Levinson 360 vs Benchmark


I've owned a Benchmark previously so I use that one as a comparison that I may relate to.
Has anyone had the opportunity to compare these DAC’s? I liked the build quality and cosmetic of the Levinson equipment of that ERA so they interest me.
Thanks -
patrickp
Thedautch - Thanks
I took a looks and it looks interesting. Generally I'm not too excited about mods' but this one may be worth investigating.
I went to the Partsconnexion web site. Replacing the output ICs in the Benchmark may have an audible effect (though I'm not sure why, since the Benchmark measures so well, analog-wise), but they lost me on this statement:

"The caps and resistors chosen in this mod simply have better tone and ambience characteristics, as well as being higher resolving. The wire and connectors we use allow for enhanced detail and more precise imaging."

Caps, resistors, and intra-box wires don't have "tone and ambience characteristics". This smells like BS. You'd also need modded and unmodded units side-by-side to even make a cursory decision about which one sounds better.

I'm still fascinated by the consistent conclusions that the ML units are such obvious winners.
Irvrobinson
I'm on your side with the mod's I would like to actually hear one as well. I find such claims interesting but then I've been surprised by weeks on occasion I'll admit.
I truly liked the Benchmarks (a USB and a Pre) that I’ve owned and will likely end up there again in the end. The Levinson’s were very nice sounding DAC’s but I’ve never compared them side by side to a Benchmark. Levinson of that vintage had some very nice sounding analog stages and that may account for the following they have. I personally also like the style and the almost ’industrial’ build of the Levinson’s of that vintage. That has nothing to do with SQ I know. I suspect the Benchmark may actually measure a little better than the Levinson of that vintage as all things digital have much improved. The Levinson’s were excellent in their time and probably would still not be all that embarrassed measurement wise.
Overall I suspect the Benchmark probably has a slight edge from a purely technical and measurement standpoint. The only question I may have, for whatever it may be worth, is the analog output section. Even then the Benchmark measures at least as well.
I know it's hardly scientific, but I was able to get my hands on a non-modded unit and A/B with my modded version. The modded piece outperformed somewhat, but admittedly no leaps and bounds. Primarily, the digital "edge" that many associate with the DAC1 was removed for a smoother, slightly more analogue-like sound. I felt it was worth $500, especially since some modders (won't name names) want about $2,500 to modify something that originally cost maybe half that.

I felt the cost and value of the Parts Connexion mod made it a valid purchase.
Thanks for the input Thedautch.
It's great to hear about what could be expected. There are many out there that spend a lot more than $500 for what some would consider small gains. It's the nature of the hobby (dare I say obsession). Chasing those small changes and improvements is part of what can make this stuff so fun.