Benchmark DAC 1
The Benchmark DAC 1 is our main monitoring DAC (digital to analogue converter). Ever since its release in the mid-2000s it’s set a standard for clean D/A conversion.
Once warmed up it’s astonishingly detailed, revealing the anti-jitter technology built into it (it really does clear away that ‘layer of mud’ you hear with lesser DACs like it says in the manual) and the pristine analogue components; including a detented volume knob to make sure we can always control, and repeat, the analogue gain staging in our monitor chain.
It also features an exceptionally high quality headphone amplifier, extremely useful for listening in forensic detail for noise, errors, anything that requires closer listening than is possible on speakers alone.
DACs of this quality really put paid to the stereotype of digital audio as cold and lacking the physicality of analogue. The truth is, you just have to spend a lot more money to get there with digital.