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The Benchmark DAC1 PRE is a reference-quality stereo pre-amplifier, headphone amplifier, and computer audio playback device (USB DAC), incorporating the 24-bit, 192-kHz.

An Industry Standard
Benchmark's award-winning DAC1 has become a standard in the finest recording studios and mastering rooms. Audio engineers rely of the accurate, uncolored, and precise sound of Benchmark DAC1 converters. The DAC1 is free from digital artifacts and its sound has a true analog character that eliminates the fatigue caused by many digital devices. All DAC1 converters are designed for professional applications, but many audiophiles have discovered the smooth and detailed sound of the DAC1. Benchmark's professional DAC1 converters have become a centerpiece in may home listening rooms.

The DAC1 PRE is a reference-quality professional converter that is equally suited for the finest audiophile systems.

Five Digital Inputs
With a generous selection of digital inputs (3 coax, 1 optical, and 1 USB), the DAC1 PRE can serve as the heart of expansive media and entertainment system. The DAC1 PRE replaces the low-quality converters that are built into typical consumer devices. The DAC1 PRE 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. The DAC1 brings studio-quality sound to home listening rooms. Many professional users also appreciate the flexibility provided by the 5 separate digital inputs.

All digital inputs on the DAC1 PRE (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.

Analog Input
The DAC1 PRE has a pristine analog input path that allows the connection of analog-only devices. The stereo analog input passes through the motorized volume control and out to the analog outputs. This input allows a connection from an analog source such as a phono stage, FM tuner, iPod, VCR, or tape deck. In the studio, this input provides quick access to the studio monitoring system when a client brings a demo on a portable device.

International Power Supply
The large internal power supply supports all international voltages and has generous margins for over and under-voltage conditions. The voltage settings can be changed quickly and easily by rotating an insert in the fuse drawer. The power supply is sized to supply the demands of the HPA2™ headphone power amplifier when driving two sets of low-impedance headphones.

Calibrated or Variable Output Levels
The front-panel gain control sets the output level of the headphone jacks. It can also be used to control the output level of the balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog outputs. A rear-panel switch selects "Variable" or "Calibrated" output levels. In the "Calibrated" setting, the rear-panel outputs are controlled by internal multi-turn calibration pots.

Direct Interface to Power Amplifiers
All Benchmark DAC1 and DAC2 converters are designed to directly interface with power amplifiers and powered monitors. The DAC1 PRE features high-current output stages that are designed to cleanly drive difficult loads. The XLR outputs are equipped with Benchmark's exclusive low-impedance passive output attenuators. These attenuators can be set in 10 dB steps (0 dB, -10 dB, -20 dB and -30 dB) to optimize the gain-staging between the DAC and the power amplifier. This important feature maximizes the signal to noise ratio of the entire playback system. At Benchmark, we believe that this is one of the most important features of our converters. Proper gain-staging is an absolute necessity in a high-performance system.

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.

The bottom line is this: 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 PRE 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 PRE 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 PRE is natively compatible with most Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android operating systems. As a native device, there are no drivers to install or configure.

Add a Rack-Mount Kit
All Benchmark DAC1, DAC1, ADC1, and MPA1 products are housed in a 1/2-wide 1 RU chassis. Two units can be mounted side-by-side in a 1-RU tray.

HPA2™ Headphone Power Amplifier
The DAC1 PRE includes the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is the ultimate reference headphone power 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.


  • Relay-selected analog inputs
  • USB Audio 1.1 interface (96 kHz, 24 bits)
  • 1 additional digital input for a total of 3 coaxial, 1 optical, and 1 USB
  • Rotary input selector
  • High-quality gold-plated machined RCA connectors
  • Concealed calibration trimmers (to prevent tampering)
  • Programmable headphone gain with 3 settings (0 dB, -10 dB, and -20 dB)
  • Programmable mute switch on left headphone jack
  • Specifications

  • Reference-quality 2-channel 192-kHz 24-bit digital-to-analog audio converter
  • "System Preamp" (control amplifier) functions include input selection and volume control
  • Designed to connect directly to power amplifiers and/or powered monitors and/or preamps
  • 6 stereo inputs - 1 analog (RCA), 1 computer (USB), 1 optical (TOSLINK), and 3 coaxial (RCA)
  • 4 stereo analog outputs - balanced (XLR), unbalanced (RCA), and 2 headphone outputs
  • Rotary input selector switch with standby on/off function
  • Two reference-grade HPA2 "0-Ohm", high-current, ¼" headphone outputs
  • Front-panel volume control for headphone outputs
  • Front-panel volume control of all analog outputs (in Variable mode)
  • Rear-panel Variable/Calibrated switch selects the volume/mute mode of analog outputs
  • In Calibrated mode, output levels are set by 10-turn trimmers (20 dB Range, 2 dB/turn)
  • Benchmark's AdvancedUSB Audio input supports high-resolution 96-kHz 24-bit digital audio
  • AdvancedUSB Audio is compatible with Windows Vista/XP/2000 and Mac OS X without driver installation
  • Coaxial and optical digital inputs support professional (AES) and consumer (S/PDIF) data formats at up to 192-kHz, 24-bits
  • Benchmark's UltraLock technology eliminates jitter on all digital inputs (including USB)
  • Jumper-selected low-impedance 10, 20, or 30 dB pads on balanced outputs
  • HPA2 gain jumpers for customizing headphone output gain for headphone sensitivities
  • Left-most headphone jack auto-mutes XLR and RCA outputs (feature may be disabled)
  • Status LED's - display input selection and error conditions
  • Automatic Standby Mode - activated after 15 seconds of loss of digital input signal
  • Instant wake-up from Standby Mode - no loss of audio
  • Automatic de-emphasis in response to consumer pre-emphasis bit (44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz)
  • 115 V, 230 V, 50-60 Hz international power supply with very wide operating range
  • Low radiation toroidal power transformer significantly reduces hum and line related interference
  • Low power consumption (8 Watts typical program, 16 Watts peak)
  • Meets FCC Class B and CE emissions requirements
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