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Benchmark DAC1 PRE D/A Converter - Preamplifier Print E-mail
Friday, 01 August 2008
Article Index
Benchmark DAC1 PRE D/A Converter - Preamplifier
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The Downside
The DAC 1 PRE is small and light, and this may cause a problem with using large, heavy aftermarket power cords or interconnects, but even with the long runs of cables I used, it sat solidly placed on its stand, so I don’t think this will be too much of a problem, unless you go crazy on upgrading the power cord.  The unit only has one analog input, and some might need more.  If you run two channels, then all the digital inputs the DAC 1 PRE offers would easily allow you to connect your cable box, DVD player, a CD transport and HD-based music server to you system.

There is no remote and no home theater pass through.

The Benchmark DAC 1 PRE is a beautifully-made, exquisite-sounding two-channel preamp that happens to house one of the most famous and best-sounding USB DACs.  It offered amazingly easy set-up and use and an open and smooth sound that rivaled DACs costing far more.  Its small size and user-friendly interface make it ideal for anyone looking for a high-end way to extract music on the computer, or transport to amps and speakers.  For when you don’t wish to play your music out loud, Benchmark has included their renowned headphone amp as well.

The DAC 1 PRE is a highly functional and musical piece that sets a new mark for audio.  Its simple integration into a computer-based system, either Windows or, thankfully, Mac, as well as its excellent preamp and headphone section, make this unit a piece I will remember for a long time and will continue to recommend to friends.  The lack of home theater pass-through and remote are the only things that kept me from adding it to my reference rig.  Benchmark is best known for professional audio gear.  They have put much of what they’ve learned in that market into this new piece and it really shows.  Solid build quality, incredible simplicity of use and flexibility make this a landmark piece and one I am voting for AVRev’s gear of the year

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