Hi Carl:

Are you using those speakers near-field or on stands somewhat apart and ahead of your listening 
position? I'm wondering how the tweeter and woofer balance out and if they are suitable for 
near-field monitoring (about a 6-foot triangle)? Also, what is the woofer size? It looks tiny. Do 
these things really move bass air? How? Not saying it's not possible, just wondering how they do it.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, April 06, 2015 8:10 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"

> Sure, I'll try to be descriptive without getting too poetically subjective. First it took 'clean' 
> to a new level in my experience. It holds on to high-level signals so that there is less loss of 
> articulation on complex signals than I was used to hearing, and usually blamed on my speakers. 
> There is also no audible fizz or low-level distortion to modulate the music, which allows more 
> sonic texture to emerge and seems to preserve more timbrel (word invention?!) color. This is 
> reminiscent of a tube amp in clarity and lack of grain, but a quality that is preserved at a much 
> wider range of power than is typical with a 40 - 60 watt tube amp. In fact the Benchmark has a 
> consistency of tonal balance and character across the range of pitches and dynamics that is better 
> than anything else I've owned. The impression of openness and clarity at very low volume is 
> exceptional. The two channels must track each other very closely because imaging, particularly 
> center placement, is unambiguous. As good as some other visitors to my house have been, Bryston 
> 4bst, Parasound 21, Odyssye Stratos, Sim Moon, my rebuilt Dynaco Mk. IIIs, or Coda and Krell and 
> ARC in my past, the Benchmark is a combo of all their strengths and none of their downsides.
> I am annoyed by minor details. Apparently EU mandate requires a timeout. If there's no audio after 
> 30 minutes, the thing shuts off. It's surprising how many times it happens when I'm moving between 
> tasks. The remote trigger thing is weirdly useless in its interface with the DAC. The binding 
> posts require narrow spade lugs and flexible wire, or else banana terminals. Often, when switched 
> on, the protection kicks in for no reason, so an off/on cycle is needed to start it up. It sounded 
> bright and weird at first, so I used cables similar to what Benchmark sells - Canare mic cable and 
> a Belden twisted quad. After 30 hours or so, the sound smoothed out and better wire could be used. 
> I've settled on the Swedish-made Supra quad speaker and balanced interconnect for now. Madisound 
> sells it - good value. That wire was too bright in context with the brasher treble of the DAC1. 
> With the smoother character of the DAC2, it works nicely. My speakers are small-batch two-way 
> monitors, using RAAL ribbon tweeters and Accuton ceramic woofers. Quite revealing. 
> Because the whole thing is so 
> quiet, I expect it would work well with high-sensitivity Klipsch and Altecs, etc. Power is not 
> limitless. For a big room, you'll want two, bridged. So do I, but it would be crazy overkill in my 
> modest space. For what it does, I think $3k is reasonable, and for $5k, the dac/amp makes a 
> fantastic system.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
> Of L. Hunter Kevil
> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 11:24 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
> Hi Carl,
> Would you please share more of your thoughts about the new Benchmark power amplifier? It can boast 
> of a new technology as well as its high price. TIA,
> L. H. Kevil
> On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 9:21 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> BTW, the DAC2 is a substantial improvement on the DAC1, various
>> versions of which I've owned since it came out over ten years ago.
>> Even the analog path is better. Still, I hear a difference with it
>> between Toslink and coax from the same Redbook source. Always have. I
>> know, I know.... The async USB is also audibly better than with the
>> standard driver, whatever the data rate. It was such an impressive upgrade that I splurged on 
>> their new amp.
>> It replaces a Bryston, which is no toy. The combo is highly revealing,
>> yet not annoyingly so, as there often is a tradeoff between
>> transparency and musicality. I find it correct for whichever hat I'm
>> wearing, mixer or music-lover.