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View Full Version : Benchmark DAC-1 - Need help and opinions guys!



Ken Pachkowsky
04-13-2006, 03:23 PM
I am contemplating buying the following:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac1/

Does anyone have experience with this dac?

Thanks

Ian Mackenzie
04-13-2006, 03:31 PM
You might find it a bit clinical but probably not with all that wood in your Horns. :D (In a hi end review of a mod'd unit that had BeeBee tweaks everywhere)

Ken, Have a look at some of the Musical Fidelity stuff or the Apogee MiniMe

My free tip of the day : Never buy a dac or anything else for that matter without hearing it first.

Second tip: Never ask for an opinion about something your gonna spend bucks of money on.

Ken Pachkowsky
04-13-2006, 04:36 PM
Thanks for the valued opinion. Yes, the thought of buying one without trying it out is keeping me at bay. I have yet to talk to anyone who has one. My understanding is a good dac can make quite a difference on a high end system. I must admit to being curious...

Ken

norealtalent
04-13-2006, 10:31 PM
...My free tip of the day : Never buy a dac or anything else for that matter without hearing it first...

I have to agree with Ian in theory. In reality I sometimes buy without hearing first if buying is the only way to hear it. That is how I have learned what I know, experiencing it for myself. The TAD is a prime example, you loved it, I didn't. What sounds "good" has many angles to be percieved from and are all subjectively based in our own experiences. My moto is to only buy what I know I can get my money back out of if I don't like it. That moto has never let me down. :)

Ken Pachkowsky
04-13-2006, 10:40 PM
Thanks for the input. I am struggling with the decision. I think I could sell it for a small loss if I don't like it. I could buy one direct from the manufacturer with a 30 day money back guaranty, but it would cost me 250.00 bucks more.

Hmmm

Ken

norealtalent
04-13-2006, 11:00 PM
...I think I could sell it for a small loss if I don't like it...
Ken

My greatest teacher always said,"Knowledge is expensive." With every single day, I find it to be priceless...

Bernard Wolf
04-14-2006, 05:11 PM
Well, if you have a lot of CD's and listen often and there is no other way to do it then I say go for it! I just popped over a grand for a cartridge without hearing it.... sometimes you just have to gamble.

BTW, the cartridge turned out great.. a Clearaudio

stevem
04-14-2006, 08:24 PM
If you buy a Benchmark and don't like it, you can always sell it on eBay. I am absolutely amazed at the prices these units command. Almost as much as a new one.

Ken Pachkowsky
04-14-2006, 08:37 PM
If you buy a Benchmark and don't like it, you can always sell it on eBay. I am absolutely amazed at the prices these units command. Almost as much as a new one.

Yes, I have noticed that.

Ken

Mr. Widget
04-15-2006, 01:19 AM
The Benchmark is very gutsy and has a sound stage to die for.I don't know a damned thing about the Benchmark, but I do know that when I used my external DAC, the soundstage opened up in the direction of a good analog front end. It certainly didn't make my CDs sound as open as analog, but another step closer is always a good thing.


Widget

Ken Pachkowsky
04-15-2006, 10:03 AM
Ian

Thats good news. I am not sure why you deleted your post but thanks for the report. I do believe I will try one out. Unfortunately, the one I was looking at got sold.

Your post does confirm what I have read and heard about this dac. I have read reports that it compares to dacs costing thousands of dollars.

I am going to order one from Benchmark directly.

Ken

boputnam
04-15-2006, 11:48 AM
I am going to order one from Benchmark directly.:no:

You should try someone like Sweetwater (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DAC1/) or some other outfit. You might avoid full price... :dont-know

Ken Pachkowsky
04-15-2006, 11:59 AM
:no:

You should try someone like Sweetwater (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DAC1/) or some other outfit. You might avoid full price... :dont-know

Hi Bo. The reason for a direct purchase is the 30 day satisfaction guarantee. Have you read about this product at all? It almost sounds to good to be true? I have had contact with 3 guys that say it was the most significant upgrade they have ever done. Were talking high end systems as well. I am definately going to try one. I ordered it today. Needless to say, (for what its worth) you guys will be the first to get my impressions.

