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atticus 18th November 2002 09:27 PM

Benchmark DAC1
1 Attachment(s)
I hope that you guys don't mind the SPAMBURGER but here is our latest creation.

alphajerk 18th November 2002 10:16 PM

not at all. i was looking at this piece for a monitor controller/DAC for my DAW... im curious about the design regarding the volume control and the outputs... does it both amplify the headphones AND the analog outputs? same time? switchable? digitally controlled or analog?

and what is this jitter compensation thing?

Jules 18th November 2002 10:19 PM

It's black, it looks evil, Alpha is hooked!


Post a link up to an info page on it...

atticus 18th November 2002 10:25 PM

The front panel volume pot can either work on both the main analog outs and headphones or headphones only. There is a switch on the back that allows you to choose whether the main outputs are variable by using the front panel control or fixed. When you choose the fixed setting there are trim pots on the back that allow you to perfectly calibrate the unit. As far as the jitter reduction goes I can't go into detail about how it works as it is proprietary, but suffice it to say that we can hook up a DAC1 with 1000' of cable and will be as jitter immune as if we were to hook it up with 3" of cable. It really sounds great and couldn't be easier to use. It'll play back 192k signals as well. Not bad for $795 list, eh?kfhkh

You can get more info from our site at

If you all will let me I can show you some more cool stuff we have coming out, but I really don't want to over step, you know?

atticus 18th November 2002 10:33 PM

1 Attachment(s)
BTW, if you really want something crazy and mean we can put 48 channels of conversion in one of these:

Jules 18th November 2002 10:43 PM

Go ahead, stick it all on this thread you started.


BTW - Manufacturers are welcome here but are advised to keep macho / 'must have the last word' urges under control if their product is criticized, or they risk coming across like unbalanced loonies, foaming at the mouth. It is after all a wide world of choice out there in equipment land.


atticus 18th November 2002 10:53 PM

Understood man! I haven't foamed at the mouth since New Years anyway grggt

alphajerk 18th November 2002 10:58 PM

i dont want tech info on the jitter thing... just kinda what IS it? so if i have a "jittery" clock opposed to a non-jittery clock, the output will sound the same? do you have this on ADC's as well?

i will most likely be ordering one of these DAC1's, can i get serial number 666?... yummy. accepts AES right?

atticus 18th November 2002 11:16 PM


I will have the DAC1's designer post tomorrow about the finer points of jitter. Our A/D converters are jitter immune. They are so jitter immune that any type of wordclock would be a compromise to the design and that's why we don't have it.

As far as the serial number we use a five digit code that has gone way passed that beastly number. I believe ser #666 went out in 1984. sorry

alphajerk 19th November 2002 12:21 AM

awww, you dont start at 00001 on each product line? hjghfgg

atticus 19th November 2002 04:26 AM

Sorry, man:) I'd help you if I could but I don't make the rules.

Jax 19th November 2002 05:28 AM

The Knob looks like it rotates the DeathStar, Luke.

grimm grimm grimm grimm grimm

Jax 19th November 2002 05:52 AM

atticus vader,

"12.75 Unit Intervals of 5-kHz Jitter on the Audio Data"

I don't claim to know how to speak about jitter artifacts with any accuracy, but for most converters I've seen, jitter specs seem to be stated in those super teenie picoseconds.

Are unit intervals related to picoseconds?

This will give me some basis for comparing that spec to my Mytek 8X96's, which is 10ps.

Of course it doesn't matter until I hear the unit, but I am looking for a volume control to put between my D/A and speakers. If the device happens to include D/A that surpasses what I'm currently listening through, for $795 just tell me where to sign up.

How would this thing compare to a passive volume control, like Coleman or Goldpoint?

nOiz 19th November 2002 06:47 AM

is this thing shipping now? anyone has used it?

btw, i have a lucid da9624 which is a similar product to this dac1. the lucid is pretty nice but wondering how good or better this dac1 is.

atticus 19th November 2002 03:35 PM

To reply to some of your questions:

"12.75 Unit Intervals of 5-kHz Jitter on the Audio Data" - this is a component of the test signal that is sent trough the DAC1. None of the jitter makes it to the converter, let alone to the analog audio path.

