Benchmark DAC-1 USB Reference Standard DAC

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Transparent Digital To Analog convertor for crystal clear sound when Mastering or Mixing

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Manufacturer: Benchmark

Category: Recording & Playback



The DAC1 USB (USB DAC) is a reference-quality, 2-channel 192-kHz 24-bit digital-to-analog audio converter featuring Benchmark's Advanced USB Audio technology, UltraLock clock system, and HPA2 headphone power amplifier.

Engage the Music with the DAC1 and DAC1 USB

The DAC1 USB is a mastering-quality, 2-channel 192-kHz 24-bit digital-to-analog audio converter. For more then 10 years, engineers and audiophiles have come to rely on Benchmark for critical digital audio conversion. They consistently find themselves engaged in the music in a way that is rarely achieved with digital converters.

Benchmark has achieved unprecedented sonic purity in their converters through intelligent engineering, eliminating digital distortion artifacts, and maintaining a pristine analog delivery path. The DAC1 USB continues this tradition of excellence.

Preserving the Classic DAC1 Heritage

The pristine audio path of the award-winning Classic DAC1 has made it the 'Benchmark' of standalone D-to-A converters. The DAC1 USB preserves the exact topology of the audio path of the Classic DAC1, while adding some of the most frequently requested features.

The DAC1 and DAC1 USB both include Benchmark's jitter-immune UltraLock™ clock system and Benchmark's 0-ohm HPA2™ headphone power amplifier. The DAC1 USB features Benchmarks AdvancedUSB technology to ensure bit-transparent, high-resolution playback directly from your computer. The DAC1 USB also includes a programmable mute function that automatically mutes the main outputs upon insertion of a headphone plug. Other features that are exclusive to the DAC1 USB include a programmable headphone gain range, an automatic 'Standby' feature, and a high-current output stage designed to drive even the most difficult loads.

Jitter-Immune UltraLock™

Digital interconnect cables, electro-magnetic interference, and many other variables introduce jitter into the digital audio. Jitter presents a major problem to most D-to-A converters. Jitter is a type of clock error that, if not properly addressed, can cause the D-to-A to misfire. The result of these misfires is a non-musical, digital distortion.

Many modern (and expensive) converters suffer from severe jitter-induced distortion. Jitter is NOT a problem for the DAC1 and DAC1 USB, which achieve jitter immunity by utilizing the proprietary UltraLock™ clock-recovery system.

With the UltraLock™ clock-recovery system, the digital-to-analog conversion-clock in the DAC1 and DAC1 USB is totally isolated from the clock of the digital audio input. This clock-recovery topology outperforms even the most well-designed two-stage PLL designs. Using state-of-the-art Audio Precision testing equipment, no jitter-induced artifacts can be detected with the DAC1 or the DAC1 USB. Any signal that can be decoded by the USB or AES/EBU receivers will be reproduced without the addition of any measurable jitter artifacts. The bottom line is this: Benchmark converters will consistently and faithfully deliver truthful audio with no jitter-induced artifacts, no matter what variables are present.

AdvancedUSB Audio Technology

The USB interface of the DAC1 USB features Benchmark's unique AdvancedUSB technology. This USB interface is completely bit-transparent. In other words, every sample of digital audio is transferred from the computer to the DAC1 USB without modification. The DAC1 USB is natively compatible with Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000 and Mac OS X. As a native device, there are no drivers or other invasive software required to install or configure. The DAC1 USB is a true plug-and-play DAC USB, and is designed to begin playback immediately after the unit is connected to a USB port for the first time.

Unlike previous native USB audio interfaces, Benchmark's AdvancedUSB Audio technology supports 24-bit audio at sample-rates up to 96 kHz. It is very important to have a 24-bit USB path, even for 16-bit playback, because certain computer-related functions can increase 16-bit audio to 24 bits. If a 16-bit USB DAC is used, 8 bits of every digital audio sample would be truncated. Truncating digital audio causes severe, non-musical digital distortion. Benchmark's AdvancedUSB interface ensures a full 24-bit digital audio path to avoid truncation distortion.

HPA2™ Headphone Power Amplifier

The DAC1 and DAC1 USB feature the HPA2™ - Benchmark's signature high-current, 0-Ohm headphone power amplifier. The HPA2™ is arguably the ultimate reference headphone power amplifier. It will deliver the full rated performance of the DAC1 and DAC1 USB to the headphones. The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under full load. The DAC1 and the DAC1 USB both have two 1/4" headphone jacks on the front panel. The performance of the HPA2™ remains consistent even when two headphones are being driven simultaneously.

