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Benchmark DAC-1 stereo image scewed?
Old 25th September 2011
Lives for gear

Benchmark DAC-1 stereo image scewed?

I was checking my Adam A-7's with pink noise to make sure the volume balance was accurate, when I noticed a definite difference between the two. I was having to turn down the left monitor in order for the db meter to equal the same amount as the right monitor.

Further experimenting led me to find out that even with headphones on, I could hear the left/right discrepancy. Again, the left side of the headphones is louder than the right. I checked this both by playing a solo vocal line, as well as with pink noise that was imported into a project within Cubase 5.

I checked the pan law in project preferences, and it is set to "equal balance", although the other settings made no difference.

I'ts looking like the DAC-1 is somehow imaging incorrectly. The back panel is set to "variable", which means the outs are controlled only by the front volume control, so I'm sure I haven't scewed the L/R imaging some how by accident. I'm coming into the DAC-1 via optical input from my MR816csx.

Am I missing something here? shouldn't pink noise sound exactly the same, volume wise, when panned left or right, especially through headphones?

Old 25th September 2011
Registered User
Definately should be equal power each side. Swap the outputs around to see that the problem reverses. (Mainly to rule out differences in your hearing ... but if this shows up on dB meter then it's not going to be your ears fooling you)

Might be fault - **** happens to anyone.
Old 26th September 2011
Lives for gear
e-cue's Avatar

IME, at very low volumes set to variable- yes, this happens. When cal'd, it doesn't, but then you can't use the volume control on the front, obviously. Anything higher than, say, 10 o clock, and the difference should disappear (which makes me guess it's just a weakness in the potentiometer at those volumes). If your image is equally skewed at noon like it is at almost nothing, then I believe your unit is faulty, or something is off downstream (check Kiwi's recommendation). If it's equally problematic in headphones, it's likely the unit.

A scope would prove very valuable here so you could test the headphone and speaker outs without using headphones or speakers.

If you cal your outputs to your desired reference levels, keep it in cal mode, then feed it pink noise at low volume and ramp up into the dac, the imagine should be perfect. If not, I believe your unit is faulty.
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