic in Consumer Mode

De-Emphasis Method

Digital IIR

De-Emphasis Supported at

Fs = 32, 44.1, 48 kHz


GROUP DELAY (LATENCY)

Delay – Digital Input to Analog Output (function of sample rate)

1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz

1.27 ms at 48 kHz

0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz

0.82 ms at 96 kHz

0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz

0.47 ms at 192 kHz


DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTS

Number of Digital Inputs (switch selected)

6 (1 USB, 2 Optical, 1 AES, 2 Coaxial)

Number of Channels

2

Input Sample Frequency Range

28 to 210 kHz (Coaxial and XLR)

28 to 96 kHz (Optical)

44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB)

Maximum Input Word Length

24 bits

Digital Input Impedance

75 Ohms Coaxial, 110 Ohms XLR

DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial and XLR Inputs)

Transient and Over-Voltage Protection on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial and XLR Inputs)

Transformer Coupling on Digital Inputs

Yes (XLR Input)

Minimum Digital Input Level

250 mVpp (Coaxial and XLR Inputs)

Jitter Tolerance

(With no Measurable Change in Performance)

>12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 3 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 20 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 40 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 80 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 90 kHz

>0.25 UI sine above 160 kHz

Jitter Attenuation Method

Benchmark UltraLock2™ - all inputs


BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Balanced Analog Outputs

2

Output Connector

Gold-Pin Neutrik™ male XLR

Output Impedance

60 Ohms (Attenuator off)

425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)

135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Analog Output Clip Point

+30 dBu

Factory Set Bypass Level (at 0 dBFS)

+24 dBu (Attenuator = 0 dB)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) In ‘Variable’ Mode

Off to +24 dBu (Attenuator off)

Off to +14 dBu (Attenuator = 10 dB)

Off to +4 dBu (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB


UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Unbalanced Analog Outputs

4

Output Connector

RCA

Output Impedance

30 Ohms

Analog Output Clip Point

+13.5 dBu

Factory Set Home Theater Bypass Output Level (at 0 dBFS)

+8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS)

Off to +8.2 dBu

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB


HPA2TM HEADPHONE OUTPUTS

Number of Headphone Outputs

2

Output Connectors

¼” TRS with switch on left-hand jack

Output Impedance

< 0.11 Ohms

Output Level Control

Stereo Control on Front Panel

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) into 60-Ohm Load

Off to +17 dBu

Maximum Output Current

250 mA

Overload Protection (independent per channel)

Current limited at 300 mA, Thermal

Bandwidth

> 500 kHz

THD+N

-106 dB, 0.0005% into 30 Ohms at +18 dBu (1.26W)


STATUS DISPLAY

Indicators - Type and Location

16 LED’s on Front Panel

Selection/Status Indication

2 – Dim/Mute
6 – Input
2 – Bypass/Calibrated Output
2 – Word length
4 – Sample Rate




AC POWER REQUIREMENTS

Nominal Input Operating Voltage Range (VAC RMS)

100 – 240V

Frequency

50-60 Hz

Power

< 0.5 Watts Idle
12 Watts Typical Program
15 Watts Maximum

Fuses

5 x 20 mm (2 required)
0.5 A 250 V Slo-Blo® Type

Min/Max Operating range (VAC RMS)

90 – 260
47 – 63Hz


DIMENSIONS

Form Factor

½ Rack Wide, 1 RU High

Depth behind front panel

8.5” (216 mm)

Overall depth including connectors but without power cord

9.33” (237 mm)

Width

9.5” (249 mm)

Height

1.725” (44.5 mm)


WEIGHT

DAC2 only

3 lb.

DAC2 with remote control, power cord, extra fuses, and manual

4 lb.

Shipping weight

7 lb.


DAC2 DX FEATURES

  • Sample-Rate Display
  • Word-Length Display
  • Six Digital Inputs
  • Three Stereo Analog Outputs
  • Two Independent Analog Output Buses
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Dual HPA2™ Headphone Outputs
  • Headphone Mute Switch - left headphone jack mutes main output, function may be defeated
  • Native DSD Conversion
  • Native PCM Conversion
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0
  • Asynchronous USB 1.1 for Driverless Operation
  • Volume Control Bypass Function for Main Bus
  • Volume Control Bypass Function for Auxiliary Bus
  • 12V Trigger I/O - for sequenced system power switching
  • Mute Relays - on all analog outputs
  • Optional IR Remote Control - with heavy-duty metal housing
  • Power Switch
  • Low Power Consumption

RACK-MOUNT OPTIONS

The DAC2 DX is available in rackmount chassis. Non-rackmount versions can also be rackmounted using Benchmark's 1-RU tray. All Benchmark DAC2, DAC1, ADC1, and MPA1 products are housed in a 1/2-wide 1 RU chassis. Two units can be mounted side-by-side in a standard 19" rack. The rackmount version of the DAC2 DX is 1/2 rack wide and requires a blank plate and coupler if mounted by itself.

BENCHMARK DAC2 DX - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER
฿73,800
BENCHMARK PERFORMANCE The DAC2 DX is Benchmark's newest 2-channel D/A converter. When compared to the legendary DAC1, the DAC2 has lower noise, lower distortion, and improved accuracy. The DAC1 ..
฿73,800

Available Options

BENCHMARK DAC2 HGC - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK DAC2 HGC - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

฿78,000

A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1

Benchmark's DAC1 family of D/A converters have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1. The DAC1 has been the best-selling 2-channel reference-quality converter and is in daily use at many of the finest recording studios and mastering rooms. DAC1 converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. Benchmark has raised the bar ... the DAC2 defines a new reference.

REFERENCE PERFORMANCE

The DAC2 is Benchmark's second-generation 2-channel D/A converter. The DAC2 converter has lower noise and lower distortion than Benchmark's DAC1 converter.The performance of the DAC2 exceeds the measurement limits of some of today's best test equipment.

The DAC2 delivers outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. It employs an advanced high-headroom digital filter design, and a new high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock2™ jitter attenuation system.

Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and this processing includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. This headroom prevents the DSP overloads that commonly occur in other D/A converters.

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converter are summed together to create each balanced analog output. This 4:1 summation provides a 6 dB noise reduction, and gives the DAC2 industry-leading performance.

NATIVE DSD CONVERSION

All digital inputs on the DAC2 support native PCM or DSD conversion. From any input, DSD is transported with bit accuracy over DoP 1.1. DSD and PCM are both natively converted to analog. There are no DSD to PCM or PCM to DSD conversions to compromise the quality of the music. The DAC2 conversion system seamlessly switches between native PCM and native DSD conversion. DSD over DoP 1.1 is supported by many media players, and DSD downloads are now available from several sources.

DIRECT CONNECTIVITY TO POWER AMPLIFIERS

Benchmark DAC1 and DAC2 converters are designed to directly drive power amplifiers and speakers. Benchmark converters feature adjustable low-impedance passive attenuators at the XLR outputs that can be used to optimize the interface to the power amplifier (or powered monitor). This unique Benchmark feature optimizes the gain staging between the DAC and the power amplifier. Proper gain staging cannot be overemphasised. When audio stages are properly matched, each component in the audio chain is able to operate at its optimum signal level, and the system performance is significantly improved.

SONICALLY-NEUTRAL STUDIO MONITORING

All Benchmark converters are designed for maximum transparency. This transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain. For this reason, DAC2 converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems. Unlike many competing products, the DAC2 is not designed to add "euphonic" coloration to the audio. Instead it is designed to be as uncolored and natural as possible.

STEP INTO THE STUDIO

When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment. Enjoy pure music without any coloration from the electronics. Hear the music exactly the way it was heard in the studio, and exactly the way the artists intended.

Discover the natural, uncolored, analog sound of the DAC2.

SIT IN THE PERFORMANCE SPACE

Transparent sound can go beyond replicating the studio experience. Recordings that have been produced with a natural and unprocessed sound can transport you to the performance space. But, this can only happen when the entire playback chain is selected for maximum transparency.

This experience of "being there" cannot be created by systems that are designed to add "warmth" or "euphonic color" to the music. 

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

  • Hybrid Gain Control
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Distributed Power Regulation

HYBRID GAIN CONTROL

"HGC" is Benchmark's unique Hybrid Gain Control system. The DAC2 combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. All inputs are controlled by the rotary volume control. This volume control moves in response to commands from the remote control. Analog inputs are never converted to digital, and digital inputs never pass through an analog potentiometer. Digital inputs are precisely controlled in the 32-bit DSP system. The DSP system preserves precise L/R balance, and precise stereo imaging, while avoiding any source of noise and distortion.

Benchmark's unique passive output attenuators provide distortion-free gain reduction without reducing the dynamic range of the converter. The attenuators optimize the gain staging between the DAC2 and the power amplifier. This optimization is absolutely essential for maximizing the dynamic range of the entire playback system. Much of the success of the DAC1 converters can be attributed to the passive output attenuators. Musical details can be obscured by system noise whenever a preamplifier and power amplifier are improperly matched. The" HGC " system will make full use of your power amplifier's dynamic range. Experience new details in your favorite recordings.

ULTRALOCK2™ JITTER ATTENUATION SYSTEM

UltraLock2™ is an improved version of the UltraLock™ system used in the DAC1 and ADC1 product families. DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock2™ system eliminates all audible jitter artifacts.

HIGH HEADROOM DSP - WITH 3.5 DB "EXCESS" DIGITAL HEADROOM

All of the digital processing in the DAC2 is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS. Most digital systems clip signals that exceed 0 dBFS. The 0 dBFS limitation seems reasonable, as 0 dBFS is the highest sinusoidal signal level that can be represented in a digital system. However, a detailed investigation of the mathematics of PCM digital systems will reveal that inter-sample peaks may reach levels slightly higher than +3 dBFS while individual samples never exceed 0 dBFS. These inter-sample overs are common in commercial releases, and are of no consequence in a PCM system until they reach an interpolation process. But, for a variety of reasons, virtually all audio D/A converters use an interpolation process. The interpolation process is absolutely necessary to achieve 24-bit state-of-the art conversion performance. Unfortunately, inter-sample overs cause clipping in most interpolators. This clipping produces distortion products that are non-harmonic and non-musical . We believe these broadband distortion products often add a harshness or false high-frequency sparkle to digital reproduction. The DAC2 avoids these problems by maintaining at least 3.5 dB of headroom in the entire conversion system. We believe this added headroom is a groundbreaking improvement.

MULTI-MODE ASYNCHRONOUS USB SYSTEM

Benchmark's USB system supports USB Audio 2.0, DSD, and USB Audio 1.1. It is frequency agile, and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software. In all modes the USB communications are asynchronous in order to eliminate unnecessary sources of jitter.

The DAC2 has a low-jitter master clock which controls the transfer of audio data from the computer to the USB sub-system. The computer asynchronously transfers audio data to a buffer in the DAC2. The contents of the buffer are then asynchronously transferred to the D/A conversion sub-system. This second asynchronous transfer eliminates any traces of jitter that accumulate as the data is transferred between the USB and conversion subsystems. No traces of jitter-induced distortion are measurable to our measurement limits (better than -150 dBFS). This truly represents the state-of-the art. Enjoy the convenience of computer playback without compromise. The Asynchronous USB system supports USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192kHz, and DSD playback. No drivers are required for MAC operating systems. An easy-to-install driver adds 192 kHz and DSD capabilities to Windows operating systems.

An asynchronous, driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode supports sample rates up to 96 kHz. This USB mode can be selected from the front panel or from the remote control. The driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode allows quick plug-and-play connections to Windows, MAC, iOS, and Linux operating systems without installing drivers. Just plug in the USB, and the DAC2 becomes an available audio device.

The USB subsystem remains active when the DAC2 is powered down. This prevents interruptions to the computer playback operations and eliminates the need to reconfigure the computer every time the converter is turned on.

QUAD 32-BIT BALANCED CONVERSION SYSTEM

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters deliver audio to Benchmark's low-impedance current to voltage converters. The 4:1 redundancy reduces noise and distortion to levels that set new benchmarks. The conversion system at the core of the DAC2 is as good as it gets. The analog circuits that follow the D/A converter are carefully designed. Benchmark has leveraged its long history of building high-end analog audio equipment, in order to create an outstanding output stage.

DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS - SAMPLE-RATE AND WORD-LENGTH INDICATORS

Ever wonder why that 192 kHz 24-bit download on your computer just doesn't sound right? Your media player may be down-sampling to 44.1 kHz and/or truncating to 16-bits. Many computers and media players apply poor-quality sample rate conversion and truncation. Fortunately these problems can be eliminated with the selection a good frequency-agile media player. The sample-rate and word-length displays on the DAC2 confirm the proper operation of your media player.

POLARITY SWITCH

You may encounter recordings with inverted polarity. The DAC2 HGC and DAC2 L include a polarity switch to correct the problem.

HOME THEATER BYPASS

The DAC2 can be integrated into a home theater system. Typically the DAC2 drives the left and right power amplifiers, and an analog feed from the home theater system is connected to either of the analog inputs on the DAC2. A programmable Home Theater Bypass function sets the pass-through gain to unity when the surround system is active. The DAC2 HGC and DAC2 L include an indicator light that is illuminated when bypass is active.

