|Benchmark DAC1 HDR Converter - Preamplifier Review|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Wednesday, 12 May 2010|
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Q&A with John Siau, of Benchmark Media:
AVRev: Was breaking into the home audiophile market a bit of a surprise for Benchmark Media?
The original DAC1 primarily targeted professional applications. It was only available with rack ears, it had no S/PDIF inputs, no USB, and no remote control. What it did have is excellent jitter attenuation, an analog volume control, an outstanding headphone amplifier, and the ability to directly interface to power amplifiers or powered speakers. An entire audiophile system can consist of a transport, a DAC1, and powered speakers. The performance of this minimalist system can be astonishing.
From the beginning, we recognized that the DAC1 would have a significant impact on the audiophile community, but we also recognized that we would need to add features to fully meet the needs of some home applications. Each feature has been added without altering the performance, and without compromising the professional build and durability of the unit.
AVRev: The DAC1 HDR is beautifully made, but also seems rugged for such a small component. Was it designed to take a beating?
In a professional environment, the DAC1 is a tool. Tools that break are useless. Professionals need to be able to transport equipment between studios and venues without fear of equipment failures. In the home, I would like to think that the DAC1 is sort of like the granite countertops we put in our kitchens - beautiful, durable, and very functional. Personally I derive much more enjoyment from good music than from good countertops, but there is something to be said for good food.
AVRev: Where do you see digital audio going in the next few years? Is the end of physical media near? Will consumers be buying their music online in lossless quality?
DVD audio has died, and the CD is terminally ill. The last survivor will be the LP. Virtually all music purchases will be electronic in the very near future. The days of the corner record store are probably over.
Special thanks to Rory Hall of Benchmark
Reviewer's Associated Equipment System 1:
Reviewers Associated Equipment 2: