Replacing a Benchmark DAC1 USB?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Chuck, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Carmel, CA
    Close to a decade ago, I purchased a Benchmark DAC1 USB which continues to sound very nice to me. I've been using the DAC with my iMAC, as a headphone amplifier, and sometimes with my Oppo universal player. I have no plans to upgrade the rest of my system since it is exactly where I want it to be. Recently, I've been wondering if it would make sense (in terms of $$ and improved sound quality) to upgrade to a new DAC and, if so, what should I purchase and why?

    Thanks for your input!
  2. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    Last year I set about to find something that could serve as a high powered headphone amp as well as a DAC/preamp for my computer speakers. I searched high and low, and eventually settled on a used Benchmark DAC1 USB. Despite its age I'm awfully impressed with it and how it stacks up to modern gear. I think you'd have a hard time (and have to spend a lot) to get something that's definitely an upgrade.
  3. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Wonder how each Benchmark DAC compares with each other in terms of sound quality. Some say they share the same circuitry, minus the new features appearing with each new version while others say there's a change in sound signature from one to the other.
  4. xcqn

    xcqn Audiophile

    Gothenburg, Sweden
    I have both the Dac1 HDR and the DAC2 HGC. The DAC1 beats the DAC2. It's more neutral. The DAC2 no surprise has the typical ESS Sabre sound... midrange glare. Sibliant vocals! DAC1 a pure joy to listen too.
  5. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Twin Cities, MN
    Gotta disagree, at least for me: Dac2 HGC a nice improvement over the Dac1 (i had 3 different versions of it). Midrange and vocals are glorious! IMHO.
  6. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    Benchmark DAC 2 & 3 are usually said to be similar and better than DAC 1

    Benchmark will let you try & return, IIRC
    rednedtugent likes this.
  7. Chuck

    Chuck Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Carmel, CA
    Thanks for the feedback. I think I'll just stand pat for now since I'd rather not spend over 2K to get only a minor improvement - also my old ears probably wouldn't be able to hear the difference.
  8. rednedtugent

    rednedtugent Forum Resident

    Funk, Ohio
    well the Dac2 HGC used has been going for around $1200 if that makes you feel any better...

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