DIGITAL PASS THROUGH

The second coaxial input on the DAC2 can be reconfigured as a digital output. In output mode, any selected digital input (including USB) will pass through to the coaxial output. The digital pass through is bit-transparent and even supports DSD (DoP 1.1). Dolby digital and DTS formats can also be passed through to a surround processor.

BI-DIRECTIONAL 12 VOLT TRIGGER

Benchmark re-invents the 12 volt trigger. The trigger connection on the DAC2 can be used as an input, an output, or both. It is compatible with any common 12 volt trigger input or output. The trigger can be used to turn a power amplifier on or off automatically. The DAC2 will also respond to a 12 volt trigger to follow the actions of another audio component.

POWER SWITCH

The power switch can place the DAC2 in standby, or full shut down. In full shut down, the unit will still respond to the trigger input and the IR remote control. Power consumption is less than 0.5 W in full shut down.

LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

The DAC2 uses high-efficiency low noise power supplies and may be operated from any standard international voltage without adjustment. Power consumption is 12 W typical.

DISTRIBUTED POWER REGULATION

To achieve the lowest possible noise, the DAC2 HGC uses distributed power supply regulation. Each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator.

HPA2™ HEADPHONE POWER AMPLIFIER

The DAC2 features the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is arguably the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC2 to the headphones. The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under full load. The DAC2 has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel. The performance of the HPA2™ remains consistent even when two headphones are being driven simultaneously.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

  • Hybrid Gain Control
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Distributed Power Regulation

HYBRID GAIN CONTROL

"HGC" is Benchmark's unique Hybrid Gain Control system. The DAC2 combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. All inputs are controlled by the rotary volume control. This volume control moves in response to commands from the remote control. Analog inputs are never converted to digital, and digital inputs never pass through an analog potentiometer. Digital inputs are precisely controlled in the 32-bit DSP system. The DSP system preserves precise L/R balance, and precise stereo imaging, while avoiding any source of noise and distortion.

Benchmark's unique passive output attenuators provide distortion-free gain reduction without reducing the dynamic range of the converter. The attenuators optimize the gain staging between the DAC2 and the power amplifier. This optimization is absolutely essential for maximizing the dynamic range of the entire playback system. Much of the success of the DAC1 converters can be attributed to the passive output attenuators. Musical details can be obscured by system noise whenever a preamplifier and power amplifier are improperly matched. The" HGC " system will make full use of your power amplifier's dynamic range. Experience new details in your favorite recordings.

ULTRALOCK2™ JITTER ATTENUATION SYSTEM

UltraLock2™ is an improved version of the UltraLock™ system used in the DAC1 and ADC1 product families. DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock2™ system eliminates all audible jitter artifacts.

HIGH HEADROOM DSP - WITH 3.5 DB "EXCESS" DIGITAL HEADROOM

All of the digital processing in the DAC2 is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS. Most digital systems clip signals that exceed 0 dBFS. The 0 dBFS limitation seems reasonable, as 0 dBFS is the highest sinusoidal signal level that can be represented in a digital system. However, a detailed investigation of the mathematics of PCM digital systems will reveal that inter-sample peaks may reach levels slightly higher than +3 dBFS while individual samples never exceed 0 dBFS. These inter-sample overs are common in commercial releases, and are of no consequence in a PCM system until they reach an interpolation process. But, for a variety of reasons, virtually all audio D/A converters use an interpolation process. The interpolation process is absolutely necessary to achieve 24-bit state-of-the art conversion performance. Unfortunately, inter-sample overs cause clipping in most interpolators. This clipping produces distortion products that are non-harmonic and non-musical . We believe these broadband distortion products often add a harshness or false high-frequency sparkle to digital reproduction. The DAC2 avoids these problems by maintaining at least 3.5 dB of headroom in the entire conversion system. We believe this added headroom is a groundbreaking improvement.

MULTI-MODE ASYNCHRONOUS USB SYSTEM

Benchmark's USB system supports USB Audio 2.0, DSD, and USB Audio 1.1. It is frequency agile, and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software. In all modes the USB communications are asynchronous in order to eliminate unnecessary sources of jitter.

The DAC2 has a low-jitter master clock which controls the transfer of audio data from the computer to the USB sub-system. The computer asynchronously transfers audio data to a buffer in the DAC2. The contents of the buffer are then asynchronously transferred to the D/A conversion sub-system. This second asynchronous transfer eliminates any traces of jitter that accumulate as the data is transferred between the USB and conversion subsystems. No traces of jitter-induced distortion are measurable to our measurement limits (better than -150 dBFS). This truly represents the state-of-the art. Enjoy the convenience of computer playback without compromise. The Asynchronous USB system supports USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192kHz, and DSD playback. No drivers are required for MAC operating systems. An easy-to-install driver adds 192 kHz and DSD capabilities to Windows operating systems.

An asynchronous, driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode supports sample rates up to 96 kHz. This USB mode can be selected from the front panel or from the remote control. The driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode allows quick plug-and-play connections to Windows, MAC, iOS, and Linux operating systems without installing drivers. Just plug in the USB, and the DAC2 becomes an available audio device.

The USB subsystem remains active when the DAC2 is powered down. This prevents interruptions to the computer playback operations and eliminates the need to reconfigure the computer every time the converter is turned on.

QUAD 32-BIT BALANCED CONVERSION SYSTEM

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters deliver audio to Benchmark's low-impedance current to voltage converters. The 4:1 redundancy reduces noise and distortion to levels that set new benchmarks. The conversion system at the core of the DAC2 is as good as it gets. The analog circuits that follow the D/A converter are carefully designed. Benchmark has leveraged its long history of building high-end analog audio equipment, in order to create an outstanding output stage.

DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS - SAMPLE-RATE AND WORD-LENGTH INDICATORS

Ever wonder why that 192 kHz 24-bit download on your computer just doesn't sound right? Your media player may be down-sampling to 44.1 kHz and/or truncating to 16-bits. Many computers and media players apply poor-quality sample rate conversion and truncation. Fortunately these problems can be eliminated with the selection a good frequency-agile media player. The sample-rate and word-length displays on the DAC2 confirm the proper operation of your media player.

POLARITY SWITCH

You may encounter recordings with inverted polarity. The DAC2 HGC and DAC2 L include a polarity switch to correct the problem.

HOME THEATER BYPASS

The DAC2 can be integrated into a home theater system. Typically the DAC2 drives the left and right power amplifiers, and an analog feed from the home theater system is connected to either of the analog inputs on the DAC2. A programmable Home Theater Bypass function sets the pass-through gain to unity when the surround system is active. The DAC2 HGC and DAC2 L include an indicator light that is illuminated when bypass is active.

DIGITAL PASS THROUGH

The second coaxial input on the DAC2 can be reconfigured as a digital output. In output mode, any selected digital input (including USB) will pass through to the coaxial output. The digital pass through is bit-transparent and even supports DSD (DoP 1.1). Dolby digital and DTS formats can also be passed through to a surround processor.

BI-DIRECTIONAL 12 VOLT TRIGGER

Benchmark re-invents the 12 volt trigger. The trigger connection on the DAC2 can be used as an input, an output, or both. It is compatible with any common 12 volt trigger input or output. The trigger can be used to turn a power amplifier on or off automatically. The DAC2 will also respond to a 12 volt trigger to follow the actions of another audio component.

POWER SWITCH

The power switch can place the DAC2 in standby, or full shut down. In full shut down, the unit will still respond to the trigger input and the IR remote control. Power consumption is less than 0.5 W in full shut down.

LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

The DAC2 uses high-efficiency low noise power supplies and may be operated from any standard international voltage without adjustment. Power consumption is 12 W typical.

DISTRIBUTED POWER REGULATION

To achieve the lowest possible noise, the DAC2 HGC uses distributed power supply regulation. Each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator.

HPA2™ HEADPHONE POWER AMPLIFIER

The DAC2 features the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is arguably the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC2 to the headphones. The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under full load. The DAC2 has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel. The performance of the HPA2™ remains consistent even when two headphones are being driven simultaneously.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE

Fs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)

SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu

126 dB

SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu

123 dB

THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS

-109 dBFS, -109 dB, 0.00035%

THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS

-110 dBFS, -109 dB, 0.00035%

THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -109 dB, 0.00035%

THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS

-112 dBFS, -108 dB, 0.00040%

Frequency Response at Fs=96 kHz

+0 dB, -0.04 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.04 dB at 10 Hz

-0.04 dB at 20 kHz

-0.04 dB at 40 kHz

-0.7 dB at 45 kHz

Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz

+0 dB, -0.04 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.04 dB at 10 Hz

-0.04 dB at 20 kHz

Crosstalk

-137 dB at 20 Hz

-130 dB at 1 kHz

-116 dB at 20 kHz

Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)

< -144 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS test signal

< -138 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones

< -147 dB

Maximum Amplitude of AC line related Hum & Noise

< -140 dB

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Stereo Pair – any sample rate)

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Between DAC2 Units Fs<110 kHz) Any sample rate.

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Maximum Lock Time after Fs change

400 ms

Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time

50 ms

Mute on Receive Error

Yes

Mute on Lock Error

Yes

Mute on Idle Channel

No

50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable

Automatic in Consumer Mode

De-Emphasis Method

Digital IIR

De-Emphasis Supported at

Fs = 32, 44.1, 48 kHz

GROUP DELAY (LATENCY)

Delay – Digital Input to Analog Output (function of sample rate)

1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz

1.27 ms at 48 kHz

0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz

0.82 ms at 96 kHz

0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz

0.47 ms at 192 kHz

DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTS

Number of Digital Inputs (switch selected)

5 (1 USB, 2 Optical, 2 Coaxial)

Number of Channels

2

Input Sample Frequency Range

28 to 210 kHz (Coaxial Inputs)

28 to 96 kHz (Optical Inputs)

44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB Input)

Maximum Input Word Length

24 bits

Digital Input Impedance

75 Ohms (Coaxial Inputs)

DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Transient and Over-Voltage Protection on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Minimum Digital Input Level

250 mVpp (Coaxial Inputs)

Jitter Tolerance

(With no Measurable Change in Performance)

>12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 3 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 20 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 40 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 80 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 90 kHz

>0.25 UI sine above 160 kHz

Jitter Attenuation Method

Benchmark UltraLock2™ - all inputs

BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Balanced Analog Outputs

2

Output Connector

Gold-Pin Neutrik™ male XLR

Output Impedance

60 Ohms (Attenuator off)

425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)

135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Analog Output Clip Point

+30 dBu

Factory Set Bypass Level (at 0 dBFS)

+23 dBu (Attenuator = 0 dB)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) In ‘Variable’ Mode

Off to +23 dBu (Attenuator off)

Off to +13 dBu (Attenuator = 10 dB)

Off to +3 dBu (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB

UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Unbalanced Analog Outputs

4

Output Connector

RCA

Output Impedance

30 Ohms

Analog Output Clip Point

+13.5 dBu

Factory Set Home Theater Bypass Output Level (at 0 dBFS)

+8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS)

Off to +8.2 dBu

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB

HPA2TM HEADPHONE OUTPUTS

Number of Headphone Outputs

2

Output Connectors

¼” TRS with switch on left-hand jack

Output Impedance

< 0.11 Ohms

Output Level Control

Stereo Control on Front Panel

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) into 60-Ohm Load

Off to +17 dBu

Maximum Output Current

250 mA

Overload Protection (independent per channel)

Current limited at 300 mA, Thermal

Bandwidth

> 500 kHz

THD+N

-106 dB, 0.0005% into 30 Ohms at +18 dBu (1.26W)

STATUS DISPLAY

Indicators - Type and Location

16 LED’s on Front Panel

Selection/Status Indication

1 – Dim/Mute

1 - Polarity
6 – Input
2 – Bypass/Calibrated Output
2 – Word length
4 – Sample Rate



AC POWER REQUIREMENTS

Nominal Input Operating Voltage Range (VAC RMS)

100 – 240V

Frequency

50-60 Hz

Power

< 0.5 Watts Idle
12 Watts Typical Program
15 Watts Maximum

Fuses

5 x 20 mm (2 required)
0.5 A 250 V Slo-Blo® Type

Min/Max Operating range (VAC RMS)

90 – 260
47 – 63Hz

DIMENSIONS

Form Factor

½ Rack Wide, 1 RU High

Depth behind front panel

8.5” (216 mm)

Overall depth including connectors but without power cord

9.33” (237 mm)

Width

9.5” (249 mm)

Height

1.725” (44.5 mm)

WEIGHT

DAC2 only

3 lb.

DAC2 with remote control, power cord, extra fuses, and manual

4 lb.

Shipping weight

7 lb.

