Benchmark DAC and The "Solved" D/A Problem

Tom Martin -- Thu, 07/31/2008 - 10:05

There is an interesting thread here:

on Robert E. Greene's comments in his TAS review of the Benchmark DAC. Robert suggests that for red book CD Benchmark has effectively "solved" the DAC problem in the context of big improvements. Does that sound controversial, at least without a very careful reading?

Dan Stults -- Tue, 08/12/2008 - 16:34

I think that REG is talking about "relative" solutions to digital in his comments on the DAC1. I am a long-term owner of the DAC1 and I can attest that it is good and does a fine job of making digital listenable, all for about $1000. I would recommend you see posts on for more information.

Now, triple the price by modifying the DAC1 by Steve Nugent at Empirical Audio and you have a significantly better DAC with better resolution, better dynamics, significantly less harshness, better depth, layering and harmonic richness and rightness that makes you think that the unmodified DAC1 is just O.K.

Using your computer hard drive either with iTunes or foobar as the source will result in significantly less jitter, blacker backgrounds, higher resolution, and greater ease of listening than spinning a CD, even if you are using a multi-thousand dollar transport from the likes of Esoteric, dCS, or Burmester. I2S to transfer between source and DAC results in even less jitter.

So, is the problem 'solved?' No. But popularly priced solutions are available to those who cannot afford the $40K dCS and $70K Burmester systems.

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