To Hans Wetzel,
A simple question: What would be the best Benchmark Media Systems DAC for my system, which consists of an Adcom power amp and a Sony ES CD player? I am not interested in computer audio or home theater whatsoever. All I want is the best possible sound between my CD player and my power amp.
Edward J. Roell
While I think Benchmark's DAC2 HGC is a really terrific DAC, as I wrote in my February review, at $1995, I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense for your system and needs. If you are not interested in computer audio, I would go with Benchmark's base DAC1, which sells for $995. Despite its age, I think it is a solid-performing DAC that will offer an audible improvement over the digital-to-analog circuitry in your Sony ES CD player. The only caveat would be that, since you don't mention a preamplifier in your system, you would be forced to use the volume control dial on the DAC1 to change the volume of your system, as the base DAC1 does not come with a remote control. If this is an issue for you, then the decision becomes more difficult, for with the DAC1 HDR priced at $1595, which comes with a remote control, the DAC2 HGC would be just $400 more expensive. At that point, I would probably spring for the DAC2 HGC. I hope this helps. . . . Hans Wetzel