Nice to hear from you.

Ken

Bernard Wolf
04-16-2006, 10:29 AM
Hate Mail ?? Really ?

Ken Pachkowsky
04-16-2006, 10:47 AM
Hi Ken,

It would appear that from recent hate mail my opinions are unwelcome.

Since your in box is /was full I posted the honest truth.

That is unfortunate Ian. As much as I like this place, the day I can't voice an opinion is the last day I will spend on this forum. Sending you a PM.

Ken

Mr. Widget
04-16-2006, 04:20 PM
Hate Mail ?? Really ?His ex-girlfriend found out where he hangs online and has been stuffing his PM box...;)


Widget

boputnam
04-16-2006, 05:54 PM
Hi Ken,

It would appear that from recent hate mail my opinions are unwelcome.Whomever would do such a thing is clearly clueless over either their importance here (or elsewhere... :dont-know) or are themselves unwelcome - or both. :yes:

You don't need my approval (no-one does...), but keep the tap open, pard'.

invstbiker
04-16-2006, 09:48 PM
So, Ken does that Ashly come with a 30 day MBG :D Just kidding dude...

I've bought

4412's
4333's
4343's
4350's

Mcintosh
Phase Linear
Audio Horizons
Denon
Cables, etc, etc, etc

ALL without listening first, but all highly referred. And very happy with all of it....reward only happens with risk...

Ken Pachkowsky
04-17-2006, 01:16 AM
So, Ken does that Ashly come with a 30 day MBG :D Just kidding dude...



I think your going to be very happy with it. You will have to build your own or spend a heck of a lot more to better it. Its on the way.

Ken

Ken Pachkowsky
04-19-2006, 09:41 AM
What is the best digital connection?

BNC, Spdif, or XLR?

Thanks

10 Watt Street
04-19-2006, 09:45 AM
I prefer the AES/EBU standard on XLR. Correct cable impedance is important.

House de Kris
04-19-2006, 10:41 AM
Ken, I believe SPDIF is a protocal, not a connector. When SPDIF travels over copper, it is typically terminated in RCA, but BNC is also common. So, if the question is, what is the best digial connection, BNC, RCA, or XLR?, then I'd recommend the BNC.

RCAs are rarely made as 75ohm connectors. It is no problem to find 75ohm BNCs. I've never measured XLRs, but I really wonder how close they are to 110ohms. Oh, just to qualify, I have measured lots of RCAs and BNCs.

Ken Pachkowsky
04-19-2006, 11:01 AM
Thanks guys, obviously my age shows as I know nothing about digital cables or connectors. My Benchmark Dac1 will be here Friday and I want to pick up the best type of cable for it. I am using a Sony CDP-11 and a Pioneer Sacd 578A.

Ken

hapy._.face
04-19-2006, 11:04 AM
Hi Ken!

XLR all the way- IF:
I may be wrong, but I think XLR in a true balanced set up is only as good as it's weakest link. What I'm saying (and I'm sure everyone will rush in to correct me) is that is really does little good to have a balanced run downstream from...say RCA's. Better to go the full balanced route if you can do it. XLR's are sometimes only offered as an output/input for convenience and aren't even balanced connections at all. Look into that before going XLR.

XLR's (non balanced) by itself does have the good advantage of being a strong, solid connection that can handle the endless swapping in/out that us audio geeks like to do. It's used in touring for a reason.

boputnam
04-19-2006, 01:15 PM
What is the best digital connection?

BNC, Spdif, or XLR?

Thanks:no: :no: :no:

Keep it optical. Both the Sony CDP-D11 (and D12) and the Benchmark DAC1 have optical TOSLINK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK) connectors. Use those.

Ken Pachkowsky
04-19-2006, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the info.

