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  1. #1

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    Default DAC - Benchmark vs PS Audio

    The one frontier I haven't ventured across is the area of a separate DAC. The two I am looking at are the new Benchmark and the new PS Audio. The PS Audio is slightly cheaper due to the deals a dealer in Des Moines IA is giving on them. I like the idea of the USB connection as a little bit of future-proofing (like I keep things long enough to worry about the future :o ). Has anyone compared these? I would be using it with either a Jolida CDP or a Rotel RCD-1072. Any others in this price range new/used I should consider?
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  2. #2
    Stronzo
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    I too have been itching to read a fair A and B comparison between these two widely well received DAC's.

    What I've gathered from reviews and customer testimonials suggests that the Benchmark appeals to the "tell it like it is" crowd, while the PS Audio unit caters to those who like a bit of "flavor and warmth". Still, this is all just guess-work.

  3. #3

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    I'm running a my 1072 with a Bel Canto DAC2 with very favorable results. Steveinaz and I A/B'ed the Bel Canto and the Benchmark at his house and was hard pressed to tell the difference between the units.

    Many of the tubeboobs would argue that you are wasting the Jolida by using an external DAC by bypassing the tube stages of the CDP.

    Wes
    Link: http://polkarmy.com/forums

    Panasonic TH-42PHD8UK 42" HDTV | Polk Audio SDA-SRS's (w/RDO's & Vampire Posts) + SVS PC+ 25-31 | AudioQuest Granite (mids) + BWA Silver (highs) | Cary Audio CAD-200 | Signal Cable Silver Resolution XLR's | Wyred 4 Sound STP/SE Pre | Signal Cable Silver Resolution XLR's | Cambridge Audio azur 840C--Wadia 170i + iPod jammed w/ lossless audio--Oppo 970 | Pure|AV PF31d

  4. #4

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    Benchamrk makes a version of the DAC 1 with USB for around $1100. I bought the PS Audio as I found the Benchmark to be a little too "plain" in my system. It sounded good, but had no character. Some people may like that. I like PS Audio because of its excellent warmth and feeling of analog. That being said, the Benchmark has a slightly better bass performance evident in jazzy tunes. (When I say slightly, I really mean very small, but it is there.)

  5. #5

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    I have not compared the two but I love the Benchmark. I don't want any character added. I want to hear the recording as much as possible. Plus the speakers, amps, cables all have their own 'voice' to some degree so why add more?
    Sharp Elite 70
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    Parasound HCA 1000 A
    Parasound HCA 1000
    Oppo BDP 95
    Von Schweikert VR4 Jr R/L Fronts
    Von Schweikert LCR 4 Center
    Totem Mask Surrounds X4
    Hsu ULS-15 Quad Drive Subwoofers
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    Squeezebox Touch

    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    I too have been itching to read a fair A and B comparison between these two widely well received DAC's.

    What I've gathered from reviews and customer testimonials suggests that the Benchmark appeals to the "tell it like it is" crowd, while the PS Audio unit caters to those who like a bit of "flavor and warmth". Still, this is all just guess-work.
    That seems a very accurate assumption in my experience. The DAC1 is definitely a "what you see is what you get" DAC.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 10-02-2007 at 02:54 PM.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-SIG View Post
    I'm running a my 1072 with a Bel Canto DAC2 with very favorable results. Steveinaz and I A/B'ed the Bel Canto and the Benchmark at his house and was hard pressed to tell the difference between the units.

    Many of the tubeboobs would argue that you are wasting the Jolida by using an external DAC by bypassing the tube stages of the CDP.

    Wes
    Exactly. We A/B'd and listened for hours; some casual listening, some focused. Wes & I were hard pressed to hear any significant difference between the Bel Canto & Benchmark. Because we were able to run the same transport (CEC) into both DAC's simultaneously, switching back and forth was seamless; it made for a good A/B experience. The Bel Canto was run via coax (illuminati I think??), the DAC1 via XLR digital interconnect.

    I agree, why buy a tubed CDP and then run it thru a SS DAC?
    Last edited by steveinaz; 10-03-2007 at 10:10 AM.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  8. #8

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    Good point on the tube output on the CDP! I guess I was expecting the DAC to make an improvement on that. I guess I'll need to put a little more thought into this.
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    Good point on the tube output on the CDP! I guess I was expecting the DAC to make an improvement on that. I guess I'll need to put a little more thought into this.
    Get the Monarchy NM24 (tube dac/tube line stage pre). Then when you are tired of it sell it to me :D.

    Seriously my bro bought one and I haven't had a chance to demo it yet but he is absolutely floored (that's with stock chinese tubes). I'm hoping for our next get together I can persuade him to bring it over for a listening session.

    It would be a way for you to keep tubes in the mix but take it up a level or 2. This thing is built fantastically and check out last month's Affordable Audio for an indepth review

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  10. #10

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    I've looked at the Monarchy. The issue is that my Rogue pre has a great synergy with the rest of my system, I'm a little leery of messing with that. I keep looking for a used one to snag, but so far no luck.
    DKG999
    -----------------------------------------
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    I've looked at the Monarchy. The issue is that my Rogue pre has a great synergy with the rest of my system, I'm a little leery of messing with that. I keep looking for a used one to snag, but so far no luck.

    You and I might be fighting over the same one :p :D . The thing with the Monarchy is you don't have to use the line stage pre. It's avail if you want but it's totally seperate. Blakeh uses just the tube dac and runs it thru his Adcom GFP-750. The other neat thing about the NM24 over the M24 is the fact you can run a soild state DAC output rather than the tube. Most still prefer the tube output but it was ingenious of CC to add the solid state output. A very well regarded and flexible unit.

    Should I get the Aleph or and NM24? Tough choices here :D

    Just thought I'd put it out there as food for thought.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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