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Listed in The Absolute Sound 2012 High-End Audio Buyer's Guide
Let the Music Engage You!
Benchmark's DAC1 HDR is an all-in-one reference-quality stereo preamplifier which also includes the company's critically claimed digital-to-analog converter and premium headphone amp. This stereo preamp brings together all the best features and performance of the award-winning DAC1 family with the convenience of an intelligent remote control solution.
The Benchmark DAC1 HDR was honored by being included in The Absolute Sound 2012 High-End Audio Buyer's Guide. According to the magazine, "Incorporating Benchmark's almost universally acclaimed DAC1 D-to-A converter (which Robert E. Greene pronounced a literally 'source accurate' device), the DAC1 HDR is a full-functioned remote-controlled linestage with five digital inputs, a pair of analog inputs, and a headphone amplifier. 'Super clean, super clear, super quiet, super transparent,' were PS's first impressions…"
Stereophile was so impressed with the original-model Benchmark DAC1, the December 2004 issue named the DAC1 as a "Product of the Year." According to the magazine, "The Benchmark's measured performance is at least as good, if not better than, the best high-end designs. Its use of a high-performance sample-rate converter chip ahead of its DAC chip means that its rejection of work-clock jitter is about as good as it gets, allowing it to be used, say, to wrest high-end sound from a cheap DVD player."
DAC, Headphone Amp, and PC Playback Interface
The DAC1 HDR combines some of Benchmark's finest engineering accomplishments into one device: the DAC1 digital-to-analog audio converter with UltraLock™ clock system, AdvancedUSB™ computer audio playback interface, and the legendary HPA2™ headphone amplifier. The unique remote control solution of the DAC1 HDR is built around Benchmark's new HDR-VC™ (high dynamic range volume control).
Absolute Sonic Integrity
Benchmark's product designs have achieved unprecedented sonic purity due to an uncompromising engineering philosophy: eliminate digital distortion artifacts, establish a pristine analog path, and maintain sonic integrity regardless of external factors. The DAC1 HDR continues this tradition of excellence.
Advanced Wireless Remote
The remote control solution of the DAC1 HDR has an intelligent implementation of dimming and muting. The 'Dim' (quiet) and 'Soft-Mute' settings of the remote control can be easily adjusted independent of the normal volume setting. The DAC1 HDR remembers and recalls your specified 'Dim' setting. This feature is ideal for HDTV users, as it allows you to set your preferred 'Dim' level for commercials, etc. The 'Soft-Mute' function fades down the volume to the 'Dim' level before muting and smoothly raises the volume to the normal level after unmuting.
Generous Offering of Inputs and Outputs
With a generous offering of inputs and outputs, the DAC1 HDR serves as the heart of expansive media and entertainment systems, optimizing the signal path from the various sources to the amplifier. The DAC1 HDR will enhance the audio performance of your digital television, digital cable box, DVD/CD player, computer, music/media server, satellite radio, and any other device with a digital audio output. Also, the HDR-VC™ will control the pristine path for an analog source, such as a phono stage, FM tuner, iPod, VCR, tape deck, etc.
All digital inputs on the DAC1 HDR (including the USB) feature Benchmark's jitter-immune UltraLock™ clock system. The USB interface operates with Benchmark's AdvancedUSB™ native 24-bit, 96-kHz USB technology. The DAC1 HDR features a high-current output stage designed to drive even the most difficult loads. Other features include selectable headphone gain ranges and an auto-mute function for muting the main outputs when headphones are being used.
HDR-VC™ High Dynamic Range Volume Control
The DAC1 HDR features Benchmark's HDR-VC™ (High Dynamic Range Volume Control). The HDR-VC™ is achieved with a custom-built motorized Alps potentiometer. The DAC1 HDR's motor-driven volume control maintains the dynamic range of the converter and audio output. In contrast, digital volume controls reduce dynamic range, and analog volume IC's introduce distortion and noise.
The Acclaimed DAC1 D-to-A Conversion System
Recording studios, mastering engineers and audiophiles have grown to rely on Benchmark for critical digital audio conversion for more than 10 years. The superior performance of the award-winning DAC1 has made it the 'Benchmark' of D-to-A converters. With the DAC1 HDR, this built-in state-of-the-art converter will improve the sonic performance of your digital audio sources, including your computer.
Jitter-Immune UltraLock™ Clock System
Benchmark's proprietary UltraLock™ clock system achieves an unprecedented immunity to jitter. Many modern (and expensive) converters suffer from significant jitter-induced distortion, generating non-musical sideband tones and digital distortion. Benchmark's highly-regarded UltraLock™ clock system ensures that jitter is never a problem, even under extreme conditions.
Even in the presence of extremely high input jitter, no jitter-induced artifacts can be detected on the outputs of the DAC1 HDR (using state-of-the-art testing equipment by Audio Precision). UltraLock™ will block more then 12.5 UI of jitter (@ 1 kHz). The UltraLock™ clock system easily outperforms even the best-designed two-stage PLL designs.
As a result, Benchmark converters will consistently and faithfully deliver truthful audio without jitter-induced artifacts, no matter what variables are present.
AdvancedUSB™ Audio Technology
The USB interface of the DAC1 HDR operates with Benchmark's unique AdvancedUSB™ technology. Unlike many USB-equipped D/A converters, Benchmark's AdvancedUSB™ technology supports 24-bit audio at sample rates up to 96 kHz without the installation of any drivers or other special software. Benchmark's UltraLock™ clock system isolates the converter from the high levels of jitter that are found on USB interfaces.
The DAC1 HDR achieves transparent, audiophile-quality playback through a true plug-and-play solution. Audio streamed via USB is subject to significant amounts of jitter. The AdvancedUSB™ interface utilizes the UltraLock™ clock system. Consequently, the performance of the USB input is equal to the performance of the other inputs, regardless of the jitter present. The DAC1 HDR is natively compatible with Windows Vista / XP / 2000 and Mac OS X. As a native device, there are no drivers or other software required to install or configure.
HPA2™ Headphone Amplifier
The DAC1 HDR includes the HPA2™, Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone amplifier. The HPA2™ is the ultimate reference headphone amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC1 to the headphones. The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under a full load from two sets of headphones. The DAC1 HDR has two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel.
*Note: Effective with all orders shipped after 2/1/12, the optical input connectors (Toslink) of all Benchmark DACs will be limited to 24/96. In the past, the optical receivers would accept up to 24/192. However, Toshiba, maker of the Toslink connector, no longer will manufacture a connector with this capability. There are no other suppliers.