Ken

4343
04-19-2006, 02:46 PM
:no: :no: :no:

Keep it optical. Both the Sony CDP-D11 (and D12) and the Benchmark DAC1 have optical connectors. Use those.


I agree, optical whenever you get the choice. For short runs the optical eliminates any possible ground/hum problems. Also for REALLY LONG runs, optical is the only way.:D (The recording studio on the 4th floor MIGHT need optical feeds of SDI, AES and TC from the router on the first floor for instance, the theater in the next building WILL need optical convertors to get anything.)

That said, for semi-long runs in the same building, BNC is a much better choice for AES than XLR, despite the unbalanced nature of the coax, it has lower loss and is available for a lot less $ than 110 ohm shielded pair... More and more equipment is supplied with BNCs, so the norm now in the video world is to run coax to everything, anything with XLR gets a balun right at the connector panel or sometimes a panel of 8 baluns on the rear rack rail.
The last install I did even put A-D & D-A on any analog stuff so the only signals in the plant were SDI, AES, TC and 422. Only 2 types of wire for the long runs, different colors of course... The idea was that any analog deck/server could be swapped to a digital unit with NO downtime.:applaud:

boputnam
04-19-2006, 03:29 PM
I am using a Sony CDP-11 and a Pioneer Sacd 578A.:hmm:

Then, you will need to use two of the three (switchable) inputs. Most convenient between your sources and the DAC1 would likely be the TOSLINK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK) and the coaxial. You might use the TOSLINK with the SACD, but whatever...

boputnam
04-19-2006, 05:03 PM
As far as I know there still is no digital output of SACD from any licensed player (certainly not the 578 mentioned--isn't that a Pioneer?). Hell, Dave - This ain't my thread and I don't know those devices at all! :rotfl:

The DV-578A-S brochure (http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pio/pe/images/portal/cit_3424/134382272DV-578A-S.pdf) on Pioneer's site is a mere one-pager, but does mention "Digital Outputs (Optical x 1, Coaxial x 1 for DTS/Dolby Digital/L. PCM)", so maybe this one does? :dont-know


The scuttlebutt was that it was not a true DSD player. I've noticed that it is absent from the latest Audio Advisor Cat. and its successor in that price pocket is not even a nominal SACD player.It's certainly inexpensive at MSRP $199... :blink:

Ken Pachkowsky
04-19-2006, 05:43 PM
Here are some things from the manual.

Features

• DVD-Audio and SACD compatible
Experience the super high-quality audio performance of DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD).

• Super VCD compatible
This player supports the IEC’s Super VCD standard. Compared to the Video CD standard, Super VCD offers superior picture quality, and allows two stereo soundtracks to be recorded. Super VCD also supports the widescreen size.

• 24-bit/192kHz compatible DAC
The on-board 24-bit/192kHz DAC means that this player is fully compatible with high sampling-rate discs, capable of delivering exceptional sound quality in terms of dynamic range, low-level resolution and high-frequency detail.

• Built-in Dolby
Digital and DTS decoding with multichannel outputs Linear PCM Out

Down Sample On 96kHz digital audio is converted to 48kHz for digital output.

Note that High sampling rate DVD-Audio discs (192kHz or 176.4kHz) automatically output down-sampled audio through the digital outputs.

Down Sample Off
96kHz digital audio is output as is at 96kHz.

Digital Audio Out settings

Initial Settings on What it means

Digital Out On

Digital audio is output from the digital outputs.

Note that there is no digital output when playing SACDs and
some DVD-Audio discs regardless of this setting.


Off
No digital audio output.

Dolby Digital Out Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital encoded digital audio is output when playing a Dolby Digital DVD disc.

Dolby Digital > PCM
Dolby Digital audio is converted to PCM audio before being output.

DTS Out DTS
DTS encoded digital audio is output when playing a DTS disc.
(Noise will be output if your amplifier/receiver is not compatible with DTS audio.)

