Benchmark's third incarnation of the acclaimed DAC3 model is a professsionally-aimed product designed for studio environments. The DAC3 DX provides audio interface emulation, USB to S/PDIF transfer and reference quality monitoring. The unit can also serve as a standalone headphone amp for digital sources where required.

Reference Performance

The DAC3 delivers outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. It employs an advanced high-headroom digital filter design, and a high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock3™ jitter attenuation system.

Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and this processing includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. This headroom prevents the DSP overloads that commonly occur in other D/A converters.

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to create each balanced analogue output. This 4:1 summation provides a 6 dB noise reduction, and gives the DAC3 industry-leading performance.

Volume Control

Any practical audio system will need a volume control. These days, most audio devices use digital volume controls. These controls place significant demands on the quality of a D/A conversion. An internal D/A converter that starts with the equivalent of 14-bit performance, may only deliver 12-bit performance at typical volume-control settings.

In contrast, the Benchmark DAC3 D/A converter uses a motor-driven 32-bit digital volume control driving a 32-bit D/A conversion stage. This combination delivers true high-resolution audio performance over a wide range of volume settings.

Hybrid Gain Control

Benchmark's unique hybrid volume-control system delivers maximum performance from analogue or digital inputs. A single motor-driven knob controls the volume of the analogue and digital inputs, but the two types of inputs are handled very differently:

  • Digital inputs pass through a 32-bit digital volume control.
  • Analog inputs pass through a traditional analogue volume control.
  • Both share the same knob.

This hybrid approach eliminates all unnecessary A/D and D/A conversion steps. Analog inputs see an entirely analogue path to the outputs. Likewise, digital inputs see an entirely digital path to the 32-bit D/A converter.

Sit In The Performance Space

Transparent sound can go beyond replicating the studio experience. Recordings that have been produced with a natural and unprocessed sound can transport you to the performance space. However, this can only happen when the entire playback chain is selected for maximum transparency.

Main Features

  • Hybrid Gain Control
  • Low-Impedance Passive Output Attenuators
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • UltraLock3™ Jitter Attenuation System
  • High-Headroom 32-bit DSP
  • Quad 32-bit balanced D/A Conversion System
  • Multi-Mode Asynchronous USB Audio System
  • Digital Diagnostic Display
  • Volume-Control Bypass
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Distributed Power Regulation
  • "Zero-Ohm" HPA2™ Headphone Amplifier