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The DAC3 B is the basic D/A converter in Benchmark's DAC3 converter series. The DAC3 B is the ideal converter to use in front of Benchmark's HPA4 headphone amplifier or LA4 line amplifier. It is also ideal for many professional studio applications. It delivers the full performance of the flagship DAC3 HGC, but eliminates the volume control, the analog inputs, the mute and polarity controls, and the headphone amplifier.

To make system integration easy, the DAC3 B retains IR remote control (handset optional), 12 V trigger, and the programmable auto-on feature. The DAC3 B adds a control-lock feature that turns off the remote control and locks the keypad to prevent tampering and accidental changes. The optional 1/2-width rack-mount faceplate allows the mounting of two units in a single 1-RU rack space.

The DAC3 B sounds exactly like the DAC3 HGC because it uses the exact same circuit board and the exact same audio path. Benchmark has simply eliminated the unnecessary parts to deliver a stripped-down race car of a converter. If you want a basic D/A converter that delivers the finest conversion available, the DAC3 B is for you. The DAC3 B is a 2-channel D/A converter featuring the new ESS Technologies ES9028PRO converter chip. The DAC3 converter has lower THD and THD+N noise than Benchmark's DAC2 converters.

Benchmark's DAC1 and DAC2 D/A converter families have been the reference to which other converters have been compared. It is rare to find a converter review that does not draw comparisons to the DAC1 or the DAC2. Benchmark converters are in daily use at many of the world's finest recording studios and mastering rooms. Benchmark converters are also enjoyed by thousands of audiophiles. Benchmark has raised the bar again ... the DAC3 defines a new reference.


The DAC3 delivers outstanding musical detail and precise stereo imaging. It employs an advanced high-headroom digital filter design and a high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface. All inputs are fully isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark's new UltraLock3™ jitter attenuation system.

Internal digital processing and conversion are 32-bits, and this processing includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. This headroom prevents the DSP overloads that commonly occur in other D/A converters.

Four balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to create each balanced analogue output. This 4:1 summation provides a 6 dB noise reduction, and gives the DAC3 industry-leading performance.


All digital inputs on the DAC3 support native PCM or DSD conversion. From any input, DSD is transported with bit accuracy over DoP 1.1. DSD and PCM are both natively converted to analogue. There are no DSD to PCM or PCM to DSD conversions to compromise the quality of the music. The DAC3 conversion system seamlessly switches between native PCM and native DSD conversion. DSD over DoP 1.1 is supported by many media players, and DSD downloads are now available from several sources.


Benchmark DAC1, DAC2, and DAC3 converters are designed to directly drive power amplifiers and speakers. Benchmark converters feature adjustable low-impedance passive attenuators at the XLR outputs that can be used to optimize the interface to the power amplifier (or powered monitor). This unique Benchmark feature optimizes the gain staging between the DAC and the power amplifier. Proper gain staging cannot be overemphasised. When audio stages are properly matched, each component in the audio chain is able to operate at its optimum signal level, and the system performance is significantly improved.


All Benchmark converters are designed for maximum transparency. This transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain. For this reason, DAC3 converters are ideal for critical reference-quality professional systems. Unlike many competing products, the DAC3 is not designed to add "euphonic" colouration to the audio. Instead, it is designed to be as uncoloured and natural as possible.


When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment. Enjoy pure music without any colouration from the electronics. Hear the music exactly the way it was heard in the studio, and exactly the way the artists intended.

Discover the natural, uncoloured, analogue sound of the DAC3.


Transparent sound can go beyond replicating the studio experience. Recordings that have been produced with a natural and unprocessed sound can transport you to the performance space. But, this can only happen when the entire playback chain is selected for maximum transparency.

This experience of "being there" cannot be created by systems that are designed to add "warmth" or "euphonic colour" to the music.