NEW FEATURES

DAC1 customers requested many new features which have been integrated into the new DAC2 HGC:

  • Sample Rate Display
  • Word Length Display
  • More Digital Inputs (5 total)
  • More Analog Inputs (2 total)
  • More Analog Outputs (3 total)
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Native DSD Conversion
  • Polarity Switch
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0
  • Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Bi-Directional 12 Volt Trigger
  • Power Switch
  • Low Power Consumption
  • New Benchmark Technologies

BENCHMARK DAC2 HGC - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER
฿78,000
A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1 Benchmark's DAC1 family of D/A converters have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter r..
฿78,000

Available Options

BENCHMARK DAC3 B - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK DAC3 B - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

฿66,300
  • DAC3 B - REFERENCE QUALITY - BASIC FEATURES

    The DAC3 B is the basic D/A converter in Benchmark's DAC3 converter series. The DAC3 B is the ideal converter to use in front of Benchmark's HPA4headphone amplifier or LA4 line amplifier. It is also ideal for many professional studio applications. It delivers the full performance of the flagship DAC3 HGC, but eliminates the volume control, the analog inputs, the mute and polarity controls, and the headphone amplifier.

    To make system integration easy, the DAC3 B retains IR remote control (handset optional), 12 V trigger, and the programmable auto-on feature. The DAC3 Badds a control-lock feature that turns off the remote control and locks the keypad to prevent tampering and accidental changes. The optional 1/2-width rack-mount faceplate allows the mounting of two units in a single 1-RU rack space.

  • The DAC3 B sounds exactly like the DAC3 HGC because it uses the exact same circuit board and the exact same audio path. Benchmark has simply eliminated the unnecessary parts to deliver a stripped down race car of a converter. If you want a basic D/A converter that delivers the finest conversion available, the DAC3 B is for you. 

  • The DAC3 B is a 2-channel D/A converter featuring the new ESS Technologies ES9028PRO converter chip. The DAC3 converter has lower THD and THD+N noise than Benchmark's DAC2 converters.

  • Benchmark's DAC1 and DAC2 D/A converter families have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1 or the DAC2. Benchmark converters are in daily use at many of the world's finest recording studios and mastering rooms. Benchmark converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. Benchmark has raised the bar again ... the DAC3 defines a new reference.

    REFERENCE PERFORMANCE

    The DAC3 delivers outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. It employs an advanced high-headroom digital filter design, and a high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock3™ jitter attenuation system.

    Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and this processing includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. This headroom prevents the DSP overloads that commonly occur in other D/A converters.

    Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to create each balanced analog output. This 4:1 summation provides a 6 dB noise reduction, and gives the DAC3 industry-leading performance.

    DAC3 VS. DAC2

    The DAC3builds upon Benchmark’s highly successful DAC2 product family. The DAC3 maintains the familiar DAC2 form factor and feature set, but adds the higher performance available from the new ES9028PRO D/A converter. The DAC3 offers the following improvements over the DAC2:

    • Active 2nd Harmonic Compensation
    • Active 3rd Harmonic Compensation
    • Lower THD+N
    • Lower passband ripple
    • Improved frequency response
    • Faster PLL lock times
    • Faster switching between input signals

    DAC3 VS. DAC1

    The DAC3 and DAC2 added these features that were not found on the DAC1:

    • Asynchronous 192kHz USB Audio 2.0
    • 32-bit D/A conversion system
    • Word Length Display
    • Sample Rate Display
    • Direct DSD D/A Conversion
    • Bi-Directional 12V Trigger
    • Power Switch with Auto-On Function
    • Digital Pass-Through
    • High-Headroom DSP
    • Additional I/O

    NATIVE DSD CONVERSION

    All digital inputs on the DAC3 support native PCM or DSD conversion. From any input, DSD is transported with bit accuracy over DoP 1.1. DSD and PCM are both natively converted to analog. There are no DSD to PCM or PCM to DSD conversions to compromise the quality of the music. The DAC3 conversion system seamlessly switches between native PCM and native DSD conversion. DSD over DoP 1.1 is supported by many media players, and DSD downloads are now available from several sources.

    DIRECT CONNECTIVITY TO POWER AMPLIFIERS

    Benchmark DAC1DAC2, and DAC3 converters are designed to directly drive power amplifiers and speakers. Benchmark converters feature adjustable low-impedance passive attenuators at the XLR outputs that can be used to optimize the interface to the power amplifier (or powered monitor). This unique Benchmark feature optimizes the gain staging between the DAC and the power amplifier. Proper gain staging cannot be overemphasised. When audio stages are properly matched, each component in the audio chain is able to operate at its optimum signal level, and the system performance is significantly improved.

    SONICALLY-NEUTRAL STUDIO MONITORING

    All Benchmark converters are designed for maximum transparency. This transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain. For this reason, DAC3 converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems. Unlike many competing products, the DAC3 is not designed to add "euphonic" coloration to the audio. Instead it is designed to be as uncolored and natural as possible.

    STEP INTO THE STUDIO

    When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment. Enjoy pure music without any coloration from the electronics. Hear the music exactly the way it was heard in the studio, and exactly the way the artists intended.

    Discover the natural, uncolored, analog sound of the DAC3.

    SIT IN THE PERFORMANCE SPACE

    Transparent sound can go beyond replicating the studio experience. Recordings that have been produced with a natural and unprocessed sound can transport you to the performance space. But, this can only happen when the entire playback chain is selected for maximum transparency.

    This experience of "being there" cannot be created by systems that are designed to add "warmth" or "euphonic color" to the music. 

DAC3 TECHNOLOGIES

  • Harmonic Compensation
  • UltraLock3™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Distributed Power Regulation

HARMONIC COMPENSATION

The ES9028PRO has two distortion compensation systems that independently remove most of the 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion in the D/A converter. Benchmark's ultra-clean analog output stages allow these systems to be fully leveraged in the DAC3. To the best of our knowledge, no other D/A converter has lower THD than the Benchmark DAC3.

ULTRALOCK3™ JITTER ATTENUATION SYSTEM

UltraLock3™ is an improved version of the UltraLock2™ system used in the DAC2 product family. UltraLock3™ locks with precise phase accuracy in only 6 ms. In contrast, the UltraLock2™ system required 400 ms. Both UltraLock™ systems provide virtually perfect jitter attenuation, but the the lightning-fast lock time of the new UltraLock3™ will be appreciated by many of our users.

DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock3™ system eliminates all audible jitter artifacts.

HIGH HEADROOM DSP - WITH 3.5 DB "EXCESS" DIGITAL HEADROOM

All of the digital processing in the DAC3 is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS. Most digital systems clip signals that exceed 0 dBFS. The 0 dBFS limitation seems reasonable, as 0 dBFS is the highest sinusoidal signal level that can be represented in a digital system. However, a detailed investigation of the mathematics of PCM digital systems will reveal that inter-sample peaks may reach levels slightly higher than +3 dBFS while individual samples never exceed 0 dBFS. These inter-sample overs are common in commercial releases, and are of no consequence in a PCM system until they reach an interpolation process. But, for a variety of reasons, virtually all audio D/A converters use an interpolation process. The interpolation process is absolutely necessary to achieve 24-bit state-of-the art conversion performance. Unfortunately, inter-sample overs cause clipping in most interpolators. This clipping produces distortion products that are non-harmonic and non-musical . We believe these broadband distortion products often add a harshness or false high-frequency sparkle to digital reproduction. The DAC3 avoids these problems by maintaining at least 3.5 dB of headroom in the entire conversion system. We believe this added headroom is a groundbreaking improvement.

MULTI-MODE ASYNCHRONOUS USB SYSTEM

Benchmark's USB system supports USB Audio 2.0, DSD, and USB Audio 1.1. It is frequency agile, and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software. In all modes the USB communications are asynchronous in order to eliminate unnecessary sources of jitter.

The DAC3 has a low-jitter master clock which controls the transfer of audio data from the computer to the USB sub-system. The computer asynchronously transfers audio data to a buffer in the DAC3. The contents of the buffer are then asynchronously transferred to the D/A conversion subsystem. This second asynchronous transfer eliminates any traces of jitter that accumulate as the data is transferred between the USB and conversion subsystems. No traces of jitter-induced distortion are measurable to our measurement limits (better than -150 dBFS). This truly represents the state-of-the art. Enjoy the convenience of computer playback without compromise. The Asynchronous USB system supports USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192kHz, and DSD playback. No drivers are required for MAC operating systems. An easy-to-install driver adds 192 kHz and DSD capabilities to Windows operating systems.

An asynchronous, driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode supports sample rates up to 96 kHz. This USB mode can be selected from the front panel or from the remote control. The driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode allows quick plug-and-play connections to Windows, MAC, iOS, and Linux operating systems without installing drivers. Just plug in the USB, and the DAC3 becomes an available audio device.

The USB subsystem remains active when the DAC3 is powered down. This prevents interruptions to the computer playback operations and eliminates the need to reconfigure the computer every time the converter is turned on.

QUAD 32-BIT BALANCED CONVERSION SYSTEM

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters deliver audio to Benchmark's low-impedance current to voltage converters. The 4:1 redundancy reduces noise and distortion to levels that set new benchmarks. The conversion system at the core of the DAC3 is as good as it gets. The analog circuits that follow the D/A converter are carefully designed. Benchmark has leveraged its long history of building high-end analog audio equipment, in order to create an outstanding output stage.

The conversion system in the DAC3 achieves a 6 dB signal to noise improvement through the use of 4:1 summing. The ES9028PRO D/A is an 8-channel 32-bit converter. In the DAC3, four channels are summed in the analog domain to form each of the two output channels.

The 4:1 summing also improves the THD. The non-linearities in individual conversion channels are averaged across the four summed channels and incoherent non-linearities are attenuated by 6 dB.

DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS - SAMPLE-RATE AND WORD-LENGTH INDICATORS

Ever wonder why that 192 kHz 24-bit download on your computer just doesn't sound right? Your media player may be down-sampling to 44.1 kHz and/or truncating to 16-bits. Many computers and media players apply poor-quality sample rate conversion and truncation. Fortunately these problems can be eliminated with the selection a good frequency-agile media player. The sample-rate and word-length displays on the DAC3 confirm the proper operation of your media player.

CONTROL LOCK

The DAC3 B can be locked to avoid accidental changes that could cause a loss of audio in dedicated applications. This feature disables the IR remote control and the front panel buttons.

DIGITAL PASS THROUGH

The second coaxial input on the DAC3 can be reconfigured as a digital output. In output mode, any selected digital input (including USB) will pass through to the coaxial output. The digital pass through is bit-transparent and even supports DSD (DoP 1.1). Dolby digital and DTS formats can also be passed through to a surround processor.

BI-DIRECTIONAL 12 VOLT TRIGGER

Benchmark re-invents the 12 volt trigger. The trigger connection on the DAC2 can be used as an input, an output, or both. It is compatible with any common 12 volt trigger input or output. The trigger can be used to turn a power amplifier on or off automatically. The DAC3 will also respond to a 12 volt trigger to follow the actions of another audio component.

POWER SWITCH

The power switch can place the DAC3 in standby, or full shut down. In full shut down, the unit will still respond to the trigger input and the IR remote control. Power consumption is less than 0.5 W in full shut down.

LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

The DAC3 uses high-efficiency low noise power supplies and may be operated from any standard international voltage without adjustment. Power consumption is 12 W typical.

DISTRIBUTED POWER REGULATION

To achieve the lowest possible noise, the DAC3 uses distributed power supply regulation. Each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE

Fs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)

SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu

125 dB, 128 dB relative to intersample peaks

SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu

123 dB, 126 dB relative to intersample peaks

THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%

THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS

-114 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%

THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS

-119 dBFS, -116 dB, 0.00016%

THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -110 dB, 0.00032%

Frequency Response at Fs=192 kHz

+0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.015 dB at 10 Hz

-0.005 dB at 20 kHz

-0.031 dB at 40 kHz

-0.15 dB at 80 kHz

Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz

+0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.015 dB at 10 Hz

-0.005 dB at 20 kHz

Crosstalk

-137 dB at 20 Hz

-130 dB at 1 kHz

-116 dB at 20 kHz

Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)

< -144 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS test signal

< -138 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones

< -147 dB

Maximum Amplitude of AC line related Hum & Noise

< -133 dB

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Stereo Pair – any sample rate)

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Between DAC3 Units Fs<110 kHz) Any sample rate.