DTS > PCM
DTS audio is converted to PCM audio before being output.

SACD Playback 2ch Area
Selects the 2 channel (strereo) SACD audio area of the disc for playback.

Multi-ch Area
Selects the multi-channel SACD audio area of the disc for playback.

CD Area
Selects the standard CD audio area of an SACD/CD hybrid disc for playback.

DTS Downmix Stereo
Downmixes DTS for 2 channel output to regular stereo. (See also DTS Downmix on page 41.)

Lt/Rt
Downmixes DTS for 2 channel output to be compatible with Dolby Surround matrix decoders. (See also DTS Downmix on page 41

• Why can’t I hear SACD audio through the
digital outputs?

SACD audio is only available through the analog outputs. This is not a malfunction. Some DVD-Audio discs too only output audio through the analog outputs.


• Is it better to listen to DVD-Audio discs through the analog outputs?
Some DVD-Audio discs do not output anything through the digital outputs, and multichannel discs are downmixed to stereo for the digital output. In addition, a high sampling rate DVD-Audio discs (higher than 96kHz) automatically downsample audio output from the digital outputs. Using the multichannel analog audio outputs for DVD-Audio have none of these limitations.

boputnam
04-19-2006, 06:46 PM
Please go to the SACD - Discussion Thread for further discussion.

L100t Owner
04-20-2006, 08:54 AM
I am contemplating buying the following:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac1/

Does anyone have experience with this dac?

Thanks

I have a Benchmark DAC1 and an AH! Njoe Super Tjob with upsampler and 1964 Amperex white labal PQ tubes. I go back and forth between the two and listen on horn speakers (Klipschorns).

The Benchmark is a great unit. Unbelieveable detail and bass response. The AH is actually very close with all of the upgrades, but the Benchmark would beat it if the AH was not upgraded. The AH is better for listening to poor recordings, everything sounds good on the AH. The Benchmark is better on good recordings, meaning super detail if you like that.

Both have a very wide and deep soundstage and the speakers just dissapperar.

Chris

4343
04-21-2006, 09:57 PM
I am contemplating buying the following:

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac1/

Does anyone have experience with this dac?

Thanks

:p But on my last install we used those in all the conference rooms, some of the rooms had JBL , some Tannoy, lots of Genelecs too. All the passive speakers used QSC amps. I did get a chance to listen longer to the one in the tele-conference room, ran optical out of my portable CD, tried the headphone jack, etc. Even made the Genelec 1029's sound good! Nice feel to the volume knob, nice solid feel to all the connections. Rack mounting a single unit was like $100 for the bracket, so get a pair...:D

Ken Pachkowsky
05-01-2006, 08:53 PM
This review is based solely on what I perceive to be the quality of the sound on my system. There is no technical data.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Is it worth the price?

That depends on how far you want to go to increase the quality of your player. I have a Sony CDP-D11 and suspect it could be considered a slightly above average machine. Does it improve the overall performance of the system?

Absolutely, it does!

I will attempt to describe the differences I heard starting with the most obvious or profound.

Soundstage

I would say there is at least a 20 to 30 percent increase in the width of the above. This was obvious on every selection played. I would say the depth also increased on a smaller scale, but appeared more dimensional or layered. I noticed this especially on Diana Krall’s “Live in Paris”. I have become a huge fan of Anthony Wilson and his guitar work is distinctly left and up front. Diana’s piano is more centered and slightly right while her vocals are dead center and overwhelmingly clear, compared to the Sony on board dac.

I also noticed the layering effect on several tracks of Leonard Cohen’s “Ten New Songs”. The background vocals on this selection are beautifully recorded with some great overdubbing and time delays. Cohen’s voice has a natural timbre that has interesting harmonic overtones. This was one of the recordings that showed the claimed non existent jitter distortion. I did an a/b switch back and forth from one player to another several times during these auditions and was quite taken back by the difference. In all fairness the 2 players always sounded different but not to this degree.

Imaging

Definitely more defined but less impressive than the above.

