Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!

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avta

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #20 on: 23 Nov 2017, 09:03 pm »
Anyone had a chance to compare the sound of the Benchmark direct to amp with the new Mytek DAC+?

pstrisik

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #21 on: 23 Nov 2017, 10:33 pm »
Anyone had a chance to compare the sound of the Benchmark direct to amp with the new Mytek DAC+?

No, but if Mytek follows through with the firmware change for Home Theater Bypass, I will.

I've been reading some reviews and posts.  Most of the Brooklyn material is about the DAC, not the DAC+, so I assume we can notch it up slightly from the opinions read.  Lots of praise for the Brooklyn but I've never seen anyone say they think the Mytek sounds better than the Benchmark.  I have read some reviews/opinions that the Benchmark has an edge in sound.  That's often followed with something like, "But the wide range of features on the Brooklyn make it worth it".

Here are the three new characters in my system that have made a world of difference:  AURALiC Aries, miniDSP22-D, Benchmark DAC3-L.





JLM

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #22 on: 24 Nov 2017, 11:22 am »
I brought up the (original) Brooklyn, not to burst a bubble, but to offer an alternative that AudioStream.com ranks 'Class A' versus Benchmark DAC2 HGC that they rank 'Class B'.  Note that Michael Lavorgna, main reviewer for AudioStream.com, owns the Brooklyn and uses it for his reviews, but the Benchmark was reviewed earlier by Steven Palskin (and as they say, especially in the DAC world, 'the first lair never stands a chance').

Mytek DAC's reportedly have a house sound, while Benchmark DAC's are simply honest and devoid of noise.  OTOH Brooklyn offers phono preamp and MQA features while as you mentioned Benchmark has a HT bypass.

Neither are reported to be the best, but chasing that dream would be a frustrating, time consuming, and quite expensive way to chase your tail, IME.

Freo-1

Had A Benchmark DAC2-DX, and really like how it sounded.  I wound up replacing it with a McIntosh D-150 for two major reasons:


1) The D-150 has both fixed and variable XLR outputs, which I need for driving both the power amp and the headphone amp (KGSS-HV).  The Benchmark was not quite as flexible in that regard.


2) The D-150 turned out to be a better match for use with KGSS-HV.  For whatever reason, the headphone setup sounded more neutral with the D-150, with better low level detail. 


Still, my time with the Benchmark was most enjoyable, and I would be keen to audition a DAC-3 with my system.  I'm sure it would be an excellent performer. 

pstrisik

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #24 on: 24 Nov 2017, 04:48 pm »
I brought up the (original) Brooklyn, not to burst a bubble, but to offer an alternative that AudioStream.com ranks 'Class A' versus Benchmark DAC2 HGC that they rank 'Class B'.  Note that Michael Lavorgna, main reviewer for AudioStream.com, owns the Brooklyn and uses it for his reviews, but the Benchmark was reviewed earlier by Steven Palskin (and as they say, especially in the DAC world, 'the first lair never stands a chance').

Mytek DAC's reportedly have a house sound, while Benchmark DAC's are simply honest and devoid of noise.  OTOH Brooklyn offers phono preamp and MQA features while as you mentioned Benchmark has a HT bypass.

Neither are reported to be the best, but chasing that dream would be a frustrating, time consuming, and quite expensive way to chase your tail, IME.

After getting caught up in vintage tube rolling, trying a few DACs would be nothing!  And selling off all those tubes is now doing the funding!   :icon_twisted:

My reading on the Mytek is that it follows a similar approach as the Benchmark with both having roots in the pro world.  I am very happy with the sound of the Benchmark.  I am mostly interested in trying the Mytek given its added flexibility and much better display and settings ergonomics.  I am basically flying blind with the volume control on the Benchmark now.  You can see where I added some white electrical tape to the volume knob to try to see it better, but still doesn't work well in a very dim room.  I might have to get a relatively dim LED to illuminate the knob!

The Mytek would be with a trial period, so risk is the shipping cost.  I still have some concern however.  Anyone that has had the Mytek Brooklyn DAC or DAC+ have experience with the visibility of the volume setting at 9-10 feet?  I assume I would use the simpler display layout as the volume setting seems a bit larger in that format.


