Benchmark DAC1 vs DAC2

After upgrading to Tidal, I am completely hooked and I need to go deeper down the rabbit hole. The Auralic Aries G1 is out of reach right now...but not a DAC upgrade. From what I have researched, the DAC 2 is a pretty big jump in performance over DAC 1. The DAC 3 is supposedly a small jump ahead of DAC 2. Any experience w these 3 DACs and comparisons fellas?

Comments

  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,550
    edited September 2020
    What streamer and DAC are you using now? I have a brand new DAC3 B that I haven't used yet. If you want to pay shipping I will let you try it out. Only thing I would ask is that you pay for shipping both ways and that it gets returned in the same new condition it's in now.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    Aries mini with the DAC1.....mini has the upgraded power supply.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    That is a generous offer!
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,550
    Interesting. I wonder how much difference there would be between the built in Aries Mini DAC and the Benchmark DAC 3 B.

    I would imagine the power cable used on the Benchmark and the choice of digital cable would come into play heavily.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    Now that you say that....I don't believe I have tried the internal Aries Mini DAC direct to my pre. Now I have something to try this week. I did finally try the digital coax out vs my glass optical output to the DAC and there was very little difference to my ears.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 1,951
    I'm surprised @steveinaz hasn't commented on this yet. Maybe he's just been too occupied.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    Yeah I just came across his post on it awhile ago. Sounds like this is a worthwhile upgrade for sure.
  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,367
    I feel there is a worthy difference between the DAC1 and 2; I haven't heard a DAC3. Every time I have tried something else, I end up coming right back to Benchmark.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: MartinLogan Motion 60XTi
  • brgman
    brgman Posts: 2,859
    I am a total Benchmark fanboy so I am biased.I tried a couple DACS many years ago and the HGC 1 had all the features I could want and had a very neutral sound.I rotated more DACS thru and ended up with the HGC 2. Wider and deeper soundstage,more clarity and definition.
    Now I just bought the HGC 3 and plan to install this weekend.
    Benchmark is a great performer and solid as a rock.I have called a few times over the years and they actually answer the phone and will talk to you as long as you need.Very much like Mark and Nick at Rogue.
    The main thing I love is it’s neutrality.I have tried many and they color the music in my opinion.The benchmark is open and clear and I am convinced that I am hearing as close to what my amp and preamp are producing without that extra color.
    I have spent way too much on those pieces and adding a DAC with its own “sound” would negate the investment in the rig.
    No DAC is perfect but this one is for me.I am sure I’ll get a wild hair and try others in the future but I have yet to find any that work in my system as well as benchmark.Bryston was pretty close but not enough to replace my benchmark .
    I don’t know they achieve it but each new gen increases the critical areas and still maintains that neutral sound.(neutral to my ears)
    Anyway you wanted opinion so there’s mine.Im putting the 3 into service this weekend and will be checking interest for the 2 here soon before listing on the audio sell sites.
    I have several items including an original Aries Femto to move so I’ll be posting some of these items soon.
    Good luck finding what works for you.They are lots of fun but DACs are just another rabbit hole.
    Main Rig-Realistic AM/FM Record player 8 track boasting 4 WPC

    Backup Rig-2 CH-Rogue Audio Zeus w/Factory Special Dark Mods,Joule-Electra 300ME Platinum Preamp,OPPO-105 w/Modwright Tube Mod, Auralic Aries G2.1,Polk 2.3TL,3.1TL's,Dreadnought,RTA-15TL's,1C's All Fully Modded,2xRTA-12c's ,Benchmark DAC3 HGC,Synology NAS,VPI Scout w/Dynavector DV-20XH and Rogue Audio Ares Phono Preamp,Sony PCM-R500 DAT,HHB-850 Pro CDR,Tascam CC-222SLMKII Cassette/CDR,MIT S3.3 Shotgun Cables,Shunyata Hyra-8,Shunyata and Triode Labs Power Cords

    I’M OFFENDED!!!!
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    brgman wrote: »
    I am a total Benchmark fanboy so I am biased.I tried a couple DACS many years ago and the HGC 1 had all the features I could want and had a very neutral sound.I rotated more DACS thru and ended up with the HGC 2. Wider and deeper soundstage,more clarity and definition.
    Now I just bought the HGC 3 and plan to install this weekend.
    Benchmark is a great performer and solid as a rock.I have called a few times over the years and they actually answer the phone and will talk to you as long as you need.Very much like Mark and Nick at Rogue.
    The main thing I love is it’s neutrality.I have tried many and they color the music in my opinion.The benchmark is open and clear and I am convinced that I am hearing as close to what my amp and preamp are producing without that extra color.
    I have spent way too much on those pieces and adding a DAC with its own “sound” would negate the investment in the rig.
    No DAC is perfect but this one is for me.I am sure I’ll get a wild hair and try others in the future but I have yet to find any that work in my system as well as benchmark.Bryston was pretty close but not enough to replace my benchmark .
    I don’t know they achieve it but each new gen increases the critical areas and still maintains that neutral sound.(neutral to my ears)
    Anyway you wanted opinion so there’s mine.Im putting the 3 into service this weekend and will be checking interest for the 2 here soon before listing on the audio sell sites.
    I have several items including an original Aries Femto to move so I’ll be posting some of these items soon.
    Good luck finding what works for you.They are lots of fun but DACs are just another rabbit hole.
    PM coming sir...great info.
  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,367
    IMO, the Benchmarks are able to be as neutral as possible, without sounding "sterile."
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: MartinLogan Motion 60XTi
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    So I was able to get the upgrade to the DAC2 with the help of our very own "brgman". Thank you Mike for a flawless, professional transaction. So far the DAC2 does sound more refined than the DAC1 did and Im considering pulling my tubed pre out of the chain and using the DACs volume control instead. More to come and thanks again Mike for a great piece of gear!
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,944
    Curious to see if the low level performance suffers with that change. Keep us updated.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    edited October 2020
    After literally half a day with the DAC2 going directly to my Belles 150A amp....I couldn't take it anymore and had to put the tubed pre back in tonight. Tidal high res and internet radio were bad. The highs hurt my ears and detail was smeared all over the place. I now have Orb playing and ahhhh....so much better. Synergy is everything I guess.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    Couple more notes...I think the DAC2 and tubed pre are staying for quite some time. I would like to save up some dough for the new Benchmark amp reviewed here or perhaps a Butler tubed amp. The Marantz silver disc spinner may be sold off to fund this next upgrade, along with the Belles amp possibly.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,317
    The Belles amps are VERY detailed in the upper registers IMHO and if used with a like pre could easily cause the fatigue you are experiencing. At first it's like wow! So much detail! Then the headache starts. The tube pre is smoothing out the source material. The DAC2 could probably kick a$$ with a good tube amp.
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded / 1000Va Dreadnaught
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 1,951
    I've noticed my 'new-to-me' DAC3/HGC pre/DAC runs a little warmer than I would have expected. Maybe I should just run it nude B)
    hhdy585qed0y.jpg
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • BlueFox
    BlueFox Posts: 14,430
    There is nothing wrong with ‘warm’. Hotter than Hades is when it’s a problem.
    Lumin X1 file player
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 1,951
    No worries here...just curiosity.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,370
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I've noticed my 'new-to-me' DAC3/HGC pre/DAC runs a little warmer than I would have expected. Maybe I should just run it nude B)
    hhdy585qed0y.jpg
    Both my DAC1 and DAC2 were quiet warm to touch....dare I say almost....hot?
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,550
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