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  1. #1

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    Default Bel Canto Dac3 to replace Benchmark Dac1

    Does anyone have any experience with the Bel Canto Dac3, especially if you have compared it to the Benchmark Dac1? I have an upgrade itch, and this seems like a nice step up from the Benchmark Dac1. But, if there really is not a significant improvement then perhaps it isn't a worthwhile upgrade, at least at this time.

    Thanks.

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    Stereophile did a comparison about a year ago or so, I cannot find the link. First I ask, what exactly is the Benchmark not doing that you feel the BC Dac3 will?
    Venom
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by venomclan View Post
    Stereophile did a comparison about a year ago or so, I cannot find the link. First I ask, what exactly is the Benchmark not doing that you feel the BC Dac3 will?
    Venom

    Thanks. I found a 2007 review. Reading between the lines, it seems to me they are saying it is, essentially, the same as the Dac1. They feel the Dac1 is better in the lows, and the Dac3 is a bit clearer in the highs.

    "I so wish that Bel Canto's e.One DAC3 had been priced closer to $1250 than to $2500. The former would make it a no-brainer credit-card purchase for almost any audiophile wanting digital playback quality that is the state of the art ca 2007. At $2495, its purchase should be a more considered decision. "

    http://stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/1107bc/

    The Dac1 is great, but like everything else in this hobby, there is always something better. Maybe I will have to look harder at the Berkely Audio Design Alpha Dac.

    http://www.berkeleyaudiodesign.com/products.html

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    I have only had the Benchmark a little while now, before that I had a Bel Canto Dac 1.1 and a number of cd players over the years. My take on this is that when I hear a review of some dac or pre saying how warm it was, it can sometimes mean that colorization is added. I feel that I would want every ounce of information sqeezed from the source with the utmost jitter control; enter the Benchmark. One can always tweek the sound further down the chain with cables, pre's amps....but once the signal is tweeked at the source, everything else in the chain has less to work with. My 2 cents.
    Let me tell you something about life, around every corner monsters await. I know, I am one.

    If I owned hell and this place, I would rent this place out and live in hell.

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  5. #5

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    steveinaz and I compared the Benchmark and the Bel Canto DAC2 at his house a few years ago. Besides appearance and a bit more functionality from the Benchmark, we were hard pressed to find any notable differences. The only thing we noticed was that on a passage with some noticeable hand clapping keeping the rhythm, the Bel Canto was ever so slightly more natural sounding.

    I have since upgraded from the DAC2 and have found the Cambridge Audio azur 840c CDP to be superior in every way: cleaner, more detailed but not bright, better image and width, naturalness, etc. If I were upgrading from the Benchmark (or one a few years old) I'd look hard at the Cambridge.

    Wes
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    theres always something better.
    As well as a great digital section,the discrete Class A analog stage makes this one a serious contender.http://bryston.com/bda1_m.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by GV#27 View Post
    As well as a great digital section,the discrete Class A analog stage makes this one a serious contender.http://bryston.com/bda1_m.html
    Thanks!!

    It is only $500 more than the Dac1, is $500 less than the Bel Canto Dac3, and $3000 less than the Berekley Alpha Dac. If it works as good as their marketing spec sheet says then it should be a good upgrade from the Benchmark Dac1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-SIG View Post
    I have since upgraded from the DAC2 and have found the Cambridge Audio azur 840c CDP to be superior in every way: cleaner, more detailed but not bright, better image and width, naturalness, etc. If I were upgrading from the Benchmark (or one a few years old) I'd look hard at the Cambridge.

    Wes
    That is interesting. stereophile recently reviewed the $400 Cambridge-Audio DacMagic and said it was equal to the $1500 Cambridge-Audio 840C in regard to sound quality.
    Last edited by BlueFox; 06-06-2009 at 10:33 PM.

  9. #9
    GV#27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    Thanks!!

    It is only $500 more than the Dac1, is $500 less than the Bel Canto Dac3, and $3000 less than the Berekley Alpha Dac. If it works as good as their marketing spec sheet says then it should be a good upgrade from the Benchmark Dac1.
    I have heard it and it's the real deal.I believe its analog stage sets it apart from the competition.If you like detailed (but not overly analytical) mids and treble,great dynamic slam and deep bass then it may be to your liking.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by venomclan View Post
    I have only had the Benchmark a little while now, before that I had a Bel Canto Dac 1.1 and a number of cd players over the years. My take on this is that when I hear a review of some dac or pre saying how warm it was, it can sometimes mean that colorization is added. I feel that I would want every ounce of information sqeezed from the source with the utmost jitter control; enter the Benchmark. One can always tweek the sound further down the chain with cables, pre's amps....but once the signal is tweeked at the source, everything else in the chain has less to work with. My 2 cents.
    Agreed, The Benchmark ran straight from the amp is incredible.
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  11. #11

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    The DAC 3 is simply amazing. One thing to separate the Bel Canto vs the Benchmark is feed it using the Bel Canto CD 2 outputing 24bit signal. The dimension of the soundfield and separation of instruments are the best I ever heard. Except from the Esoteric showroom at CES, but that adds another digit your equipment costs.

    Oh, two things, the build quality on the Bel Canto just feels that much more solidifying.

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