Had A Benchmark DAC2-DX, and really like how it sounded.  I wound up replacing it with a McIntosh D-150 for two major reasons:

1) The D-150 has both fixed and variable XLR outputs, which I need for driving both the power amp and the headphone amp (KGSS-HV).  The Benchmark was not quite as flexible in that regard.

2) The D-150 turned out to be a better match for use with KGSS-HV.  For whatever reason, the headphone setup sounded more neutral with the D-150, with better low level detail. 

Still, my time with the Benchmark was most enjoyable, and I would be keen to audition a DAC-3 with my system.  I'm sure it would be an excellent performer.

I'm not a headphone user, so less concern for me.  Still, I'd love to hear a McIntosh DAC because.... well, just because!   :)

                     .......Peter

maty

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Mytek Brooklyn DAC
« Reply #25 on: 25 Nov 2017, 10:43 pm »
Review and Measurements of Mytek Brooklyn DAC  :?

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-mytek-brooklyn-dac.1828/

Again, your Benchmark DAC3 is an excellent purchase.


and very very very interesting index:

**** Master Index for Audio Hardware Reviews ****

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/master-index-for-audio-hardware-reviews.2079/

-> Computer Activity Can Impact DAC Performance (Schiit BiFrost DAC)  :nono:  :nono:  :nono:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/computer-activity-can-impact-dac-performance.22/

pstrisik

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Re: Mytek Brooklyn DAC
« Reply #26 on: 25 Nov 2017, 11:10 pm »
Review and Measurements of Mytek Brooklyn DAC  :?

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-mytek-brooklyn-dac.1828/

Again, your Benchmark DAC3 is an excellent purchase.

Thanks for this link!  Did you follow it to where he posted comments by Michal Jurewicz, the Brooklyn designer?  Evidently the MQA decoding is creating some of the negatives and can be turned off.  The higher 2nd order harmonic (Randy, this may be where the house sound impression comes from) may or may not be a negative.  Would make things a bit warmer.  And, Jurewicz says it is the volume control that adds it.  He doesn't say if the volume control is analog or digital, but the DAC+ has both and you can select.  I don't know if the DAC that was tested has the dual mode volume control.  It's possible that it didn't and Jurewicz added the second volume control mode to give a choice about eliminating this distortion.  And, he mentions the high output that is characteristic of pro gear.  The Benchmark has jumpers to attenuate this output when using XLR analog outs.  Evidently the Brooklyn does too and would benefit from a lower setting in the home environment.  That tester did not want to open the unit to test this.

I don't think there is enough in the article to discourage me from trying it, particularly since it is now a model later than the one tested and uses the next iteration of the Sabre chip.  Mytek lists the following as improvements since the model that was tested in that link:

Quote
Brooklyn DAC+ features the following improvements as compared to Brooklyn DAC:

- Sabre 9028 Pro chipset ( 9018 in older model)
- Higher grade, more transparent and less noisy analog attenuator circuit.
- Improved analog input performance
- Improved Phono Stage transparency
- Improved Headphone Amp sound (more detail, more definition)
- Dual mono analog path

             .......Peter


maty

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #27 on: 26 Nov 2017, 10:17 am »
MQA

For months I have been reading Archimago's articles about it.

My conclusion, as with the DSD, is that I do not need it, that is, I am not willing to pay a plus for it.

https://archimago.blogspot.com.es/search?q=mqa


Higher 2nd order harmonic

In Diyaudio forums xrk971 user has some very interesting threads about it, with new preamp and headphones designs. And power amp too.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/314563-aksas-lender-preamp-40vpp-output.html

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/group-buys/302859-xrk971-pocket-class-headamp-gb.html

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/295286-virtual-audition-simple-quasi-mosfet-amp.html

Ranchu:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/255427-simple-quasi-complimentary-mosfet-amplifier.html

Yesterday I decided that I would not change my amplifier after getting an incredible sound. If I had done it, the idea was to build a preamp with that preeminence in the second harmonic and a new DAC (probably the RME).