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Maximum Lock Time after Fs change

6 ms

Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time

9.6 ms

Mute on Receive Error

Yes

Mute on Lock Error

Yes

Mute on Idle Channel

No

50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable

Automatic in Consumer Mode

De-Emphasis Method

Digital IIR

De-Emphasis Supported at

Fs = 32, 44.1, 48 kHz


GROUP DELAY (LATENCY)

Delay – Digital Input to Analog Output (function of sample rate)

1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz

1.27 ms at 48 kHz

0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz

0.82 ms at 96 kHz

0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz

0.47 ms at 192 kHz


DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTS

Number of Digital Inputs (switch selected)

5 (1 USB, 2 Optical, 2 Coaxial)

Number of Channels

2

Input Sample Frequency Range

28 to 210 kHz (Coaxial Inputs)

28 to 96 kHz (Optical Inputs)

44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB Input)

Maximum Input Word Length

24 bits

Digital Input Impedance

75 Ohms (Coaxial Inputs)

DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Transient and Over-Voltage Protection on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Minimum Digital Input Level

250 mVpp (Coaxial Inputs)

Jitter Tolerance

(With no Measurable Change in Performance)

>12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 3 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 20 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 40 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 80 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 90 kHz

>0.25 UI sine above 160 kHz

Jitter Attenuation Method

Benchmark UltraLock3™ - all inputs


BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Balanced Analog Outputs

2

Output Connector

Gold-Pin Neutrik™ male XLR

Output Impedance

60 Ohms (Attenuator off)

425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)

135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Analog Output Clip Point

+30 dBu

Factory Calibration (at 0 dBFS)

+24 dBu (Attenuator off)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB


UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Unbalanced Analog Outputs

2

Output Connector

RCA

Output Impedance

30 Ohms

Analog Output Clip Point

+13.5 dBu (3.7 Vrms)

Factory Calibration (at 0 dBFS)

+8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate

< +/- 0.006 dB


STATUS DISPLAY

Indicators - Type and Location

12 LED’s on Front Panel

Selection/Status Indication

1 – Control Lock

5 – Input

2 – Word length

4 – Sample Rate




AC POWER REQUIREMENTS

Nominal Input Operating Voltage Range (VAC RMS)

100 – 240V

Frequency

50-60 Hz

Power

< 0.5 Watts Idle
12 Watts Typical Program
13 Watts Maximum

Fuses

5 x 20 mm (2 required)
0.5 A 250 V Slo-Blo® Type

Min/Max Operating range (VAC RMS)

90 – 260 VAC
47 – 63 Hz


DIMENSIONS

Form Factor

½ Rack Wide, 1 RU High

Depth behind front panel

8.5” (216 mm)

Overall depth including connectors but without power cord

9.33” (237 mm)

Width

9.5” (249 mm)

Height

1.725” (44.5 mm)


WEIGHT

DAC3 only

3 lb.

DAC3 with remote control, power cord, extra fuses, and manual

4 lb.

Shipping weight

7 lb.


IMPORTANT FEATURES

  • Sample Rate Display
  • Word Length Display
  • 5 Digital Inputs
  • 2 Stereo Analog Outputs (1 RCA, 1 XLR)
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Native DSD Conversion
  • Control-lock Switch
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0
  • Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1
  • Bi-Directional 12 Volt Trigger
  • Power Switch
  • Low Power Consumption
  • ES9028PRO Converter
BENCHMARK DAC3 B - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER
฿66,300
DAC3 B - REFERENCE QUALITY - BASIC FEATURES The DAC3 B is the basic D/A converter in Benchmark's DAC3 converter series. The DAC3 B is the ideal conver..
฿66,300

Available Options

BENCHMARK DAC3 DX - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK DAC3 DX - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

฿81,900

BENCHMARK PERFORMANCE

DAC3 VS. DAC2

The DAC3builds upon Benchmark’s highly successful DAC2 product family. The DAC3 maintains the familiar DAC2 form factor, but adds the higher performance available from the new ES9028PRO D/A converter. The DAC3 DX offers the following improvements over the DAC2 DX:

  • Active 2nd Harmonic Compensation
  • Active 3rd Harmonic Compensation
  • Lower THD+N
  • Lower passband ripple
  • Improved frequency response
  • Faster PLL lock times
  • Faster switching between inputs
  • Adjustable calibration

DAC3 VS. DAC1

The DAC3 and DAC2 add these features that are not found on the DAC1:

  • Asynchronous 192kHz USB Audio 2.0
  • 32-bit D/A conversion system
  • Word Length Display
  • Sample Rate Display
  • Polarity Control
  • Direct DSD D/A Conversion
  • -20 dB DIM
  • Bi-Directional 12V Trigger
  • Power Switch 
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Digital Pass-Through
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • Dual-Domain Hybrid Gain Control
  • Additional I/O

DAC3 TECHNOLOGIES

3:1 PARALLEL CONVERSION STRUCTURE

The conversion system in the DAC3 DX achieves a 4.77 dB signal to noise improvement through the use of 3:1 summing on the main output bus. The ES9028PRO D/A is an 8-channel 32-bit converter. In the DAC3 DX, three channels are summed in the analog domain to form each of the two output channels on the main bus. The remaining two channels provide the aux bus outputs

The 3:1 summing also improves the THD. The non-linearities in individual conversion channels are averaged across the four summed channels and incoherent non-linearities are attenuated by up to 4 dB.

HARMONIC COMPENSATION

The ES9028PRO has two distortion compensation systems that independently remove most of the 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion in the D/A converter. Benchmark's ultra-clean analog output stages allow these systems to be fully leveraged in the DAC3 series. To the best of our knowledge, no other D/A converter has lower THD than the Benchmark DAC3 series.


The DAC3 DX is Benchmark's newest 2-channel D/A converter. When compared to the legendary DAC1, the DAC3 series has lower noise, lower distortion, and improved accuracy. The DAC1 and DAC2 series converters have become the reference standard in many of the finest recording studios and mastering rooms. The DAC3 defines a new reference.

DAC3 converters deliver outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. They employ an advanced high-headroom digital filter design, and a high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock3™ jitter attenuation system.

Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. Three balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to form the main output bus. Two channels are reserved for the auxiliary RCA output bus.

The performance of the DAC3 DX exceeds the measurement limits of today's state-of-the art test equipment.

NATIVE DSD CONVERSION

DSD (in DoP 1.1 format) is automatically detected on USB, coaxial, and XLR digital inputs. The system seamlessly switches between native DSD and native PCM conversion. DoP 1.1 is supported by many media players, and DSD downloads are now available from several sources.

Enjoy seamless transitions between native DSD and native PCM playback.

DIRECT CONNECTIVITY TO POWER AMPLIFIERS AND POWERED MONITORS

Benchmark DAC1DAC2, and DAC3 converters are designed to directly drive power amplifiers and powered speakers. Benchmark converters feature adjustable low-impedance passive attenuators at the XLR outputs that can be used to optimize the interface to the power amplifier (or powered monitor). The sonic importance of these attenuators cannot be overemphasized. Proper gain matching between the DAC/preamplifier and the power amplifier is essential for achieving peak system performance. The attenuators allow precise matching to all amplifiers and powered monitors.

Passive output attenuators are only found on Benchmark converters - don't settle for anything less.

SONICALLY NEUTRAL

All Benchmark converters are designed for maximum transparency. This transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain. DAC3 converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems. In home applications, the DAC2 delivers the sonic signature that was created in the recording studio.

Hear the music exactly as it was heard in the studio.

TAKE THE STUDIO HOME

When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment.

Discover the natural, uncolored, analog sound of the DAC3.

THE DIGITAL-ONLY DAC3 FOR AUDIO PROFESSIONALS

The DAC3 DX is the DAC3 of choice for users who do not need analog inputs.

The DX is well suited to the needs of professional users and includes an XLR AES digital input. The DAC3 DX is the only DAC3 model that includes dual stereo output buses. The analog output buses can be independently set to fixed or variable gain. The DAC3 DX is also the only DAC3 available in a rack-mount version.

A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1 AND DAC2

Benchmark's DAC1 and DAC2 series converters have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1 or DAC2. The DAC1 and DAC2 have been some of the best-selling 2-channel reference-quality converters and are in daily use at many of the finest recording studios and mastering rooms. Benchmark converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. Benchmark has raised the bar ... the DAC3 defines a new reference.

PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS

  • Reference-Quality Studio Monitoring
  • Sound-Card Elimination for Computer Audio
  • Stand-Alone Headphone Amplifier for Digital Sources
  • USB to SPDIF Transfer Device

HI-FI APPLICATIONS

The DAC2 DX uses digital connections (USB, Optical, Coaxial, or AES) to bypass the low-quality built-in converters that are included in many audio products. 

  • Audio Output Device for Music and Video Servers
  • Home Hi-Fi Playback from Digital Sources
  • Audio Output Device for TV and Home Theater Systems 

ADD BENCHMARK CABLES TO COMPLETE YOUR NEW SYSTEM

Benchmark offers a no-nonsense selection of very high-quality cables. Benchmark cables are designed for durability and transparency, and most are manufactured in the USA. Our optical cables are manufactured in Canada.

BENCHMARK TECHNOLOGIES

Benchmark includes some exciting technologies in the DAC2:

  • Hybrid Gain Control
  • Low-Impedance Passive Output Attenuators
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • UltraLock3™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • High-Headroom 32-bit DSP
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Digital Diagnostic Display
  • Volume-Control Bypass
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Distributed Power Regulation
  • "Zero-Ohm" HPA2 Headphone Amplifier

HYBRID GAIN CONTROL

The DAC3 DX combines passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. All analog outputs are controlled by the rotary volume control unless the calibrated output function is selected. The motorized volume control moves in response to commands from the remote control. Audio does not pass through the volume control. The position of the rotary knob is precisely measured, and digital gain coefficients are calculated. The gain coefficients are filtered and passed to a 32-bit high-headroom DSP system. The 32-bit output of this system is connected directly to the array of 32-bit digital to analog converters. This system can provide a wide range of volume control without losing resolution. The DSP system preserves precise L/R balance, and precise stereo imaging, while avoiding any source of noise and distortion.

The volume control is one of the most critical functions in the audio chain, enjoy the best system available.

LOW-IMPEDANCE PASSIVE OUTPUT ATTENUATORS

Benchmark's unique passive output attenuators provide distortion-free gain reduction without reducing the dynamic range (or SNR) of the converter. The attenuators optimize the gain staging between the DAC3 DX and the power amplifier. This optimization is absolutely essential for maximizing the dynamic range of the entire playback system. Much of the success of the DAC1 and DAC2 converters can be attributed to the passive output attenuators. Musical details can be obscured by system noise whenever a preamplifier and power amplifier are improperly matched. The passive attenuators enable full use of your power amplifier's dynamic range.

Experience new details in your favorite recordings.

ULTRALOCK3™ JITTER ATTENUATION SYSTEM

UltraLock3™ is an improved version of the UltraLock2™ system used in the DAC2 product family. On both of these systems, DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of hearing. But, the new UltraLock3™ system provides instantaneous (6 ms) lock times. This makes it much easier to perform A/B comparisons between two digital inputs.

Benchmark's UltraLock3™ system eliminates all audible jitter artifacts.

HIGH-HEADROOM DSP

All D/A converters need 3.5 dB "excess" digital headroom, but few have any headroom above 0 dBFS.

All of the digital processing in the DAC3 DX is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS. Most digital systems clip signals that exceed 0 dBFS. The 0 dBFS limitation seems reasonable, as 0 dBFS is the highest sinusoidal signal level that can be represented in a digital system. However, a detailed investigation of the mathematics of PCM digital systems will reveal that inter-sample peaks may reach levels slightly higher than +3 dBFS while individual samples never exceed 0 dBFS. These inter-sample overs are common in commercial releases, and are of no consequence in a PCM system until they reach an interpolation process. But, for a variety of reasons, virtually all audio D/A converters use an interpolation process. The interpolation process is absolutely necessary to achieve 24-bit state-of-the art conversion performance. Unfortunately, inter-sample overs cause clipping in most interpolators. This clipping produces distortion products that are non-harmonic and non-musical . We believe these broadband distortion products often add a harshness or false high-frequency sparkle to digital reproduction. The DAC3 DX avoids these problems by maintaining at least 3.5 dB of headroom in the entire conversion system.

We believe this added headroom is a groundbreaking improvement delivering significant sonic advantages.

QUAD 32-BIT BALANCED CONVERSION SYSTEM

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters deliver audio to Benchmark's low-impedance current to voltage converters. The main bus feeds the balanced XLR outputs and one set of unbalanced RCA outputs. The main bus uses 3:1 redundancy to reduce conversion noise by 4.77 dB. The redundancy also tends to reduce distortion. A fourth set of conversion channels are reserved for the auxiliary bus that feeds the second set of RCA outputs.

Similar redundancy is built into the native DSD conversion system.

The analog circuits that follow the D/A converter are carefully designed. Benchmark has leveraged its long history of building high-end analog audio equipment, in order to create an outstanding analog output stage.

Digital converters are never better than the analog stages that support the conversion process.

MULTI-MODE ASYNCHRONOUS USB SYSTEM

Benchmark's USB system supports USB Audio 2.0, DSD, and USB Audio 1.1. It is frequency agile, and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software. In all modes the USB communications are asynchronous in order to eliminate unnecessary sources of jitter.

The DAC3 DX has a low-jitter master clock which controls the transfer of audio data from the computer to the USB sub-system. The computer asynchronously transfers audio data to a buffer in the DAC3 DX. The contents of the buffer are then asynchronously transferred to the D/A conversion sub-system. This second asynchronous transfer eliminates any traces of jitter that accumulate as the data is transferred between the USB and conversion subsystems. No traces of jitter-induced distortion are measurable to our measurement limits (better than -150 dBFS). This truly represents the state-of-the art. Enjoy the convenience of computer playback without compromise. The Asynchronous USB system supports USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192kHz, and DSD playback. No drivers are required for MAC operating systems. An easy-to-install driver adds 192 kHz and DSD capabilities to Windows operating systems.

An asynchronous, driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode supports sample rates up to 96 kHz. This USB mode can be selected from the front panel or from the remote control. The driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode allows quick plug-and-play connections to Windows, MAC, iOS, and many Linux operating systems without installing drivers. Just plug in the USB, and the DAC2 DX becomes an available audio device.