As to who is using it and if it is shiping, yes it is shipping and I will include a quote from Bob Katz of Digital Domain, who is using it:

"The Benchmark is a killer! I've only had it plugged in for a few hours, and gain-matched to the Weiss and my TC and the Benchmark sounds:

1) spacious (excellent width and depth)

2) clean

3) robust

4) solid

5) pure

It sounds like it costs more than $2000, not $795, and the differences, gain matched, to the Weiss, are hard to quantify. The Benchmark has many qualities that make it very attractive, a "sweet" quality with excellent depth. On a very close A/B, the Benchmark appears to have a tiny bit more ambience than the Weiss and a hair more of a U shape field, but the Weiss has a tetch more "clarity" and definition. It is not a win-win situation by any means. I've NEVER heard a $795 DAC that sounds as good as this Benchmark. It has definitely established a new price/performance ratio. I've never heard a $2000 DAC that sounds as good with jittery sources. None, period."

Bob Katz - Mastering Engineer Digital Domain

if you'd like to see more user comments you can follow this link:


Jax 19th November 2002 09:10 PM

Uh, yeah. I saw that on your website. I don't need it pushed at me, although I have corresponded with Bob on audio matters before.

I think in the near future, I'll compare the DAC-1 to the Goldpoint SA1-X in my studio. I'll also try it against the DAC outs of my Mytek 8X96 (of course, no volume control there, just for reference).

atticus 19th November 2002 09:39 PM


I posted the Bob Katz comment to ansewr NOiz's question. Not pushin' Don't need to :)

JohnL 21st November 2002 02:25 PM


Originally posted by nOiz
is this thing shipping now? anyone has used it?

btw, i have a lucid da9624 which is a similar product to this dac1. the lucid is pretty nice but wondering how good or better this dac1 is.

I don't have the answer as to if it would be better than the Lucid unit, but I have been using a dac 1 for about three weeks now, and I like it alot. I do not have any other high end converters to judge it by, but it is significantly better that the output of any CD player I have, and better than the Yamaha 01v (which is to be expected).

I'm also using mine as the monitoring control center - I use all three of the digital ins provided (DAW feeding AES/EBU, Yamaha 01v feeding coaxial SPDIF, and a CD player feeding the optical SPDIF), and just use the front panel switch to activate whatever I need at the time. Benchmark supplies 20db pad adapters with the unit, so that you can feed powered monitors without overdriving them. In my case, the dac 1 feeds right into a pair of ADAM S2A's.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I'll see if I can answer them.


atticus 18th December 2002 04:56 PM

Just an FYI, we have only 6 DAC1's left unclaimed for the latest production run (which started today!!) so if anyone has been thinking about a unit we have a few left that could ship early next week. There won't be any more made until after the holiday break. Thanks.

Albert 19th December 2002 12:57 AM

Hey David, what's the deal? I've had a DAC-1 on order with my dealer since shortly after the October AES show and haven't received it yet. If you have them available why is it taking so long?

Not trying to be hard on you, just looking forward to getting one in here.

atticus 19th December 2002 05:49 AM


The second run began production today. Of the total second run, only six units have not been pre ordered. the rest are spoken for by people who have pre-ordered, like you. That will be all that will be available until the third run starts in mid Jan. You'll be getting yours next week, or as early as Friday if it gets overnighted to you or you'd like to pick it up (if you're somewhat close, that is.) If you get in contact with your dealer I'll even drop ship yours to you. Heck, I'll pack it myself and put a little extra love in the boxheh There has been a lot of interest and since a lot of people like to make their purchases before the new year starts I just made the announcement in case someone wanted one and needed to be invoiced this year. E-mail or call me when you get yours. I'd love to know what you think. Thanks.

Albert 19th December 2002 05:30 PM


Thanks for your message. I'm in LA, so I doubt I'll be stopping by to pick it up, much as I wish I could! I like the drop shipping idea though. I'll call my dealer again today and see what's up. I'm mostly concerned about having it by the beginning of January, so it looks like that won't be a problem. Thanks very much for your help, I appreciate it.