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=153802.msg1646510#msg1646510


My opinion: your DAC 3 is not the bottleneck of your system. I think it would be better to identify the bottlenecks you have in your system and try to solve them before changing the DAC. Like me with my VERY BIG problems with noise, RF/EMI interferences, DC at mains and high voltage (almost 240 volts while in the EU is 230 volts).

maty

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #28 on: 26 Nov 2017, 10:29 am »
By the way, my opinion after listening to the 14 amplifiers that xrk971 built:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/295286-virtual-audition-simple-quasi-mosfet-amp-post5243041.html

then I still had not achieved maximum noise attenuation in my system!

pstrisik

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #29 on: 26 Nov 2017, 05:33 pm »
My opinion: your DAC 3 is not the bottleneck of your system. I think it would be better to identify the bottlenecks you have in your system and try to solve them before changing the DAC. Like me with my VERY BIG problems with noise, RF/EMI interferences, DC at mains and high voltage (almost 240 volts while in the EU is 230 volts).

Ditto on MQA/DSD.  Not much interested.

You misunderstand me though.  I am not searching to solve a bottleneck.  I am mostly interested in the Mytek as potentially as good (to my ears) as the Benchmark but with better visibility and ergonomics.  I've said it a number of times here, the DAC3 has excellent sound.


maty

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #30 on: 26 Nov 2017, 05:51 pm »
It is very difficult to overcome the DAC3 now. Maybe the RME. I really LOVE RME Fireface series when they are used like AD to make vinyl rips. They are ugly (Pro world) but... are the best. Or the cheaper PCI board RME HDSP 9632. Well, Lavry AD11 too.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/rme_usb_audio_interfaces.html?oa=rat

Our philosophies are different. I look for music that excites me without caring too much the hardware. The sound quality is the more important to me.

This week, after the great improvement, I could not sit down many times, I had to get up, emulating directing the orchestra or playing the piano. Emotion is everything.

Blu99Zoomer

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #31 on: 26 Nov 2017, 08:19 pm »
Hi All,

I have had a DAC 3 HGC for several months now.  I upgraded from a DAC 2 HGC which I had owned for a couple of years.  The DAC 3 is definitely my preferred of the two in this system though the DAC 2 is a very nice unit.  I have a Vinnie Rossi Signature 15 amp following and feeding Tekton Design Enzo speakers.  I am using the Benchmark as my pre and dac both now after comparing the sound with that out of my Primaluna Prologue Premium preamp with the Benchmark used just as a dac feeding the Primaluna.  I find the music out of the DAC 3 a little clearer/cleaner and feel I get more music out of whatever source I am using.  I guess that's all the trite things I have to say about that...I am definitely encouraged to try Benchmark's amp next to see how it compares.  I know it has a lot more power.  I want to see if more "veils" can be "lifted" I guess.  I would like to continue using the Primaluna pre for a while more as I do like the music it plays and winter is coming.  So I can warm my hands...

Thanks for starting the thread and comments that have been shared.

Best Regards,

Blu99Zoomer

maty

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #32 on: 26 Nov 2017, 08:44 pm »
..I find the music out of the DAC 3 a little clearer/cleaner and feel I get more music out of whatever source I am using.  I guess that's all the trite things I have to say about that...I am definitely encouraged to try Benchmark's amp next to see how it compares.  I know it has a lot more power.  I want to see if more "veils" can be "lifted" I guess.

With less noise details and spatiality increases, the music fills the room (at least that is what happens in my two systems, with japanese class AB amps) If in addition we only have second harmonic because the third one is very low the sound is more credible, natural, pleasant...

My advice:

I would not buy the expensive Benchmark power amplifier now. Wait a few months until it is confirmed that the Icepower 1200AS module sounds as amazing as bavmike -an extreme perfectionist- and other says. Meanwhile enjoy the music you like.

Icepower 1200AS amp. Class D like you've never heard before

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=153645.0

maty

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #33 on: 26 Nov 2017, 08:51 pm »
Why not?

Benchmark AHB2 Impressions (vs. Vidar)

http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/benchmark-ahb2-impressions-vs-vidar.5131/

and Schiit Vidar neither until it is verified that they have solved the problems with some speaker cables.

JLM

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #34 on: 27 Nov 2017, 12:11 pm »
Hope it's OK to digress/expand the conversation a bit ...

