Banchmark DAC3B vs. Denafrips Pontus II (12th Aniv.)

So I'm considering one of these DACs. They're about the same price new. Any thoughts on which direction? My pre-amp and amp are both Benchmark and the speakers are Reference 3A NEFES II. I realize keeping it all Benchmark is appealing, but the Pontus looks very interesting.


Have had a Pontus II DAC for over a year and still love the sound. NEVER heard a tic, or click, or any odd sound. Leans slightly warm or smooth, but still has all the resolution up high…..never fatiguing or harsh, and that large soundstage

I would go with the Benchmark.   It's a quality DAC from quality people....  don't take a chance on Chi Fi that still has bugs, and more importantly you can't demo it and there is no return policy.    Any credible outfit will let you demo their gear,  a no return policy is a huge red flag to me.  To buy something new and to sell it if you aren't happy is insane to me .   Support your local dealer....

I have owned both the Pontus II and the Benchmark Dac2 HGC and was able to compare them side-by side for as long as I needed to. My advice is this: If you’re going the Benchmark route (which I have done) there is great value in staying with Benchmark all the way through, from top to bottom – from Dac to Preamp to amplifier.  Benchmark gear is incredibly synergistic in how it works together. It’s almost self-defeating to use any other gear with a Benchmark setup. Other gear just seems to subtract from the whole somehow.

I had the Pontus II before I moved to the Benchmark gear (I was using Hegel and Primaluna amps). I really liked the Pontus and thought it was an endgame Dac for my system. But when I went to the Benchmark AHB2 and LA4, then compared the Pontus II with the Dac2, it was clear to me that in the Benchmark setup, the Dac2 sounded better. The Pontus now sounded colored and a bit flat sounding (less holographic) than the Dac2.

The Benchmark gear is very neutral in its sound. When you insert something that adds color in a Benchmark chain, the coloration is quickly revealed and feels out of place. With my other amps, the Pontus II was just as good, and in some ways even better than the Dac2, but not so in the Benchmark chain.

That’s my experience. YMMV. I’ve sold the Pontus II and haven’t looked back. So in your case, I wouldn’t rush to the seduction of rave reviews and worries that somehow you’re coming up short with the Dac3. You’re not. Not at all.

Looking at these two offerings one thing is common neither support 32 bit inputs.

While most folks don't care, for those that are curating 384 Khz 32 Bit Floating Point files to play would not be happy with these products.

Simply speaking IMHO everything sounds better at 32 bit, Jimi Hendrix especially LOL!

Everything; try it you'll like it too