Bass Response

What they claim is true. The low end is definitely tighter and more controlled. I really noticed this on a special recording of Diana Krall’s “All or Nothing at All”. This was recorded by Al Schmitt and the master was used to add an up front drum track by session drummer Ben Foster. Steve Schell would not leave my house till I made a copy for him! I was lucky enough to meet Ben at an LA studio where he gave me the copy. If you’re a kit fan this is an outstanding recording.

I would have to say the greatest overall improvement along with the wide soundstage is the mid frequencies. All vocals appeared more distinct and clean with wonderful timbre. Muddy Waters vocals on the MFSL release of 1964’s “Folksinger” sounds awesome through this dac. Neil Young’s “Prairie Wind” is another treat cover to cover.

I have definitely started to run out of things to upgrade and will have the thrill of trying out a Boulder 1010 fully balanced preamp very soon. I will definately be posting about that.

The Bottom Line:

If you need the extra quality squeezed out of your cd’s without breaking the bank this could be a good investment for you. I will be keeping mine.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Ken

Titanium Dome
05-01-2006, 09:14 PM
Hope you enjoyed the read.

Yes, I did. Thank you. :)

Mr. Widget
05-01-2006, 09:28 PM
Thanks Ken... those observations correlate with the improvements that I have heard when I abandon the built in DAC on my Sony DVP-S9000ES and digitally feed the DACs in my DEQX PDC.... that sentence is a real alphabet soup!

Anyway, I must say that all of your descriptions seem on the money from my experience. So, how would you compare this improvement to the improvement you experienced by switching to your current preamp from your last?


Widget

Ken Pachkowsky
05-01-2006, 09:55 PM
So, how would you compare this improvement to the improvement you experienced by switching to your current preamp from your last?


Widget

Now there is a loaded question. I would have bet that everyone would love the Tad Signature 150, but as you know our friend in Binghampton NY did not care for it. However, I got 2 very nice private messages from members who did buy the Tad and were very happy. Go figure, it just proves we all have different tastes. I must admit to being curious about a high end SS such as the newer Perreaux. I have no regrets selling the Adcoms of which I had 3. My goal is to hear a Tad on Bo's 4345's (but don't tell him):) .

PS: I really did not answer your question. The answer is the preamp change was of greater benefit as far as I am concerned.

Ken

Mr. Widget
05-01-2006, 10:06 PM
I guess what I was trying to get was what type of change does a preamp swap make in your opinion...

To me if we are talking really good preamps the change may be a subtle tonal change and an increase or decrease of grunge... I don't think they can take a CD and open it up and make it more analog sounding like a good DAC can. I suppose if the tonal change is significant, that can make the perceived change seem quite dramatic. Obviously if one preamp has a polite midrange it may sound veiled and one with a peaked midrange could sound more detailed...


Widget

Ken Pachkowsky
05-01-2006, 10:21 PM
I guess what I was trying to get was what type of change does a preamp swap make in your opinion...

Widget

Overall the change was most noticeable in the extreme low bass (less than 50hz) and a smoothing of the high end. I suspect its similar to what I am told a tube amp would do on horns.

Ken

Mr. Widget
05-01-2006, 10:28 PM
In my vernacular that would be tonal and grunge... and would you say that is a more significant improvement than the openness of soundstage etc. from the outboard DAC?


Widget

Ken Pachkowsky
05-01-2006, 10:39 PM
In my vernacular that would be tonal and grunge... and would you say that is a more significant improvement than the openness of soundstage etc. from the outboard DAC?


Widget

In my case yes.

Ken

Mr. Widget
05-01-2006, 11:41 PM
I realize, like talking about music, talking about the nuance of High Fidelity is like "dancing about architecture." I was just trying to put together some sort of reference so that we can get a better grip on what you have experienced and what you're saying...

