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Benchmark Dac 1 Pre Dac /MF V8 CD and USB direct comparison


Standard Member
Thought you may like to know a friend and I did an instantly switchable comparison between the DAC in a Benchmark Dac 1 Pre fed via musical fideility x ray V8 (co-ax cable), the V8 connected via the phono input (so using its own internal dac and pre stage of the benchmark)and the usb port fed via a mac laptop. After volume adjustment and synching the same tracks on mac/itunes lossless and CD, we switched constantly between the three sources and did it blind to test each others view of which source was which.

The speakers were alesis studio monitors, ruthless and honest speakers.

Given sound quality is in the main part subjective, I won't bore with what I thought was best and why. I will say I prefered the last source I listened too, then it switched and i thought I prefered that, then it switched and I thought that was best.

Very hard to tell, there are differences, but very subtle, perhaps the richest/fullest was the mac, and the cleanest CD but fed via benchmark dac not the MF. But not much in it. Thought all the sources performed well.

I have to say that benchmark dac is a very impressive little box indeed, AND while I love cd's and will always buy them (still the cheapest and best way to buy lossless music and long may that remain) AND I own a 10k cd player, it is clear that the hard drive with a well executed USB dac and good pre stage really is impressive and hifi lovers get a truely embraceable new format that can sound fantastic done properly. New flash drive formats could improve things further on the noise front.

We are lining up the same tests but with the nagra player and pmc monitors next......god I hope my nagra wins.........
Audio Research LS26, Nagra CDC, Musical Fidelity Kw750, Revolver Cygnis Loudspeakers, Transparent Ultra


Established Member
Very interesting post. I've been carrying out similar comparisons between a Sonos+Benchmark DAC and a transport+Benchmark DAC. I haven't yet managed to get the computer based solution up to the transport/CD source yet, but it's very close.

Please keep your updates coming!

Thanks, Paul

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