Got myy DAC-1!

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by John Stafford, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hi all
    I got my DAC-1 today. My initial impressions were mixed, as I hated the top end, but after listening it's just showing up some of my recordings :cry:

    The bass is cool though. What surprises me is how much difference it makes on some recordings, and how little on others -it's very difficult to predict.

    I've only been at it for about an hour, so these are early impressions.

    Looking forward to a long night!

  2. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    It's 6 o'clock in the morning so I'd better stop blasting my eardrums! This thing is great. It's merciless, especially in the top end if something isn't done right -which is exactly what I wanted, but when something is recorded well it's really cool. Even when I can't tell what exactly the difference is, music seems to be more engaging; I know that's the sort of vague comment that's more at home in a hi-fi magazine :wink:

    Thanks everyone for the recommendations -I'm so glad I bought this. Now I feel like a good set of monitors, but then there's the preamps and the omnis -is there no end to this exquisite madness?

    BTW I also got a set of AKG K271 headphones for vocal tracking, but they're surprisingly good for listening as well.

    I suppose I'd better go to bed now as I've a long days listening ahead of me :lol:

  3. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    So, John, any more comments? 44/16 sounds pretty good through an upsampling jitter free DAC doesn't it. Now you can see why hi-res is not taking off.
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Glad you like your DAC-1

    Leave it on and powered up all the time. It will sound better over time.

    The one thing about the DAC-1 is its truthfulness. What you hear is what you get. We had listened to lots of other DACs and they all sounded GOOD but what made the DAC-1 really great was it sounded transparent. There was no rolled off highs or boosted bass to contend with. It took a while to get use to it but WOW what a unit. I can't wait for the ADC to come out.

  5. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hi David and Tom
    This thing is really cool. If something sounds good, this makes it sound great, but if it sucks....

    44/16 does indeed sound great. One of the first things I did was connect my CD player's optical out and the sound was beautifully detailed. I've listened to some serious hi-fi in my time (a former obsession!), but the DAC-1 was an upgrade that simply doesn't happen at this price in the domestic audio world. There's plenty of life left in CD; I never thought I'd say that!

    Thanks for the advice about leaving it turned on. This thing is so revealing. It shows up the tiniest of flaws in my recordings (of which there are many!), but I've been quite pleased by the way it shows the good bits. I know there are 'prettier' sounding DACs, but they don't show what's on the recording.

    I'm dreading the ADC, as I might feel compelled to buy one!

    Thanks again for the input!

  6. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I have lent my benchmark to 3 audiophiles now, all advocates of higher-res and their reactions were the same. We all agreed two things ... that sonic improvement bang for buck is the highest for any bit of gear ever purchased, and that CD is amazing after all.

    They all purchased one immediately. Here is Brisbane, they are now getting known to the high end hi-fi shops and it must be annoying some of the marketers and manufacturers of snake oil gear with high prices.
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I took my DAC into a couple of HI FI shops around here and they were NOT IMPRESSED since it only cost $1000.00 and most of their DACs were in the $4000 to $12000 dollar catagory and even though they said they could hear things though the Benchmark that they did not hear though the higher priced converters they said that "anything that sells for that price can't sound good" oh well their loss my gain. One shop owner said that since the company that made it was not a hi fi manufacture the unit was not ?designed? for home use and they could not think about selling it for that reason. I think I detected a bit of effite snobbery on their part. Anyway so far it has blown away any other converter regardless of price and I am very happy with my unit.
  8. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    OK, here's the plan. We buy some DAC-1s, put them into 'minimalist' boxes, remove the volume control and all sockets except for the RCAs and coaxial (making up some reason why we couldn't possibly use optical). The next stage is to take the power supply and put it in its own box with a MASSIVE heatsink. This way we can make our own special cable to connect the two boxes.

    The next part is the name. I'm thinking Scandinavian mythology at the moment, or maybe even something Babylonian.

    Country of manufacture is very important to give it the right image; I'm thinking somewhere small but exotic. Then we set the price which is probably the most important thing of all.

    How about:
    DAC $5700 (introductory offer)
    Power supply $3400
    PSU-DAC connector $1800, but a free lite version if both units are bought together.
    Special plinth (marble with 17 holes drilled in it -all of different sizes naturally), $1476 (well we don't want to be greedy).

    Oh and I forgot about the waiting list. We'll have to work on that one.......

  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Damn! I forgot about the crystal pyramid that has to be precisely centred over the converter chip. We're going to have to drill holes in the case to make it visible. I think an extra $3000...
  10. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Check out this review and You'll understand that most of what You suggest is a reality..

    Benchmark DAC 1 "test"

    .. ooops, the Chrystal Pyramid is still your option to make it big... :)

  11. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    what, no cable lifters to keep the wires off and away from the carpet?!?!?!?! I can't work under these conditions!!!! hahahaha

    Seriously, I get a cold chill when I read some of that esoteric blather. I wonder what it is they THINK they're hearing. And as always, it's never done under true, scientific, controlled, A/B comparisons with repeatable, documented results. The subjective terms - including meaningless things like: "Improved Soundstage", "bigger, fuller, sound" and "new designs based on Quantum Physics" (all designed to invoke emotional, wallet-driven responses from people with too much time & money on their hands) scare me off immediately.

    Like big expensive houses and cars, I think there's a need/market out there for people who MUST have something "better" than everyone else; something scarce, exotic, and MAYBE even better-sounding than the best out there. These exotic companies pander to that mindset, and make out like bandits on these kinds of clients. When you're selling to a market that's gullible enough to pay $1k for a brown, wooden, VOLUME KNOB - believing it'll make things sound better, well.....there's not much more I can say about it here.

    The benchmark DAC 1 is just fabulous, regardless of the cost. I just don't have the time or the desire to pay for or explore anything beyond that; not when there's REAL-world work to do. Let the audiophiles play, compare, and tweak. They'll never find satisfaction anyway. I DO think it's some kind of weird OCD sickness...spending ridiculous amounts on borderline "improvements" over things only a bat can hear anyway, and things that matter little in the every day listening world that professional engineers don't hear anyhow.

    sorry to hijack the thread, but I get a bit nuts whenever I go to those super-audiophile ads & websites. They give REAL hi-end audio a bad name.
  12. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link! What more can I say?

    Nobody knows for sure how it works, yet someone was able to invent it. Hmmmmm......

    We're going to have to design something to deal with that pesky quantum microphony. The stray proton absorption coil-spring(made in Switzerland), is calibrated in Australia, so the unit has to be partially inverted for use in the Northern Hemisphere -the precise amount depending on the season. I'll shut up now.

    Seriously though, I wonder what people think of the headphone outputs. I haven't completely put it through its paces yet, but my initial impression is that the most staggering improvement is in what comes out the back -again this is only an initial impression.

  13. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hi Joe
    We must have been typing at the same time. I am just waiting to read about the return of the wind-up gramophone. That would solve all problems in the world. First of all there would be no electromagnetic interference, or any electrical problems. On top of all that, it would be vintage, making it appeal to the pro-audio world as well :wink:

    I don't want to be one of those people who sing the praises of every little acquisition, but the DAC-1 is something else.

    I wonder if other people looking at this forum think we're all Benchmark marketing staff!


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