This is along the lines of some of our private conversations when you say that changing "X" made the system sound 90% better... I never did get the meaning of that. I was simply trying to establish some data points. I'm bringing all this up because I got the feeling you thought I was cross examining you rather than trying to have a dialog.

Anyway... I think I got it. I hope all of this makes sense to others.


Widget

Ken Pachkowsky
05-01-2006, 11:49 PM
I realize, like talking about music, talking about the nuance of High Fidelity is like "dancing about architecture." This is along the lines of some of our private conversations when you say that changing "X" made the system sound 90% better... I never did get the meaning of that.

Widget

That's understandable. I will try to be more specific when describing things in the future. I believe I used that statement when describing the switch from the 750 to the Tad. I meant overall and in literally every aspect, I was shocked at the difference on my system.

Ken

hapy._.face
05-02-2006, 08:17 AM
Muddy Waters vocals on the MFSL release of 1964’s “Folksinger” sounds awesome through this dac.


Hey- his vocals on folksinger sound awesome, period! :p - but if the DAC makes it better....maybe I need to look in to squeezing my cd player for it's last drop. Thanks for the follow up!

Take care up there,
Travis.

johnaec
05-02-2006, 10:32 AM
..but if the DAC makes it better....I think my band needs a DAC... :p

John :band:

Ken Pachkowsky
05-02-2006, 10:39 AM
The systems temporary home till the house gets built. Also a picture of the Benchmark.

boputnam
05-02-2006, 01:07 PM
Now THAT's interesting...

:hmm:

Ken Pachkowsky
05-02-2006, 01:19 PM
Now THAT's interesting...

:hmm:

Trust your eye to catch that:o: . This was the result of a mono setup. I was doing some experimenting with the dac when I shot the photo. What do you use a magnifying glass?

Ken

boputnam
05-02-2006, 01:35 PM
:rotfl:

Nothing wrong with a mono test - just make sure you've got the timing delay dialed-in (if using FFT).

I'm intrigued with the deep/wide cut at ~125Hz - must be some nice room coupling going on there!!

Ken Pachkowsky
05-02-2006, 01:44 PM
:rotfl:

I'm intrigued with the deep/wide cut at ~125Hz - must be some nice room coupling going on there!!

To tell you the truth Bo, there is so many ways to tweak this crossover it can get overwhelming. There are +-10db gain pots on all 8 channels. Both the left and right channels have overall gains as well. Of course, so does the BSS 960.

This room is far superior to the house in Palm Desert. I can hardly wait to build the new house. The living room has been designed to have odd angles including the ceiling. Should all but eliminate standing waves. Maybe I will be able to dump the EQ all together. Would that be great or what?

Ken

hapy._.face
05-02-2006, 01:47 PM
Ken,

Sorry to see the sad state of your 'temporary set up'. I don't know how you can tolerate such a thing. :p

Actually, that's a lovely set up that many here would die for! I especially like the cabinets under the westies- very clean. I read your (earlier) posts regarding your current architectural endeavors and it sounds amazing. Please keep us (drooling) members posted.

Titanium Dome
05-02-2006, 01:47 PM
I thought this was a mono test:

http://www.genzymediagnostics.com/products/pointofcare/ptofcare_sales_mono.pdf


(Sorry, Bo.)

Ken, it looks like your room might be a lot tighter than at Palm Desert. I imagine that results in many different challenges in set up.

Do you like the room better? Do the Westies feel confined? Do you feel the DAC opened up the room in some way?

boputnam
05-02-2006, 01:49 PM
Interesting...

I'd sure try to achieve a flat response using the crossover, and then tweak to final with the EQ. You might get less phase distortion that way - don't know for certain.

And, dump the BSS 960..?? :hmm: I might just have the proper environmentally sensative recycle channel for you, being in California and all. Let me know...

Ken Pachkowsky
05-02-2006, 01:53 PM
Ken, it looks like your room might be a lot tighter than at Palm Desert. I imagine that results in many different challenges in set up.

Do you like the room better? Do the Westies feel confined?do you feel the DAC opened up the room in some way?

