DAC Advice - Benchmark DAC 3

Hello Everyone. I am seeking advice. I am rebuilding my audio system after kids and space limitations. I have (being shipped soon) the Benchmark amp AHB2. I currently have old SF Concerto stand mounted bookshelf speakers which I plan to replace. Have not decided on the new speakers yet. I want/need a DAC. I am hard leaning to the Benchmark DAC3.

I need balanced output. I need analog input so I can tie it into my home theater system. I like the idea of a single item with volume control build in and different selectable inputs. I like the idea that it will be very compatible with the amp by the same company. I like benchmark as a company/group - I was able to call the company and speak to someone who was super helpful. I like the size as it fits my space well. I want a neutral DAC (and amp) that does not color the sound. I am not a super audiophile - I just want some solid gear that does not get in the way of the music that will last a long time - my hearing is not perfect nor is my room.

Since this DAC fits with what I need, any reasons that I should not buy this DAC? I just wanted to check with some experts before finally deciding so I don’t mess up. Thank you.



If you like the neutral sound of Benchmark DAC3 you should check out a couple other FPGA DACs - Audiobyte Hydravox and TEAC UD-701N. I like the TEAC, it is neutral with just a touch of sweetness that prevents it from sounding clinical. 

You'll want the Benchmark DAC3 since it outputs +24 dBu from the balanced connection. This means you can use the AHB2 in low gain, which in turn reduces noise and maximizes the performance of the AHB2.


I've used the DAC3 HGC with the AHB2 and it sounds phenomenal. I currently have the HPA4 with a DAC3 B in my system. The HPA4 is a little more convenient because I can easily set the volume between movies and music due to the discrete volume control / display. The DAC3 HGC is now part of a headphone system on my desk.