I spent some time talking with Allen Burdick (I believe I remember that correctly) at the October AES show. He gave me the whole demo on the unit, and I had a chance to hear it on headphones. You know how it is on those noisy convention floors, but I still heard a lot to like. Looking forward to finding it on my doorstep!

Thanks again.

atticus 19th December 2002 08:22 PM


Yeah, Allen's the president over here and I really couldn't ask for a better boss. Allen and John designed the DAC1 and Ralph did the layout work on it, which honestly is a huge part. The design team is really great over here and it's my job to let people know what we're building. Have your dealer give me a shout (haven't heard anything yet today) and I'll drop it to ya. Have a good one!

Albert 20th December 2002 06:42 PM


I spoke with my dealer yesterday afternoon, so hopefully you will be hearing from him or already have. I suspect the DAC-1 has already been shipped to his store, but if it hasn't it would be great if you could drop ship it to me. Thanks for your help, I appreciate it!

Albert 6th January 2003 02:31 AM


Just to follow up, I got the DAC-1 a few days ago. It was drop shipped from some place in MA, so thank you for that if you had a hand in it.

I've been listening to the DAC-1 today on some recordings I made a few years ago, and I must say I am impressed with the DAC-1. It's actually quite remarkable in my opinion, dramatically better than any stock converters I've heard on typical pieces of gear: PT, L2 D/A converters, digital mixers I've used, whatever. The detail and upper range clarity of the DAC-1 is truly noticable. Stereo imaging is excellent. I know my recordings very, very well and it was like listening to them all over again fresh. My recording engineer will be in for a session in about a week, so I'll be interested in his take on the DAC-1, but it's not like I need confirmation.

I hope you guys are working on an ADC-1 of similar quality that will fill up the 1/2 rack space next to my DAC-1.

Are you guys going to be at the NAMM show? If so, I'll stop by and say hello. I enjoyed my conversation with Allen at the AES show last October.

Thanks again for your help,


etherize 6th January 2003 09:20 AM

Hey Albert could you tell me your opinion of the headphone amp in them? Right now I use the headphone amp in my mackie and it sucks...Im looking to get rid of the mackie eventually and replace it with multiple pre-amps and a/ I guess i will be needing a device like this...



Jules 6th January 2003 01:36 PM

Can it control the volume of an independant analog signal too?


Albert 6th January 2003 05:35 PM

Jules, there are no analog inputs on the DAC-1, digital only: AES/SPDIF/Toslink. I think I see what you are driving at though. If it had a pair of analog inputs the DAC-1 could function as a switcher between basically anything you'd want to monitor. To make that work with the DAC-1 you'd have to first put a DA converter on your analog signal and route that to one of the digital inputs.

The headphone amp seems clean to me. I'd be interested to compare it to something like the expensive Grace headphone amp, but I don't own one of those for an A/B. I used to own a bunch of Mackie compact mixers, but rarely used the headphones on them. Suffice it to say that the headphone amp on the DAC-1 is better than what I remember of the Mackie, no question.

Albert 6th January 2003 05:36 PM

Excuse me, I meant put an "A/D" converter on your analog signal before it hits the DAC-1.

atticus 8th January 2003 05:58 AM


Thanks for your kind words on the DAC1. We always have projects in the cooker and I'll let you know when they are released. Your not too far off though..... The headphone amps are our new HPA-2 design and are very nice. A lot of the DAC1's have gone to guys who just use them for private headphone listening and they work really well in that regard. I stayed at work pretty late on Wednesday of last week and I was listening to Mark Knopflers "Sailing to Philadelphia" on the DAC through some good phones while catching up on some work and it was really a great time. Not often do I just get to kick back and really listen to some great music that was really well recorded and mixed on a good reference system and I gotta say it was a pretty cool experience. A lot of consumer systems just don't cut it in terms of playback and it's a cool thing when you can finally hear music without "bad digital" getting in the way. You can crank it up and it wont kill your ears and there is no ear fatigue to speak of, and definitely no jitter induced artificial harmonics giving you a headache. I only hope that my singing along with the CD didn't annoy the night crew grggt