Had a chance to briefly hear an Oppo Sonica (DAC/preamp) yesterday, very nice for $799.  For some reason Oppo choose to not provide headphone or remote control capabilities.  The owner was very disappointed that it does not have a remote, it does offer apps for smartphone/tablet use but those are slow/clumsy in comparison.  And odd that it lacks headphone capability seeing how it lacks a remote control, Oppo sells headphones, and the company has 'mysteriously' discontinued the HA-1 (DAC/preamp/headphone amp).

We also listened to an $800 BlueSound PowerNode 2 (DAC/60 wpc integrated) that processes MQA and has an optical input for use say with a TV.  The owner uses it that way with Tidal HiFi (doesn't own a CD) via smartphone and also controls from a remote which the PowerNode 2 can learn.  The Sonica/Class D combo out performed the PowerNode at nearly twice the price with much greater flexibility, but wasn't as space/equipment/user interface friendly.

JDoyle

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #35 on: 29 Nov 2017, 04:40 am »
Question; does the Benchmark allow output signal routing to both RCA and XLR as the Brooklyn does? I'd like to feed my AVR as well when I want to feed other zones throughout the house. I was trying to find this in the manual (I do agree, it's a bit complicated).

Thx!

JD

JLM

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #36 on: 29 Nov 2017, 10:54 am »
Question; does the Benchmark allow output signal routing to both RCA and XLR as the Brooklyn does? I'd like to feed my AVR as well when I want to feed other zones throughout the house. I was trying to find this in the manual (I do agree, it's a bit complicated).

Thx!

JD

I'd hope so.  My $900 (street) DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core both did/do (I'm running a sub off the RCA outputs and the mains off the XLR).

David C

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #37 on: 29 Nov 2017, 05:07 pm »
Peter, thanks for starting this thread. My latest update....... After enjoying the DAC3 L for several weeks as a DAC only I finally began using it as a DAC/Pre a couple of days ago. I pulled my preamp (Nuforce P9) out of the loop, BTW I have really been pleased with the P 9 over the last 10 yrs and it was still sounding great. But WOW eliminating the preamp and 2 sets of interconnects lifted yet another veil , bringing out even more clarity and layers to the music. The DAC 3 L as a DAC took my system up to an entire new level and using it as a pre/DAC was another significant step up

SB Touch (Bolder digital mods, Bybee power rails) > Benchmark DAC 3L > itube2 > Bryston 14B sst2 > PMC PB1i speakers

BTW I use RCA connections out of the DAC

srb

Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #38 on: 29 Nov 2017, 05:21 pm »
But WOW eliminating the preamp and 2 sets of interconnects lifted yet another veil , bringing out even more clarity and layers to the music.

It wouldn't surprise me if eliminating the tube buffer and 2 sets of interconnects lifted yet another veil, bringing out even more clarity and layers to the music - unless you have a bad impedance mismatch without it.

pstrisik

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Re: Benchmark DAC3 series thread. Official? .... Nah, but goooood!
« Reply #39 on: 29 Nov 2017, 05:28 pm »
Question; does the Benchmark allow output signal routing to both RCA and XLR as the Brooklyn does? I'd like to feed my AVR as well when I want to feed other zones throughout the house. I was trying to find this in the manual (I do agree, it's a bit complicated).

Thx!

JD

I'm almost positive it does.  I have both unbalanced outputs running simultaneously (one pair to an active xover and one pair to stereo subs).  I haven't tried RCA and XLR simultaneously, but would be very surprised if they weren't all active.

Peter, thanks for starting this thread. My latest update....... After enjoying the DAC3 L for several weeks as a DAC only I finally began using it as a DAC/Pre a couple of days ago. I pulled my preamp (Nuforce P9) out of the loop, BTW I have really been pleased with the P 9 over the last 10 yrs and it was still sounding great. But WOW eliminating the preamp and 2 sets of interconnects lifted yet another veil , bringing out even more clarity and layers to the music. The DAC 3 L as a DAC took my system up to an entire new level and using it as a pre/DAC was another significant step up

SB Touch (Bolder digital mods, Bybee power rails) > Benchmark DAC 3L > itube2 > Bryston 14B sst2 > PMC PB1i speakers

BTW I use RCA connections out of the DAC

Yes, amazing isn't it?  All these years with major expense on preamps.  Now in the past!  Less and less does it seem we need big, heavy, hot, iron!

       ......Peter