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FWIW, that price isn't high for a high-quality power amp, in my opinion. Perhaps vs. a Crown PA amp, 
yes. The Benchmark is on the very low end of mastering-quality power amp pricing. And on the very 
lowest end of audiophile power amp pricing (this month's Stereophile features a review of a $6000 
per channel Class D power amp pair and a $54,000 "line preamplifier"). On the more "value-priced" 
end of good-sounding home audio gear, power amps from Bryston, Marantz and others in that watts 
range come down around that price, usually a bit more.

Also FWIW, ARSC member Gary Galo gave the Benchmark a very good review, and explained the new 
technology in detail, in the latest issue of AudioXpress magazine.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "L. Hunter Kevil" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 11:23 AM
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.
>>
>> Another aside, regarding Boulez. I don't dismiss the work of such a
>> sophisticated and accomplished musician, who has gained the respect of some
>> of the most demanding orchestras out there. It can be instructive to hear
>> his way with music. His old Debussy series was praised for its objectivity
>> and scrupulous attention to detail, and is still valuable for it. Similarly
>> his Mahler, yet it needn't displace Barbirolli, et al. Just as with audio
>> arts, there is no one correct way, and we don't always see the value in
>> something until time gives us perspective.
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
>> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 8:49 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>
>> Hi John:
>>
>> I think what you're hearing with 96k is the 24-bit word length. I am not
>> convinced that the super-high sampling rates capture anything audible above
>> what 44.1 or 48k capture, but I do think that the Nyquist filtering and
>> other factors make the audible top end sound better. However, many DACs
>> up-sample 44.1k before filtering and converting anyway. For instance, the
>> Benchmark design, of which there are many variants, up-samples everything
>> to three hundred and something kiloHertz, re-clocking so as to strip out
>> jitter, then converts to analog.
>>
>> Here's a "white paper" about Benchmark's DAC1 approach:
>>
>> http://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/white-papers/13127453-asynchronous-upsampling-to-110-khz
>>
>> For the DAC2 series, the describe the "improved" system this way:
>> -------------------------------------------
>> UltraLock2™ Jitter Attenuation System
>>
>> UltraLock2™ is an improved version of the UltraLock™ system used in the
>> DAC1 and ADC1 product families. DSP processing is 32-bits, DSP headroom is
>> 3.5 dB, sample rate is 211 kHz, and jitter-induced distortion and noise is
>> at least 140 dB below the level of the music - well below the threshold of
>> hearing. Benchmark's UltraLock2™ system eliminates all audible jitter
>> artifacts.
>> ---------------------------------------------
>>
>> Up-sampling and over-sampling DAC designs have been around for a long
>> time, but I do think modern designs are more sophisticated in how they
>> strip out jitter from the source. The consumer high-end designers first got
>> the jitter-rejection religion, especially when they started recognizing
>> consumer demand for USB interfaces (USB is notorious for jitter due to
>> inconsistent clocking built into typical computer CPUs). Companies like
>> Benchmark and Mytek and Lynx, which have feet in both consumer and pro
>> audio, have put out well-reviewed and good-sounding, to my ears,
>> jitter-rejecting products in recent times. The other focus where I think
>> some strides have been made recently is the analog stage after conversion,
>> there are some super-quiet and near-transparent designs out there now. A
>> modern digital system should operate so quietly that it essentially has no
>> audible noise floor in even a quiet real-world room.
>>
>> A simple test would be to convert some well-known analog material at 96/16
>> and 48/16 and see if you hear a difference. Then 96/24 and 48/24, and then
>> compare the 24-bits to the 16-bits. I think that's where you'll hear the
>> differences.
>>
>> To my ears, 24-bit makes a difference, especially with "air and space" in
>> something like an orchestral recording. Just transferring in 24-bit makes a
>> difference, if you've got a good dither-down conversion system to get to a
>> CD master.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2015 2:44 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>>
>>
>> > CORRECTION.  When I said "catching a whole octave above 48 kHz in
>> > frequency," I meant "catching a whole octave in frequency above what is
>> > captured by a 48 kHz sampling rate."  Sorry about that.
>> >
>> > Best,
>> > John
>> >
>> >
>> > On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 2:38 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> >
>> >> Thanks for posting the NY Times Boulez article, Tom, which could have
>> been
>> >> entitled "A bunch of famous musicians sitting around kissing up to
>> Pierre
>> >> Boulez."  They remark how "influential" (i.e, famous) he is.  That he
>> is.
>> >> Does that make him a great conductor? Nope.  I loved the Gunther
>> Schiller
>> >> quote.  Obviously, Boulez has occasionally succeeded with a piece of
>> >> music.  Like they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  And
>> many
>> >> great orchestras could occasionally deliver a great performance even
>> while
>> >> ignoring a monkey on the podium.
>> >>
>> >> If DGG digital recordings had max resolution of 48 kHz, as you know that
>> >> is not an appreciable difference from 44.1 kHz.  The difference in
>> >> frequencies (pitches) those sampling rates will capture is the
>> difference
>> >> between 22,500 and 24,000 Hz.  Way up there, that is a difference of
>> only a
>> >> note or two (think extended piano keyboard).  I have never been able to
>> >> hear the slightest difference between a recording at 44.1 kHz and one
>> at 48
>> >> kHz.  Recording at 96 kHz is a whole 'nother thing, catching a whole
>> octave
>> >> above 48 kHz in frequency, but also seemingly able to capture more
>> detail
>> >> based on double the number of samples.  Or maybe I should say capture
>> the
>> >> detail with greater accuracy.
>> >>
>> >> Since we routinely make hi-def dubs (at least 96/24) from analog master
>> >> tapes these days that can sound really great, I have to wonder if, all
>> else
>> >> being equal, those results will outshine an original digital recording
>> made
>> >> at only 48 kHz.
>> >>
>> >> I am another one who has never felt that your average DGG orchestral
>> >> recording captured a lot of the sheer excitement of the sound of a great
>> >> symphony orchestra.
>> >>
>> >> Best,
>> >> John
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 8:21 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> >> wrote:
>> >>
>> >>> Hi Mark:
>> >>>
>> >>> So from what you're saying, I gather that the maximum resolution of
>> that
>> >>> Boulez/CSO master would be 48/24?
>> >>>
>> >>> -- Tom Fine
>> >>>
>> >>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Donahue" <
>> [log in to unmask]
>> >>> >
>> >>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> >>> Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 6:13 PM
>> >>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] SACD "surprise"
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>  On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 10:31 AM, Tom Fine <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>> >>>> wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>>  I can't recall if it was Yamaha or Studer digital consoles, but I
>> think
>> >>>>> you are correct in your descriptions of "4D". being a true DDD
>> system in
>> >>>>> that the last time anything was analog was when the mic plugged into
>> the
>> >>>>> console and the mic preamp went to a ADC.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Tom,
>> >>>> The DG 4D system was comprised of a stagebox containing custom remote
>> mic
>> >>>> preamps and Yamaha converters that connected digitally at 24
>> >>>> bits/44.1/48k
>> >>>> to an RTW bit splitter that allowed them to record 24 bit 16 track on
>> a
>> >>>> Sony3324. The signal was also distributed to the input of a pair of
>> >>>> Yamaha
>> >>>> DMC-1000 digital consoles.  The normal orchestral kit that I would see
>> >>>> here
>> >>>> in the states was a pair or three stage boxes with a pair of machines
>> for
>> >>>> 32 track recording. It was basically modular and could be scaled for
>> the
>> >>>> job.
>> >>>> All the best,
>> >>>> -mark
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>
>> >
>> >
>>
>
>