The USB subsystem remains active when the DAC2 DX is powered down. This prevents interruptions to the computer playback operations and eliminates the need to reconfigure the computer every time the converter is turned on.

Enjoy the convenience of USB connectivity without any compromise to audio performance.

DIGITAL DIAGNOSTIC DISPLAY

Ever wonder why that 192 kHz 24-bit download on your computer just doesn't sound right? Your media player may be down-sampling to 44.1 kHz and/or truncating to 16-bits. Many media players apply poor-quality sample rate conversion and truncation. Fortunately these problems can be eliminated with the selection of a good frequency-agile media player. The sample-rate and word-length displays on the DAC3 DX confirm the proper operation of your media player. These tools are also essential in the studio - get instant confirmation of sample rates and word lengths. The DAC3 DX measures the sample rate and examines bit activity, it does not use metadata flags (which are often incorrect).

Know when High-Resolution Audio is being delivered to your DAC.

VOLUME-CONTROL BYPASS

The DAC3 DX has two analog output busses. Each bus can be placed in a calibrated volume-control bypass mode in order to provide a full-level output while using an upstream digital volume control or downstream analog volume control. This feature is useful in many professional applications and it is also useful when the DAC3 DX is feeding a Hi-Fi preamplifier.

The bypass function should be enabled whenever a Hi-Fi preamplifier is inserted between the DAC3 DX and the power amplifier. However, for best performance, Benchmark strongly recommends connecting the DAC3 DX directly to the power amplifier. The DAC3 DX performs all the functions of a DAC and a Hi-Fi preamplifier - a separate downstream Hi-Fi preamplifier can only degrade the performance.

The Volume-Control Bypass provides flexibility for specialized applications.

DIGITAL PASS-THROUGH FUNCTION

The second coaxial input can be reconfigured as a digital output. In output mode, any selected digital input (including USB) will pass through to the coaxial output. The digital pass through is bit-transparent and even supports DSD (DoP 1.1). Dolby digital and DTS formats can be passed through to a surround processor.

The Pass-Through Function provides a coaxial output for any USB-connected computer.

POWER SWITCH

The DAC3 DX will enter a standby mode if the selected digital input is inactive for more than 5 minutes. Operation will resume when the selected digital input become active.The power switch places the DAC3 DX in "full shutdown". Power consumption is less than 0.5 W in "full shutdown". The DAC3 DX will respond the IR remote or the 12V trigger while in "full shutdown".

The DAC3 DX saves energy by meeting or exceeding all standby power standards.

LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

The DAC3 DX uses high-efficiency low noise power supplies and may be operated from any standard international voltage without adjustment. Low-noise audio circuits require generous amounts of power. High-efficiency circuits in the DAC2 DX deliver this power without wasted energy.

Power consumption is 12 W - typical.

DISTRIBUTED POWER REGULATION

To achieve the lowest possible noise, the DAC3 DX uses distributed power supply regulation. Each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator. There are 20 voltage regulators in the DAC3 DX.

This power system is so effective that there no evidence of any AC line-related hum and noise are at least 135 dB below the calibrated output level.

"ZERO-OHM" HPA2 HEADPHONE POWER AMPLIFIER

The DAC3 DX features the HPA2 - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2 is arguably the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC3 DX to the headphones. The HPA2 maintains less than 0.001% THD+N into 30 Ohms. The DAC3 has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel. The performance of the HPA2 remains consistent even when two headphones are being driven simultaneously.

The 0.11-Ohm output impedance of the HPA2™ maintains tight control of headphone transducers.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE

Fs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)

SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +28 dBu

127 dB

SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +28 dBu

125 dB

THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS

-111 dBFS, -111 dB, 0.00028%

THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS

-112 dBFS, -111 dB, 0.00028%

THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS

-116 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%

THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS

-108 dBFS, -105 dB, <0.00056%

Frequency Response at Fs=192 kHz

+/- 0.005 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.013 dB at 10 Hz

+0.005 dB at 20 kHz

+0.006 dB at 40 kHz

-0.002 dB at 80 kHz

Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz

+/- 0.006 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.015 dB at 10 Hz

-0.001 dB at 20 kHz

Crosstalk

-120 dB at 20 Hz

-120 dB at 1 kHz

-106 dB at 20 kHz

Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)

< -144 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS test signal

< -138 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones

< -147 dB

Maximum Amplitude of AC line related Hum & Noise

< -135 dB

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Stereo Pair – any sample rate)

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Between DAC3 DX Units Fs<110 kHz) Any sample rate.

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Maximum Lock Time after Fs change

400 ms

Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time

50 ms

Mute on Receive Error

Yes

Mute on Lock Error

Yes

Mute on Idle Channel

No

50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable

Automatic in Consumer Mode

De-Emphasis Method

Digital IIR

De-Emphasis Supported at

Fs = 32, 44.1, 48 kHz


GROUP DELAY (LATENCY)

Delay – Digital Input to Analog Output (function of sample rate)

1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz

1.27 ms at 48 kHz

0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz

0.82 ms at 96 kHz

0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz

0.47 ms at 192 kHz


DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTS

Number of Digital Inputs (switch selected)

6 (1 USB, 2 Optical, 1 XLR, 2 Coaxial)

Number of Channels

2

Input Sample Frequency Range

28 to 210 kHz (Coaxial and XLR)

28 to 96 kHz (Optical)

44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB)

Maximum Input Word Length

24 bits

Digital Input Impedance

75 Ohms Coaxial, 110 Ohms XLR

DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial and XLR Inputs)

Transient and Over-Voltage Protection on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial and XLR Inputs)

Transformer Coupling on Digital Inputs

Yes (XLR Input)

Minimum Digital Input Level

250 mVpp (Coaxial and XLR Inputs)

Jitter Tolerance

(With no Measurable Change in Performance)

>12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 3 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 20 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 40 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 80 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 90 kHz

>0.25 UI sine above 160 kHz

Jitter Attenuation Method

Benchmark UltraLock3™ - all inputs


BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Balanced Analog Outputs

2

Output Connector

Gold-Pin Neutrik™ male XLR

Output Impedance

60 Ohms (Attenuator off)

425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)

135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Analog Output Clip Point

+29 dBu

Factory Set Bypass Level (at 0 dBFS)

+24 dBu (Attenuator = 0 dB)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) In ‘Variable’ Mode

Off to +28 dBu (Attenuator off)

Off to +18 dBu (Attenuator = 10 dB)

Off to +8 dBu (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB


UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Unbalanced Analog Outputs

4

Output Connector

RCA

Output Impedance

30 Ohms

Analog Output Clip Point

+13.5 dBu

Factory Set Home Theater Bypass Output Level (at 0 dBFS)

+8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS)

Off to +12.2 dBu (3.2 Vrms)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB


HPA2TM HEADPHONE OUTPUTS

Number of Headphone Outputs

2

Output Connectors

¼” TRS with switch on left-hand jack

Output Impedance

< 0.11 Ohms

Output Level Control

Stereo Control on Front Panel

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) into 60-Ohm Load

Off to +22 dBu (9.7 Vrms)

Maximum Output Current

250 mA

Overload Protection (independent per channel)

Current limited at 300 mA, also thermally protected

Bandwidth

> 500 kHz

THD+N

-100 dB, 0.001% into 30 Ohms at 50 mW

1.26W maximum into 30 Ohms


STATUS DISPLAY

Indicators - Type and Location

16 LED’s on Front Panel

Selection/Status Indication

2 – Mute, Dim
6 – Input
2 – Bypass/Calibrated Output
2 – Word length
4 – Sample Rate




AC POWER REQUIREMENTS

Nominal Input Operating Voltage Range (VAC RMS)

100 – 240V

Frequency

50-60 Hz

Power

< 0.5 Watts Idle
12 Watts Typical Program
15 Watts Maximum

Fuses

5 x 20 mm (2 required)
0.5 A 250 V Slo-Blo® Type

Min/Max Operating range (VAC RMS)

90 – 260
47 – 63Hz


DIMENSIONS

Form Factor

½ Rack Wide, 1 RU High

Depth behind front panel

8.5” (216 mm)

Overall depth including connectors but without power cord

9.33” (237 mm)

Width

9.5” (249 mm)

Height

1.725” (44.5 mm)


WEIGHT

DAC3 DX only

3 lb.

DAC3 DX with remote control, power cord, extra fuses, and manual

4 lb.

Shipping weight

7 lb.


DAC3 DX FEATURES

  • Sample-Rate Display
  • Word-Length Display
  • Six Digital Inputs
  • Three Stereo Analog Outputs
  • Two Independent Analog Output Buses
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Dual HPA2 Headphone Outputs
  • Headphone Mute Switch - left headphone jack mutes main output, function may be defeated
  • Native DSD Conversion
  • Native PCM Conversion
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0
  • Asynchronous USB 1.1 for Driverless Operation
  • Volume Control Bypass Function for Main Bus
  • Volume Control Bypass Function for Auxiliary Bus
  • 12V Trigger I/O - for sequenced system power switching
  • Mute Relays - on all analog outputs
  • Optional IR Remote Control - with heavy-duty metal housing
  • Power Switch
  • Low Power Consumption

RACK-MOUNT OPTIONS

The DAC3 DX is available in rackmount chassis. Non-rackmount versions can also be rackmounted using Benchmark's 1-RU tray. All Benchmark DAC3DAC2DAC1ADC1, and MPA1 products are housed in a 1/2-wide 1 RU chassis. Two units can be mounted side-by-side in a standard 19" rack. The rackmount version of the DAC3 DX is 1/2 rack wide and requires a blank plate and coupler if mounted by itself.

BENCHMARK DAC3 DX - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER
฿81,900
BENCHMARK PERFORMANCE DAC3 VS. DAC2 The DAC3builds upon Benchmark’s highly successful DAC2 product family. The DAC3 maintains the familiar DAC2 form..
฿81,900

Available Options

BENCHMARK DAC3 HGC - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK DAC3 HGC - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

฿86,000

A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1 AND DAC2

The DAC3 is Benchmark's newest 2-channel D/A converter featuring the new ESS Technologies ES9028PRO converter chip. The DAC3 converter has lower THD and THD+N noise than Benchmark's DAC2 converter.

Benchmark's DAC1 and DAC2 D/A converter families have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1 or the DAC2. Benchmark converters are in daily use at many of the world's finest recording studios and mastering rooms. Benchmark converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. Benchmark has raised the bar again ... the DAC3 defines a new reference.

REFERENCE PERFORMANCE

The DAC3 delivers outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. It employs an advanced high-headroom digital filter design, and a high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock3™ jitter attenuation system.

Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and this processing includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. This headroom prevents the DSP overloads that commonly occur in other D/A converters.

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to create each balanced analog output. This 4:1 summation provides a 6 dB noise reduction, and gives the DAC3 industry-leading performance.

DAC3 VS. DAC2

The DAC3builds upon Benchmark’s highly successful DAC2 product family. The DAC3 maintains the familiar DAC2 form factor and feature set, but adds the higher performance available from the new ES9028PRO D/A converter. The DAC3 offers the following improvements over the DAC2:

  • Active 2nd Harmonic Compensation
  • Active 3rd Harmonic Compensation
  • Lower THD+N
  • Lower passband ripple
  • Improved frequency response
  • Faster PLL lock times
  • Faster switching between input signals

DAC3 VS. DAC1

The DAC3 and DAC2 added these features that were not found on the DAC1:

  • Asynchronous 192kHz USB Audio 2.0
  • 32-bit D/A conversion system
  • Word Length Display
  • Sample Rate Display
  • Polarity Control
  • Direct DSD D/A Conversion
  • -20 dB DIM
  • Bi-Directional 12V Trigger
  • Power Switch with Auto-On Function
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Digital Pass-Through
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • Dual-Domain Hybrid Gain Control
  • Additional I/O

NATIVE DSD CONVERSION

All digital inputs on the DAC3 support native PCM or DSD conversion. From any input, DSD is transported with bit accuracy over DoP 1.1. DSD and PCM are both natively converted to analog. There are no DSD to PCM or PCM to DSD conversions to compromise the quality of the music. The DAC3 conversion system seamlessly switches between native PCM and native DSD conversion. DSD over DoP 1.1 is supported by many media players, and DSD downloads are now available from several sources.

DIRECT CONNECTIVITY TO POWER AMPLIFIERS

Benchmark DAC1DAC2, and DAC3 converters are designed to directly drive power amplifiers and speakers. Benchmark converters feature adjustable low-impedance passive attenuators at the XLR outputs that can be used to optimize the interface to the power amplifier (or powered monitor). This unique Benchmark feature optimizes the gain staging between the DAC and the power amplifier. Proper gain staging cannot be overemphasised. When audio stages are properly matched, each component in the audio chain is able to operate at its optimum signal level, and the system performance is significantly improved.

SONICALLY-NEUTRAL STUDIO MONITORING

All Benchmark converters are designed for maximum transparency. This transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain. For this reason, DAC3 converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems. Unlike many competing products, the DAC3 is not designed to add "euphonic" coloration to the audio. Instead it is designed to be as uncolored and natural as possible.

STEP INTO THE STUDIO

When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment. Enjoy pure music without any coloration from the electronics. Hear the music exactly the way it was heard in the studio, and exactly the way the artists intended.

