Benchmark DAC3-L Reference DAC and Stereo Preamp (Silver)

Benchmark DAC3-L Reference DAC and Stereo Preamp (Silver)

Benchmark DAC3-L Reference DAC and Stereo Preamp (Silver)

B&H # BEDAC3LS MFR # 500-14800-330
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Expected availability: 7-14 business days

Product Highlights

  • ES9028PRO Converter Chip
  • Quad 32-Bit Balanced D/A Conversion
  • Hybrid Gain Control Technology
  • Native PCM or DSD Conversion
  • UltraLock Jitter Attenuation System
  • Asynchronous USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 System
  • High-Fidelity Preamplifier
  • Distributed Power Supply Regulation
  • Home Theater Bypass
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  • 1Description

The silver DAC3-L from Benchmark is a two-channel reference preamplifier with a built-in digital to analog converter system. It is capable of converting Direct Stream Digital (DSD) signals as well as Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) files up to 24-bit / 192 kHz. Designed as an output device for computer-based media, the DAC3-L can be used with home media servers, digital audio workstations, desktop audio editing applications, and computer-based radio broadcast systems. The DAC3-L maintains the familiar DAC2 form factor and feature set, but delivers the higher performance available from the ES9028PRO D/A converter chip.

The 8-channel/32-bit ESS Technologies ES9028PRO chip features two distortion compensation systems, which independently remove most of the 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion in the D/A converter. It also uses 4:1 summing to form each of the two output channels. This results in an enhanced frequency response and a 6 dB signal to noise improvement with low THD and THD+N noise.

The DAC3-L follows sample-rate changes initiated by your computer or software and uses a multimode asynchronous USB system for data transfer. This allows the unit to act as the clock master, reducing jitter by first transferring the audio data from your computer to an internal buffer, and then to the digital to analog subsystem. The dual data transfer uses Benchmark's proprietary UltraLock3 jitter attenuation system, reducing jitter noise and distortion to at least 140 dB below the level of the audio.

The Hybrid Gain Control (HGC) combines the unit's active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, 32-bit digital gain control, and servo-driven volume control. The HGC provides the dynamic range of an analog system and the accuracy of digital control. All analog inputs are controlled in the analog system and digital inputs in the digital system. The 32-bit Digital Signal Processing (DSP) also provides up to 3.5 dBFS excess digital headroom throughout the entire conversion process.

The DAC3-L features a variety of input and output options including two stereo unbalanced analog RCA inputs, two optical TOSLINK digital inputs, two coaxial digital inputs, one USB digital input, two stereo analog unbalanced RCA outputs, and one stereo analog balanced XLR output. It is compatible with the Benchmark IR remote control (available separately).

2-channel D/A converter designed for maximum transparency—converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems
8-channel/32-bit ESS Technologies ES9028PRO converter chip uses 4:1 summing to form each of the two output channels—achieves a 6 dB signal to noise improvement with low THD and THD+N noise
ES9028PRO features two distortion compensation systems that independently remove most of the 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion in the D/A converter
High-headroom DSP is designed to handle signals as high as +3.5 dBFS in the entire conversion system and prevents common DSP overloads
All digital inputs support native PCM or DSD conversion
All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's UltraLock3 jitter attenuation system
Hybrid Gain Control system combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control—all inputs are controlled by the rotary volume control, which also moves in response to commands from the remote control (included)
Analog inputs are never converted to digital, and digital inputs never pass through an analog potentiometer
Digital inputs are controlled in the 32-bit DSP system to preserve precise L/R balance and precise stereo imaging, while avoiding any source of noise and distortion
USB system supports USB Audio 1.1 for sample rates up to 96 kHz and USB Audio 2.0 for high-resolution 192 kHz and DSD playback—system is frequency agile and will follow sample rate changes initiated by the computer and/or the media playback software
Sample-rate and word-length displays confirm the proper operation of your media player
High-fidelity preamplifier includes input selection, volume control, and output buffering functions—high-current output stage can be programmed to match the input sensitivity of your power amplifier or powered speakers
Programmable Home Theater Bypass function sets the pass-through gain to unity for integration of a home theater audio system via the RCA inputs
Second coaxial input can be reconfigured as a digital output—in output mode, any selected digital input, including USB, will pass through to the coaxial output
12-volt trigger connection can be used as an input, output or both, and is compatible with any common 12-volt trigger input or output—the trigger can be used to turn a power amplifier on or off automatically or respond to a 12-volt trigger and follow the actions of another audio component
Distributed power supply regulation to achieve the lowest possible noise—each critical subsystem has at least one dedicated low-noise voltage regulator
Compatible with Benchmark IR remote control (available separately)—all functions can be controlled from the front panel or from the remote
Designed, assembled, and tested in the USA using USA and imported components—most major components are made in the USA
DAC3 vs. DAC2