  • AUDIO PERFORMANCEFs = 44.1 to 96 kHz, 20 to 20 kHz BW, 1 kHz test tone, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu (unless noted)
  • SNR – A-Weighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu
  • 125 dB, 128 dB relative to intersample peaks
  • SNR – Unweighted, 0 dBFS = +24 dBu
  • 123 dB, 126 dB relative to intersample peaks
  • THD+N, 1 kHz at 0 dBFS
  • -113 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%
  • THD+N, 1 kHz at -1 dBFS
  • -114 dBFS, -113 dB, 0.00022%
  • THD+N, 1 kHz at –3 dBFS
  • -119 dBFS, -116 dB, 0.00016%
  • THD+N, 20 to 20 kHz test tone at –3 dBFS
  • -113 dBFS, -110 dB, 0.00032%
  • Frequency Response at Fs=192 kHz
  • +0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 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
  • Frequency Response at Fs=48 kHz
  • +0 dB, -0.015 dB (20 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
  • Maximum Amplitude of Jitter Induced Sidebands (10 kHz 0 dBFS test tone, 12.75 UI sinusoidal jitter at 1 kHz)
  • < -144 dB
  • Maximum Amplitude of Spurious Tones with 0 dBFS test signal
  • < -138 dB
  • Maximum Amplitude of Idle Tones
  • < -147 dB
  • Maximum Amplitude of AC line related Hum & Noise
  • < -133 dB
  • Inter-channel Differential Phase (Stereo Pair – any sample rate)
  • +/- 0.25 degrees at 20 kHz
  • Inter-channel Differential Phase (Between DAC3 Units Fs<110 kHz) Any sample rate.
  • +/- 0.25 degrees 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
  • Mute on Lock Error
  • Yes
  • Mute on Idle Channel
  • No
  • 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
  • GROUP DELAY (LATENCY)Delay – 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
  • DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTSNumber of Digital Inputs (switch selected)
  • 5 (1 USB, 2 Optical, 2 Coaxial)
  • Number of Channels
  • 2
  • Input Sample Frequency Range
  • 28 to 210 kHz (Coaxial Inputs)
  • 28 to 96 kHz (Optical Inputs)
  • 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz (USB Input)
  • Maximum Input Word Length
  • 24 bits
  • Digital Input Impedance
  • 75 Ohms (Coaxial Inputs)
  • DC Blocking Capacitors on Digital Inputs
  • Yes (Coaxial Inputs)
  • Transient and Over-Voltage Protection on Digital Inputs
  • Yes (Coaxial Inputs)
  • Minimum Digital Input Level
  • 250 mVpp (Coaxial Inputs)
  • 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
  • BALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTSNumber of Balanced Analog Outputs
  • 2
    Output Connector
  • Gold-Pin Neutrik™ male XLR
  • Output Impedance
  • 60 Ohms (Attenuator off)
  • 425 Ohms (Attenuator = 10 dB)
  • 135 Ohms (Attenuator = 20 dB)
  • Analog Output Clip Point
  • +30 dBu
  • Factory Calibration (at 0 dBFS)
  • +24 dBu (Attenuator off)
  • Output Level Variation with Sample Rate (44.1 kHz vs. 96 kHz)
  • < +/- 0.006 dB
  • UNBALANCED ANALOG OUTPUTSNumber of Unbalanced Analog Outputs
  • 2
    Output Connector
    Output Impedance
    30 Ohms
  • Analog Output Clip Point
  • +13.5 dBu (3.7 Vrms)
  • Factory Calibration (at 0 dBFS)
  • +8.2 dBu (2 Vrms)
  • Output Level Variation with Sample Rate
  • < +/- 0.006 dB
  • STATUS DISPLAYIndicators - Type and Location
  • 12 LED’s on Front Panel
  • Selection/Status Indication
  • 1 – Control Lock
  • 5 – Input
  • 2 – Word length
  • 4 – Sample Rate
  • AC POWER REQUIREMENTSNominal Input Operating Voltage Range (VAC RMS)
  • 100 – 240V
  • Frequency
    50-60 Hz
  • < 0.5 Watts Idle12 Watts Typical Program13 Watts Maximum
  • Fuses
  • 5 x 20 mm (2 required)0.5 A 250 V Slo-Blo® Type
  • Min/Max Operating range (VAC RMS)
  • 90 – 260 VAC47 – 63 Hz
  • DIMENSIONSForm Factor
  • ½ Rack Wide, 1 RU High
  • Depth behind front panel
  • 8.5” (216 mm)
  • Overall depth including connectors but without power cord
  • 9.33” (237 mm)
  • Width
  • 9.5” (249 mm)
  • Height
  • 1.725” (44.5 mm)
  • WEIGHTDAC3 only3 lb.
  • DAC3 with remote control, power cord, extra fuses, and manual
  • 4 lb.
    Shipping weight
  • 7 lb.

Backed with a 2-year warranty

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