Discover the natural, uncolored, analog sound of the DAC3.

SIT IN THE PERFORMANCE SPACE

Transparent sound can go beyond replicating the studio experience. Recordings that have been produced with a natural and unprocessed sound can transport you to the performance space. But, this can only happen when the entire playback chain is selected for maximum transparency.

This experience of "being there" cannot be created by systems that are designed to add "warmth" or "euphonic color" to the music. 

DAC3 TECHNOLOGIES

  • Harmonic Compensation
  • Hybrid Gain Control
  • UltraLock3™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Distributed Power Regulation

HARMONIC COMPENSATION

The ES9028PRO has two distortion compensation systems that independently remove most of the 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion in the D/A converter. Benchmark's ultra-clean analog output stages allow these systems to be fully leveraged in the DAC3. To the best of our knowledge, no other D/A converter has lower THD than the Benchmark DAC3.

HYBRID GAIN CONTROL

"HGC" is Benchmark's unique Hybrid Gain Control system. The DAC3 combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. All inputs are controlled by the rotary volume control. This volume control moves in response to commands from the remote control. Analog inputs are never converted to digital, and digital inputs never pass through an analog potentiometer. Digital inputs are precisely controlled in the 32-bit DSP system. The DSP system preserves precise L/R balance, and precise stereo imaging, while avoiding any source of noise and distortion.

Benchmark's unique passive output attenuators provide distortion-free gain reduction without reducing the dynamic range of the converter. The attenuators optimize the gain staging between the DAC3 and the power amplifier. This optimization is absolutely essential for maximizing the dynamic range of the entire playback system. Much of the success of the DAC1 and DAC2 converters can be attributed to the passive output attenuators. Musical details can be obscured by system noise whenever a preamplifier and power amplifier are improperly matched. The" HGC " system will make full use of your power amplifier's dynamic range. Experience new details in your favorite recordings.

ULTRALOCK3™ JITTER ATTENUATION SYSTEM

UltraLock3™ is an improved version of the UltraLock2™ system used in the DAC2 product family. UltraLock3™ locks with precise phase accuracy in only 6 ms. In contrast, the UltraLock2™ system required 400 ms. Both UltraLock™ systems provide virtually perfect jitter attenuation, but the the lightning-fast lock time of the new UltraLock3™ will be appreciated by many of our users.

DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock3™ system eliminates all audible jitter artifacts.

HIGH HEADROOM DSP - WITH 3.5 DB "EXCESS" DIGITAL HEADROOM

All of the digital processing in the DAC3 is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS. Most digital systems clip signals that exceed 0 dBFS. The 0 dBFS limitation seems reasonable, as 0 dBFS is the highest sinusoidal signal level that can be represented in a digital system. However, a detailed investigation of the mathematics of PCM digital systems will reveal that inter-sample peaks may reach +3.01 dBFS while individual samples never exceed 0 dBFS. These inter-sample peaks are common in commercial releases, and are of no consequence in a PCM system until they reach an interpolation process. But, for a variety of reasons, virtually all audio D/A converters use an interpolation process. The interpolation process is absolutely necessary to achieve 24-bit state-of-the art conversion performance. Unfortunately, inter-sample peaks exceeding 0 dBFS cause clipping in most interpolators. This clipping produces distortion products that are non-harmonic and non-musical . We believe these broadband distortion products often add a harshness or false high-frequency sparkle to digital reproduction. The DAC3 avoids these problems by maintaining at least 3.5 dB of headroom in the entire conversion system. We believe this added headroom is a groundbreaking improvement.

MULTI-MODE ASYNCHRONOUS USB SYSTEM

Benchmark's USB system supports USB Audio 2.0, DSD, and USB Audio 1.1. It is frequency agile, and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software. In all modes the USB communications are asynchronous in order to eliminate unnecessary sources of jitter.

The DAC3 has a low-jitter master clock which controls the transfer of audio data from the computer to the USB sub-system. The computer asynchronously transfers audio data to a buffer in the DAC3. The contents of the buffer are then asynchronously transferred to the D/A conversion subsystem. This second asynchronous transfer eliminates any traces of jitter that accumulate as the data is transferred between the USB and conversion subsystems. No traces of jitter-induced distortion are measurable to our measurement limits (better than -150 dBFS). This truly represents the state-of-the art. Enjoy the convenience of computer playback without compromise. The Asynchronous USB system supports USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192kHz, and DSD playback. No drivers are required for MAC operating systems. An easy-to-install driver adds 192 kHz and DSD capabilities to Windows operating systems.

An asynchronous, driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode supports sample rates up to 96 kHz. This USB mode can be selected from the front panel or from the remote control. The driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode allows quick plug-and-play connections to Windows, MAC, iOS, and Linux operating systems without installing drivers. Just plug in the USB, and the DAC3 becomes an available audio device.

The USB subsystem remains active when the DAC3 is powered down. This prevents interruptions to the computer playback operations and eliminates the need to reconfigure the computer every time the converter is turned on.

QUAD 32-BIT BALANCED CONVERSION SYSTEM

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters deliver audio to Benchmark's low-impedance current to voltage converters. The 4:1 redundancy reduces noise and distortion to levels that set new benchmarks. The conversion system at the core of the DAC3 is as good as it gets. The analog circuits that follow the D/A converter are carefully designed. Benchmark has leveraged its long history of building high-end analog audio equipment, in order to create an outstanding output stage.

The conversion system in the DAC3 achieves a 6 dB signal to noise improvement through the use of 4:1 summing. The ES9028PRO D/A is an 8-channel 32-bit converter. In the DAC3, four channels are summed in the analog domain to form each of the two output channels.

The 4:1 summing also improves the THD. The non-linearities in individual conversion channels are averaged across the four summed channels and incoherent non-linearities are attenuated by 6 dB.

DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS - SAMPLE-RATE AND WORD-LENGTH INDICATORS

Ever wonder why that 192 kHz 24-bit download on your computer just doesn't sound right? Your media player may be down-sampling to 44.1 kHz and/or truncating to 16-bits. Many computers and media players apply poor-quality sample rate conversion and truncation. Fortunately these problems can be eliminated with the selection a good frequency-agile media player. The sample-rate and word-length displays on the DAC3 confirm the proper operation of your media player.

POLARITY SWITCH

You may encounter recordings with inverted polarity. The DAC3 HGC and DAC3 L include a polarity switch to correct the problem.

HOME THEATER BYPASS

The DAC3 can be integrated into a home theater system. Typically the DAC3 drives the left and right power amplifiers, and an analog feed from the home theater system is connected to either of the analog inputs on the DAC3. A programmable Home Theater Bypass function sets the pass-through gain to unity when the surround system is active. The DAC3 HGC and DAC3 L include an indicator light that is illuminated when bypass is active.

DIGITAL PASS THROUGH

The second coaxial input on the DAC3 can be reconfigured as a digital output. In output mode, any selected digital input (including USB) will pass through to the coaxial output. The digital pass through is bit-transparent and even supports DSD (DoP 1.1). Dolby digital and DTS formats can also be passed through to a surround processor.

BI-DIRECTIONAL 12 VOLT TRIGGER

Benchmark re-invents the 12 volt trigger. The trigger connection on the DAC2 can be used as an input, an output, or both. It is compatible with any common 12 volt trigger input or output. The trigger can be used to turn a power amplifier on or off automatically. The DAC3 will also respond to a 12 volt trigger to follow the actions of another audio component.

POWER SWITCH

The power switch can place the DAC3 in standby, or full shut down. In full shut down, the unit will still respond to the trigger input and the IR remote control. Power consumption is less than 0.5 W in full shut down.

LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

The DAC3 uses high-efficiency low noise power supplies and may be operated from any standard international voltage without adjustment. Power consumption is 12 W typical.

DISTRIBUTED POWER REGULATION

To achieve the lowest possible noise, the DAC3 uses distributed power supply regulation. Each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator.

HPA2™ HEADPHONE POWER AMPLIFIER

The DAC3 features the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is arguably the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC3 to the headphones. The DAC3 has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel. The performance of the HPA2™ remains consistent even when two headphones are being driven simultaneously.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE

Fs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)

SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +27 dBu

128 dB

SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +27 dBu

126 dB

THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%

THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS

-114 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%

THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS

-119 dBFS, -116 dB, 0.00016%

THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -110 dB, 0.00032%

Frequency Response at Fs=192 kHz

+0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.015 dB at 10 Hz

-0.005 dB at 20 kHz

-0.031 dB at 40 kHz

-0.15 dB at 80 kHz

Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz

+0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.015 dB at 10 Hz

-0.005 dB at 20 kHz

Crosstalk

-137 dB at 20 Hz

-130 dB at 1 kHz

-116 dB at 20 kHz

Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)

< -144 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS test signal

< -138 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones

< -147 dB

Maximum Amplitude of AC line related Hum & Noise

< -133 dB

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Stereo Pair – any sample rate)

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Between DAC3 Units Fs<110 kHz) Any sample rate.

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Maximum Lock Time after Fs change

6 ms

Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time

9.6 ms

Mute on Receive Error

Yes

Mute on Lock Error

Yes

Mute on Idle Channel

No

50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable

Automatic in Consumer Mode

De-Emphasis Method

Digital IIR

De-Emphasis Supported at

Fs = 32, 44.1, 48 kHz


GROUP DELAY (LATENCY)

Delay – Digital Input to Analog Output (function of sample rate)

1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz

1.27 ms at 48 kHz

0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz

0.82 ms at 96 kHz

0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz

0.47 ms at 192 kHz


DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTS

Number of Digital Inputs (switch selected)

5 (1 USB, 2 Optical, 2 Coaxial)

Number of Channels

2

Input Sample Frequency Range

28 to 210 kHz (Coaxial Inputs)

28 to 96 kHz (Optical Inputs)

44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB Input)

Maximum Input Word Length

24 bits

Digital Input Impedance

75 Ohms (Coaxial Inputs)

DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Transient and Over-Voltage Protection on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Minimum Digital Input Level

250 mVpp (Coaxial Inputs)

Jitter Tolerance

(With no Measurable Change in Performance)

>12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 3 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 20 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 40 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 80 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 90 kHz

>0.25 UI sine above 160 kHz

Jitter Attenuation Method

Benchmark UltraLock3™ - all inputs


BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Balanced Analog Outputs

2

Output Connector

Gold-Pin Neutrik™ male XLR

Output Impedance

60 Ohms (Attenuator off)

425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)

135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Analog Output Clip Point

+30 dBu

Factory Set Bypass Level (at 0 dBFS)

+24 dBu (Attenuator = 0 dB)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) In ‘Variable’ Mode

Off to +27.5 dBu (Attenuator off)

Off to +17.5 dBu (Attenuator = 10 dB)

Off to +7.5 dBu (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB


UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Unbalanced Analog Outputs

4

Output Connector

RCA

Output Impedance

30 Ohms

Analog Output Clip Point

+13.5 dBu (3.7 Vrms)

Factory Set Home Theater Bypass Output Level (at 0 dBFS)

+8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)

Output Level Range (with 0 dBFS digital input)

Off to +11.7 dBu (3 Vrms)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate

< +/- 0.006 dB


HPA2TM HEADPHONE OUTPUTS

Number of Headphone Outputs

2

Output Connectors

¼” TRS with switch on left-hand jack

Output Impedance

< 0.11 Ohms

Output Level Control

Stereo Control on Front Panel

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) into 60-Ohm Load

Off to +21.5 dBu (9.2 Vrms)

Output Power 1.25 W into 30 Ohms

Maximum Output Current

250 mA

Overload Protection (independent per channel)

Current limited at 300 mA, Thermal

Bandwidth

> 500 kHz, -0.35 dB at 200 kHz

THD+N at 20 mW

-108 dB (0.0004%) into 300 Ohms, -100 dB (0.0010%) into 30 Ohms


STATUS DISPLAY

Indicators - Type and Location

16 LED’s on Front Panel

Selection/Status Indication

1 – Dim/Mute

1 - Polarity
6 – Input
2 – Bypass/Calibrated Output
2 – Word length
4 – Sample Rate




AC POWER REQUIREMENTS

Nominal Input Operating Voltage Range (VAC RMS)

100 – 240V

Frequency

50-60 Hz

Power

< 0.5 Watts Idle
12 Watts Typical Program
15 Watts Maximum

Fuses

5 x 20 mm (2 required)
0.5 A 250 V Slo-Blo® Type

Min/Max Operating range (VAC RMS)

90 – 260 VAC
47 – 63 Hz


DIMENSIONS

Form Factor

½ Rack Wide, 1 RU High

Depth behind front panel

8.5” (216 mm)

Overall depth including connectors but without power cord

9.33” (237 mm)

Width

9.5” (249 mm)

Height

1.725” (44.5 mm)


WEIGHT

DAC3 only

3 lb.

DAC3 with remote control, power cord, extra fuses, and manual

4 lb.

Shipping weight

7 lb.