The answer is yes to all. The room is much tighter. Although "severely" confined, the bass response is much better. As you may recall, I had a serious case of bass cancellation due to the shape of the room in PD?

Ken

Ken Pachkowsky
05-02-2006, 02:01 PM
Interesting...

I'd sure try to achieve a flat response using the crossover, and then tweak to final with the EQ.

And, dump the BSS 960..?? :hmm: I might just have the proper environmentally sensative recycle channel for you, being in California and all. Let me know...

Exactly what I did in PD Bo. Have to start from scratch here. The BSS is your's bud. I got it brand new for 700 bucks. Quite the deal. Not so much as a mark on it.

Ken

Ken Pachkowsky
05-02-2006, 05:51 PM
Ken,

Sorry to see the sad state of your 'temporary set up'. I don't know how you can tolerate such a thing. :p



Yes, it's good to be reminded how fortunate one is. I did a ton of buying and selling on Ebay to put together the coin for this. The rack cabs turned out ok. I would have loved to have been able to get Regis or a couple of the other members to do the cabs for me. Would they not look great done in burled bookmatched walnut?

Then they could almost pass for furniture!

Ken

hapy._.face
05-02-2006, 06:32 PM
Yes, it's good to be reminded how fortunate one is. I did a ton of buying and selling on Ebay to put together the coin for this.
Ken


Yep. I'm sure you did....and when it happens to a nice guy- I'm just as thrilled as they are. ;)


Oh...and "yes!"- burled walnut would be icing on the cake. :bouncy:


I think your post is important because we often forget where we are- only where we're headed. We get so caught up in the "next thing" that we rarely appreciate what we have - at this very moment. Steve G's sig says it best: 'enjoy the journey'.

If I may go a little deeper- the same could be said of this forum. We are so wrapped up in what's wrong with it- we fail to see how great it actually is. Right now.

Thank you for sharing, Ken. I want to see that room when it's done. Heck- I wouldn't mind a few shots of it as it's being built!

I also noticed how casually one can set things on top of the Westlakes without any vibrations, etc. Norealtalent had stuff on his too- and I guess due to the excellent job Westlake has done with regard to construction- it's a standing wave eating machine.

Take care up there

speakerdave
05-02-2006, 10:24 PM
Nice review, Ken. Makes me think I should accelerate my plans for a serious digital front end.

David

Ken Pachkowsky
05-02-2006, 11:37 PM
Nice review, Ken. Makes me think I should accelerate my plans for a serious digital front end.

David

Well, you know more about this technology than I do, but it impressed the heck out of me. I was just listening to some Count Basie and Frank Sinatra "Live at the Sands" through it. Very nice indeed.

Ken

Ian Mackenzie
05-03-2006, 05:08 AM
Ken,

I understand the DAC1 has switchable variable output that can be contolled from the front panel.

As a matter of determining the actual sonic footprint of the DAC1 it would be interesting to gain your impressions of it when bypassing the preamp and graphic equalizer if you attempted to do that at any stage.

This little exercise would also tell you what the preamp and graphic are doing to the signal path. Perhaps the preamp and graphic can be switched from the front panel for bypass?

Ken Pachkowsky
05-03-2006, 11:31 AM
Ken,

I understand the DAC1 has switchable variable output that can be contolled from the front panel.



I have not tried it Ian but you are correct. I could run the outputs directly into the HRX using the gain on the front panel of the Dac. I will give it a try this weekend and post the percieved results.

Ken

Mr. Widget
05-03-2006, 11:50 AM
I could run the outputs directly into the HRX using the gain on the front panel of the Dac. I will give it a try this weekend and post the percieved results.
That should be interesting...:hmm:

From a theoretical standpoint it should be better without the extra electronics, however you seem to be really using your EQs so I guess you'll miss 'em. You might also try just taking the preamp out of the circuit just to see what the tubes are doing.