Additional Info

Additional Info

Specification  Number of Digital Inputs
4 (Coaxial, XLR, Optical, USB)
Number of Channels
Input Sample Frequency Range
28 to 195 kHz
Maximum Input Word Length
24 bits
Digital Input Impedance on XLR input
110 Ω
Digital Input Impedance on Coaxial input
(jumper selected)
75 Ω or Hi-Z (Bridging)
Transformer Coupled Digital Inputs
DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs
Transient and Over-CVoltage Protection on
Digital Inputs
Minimum Digital Input Level
300 mVpp on XLR, 150 mVpp on Coaxial
Jitter Tolerance (With no Measurable
Change in Performance)
> 12.75 UI sine, 100 Hz to 10 kHz
> 3.5 UI since at 20 kHz
> 1.2 UI since at 40 kHz
> 0.4 UI since at 80 kHz
> 0.29 UI since at 90 kHz
> 0.25 UI since above 160 kHz
Jitter Attention Method
Benchmark UltraLock™
Number of Balanced Analog Outputs
Output Connector
Gold-Pin Neutrik® male XLR
Output Impedance
60 Ω
Calibration Adjustability
2 dB/ turn
Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS)
In ‘Calibrated Mode’
+9 to +29 dBu (Attenuator off)
-1 to +19 dBu (Attenuator = 10 dB)
-11 to +9 dBu (Attenuator = 20 dB)
-21 to -1 dBu (Attenuator = 30 dB)
Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS)
In ‘Variable’ Mode
Off to +29 dBu (Attenuator off)
Off to +19 dBu (Attenuator = 10 dB)
Off to +9 dBu (Attenuator = 20 dB)
Off to -1 dBu (Attenuator = 30 dB)
Output Level Variation with Sample Rate
(44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)
< +/- 0.006 dB
Number of Unbalanced Analog Outputs
Output Connector
Output Impedance
30 Ω
Output Level Calibration Controls
Shared with Balanced Outputs
Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS)
-6 dBu to +13.5 dBu
In ‘Calibrated Mode’
Output Level Range (at 0 dBFS)
Off to +11 dBu
In ‘Variable’ Mode
Calibration Adjustability
2 dB/ turn
Output Level Variation with Sample Rate
< +/- 0.006 dB
(44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)
Factory Preset
2vRMS (8.2 dBu)
SNR - A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +20 to +29 dBu
116 dB
SNR - Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +20 to +29 dBu
114 dB
SNR - A-Weighted at low gain, 0 dBFS = +9 to +18 dBu
114 dB
THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS
-105 dBFS, -105 dB, 0.00056%
THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS
-107 dBFS, -106 dB, 0.00050%
THD+N, 1 kHz at 3 dBFS
-110 dBFS, -107 dB, 0.00045%
THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at -3 dBFS
-110 dBFS, -107 dB, 0.00045%
Frequency Response at Fs=96 kHz
+/- 0.1 dB (20 to 20 kHz)
-0.02 dB at 10 Hz
-0.20 dB at 20 kHz
-0.85 dB at 40 kHz
-2.5 dB at 45 kHz
Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz
+/- 0.1 dB (20 to 20 kHz)
-0.02 dB at 10 Hz
-0.20 dB at 20 kHz
-100 dB at 20 kHz
-125 dB at 1 kHz
-130 dB at 20 Hz
Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced
< -141 dB
Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone,
12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)
Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones
< -126 dB
with 0 dBFS test signal
Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones
< -128 dB
Maximum Amplitude of AC line related
Hum & Noise
< -126 dB
Inter-channel Differential Phase
+/- 0.5 degrees at 20 kHz
(Stereo Pair, any sample rate)
Inter-channel Differential Phase
+/- 0.5 degrees at 20 kHz
(Between DAC1 USB Units,
sample-rate < 110 kHz)
Inter-channel Differential Phase
+/- 4.1 degrees at 20 kHz
(Between DAC1 USB Units,
sample-rate > 110 kHz)
Maximum Lock Time after
sample-rate change
100 ms
Soft Mute Ramp Up/Down Time
10 ms
Mute on Receive Error
Mute on Lock Error
Mute on Idle Channel
50/15 us De-Emphasis Enable
Automatic in Consumer Mode
De-Emphasis Method
Digital IIR
De-Emphasis Supported at
Fs = 32, 44.1, 48, and 96 kHz
Digital Input to Analog Output
(function of sample rate) The delay can
be calculated using the following formula:
Delay = 1.01 ms + (48/Fs)
Where Fs = the sample rate in Hz.
2.72 ms at 28 kHz
2.51 ms at 32 kHz
2.10 ms at 44.1 kHz
2.01 ms at 48 kHz
1.55 ms at 88.2 kHz
1.51 ms at 96 kHz
1.28 ms at 176.4 kHz
1.26 ms at 192 kHz
Manufacturer's Part Number BM-DAC1USBB
Manufacturer Benchmark
also known as Benchmark DAC1 USB
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