IMPORTANT FEATURES

  • Sample Rate Display
  • Word Length Display
  • 5 Digital Inputs
  • 2 Stereo Analog Inputs (2 RCA)
  • 3 Stereo Analog Outputs (2 RCA, 1 XLR)
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Native DSD Conversion
  • Polarity Switch
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0
  • Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Bi-Directional 12 Volt Trigger
  • Power Switch
  • Low Power Consumption
  • ES9028PRO Converter
BENCHMARK DAC3 HGC - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER
฿86,000
A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1 AND DAC2 The DAC3 is Benchmark's newest 2-channel D/A converter featuring the new ESS Technologies ES9028PRO converter chip...
฿86,000

Available Options

BENCHMARK DAC3 L - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK DAC3 L - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER

฿74,300

A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1 AND DAC2

The DAC3 is Benchmark's newest 2-channel D/A converter featuring the newESS Technologies ES9028PRO converter chip. The DAC3 converter has lower THD and THD+N noise than Benchmark's DAC2 converter.

Benchmark's DAC1 and DAC2 D/A converter families have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1 or the DAC2. Benchmark converters are in daily use at many of the world's finest recording studios and mastering rooms. Benchmark converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. Benchmark has raised the bar again ... the DAC3 defines a new reference.

REFERENCE PERFORMANCE

The DAC3 delivers outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. It employs an advanced high-headroom digital filter design, and a high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock3™ jitter attenuation system.

Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and this processing includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. This headroom prevents the DSP overloads that commonly occur in other D/A converters.

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to create each balanced analog output. This 4:1 summation provides a 6 dB noise reduction, and gives the DAC3 industry-leading performance.

DAC3 VS. DAC2

The DAC3builds upon Benchmark’s highly successful DAC2 product family. The DAC3 maintains the familiar DAC2 form factor and feature set, but adds the higher performance available from the new ES9028PRO D/A converter. The DAC3 offers the following improvements over the DAC2:

  • Active 2nd Harmonic Compensation
  • Active 3rd Harmonic Compensation
  • Lower THD+N
  • Lower passband ripple
  • Improved frequency response
  • Faster PLL lock times
  • Faster switching between input signals

DAC3 VS. DAC1

The DAC3 and DAC2 added these features that were not found on the DAC1:

  • Asynchronous 192kHz USB Audio 2.0
  • 32-bit D/A conversion system
  • Word Length Display
  • Sample Rate Display
  • Polarity Control
  • Direct DSD D/A Conversion
  • -20 dB DIM
  • Bi-Directional 12V Trigger
  • Power Switch with Auto-On Function
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Digital Pass-Through
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • Dual-Domain Hybrid Gain Control
  • Additional I/O

NATIVE DSD CONVERSION

All digital inputs on the DAC3 support native PCM or DSD conversion. From any input, DSD is transported with bit accuracy over DoP 1.1. DSD and PCM are both natively converted to analog. There are no DSD to PCM or PCM to DSD conversions to compromise the quality of the music. The DAC3 conversion system seamlessly switches between native PCM and native DSD conversion. DSD over DoP 1.1 is supported by many media players, and DSD downloads are now available from several sources.

DIRECT CONNECTIVITY TO POWER AMPLIFIERS

Benchmark DAC1DAC2, and DAC3 converters are designed to directly drive power amplifiers and speakers. Benchmark converters feature adjustable low-impedance passive attenuators at the XLR outputs that can be used to optimize the interface to the power amplifier (or powered monitor). This unique Benchmark feature optimizes the gain staging between the DAC and the power amplifier. Proper gain staging cannot be overemphasised. When audio stages are properly matched, each component in the audio chain is able to operate at its optimum signal level, and the system performance is significantly improved.

SONICALLY-NEUTRAL STUDIO MONITORING

All Benchmark converters are designed for maximum transparency. This transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain. For this reason, DAC3 converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems. Unlike many competing products, the DAC3 is not designed to add "euphonic" coloration to the audio. Instead it is designed to be as uncolored and natural as possible.

STEP INTO THE STUDIO

When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment. Enjoy pure music without any coloration from the electronics. Hear the music exactly the way it was heard in the studio, and exactly the way the artists intended.

Discover the natural, uncolored, analog sound of the DAC3.

SIT IN THE PERFORMANCE SPACE

Transparent sound can go beyond replicating the studio experience. Recordings that have been produced with a natural and unprocessed sound can transport you to the performance space. But, this can only happen when the entire playback chain is selected for maximum transparency.

This experience of "being there" cannot be created by systems that are designed to add "warmth" or "euphonic color" to the music. 

DAC3 TECHNOLOGIES

  • Harmonic Compensation
  • Hybrid Gain Control
  • UltraLock3™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Distributed Power Regulation

HARMONIC COMPENSATION

The ES9028PRO has two distortion compensation systems that independently remove most of the 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion in the D/A converter. Benchmark's ultra-clean analog output stages allow these systems to be fully leveraged in the DAC3. To the best of our knowledge, no other D/A converter has lower THD than the Benchmark DAC3.

HYBRID GAIN CONTROL

"HGC" is Benchmark's unique Hybrid Gain Control system. The DAC3 combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. All inputs are controlled by the rotary volume control. This volume control moves in response to commands from the remote control. Analog inputs are never converted to digital, and digital inputs never pass through an analog potentiometer. Digital inputs are precisely controlled in the 32-bit DSP system. The DSP system preserves precise L/R balance, and precise stereo imaging, while avoiding any source of noise and distortion.

Benchmark's unique passive output attenuators provide distortion-free gain reduction without reducing the dynamic range of the converter. The attenuators optimize the gain staging between the DAC3 and the power amplifier. This optimization is absolutely essential for maximizing the dynamic range of the entire playback system. Much of the success of the DAC1 and DAC2 converters can be attributed to the passive output attenuators. Musical details can be obscured by system noise whenever a preamplifier and power amplifier are improperly matched. The" HGC " system will make full use of your power amplifier's dynamic range. Experience new details in your favorite recordings.

ULTRALOCK3™ JITTER ATTENUATION SYSTEM

UltraLock3™ is an improved version of the UltraLock2™ system used in the DAC2 product family. UltraLock3™ locks with precise phase accuracy in only 6 ms. In contrast, the UltraLock2™ system required 400 ms. Both UltraLock™ systems provide virtually perfect jitter attenuation, but the the lightning-fast lock time of the new UltraLock3™ will be appreciated by many of our users.

DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock3™ system eliminates all audible jitter artifacts.

HIGH HEADROOM DSP - WITH 3.5 DB "EXCESS" DIGITAL HEADROOM

All of the digital processing in the DAC3 is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS. Most digital systems clip signals that exceed 0 dBFS. The 0 dBFS limitation seems reasonable, as 0 dBFS is the highest sinusoidal signal level that can be represented in a digital system. However, a detailed investigation of the mathematics of PCM digital systems will reveal that inter-sample peaks may reach levels slightly higher than +3 dBFS while individual samples never exceed 0 dBFS. These inter-sample overs are common in commercial releases, and are of no consequence in a PCM system until they reach an interpolation process. But, for a variety of reasons, virtually all audio D/A converters use an interpolation process. The interpolation process is absolutely necessary to achieve 24-bit state-of-the art conversion performance. Unfortunately, inter-sample overs cause clipping in most interpolators. This clipping produces distortion products that are non-harmonic and non-musical . We believe these broadband distortion products often add a harshness or false high-frequency sparkle to digital reproduction. The DAC3 avoids these problems by maintaining at least 3.5 dB of headroom in the entire conversion system. We believe this added headroom is a groundbreaking improvement.

MULTI-MODE ASYNCHRONOUS USB SYSTEM

Benchmark's USB system supports USB Audio 2.0, DSD, and USB Audio 1.1. It is frequency agile, and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software. In all modes the USB communications are asynchronous in order to eliminate unnecessary sources of jitter.

The DAC3 has a low-jitter master clock which controls the transfer of audio data from the computer to the USB sub-system. The computer asynchronously transfers audio data to a buffer in the DAC3. The contents of the buffer are then asynchronously transferred to the D/A conversion subsystem. This second asynchronous transfer eliminates any traces of jitter that accumulate as the data is transferred between the USB and conversion subsystems. No traces of jitter-induced distortion are measurable to our measurement limits (better than -150 dBFS). This truly represents the state-of-the art. Enjoy the convenience of computer playback without compromise. The Asynchronous USB system supports USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192kHz, and DSD playback. No drivers are required for MAC operating systems. An easy-to-install driver adds 192 kHz and DSD capabilities to Windows operating systems.

An asynchronous, driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode supports sample rates up to 96 kHz. This USB mode can be selected from the front panel or from the remote control. The driverless USB Audio 1.1 mode allows quick plug-and-play connections to Windows, MAC, iOS, and Linux operating systems without installing drivers. Just plug in the USB, and the DAC3 becomes an available audio device.

The USB subsystem remains active when the DAC3 is powered down. This prevents interruptions to the computer playback operations and eliminates the need to reconfigure the computer every time the converter is turned on.

QUAD 32-BIT BALANCED CONVERSION SYSTEM

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters deliver audio to Benchmark's low-impedance current to voltage converters. The 4:1 redundancy reduces noise and distortion to levels that set new benchmarks. The conversion system at the core of the DAC3 is as good as it gets. The analog circuits that follow the D/A converter are carefully designed. Benchmark has leveraged its long history of building high-end analog audio equipment, in order to create an outstanding output stage.

The conversion system in the DAC3 achieves a 6 dB signal to noise improvement through the use of 4:1 summing. The ES9028PRO D/A is an 8-channel 32-bit converter. In the DAC3, four channels are summed in the analog domain to form each of the two output channels.

The 4:1 summing also improves the THD. The non-linearities in individual conversion channels are averaged across the four summed channels and incoherent non-linearities are attenuated by 6 dB.

DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS - SAMPLE-RATE AND WORD-LENGTH INDICATORS

Ever wonder why that 192 kHz 24-bit download on your computer just doesn't sound right? Your media player may be down-sampling to 44.1 kHz and/or truncating to 16-bits. Many computers and media players apply poor-quality sample rate conversion and truncation. Fortunately these problems can be eliminated with the selection a good frequency-agile media player. The sample-rate and word-length displays on the DAC3 confirm the proper operation of your media player.

POLARITY SWITCH

You may encounter recordings with inverted polarity. The DAC3 HGC and DAC3 L include a polarity switch to correct the problem.

HOME THEATER BYPASS

The DAC3 can be integrated into a home theater system. Typically the DAC3 drives the left and right power amplifiers, and an analog feed from the home theater system is connected to either of the analog inputs on the DAC3. A programmable Home Theater Bypass function sets the pass-through gain to unity when the surround system is active. The DAC3 HGC and DAC3 L include an indicator light that is illuminated when bypass is active.

DIGITAL PASS THROUGH

The second coaxial input on the DAC3 can be reconfigured as a digital output. In output mode, any selected digital input (including USB) will pass through to the coaxial output. The digital pass through is bit-transparent and even supports DSD (DoP 1.1). Dolby digital and DTS formats can also be passed through to a surround processor.

BI-DIRECTIONAL 12 VOLT TRIGGER

Benchmark re-invents the 12 volt trigger. The trigger connection on the DAC2 can be used as an input, an output, or both. It is compatible with any common 12 volt trigger input or output. The trigger can be used to turn a power amplifier on or off automatically. The DAC3 will also respond to a 12 volt trigger to follow the actions of another audio component.

POWER SWITCH

The power switch can place the DAC3 in standby, or full shut down. In full shut down, the unit will still respond to the trigger input and the IR remote control. Power consumption is less than 0.5 W in full shut down.

LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

The DAC3 uses high-efficiency low noise power supplies and may be operated from any standard international voltage without adjustment. Power consumption is 12 W typical.

DISTRIBUTED POWER REGULATION

To achieve the lowest possible noise, the DAC3 uses distributed power supply regulation. Each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE

Fs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)

SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +27 dBu

128 dB

SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +27 dBu

126 dB

THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%

THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS

-114 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%

THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS

-119 dBFS, -116 dB, 0.00016%

THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS

-113 dBFS, -110 dB, 0.00032%

Frequency Response at Fs=192 kHz

+0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.015 dB at 10 Hz

-0.005 dB at 20 kHz

-0.031 dB at 40 kHz

-0.15 dB at 80 kHz

Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz

+0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 to 20 kHz)

-0.015 dB at 10 Hz

-0.005 dB at 20 kHz

Crosstalk

-137 dB at 20 Hz

-130 dB at 1 kHz

-116 dB at 20 kHz

Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)

< -144 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS test signal

< -138 dB

Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones

< -147 dB

Maximum Amplitude of AC line related Hum & Noise

< -133 dB

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Stereo Pair – any sample rate)

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Inter-channel Differential Phase (Between DAC3 Units Fs<110 kHz) Any sample rate.