Widget

Ken Pachkowsky
05-03-2006, 11:59 AM
That should be interesting...:hmm:

You might also try just taking the preamp out of the circuit just to see what the tubes are doing.


Widget

Seeing as I will have it all pulled out, I will try that as well.

Ken

Titanium Dome
05-03-2006, 08:20 PM
Ken's going to be a busy man fulfilling all these suggestions. Good luck, bud.

boputnam
05-03-2006, 08:25 PM
... you seem to be really using your EQs so I guess you'll miss 'em. You might also try just taking the preamp out of the circuit just to see what the tubes are doing.If your EQ is properly set, it is doing it's job - adjusting for cabinet, room and "system" anomalies (nodes and nulls).

Widget's on the trail here - leave the EQ in. Otherwise, you are comparing too many variables. Plus, you've already determined you like the EQ to assist the "Westies" reproduction.

boputnam
05-03-2006, 08:52 PM
With regard to "system" anomalies...

To be pedantic about it, you should re-EQ the system without the preamp. That would be the purest comparison, as you know.

But, if you don't have a second graphic EQ which you can use for a quick A/B, this comparison will not only be subjective, but will be not readily comparable, A to B.

Just being a stickler, here... :o:

-------

ps: I submit this may be particularly important (read: interesting) since you use a tube preamp. :hmm:

Ian Mackenzie
05-03-2006, 11:54 PM
Sorry the logic was not clearer...

If Ken cares to set the Eq flat in bypass mode and then compare it in circuit and out he might then have a better understanding of doing a "health" check on the signal path purity.

Since the new Dac1 is the prime source and purpose of this thread I am sure Ken would benefit in knowing the true accuracy of the DAC1 through his Westies! It will either sound better direct or non different.

boputnam
05-04-2006, 10:25 AM
Since the new Dac1 is the prime source and purpose of this thread I am sure Ken would benefit in knowing the true accuracy of the DAC1 through his Westies! Yes, but actually, here, Widget's suggestion was to by-pass the pre-amp and see how the DAC-1 sounds direct.

My point was, if the system sounds crummy/edgy/harsh/muffled/boomy (particularly this, looking at that ~125Hz notch) without the EQ, that might confound his appraisal of the DAC-1 direct. It would be easier on the ears if it sounded good, with, and without, the preamp, since that is what is being "tested" by Widget's suggestion.

hapy._.face
05-04-2006, 04:26 PM
The new digs will require a totally different EQ setting (or none at all), that notch will be a moot point by then (at least hopefully for Ken).


Ken,

The suspense is killing me- Hook that baby up direct! I'm looking into an outboard DAC myself. I'd like to hear what your findings are. How many source components do you have?

Ken Pachkowsky
05-12-2006, 10:26 PM
Ken,

The suspense is killing me- Hook that baby up direct! I'm looking into an outboard DAC myself. I'd like to hear what your findings are. How many source components do you have?

Sorry buddy, did not get a chance till this weekend. I will post impressions on Sunday night.

PS: I have the Sony CDP-D11 and a Pioneer 578-A DVD player. My sat system is a Direct TV HR10-250 Hi-Def.

Ken

Ian Mackenzie
05-12-2006, 11:19 PM
You promised:crying:

Ken Pachkowsky
07-09-2006, 07:22 PM
Hi All

I have been using a new Benchmark Dac1 now for 2 months and put it through it's paces.

After careful consideration I would say that upgrading your cd player might be a more cost effective use of 900-1000 bucks. The Dac1 improved the performance by a slight margin in many aspects. I would have to say the most dramatic improvement was in the 2-5k range. I can only describe the difference as follows.

When switching from the Dac1 back to the on board Dac from the same source (Sony CDP D11), the Dac1 had a more black background virtually eliminating what I think may be jitter distortion. The operative word being "think". If you could describe jitter distortion as edgy (slightly distorted) sounding mid-range, then that may be it. The Dac1 also widened the sound-stage, but only a little.

I hope someone finds this useful.

Ken