The DAC3 maintains the familiar DAC2 form factor and feature set but adds the higher performance available from the ES9028PRO D/A converter

  • Active 2nd Harmonic Compensation
  • Active 3rd Harmonic Compensation
  • Lower THD+N
  • Lower passband ripple
  • Improved frequency response
  • Faster PLL lock times
  • Faster switching between input signals
DAC3 vs. DAC1

The DAC3 and DAC2 added these features not found on the DAC1:

  • Asynchronous 192 kHz USB Audio 2.0
  • 32-bit D/A conversion system
  • Word Length Display
  • Sample Rate Display
  • Polarity Control
  • Direct DSD D/A Conversion
  • -20 dB DIM
  • Bi-Directional 12V Trigger
  • Power Switch with Auto-On Function
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Digital Pass-Through
  • High-Headroom DSP
  • Dual-Domain Hybrid Gain Control
  • Additional I/O
In the Box
Benchmark DAC3-L Reference DAC and Stereo Preamp (Silver)
  • USB Cable
  • 12V Trigger Cable
  • Power Cable
  • 2 x Spare Fuses
  • Limited 5-Year Warranty with Benchmark Online Registration
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description
    Audio Performance Specificationsfwxyfeaaaavwezetxbvesayeaqeursbq
    Sampling Frequency Fs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 Hz to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)
    Signal to Noise Ratio A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +27 dBu: 128 dB
    Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +27 dBu: 126 dB
    Dynamic Range A-Weighted at Maximum Volume: 128 dB
    Unweighted at Maximum Volume: 126 dB
    Total Harmonic Distortion/Noise 1 kHz at 0 dBFS: -113 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%
    1 kHz at -1 dBFS: -114 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%
    1 kHz at -3 dBFS: -119 dBFS, -116 dB, 0.00016%
    20 Hz to 20 kHz Sweep at -3 dBFS: -113 dBFS, -110 dB, 0.00032%
    Frequency Response Fs= 192 kHz:
    +0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 Hz to 20 kHz)
    -0.015 dB at 10 Hz
    -0.005 dB at 20 kHz
    -0.031 dB at 40 kHz
    -0.15 dB at 80 kHz

    Fs= 48 kHz:
    +0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 Hz to 20 kHz)
    -0.015 dB at 10 Hz
    -0.005 dB at 20 kHz