+/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz

Maximum Lock Time after Fs change

6 ms

Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time

9.6 ms

Mute on Receive Error

Yes

Mute on Lock Error

Yes

Mute on Idle Channel

No

50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable

Automatic in Consumer Mode

De-Emphasis Method

Digital IIR

De-Emphasis Supported at

Fs = 32, 44.1, 48 kHz


GROUP DELAY (LATENCY)

Delay – Digital Input to Analog Output (function of sample rate)

1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz

1.27 ms at 48 kHz

0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz

0.82 ms at 96 kHz

0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz

0.47 ms at 192 kHz


DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTS

Number of Digital Inputs (switch selected)

5 (1 USB, 2 Optical, 2 Coaxial)

Number of Channels

2

Input Sample Frequency Range

28 to 210 kHz (Coaxial Inputs)

28 to 96 kHz (Optical Inputs)

44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB Input)

Maximum Input Word Length

24 bits

Digital Input Impedance

75 Ohms (Coaxial Inputs)

DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Transient and Over-Voltage Protection on Digital Inputs

Yes (Coaxial Inputs)

Minimum Digital Input Level

250 mVpp (Coaxial Inputs)

Jitter Tolerance

(With no Measurable Change in Performance)

>12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 3 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 20 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 40 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 80 kHz

>1.5 UI sine at 90 kHz

>0.25 UI sine above 160 kHz

Jitter Attenuation Method

Benchmark UltraLock3™ - all inputs


BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Balanced Analog Outputs

2

Output Connector

Gold-Pin Neutrik™ male XLR

Output Impedance

60 Ohms (Attenuator off)

425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)

135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Analog Output Clip Point

+30 dBu

Factory Set Bypass Level (at 0 dBFS)

+24 dBu (Attenuator = 0 dB)

Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS) In ‘Variable’ Mode

Off to +27.5 dBu (Attenuator off)

Off to +17.5 dBu (Attenuator = 10 dB)

Off to +7.5 dBu (Attenuator = 20 dB)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)

< +/- 0.006 dB


UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTS

Number of Unbalanced Analog Outputs

4

Output Connector

RCA

Output Impedance

30 Ohms

Analog Output Clip Point

+13.5 dBu (3.7 Vrms)

Factory Set Home Theater Bypass Output Level (at 0 dBFS)

+8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)

Output Level Range (with 0 dBFS digital input)

Off to +11.7 dBu (3 Vrms)

Output Level Variation with Sample Rate

< +/- 0.006 dB


STATUS DISPLAY

Indicators - Type and Location

16 LED’s on Front Panel

Selection/Status Indication

1 – Dim/Mute

1 - Polarity
6 – Input
2 – Bypass/Calibrated Output
2 – Word length
4 – Sample Rate




AC POWER REQUIREMENTS

Nominal Input Operating Voltage Range (VAC RMS)

100 – 240V

Frequency

50-60 Hz

Power

< 0.5 Watts Idle
12 Watts Typical Program
15 Watts Maximum

Fuses

5 x 20 mm (2 required)
0.5 A 250 V Slo-Blo® Type

Min/Max Operating range (VAC RMS)

90 – 260 VAC
47 – 63 Hz


DIMENSIONS

Form Factor

½ Rack Wide, 1 RU High

Depth behind front panel

8.5” (216 mm)

Overall depth including connectors but without power cord

9.33” (237 mm)

Width

9.5” (249 mm)

Height

1.725” (44.5 mm)


WEIGHT

DAC3 only

3 lb.

DAC3 with remote control, power cord, extra fuses, and manual

4 lb.

Shipping weight

7 lb.


IMPORTANT FEATURES

  • Sample Rate Display
  • Word Length Display
  • 5 Digital Inputs
  • 2 Stereo Analog Inputs (2 RCA)
  • 3 Stereo Analog Outputs (2 RCA, 1 XLR)
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Native DSD Conversion
  • Polarity Switch
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0
  • Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Bi-Directional 12 Volt Trigger
  • Power Switch
  • Low Power Consumption
  • ES9028PRO Converter
BENCHMARK DAC3 L - DIGITAL TO ANALOG AUDIO CONVERTER
฿74,300
A NEW REFERENCE - GOING BEYOND THE LEGENDARY DAC1 AND DAC2 The DAC3 is Benchmark's newest 2-channel D/A converter featuring the newESS Technologies ES9028PRO converter chip.&..
฿74,300

Available Options

BENCHMARK HPA4 HEADPHONE / LINE AMPLIFIER

Brand: BENCHMARK

Product Code: BENCHMARK HPA4 HEADPHONE / LINE AMPLIFIER

฿118,900

THE ULTIMATE HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER

Benchmark Media Systems, Inc. and THX, Ltd. have partnered to introduce the Benchmark HPA4 headphone/line amplifier featuring THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (AAA™) technology.

THX AAA™ reduces harmonic, intermodulation, and crossover distortion by 20 to 40 dB to guarantee a realistic and fatigue-free listening experience. It accomplishes this using a patented feed-forward topology to null conventional distortion and noise mechanisms, resulting in the world's most linear amplifier. THX AAA allows the amplifier to reach its maximum output power and sound pressure level (SPL) without producing the distortion that normally accompanies increased output levels in traditional amplifiers.

Featuring the flagship THX-888 amplifier design, the revolutionary HPA4 headphone amplifier incorporates the same THX AAAtechnology that Benchmark uses in the AHB2 power amplifier. The HPA4 delivers sonic perfection. Hear the music without any contamination from electronic noise or distortion. The HPA4 delivers power, audio fidelity, speed and accuracy over an utterly silent background.

THE ULTIMATE LINE AMPLIFIER

The THX-888 amplifier is driven by a Benchmark line amplifier that features relay gain control, relay input selection, and relay muting. The line amplifier incorporates the finest gold-contact relays available. The gain control has 256 steps in 0.5 dB increments. It also features a balance control. Relay closures are precisely timed to deliver silky-smooth volume changes. No other relay gain control offers this level of precision and performance. The HPA4 includes 4 independent 256-step attenuators: two for the L&R headphone outputs, and two for the L&R line outputs. To make this all happen, the HPA4 includes a total of 64 precision relays.

100% ANALOG SIGNAL PATH

The HPA4 is 100% analog. It is designed to be driven from an external D/A converter or an external analog source. The HPA4 is designed to provide the ultimate analog signal path between inputs and outputs. The HPA4 eclipses the performance of typical high-end preamplifiers by achieving much lower noise and distortion.

HIGH VOLTAGE, HIGH CURRENT AND HIGH POWER

The THX-888 amplifiercan cleanly deliver high voltage into low-sensitivity high-impedance headphones and it can cleanly deliver high power and current into low-impedance headphones. The HPA4 delivers 11.9 Vrms into 300 Ohms and 6 Watts into 16 Ohms. Given these extreme capabilities, Benchmark has incorporated several protection systems to protect expensive headphones and the amplifier itself. These include DC detection, short-circuit detection, over-current protection, over-voltage protection, and thermal protection.

SPEED AND PRECISION

The bandwidth of the HPA4 extends from 0.01 Hz to over 500 kHz. This means that the HPA4 delivers very precise amplitude and phase accuracy over the entire audio bandwidth. Wave shapes are accurately reproduced, and the entire spectrum is delivered with precise timing. The HPA4 will deliver musical overtones with life-like accuracy. This means that musical instruments are rendered without changing their sonic character.

BALANCED AND UNBALANCED I/O

The headphone output of the THX-888 amplifierfeatures a 1/4" TRS and a 4-pin XLR. Both outputs deliver the full performance of the HPA4. However, we recommend the XLR4 due to its lower contact resistance. The HPA4 features two balanced stereo inputs and two unbalanced stereo inputs. The line amplifier provides one balanced stereo output, one balanced mono sum, and one unbalanced stereo output.

SYSTEM INTEGRATION

The HPA4 includes IR remote control and can be operated using the optional Benchmark remote. The HPA4 is designed to work with the Benchmark DAC2and DAC3 converters but may be driven from any high-end D/A converter. When paired with a Benchmark DAC, a single remote control will operate both units.

The HPA4 is the perfect complement to the Benchmark AHB2. It may be the only preamplifier or line amplifier that exceeds the signal to noise ratio of the ultra-quiet AHB2. This means that the HPA4 will extract the full performance of the AHB2. In contrast, other preamplifiers limit the system noise performance because they cannot match the SNR performance of the AHB2. The HPA4 is the only line amplifier/preamplifier that we recommend inserting between a DAC and the AHB2. The HPA4 can be inserted between a Benchmark DAC3 and AHB2 without degrading the system noise performance. With the HPA4 inserted, the DAC3's 32-bit digital gain control is replaced by the HPA4's more-resolving fully-analog relay gain control.

Two bidirectional 12V trigger ports can be used to link the HPA4 with external D/A converters and power amplifiers. The trigger signal controls the power-up and power-down sequencing of the entire audio system. The trigger ports are compatible with most industry-standard trigger input or output ports, but can communicate bidirectionally with other Benchmark products.

TOUCH SCREEN

The touch screen provides easy access to advanced features such as balance control, input level offsets, input names, screen dimming, remote control, and function locking. Help screens explain the special functions.

ROTARY ENCODER

The volume control knob features a high-quality optical encoder that is rated for heavy use. An acceleration feature makes it easy to move through the 256 volume steps while maintaining 0.5 dB/step resolution. A press of the control knob toggles between headphone volume, line out volume, or both.

CONVENIENCE FEATURES

The HPA4 includes independent on-screen mute buttons for the headphone and line outputs. Both can also be muted with the volume knob or with the optional remote control.

The HPA4 includes an on-screen -20 dB dim button that instantly reduces the level by 20dB. This function provides a temporary volume reduction and an easy return to the previous listening level. This control makes it easy to transition between a normal listening level and a background level. The dim function is also accessible from the optional remote control.

Inputs may be renamed and unused inputs may be disabled. Input levels can be trimmed to provide input-to-input level matching.

Screen brightness is adjustable and timers can be set to dim or shut off the display. The screen can be locked to prevent access to advanced features.

CASEWORK

The HPA4 is available with a black or silver faceplate and is designed to match the Benchmark AHB2 power amplifier. It occupies the same footprint as the Benchmark DAC1, DAC2 and DAC3 converters. The case features a milled faceplate and milled sides. Top, bottom, and rear panels are made from thick aluminum and feature a brushed texture. The HPA4 is built to last and will be a fine addition to your listening space.

FEATURES

  • THX-888 (AAA™)Headphone Amplifier
  • Benchmark Low-Noise Line Amplifier
  • 256-Step Fully-Balanced Relay Gain Control, 0.5 dB Steps
  • Precision Timed Relay Closures
  • Precision Metal Film Resistors
  • Gold-Contact Relays
  • Balanced and Unbalanced I/O
  • 6 Watts into 16 Ohm Headphones
  • 11.5 Vrms into 300 Ohm Headphones
  • 0.01 Hz to 500 kHz
  • SNR > 135 dB
  • THD < 125 dB (0.00006%) under full load
  • Short-Circuit Protection
  • DC Protection
  • Over-Voltage Protection
  • Over-Current Protection
  • Thermal Protection
  • Touch Screen Control
  • IR Remote Control (optional)
  • 2 Balanced Stereo Line Inputs
  • 2 Unbalanced Stereo Line Inputs
  • 1 Balanced Stereo Line Output
  • 1 Unbalanced Stereo Line Output
  • 1 Balanced Mono Sum Output
  • 2 Bidirectional 12V Trigger Ports

SPECIFICATIONS

(using balanced inputs at +24 dBu)

THX-888™HEADPHONE OUTPUT:

  • THD < -125 dB (0.00006%)
  • SNR > 131 dB, unweighted, 20-20 kHz
  • SNR > 135 dB, A-weighted
  • Frequency Response - 0.003 dB at 10 Hz, -0.001 dB at 20 kHz
  • - 3 dB Bandwidth exceeds 0.1 Hz to 500 kHz
  • Output Impedance, near 0 Ohms
  • Output Noise < 2.45 uV at Unity Gain, 20-20 kHz
  • Maximum Output Power, 6 Watts into 16 Ohms
  • Maximum Output Current, 1.5 A
  • Maximum Output Voltage, 11.5 Vrms into 300 Ohms
  • Crosstalk < -133 dB @ 1 kHz, -115 dB @ 10 kHz (XLR4)

BALANCED LINE OUTPUTS:

  • THD < -125 dB (0.00006%)
  • SNR > 135 dB, unweighted, 20-20 kHz
  • SNR > 137 dB, A-weighted
  • Frequency Response - 0.003 dB at 10 Hz, -0.001 dB at 20 kHz
  • - 3 dB Bandwidth exceeds 0.1 Hz to 500 kHz
  • Output Impedance 60 Ohms
  • Output Noise < 1.9 uV at Unity Gain, 20-20 kHz
  • Maximum Input and Output Voltage, 20 Vrms (+28 dBu)
  • Crosstalk < -133 dB @ 1 kHz, -116 dB @ 10 kHz

DIMENSIONS:

8.65" W x 3.88" H x 8.33" D - Including Feet

8.65" W x 3.47" H x 8.33" D - Excluding Feet

WEIGHT:

8.0 lbs., 12 lbs. shipping

POWER:

  • 18W Typical Input Power
  • 35W Maximum Input power
  • 0.33 W Standby Power (when off)
  • Internal Universal Power Supply
BENCHMARK HPA4 HEADPHONE / LINE AMPLIFIER
฿118,900
THE ULTIMATE HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER Benchmark Media Systems, Inc. and THX, Ltd. have partnered to introduce the Benchmark HPA4 headphone/line amplifier featuring THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (AAA..
฿118,900
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