    Crosstalk -116 dB at 20 kHz
    -130 dB at 1 kHz
    -137 dB at 20 Hz
    Max Amplitude Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz): < -144 dB
    Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS Test Signal: < -138 dB
    Idle Tones: < -147 dB
    AC Line Related Hum & Noise: < -133 dB
    Inter-Channel Differential Phase Stereo pair—Any Sample Rate: ±0.25° at 20 kHz
    Between DAC3 Units Fs <110 kHz—Any Sample Rate: ±0.25° at 20 kHz
    Maximum Lock Time After Fs change: 6 ms
    Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time: 9.6 ms
    Mute On Receive Error: Yes
    On Lock Error: Yes
    On Idle Channel: No
    De-Emphasis 50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable: Automatic in Consumer Mode
    De-Emphasis Method: Digital IIR
    De-Emphasis Supported at: Fs = 32, 44.1, 48 kHz
    Latency Digital Input to Analog Output (Function of Sample Rate):
    1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz
    1.27 ms at 48 kHz
    0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz
    0.82 ms at 96 kHz
    0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz
    0.47 ms at 192 kHz
    Unbalanced Analog I/O
    Inputs 2 x RCA stereo pairs
    Input Impedance 20 KOhms
    Analog Input Clip Point +18.5 dBu (6.5 Vrms)
    Input Sensitivity +8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)
    Input Bandwidth >500 kHz, -0.6 dB at 200 kHz
    Input THD+N Analog to Analog, 2 Vrms In, +24 dBu Out: -110 dB (0.00032%)
    Outputs 2 x RCA stereo pairs
    Output Impedance 30 Ohms
    Output Clipping Level +13.5 dBu (3.7 Vrms)
    Output Level Factory-Set Home Theater Bypass Output Level (with 0 dBFS digital input): +8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)
    Output Level Range (with 0 dBFS digital input): Off to +11.7 dBu (3 Vrms)
    Output Level Variation with Sample Rate: < ±0.006 dB
    Balanced Analog Outputs
    Balanced Output 2 x gold-pin Neutrik male XLR
    Output Impedance 60 Ohms (Attenuator off)
    425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)
    135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)
    Output Clipping Level +29 dBu
    Bypass Level Factory-Set (with 0 dBFS digital input): +24 dBu (attenuator = 0 dB)
    Volume Control With 0 dBFS Digital Input:
    Off to +27.5 dBu (attenuator off)
    Off to +17.5 dBu (attenuator = 10 dB)
    Off to +7.5 dBu (attenuator = 20 dB)
    Output Level Variation Output Level Variation with Sample Rate: < ±0.006 dB
    Digital Audio I/O
    Channels 2
    Digital Inputs Switchable between:
    1 x USB 1.1 or USB 2.0
    2 x TOSLINK optical
    2 x Coaxial
    Formats Supports PCM stereo, AES/EBU, SPDIF digital formats
    Input Sample Frequency Range Coaxial Inputs: 28 to 210 kHz
    Optical Inputs: 28 to 96 kHz
    USB Input: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB input)
    Word Length Maximum: 24 bits
    Input Impedance Coaxial Inputs: 75 Ohms
    Capacitors DC Blocking: Yes (coaxial inputs)
    Transient/Over-Voltage Protection Yes (coaxial inputs)
    Minimum Input Level Coaxial: 250 mVpp
    Jitter Tolerance (With No Measurable Change in Performance):
    >12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 3 kHz
    >1.5 UI sine at 20 kHz
    >1.5 UI sine at 40 kHz
    >1.5 UI sine at 80 kHz
    >1.5 UI sine at 90 kHz
    >0.25 UI sine above 160 kHz

    Jitter Attenuation Method:
    Benchmark UltraLock3 (all inputs)

    Status Display
    Indicators 16 x LEDs on front panel
    Selection Indication 1 x Dim/Mute
    1 x Polarity
    7 x Input
    1 x Bypass/Calibrated Output
    2 x Word length
    4 x Sample Rate
    System Requirement USB Audio 1.1 Mode (No Driver Installation Required):
    Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
    Mac OS X, iPads with 30-pin to USB Camera Kit

    USB Audio 2.0 Mode
    Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 (driver installation required for all Windows versions)
    Mac OS X 10.6 or later (no driver installation required for all OS X versions)

    Remote Compatible with Benchmark IR remote control (available separately)
    Operating Voltage Nominal Operating Range: 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
    Min/Max Operating Range: 90-260 VAC, 47/63 Hz
    Power <0.5 W, standby 12 W, typical program 15 W, maximum
    Fuses 5 x 20 mm (2 required)
    0.5 A 250 V, Slo-Blo type
    Compliance FCC, RoHS
    Rack Size 1/2-rack wide, 1 RU high
    Dimensions (DxWxH) DxWxH: 8.5 x 9.5 x 1.725" / 215.9 x 241.3 x 43.815 mm
    Overall depth including connectors: 9.33" / 236.982 mm
    Weight 3 lb (1.36 kg)
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