NAMM 2012: Benchmark announces new DAC16 D/A converter

Benchmark today (January 19th) announced the launch of its new DAC 16 D/A converter, the follow-up to the company’s ADC16.

The new 16-channel D/A converter features a built-in analogue summing bus for those who choose to sum ‘outside-the-box’. Additional features of the DAC16 include a higher-performance two-channel mode, full metering and an optional card-slot for a computer interface, making it directly compatible with Pro Tools 9 and other native DAWs. 

“We went all-in on this DAC,” said Elias Gwinn, applications engineer. “The industry has been requesting this product for a while, but the increased performance and features make it worth the wait.”

The DAC16 utilises an upgraded version of Benchmark’s UltraLock clock technology, known as UltraLock32, which employs a 32-bit, 192 kHz asynchronous up-sampling process to up-sample incoming signals to 192 kHz. Furthermore, it can be used as a stereo D/A. When in two-channel mode, the performance specifications are increased by 6 dB. “We developed a clever way to utilise all of the resources of the 16 channels to increase the performance of 2-channel conversion,” said John Siau, vice president and director of engineering. “The individual channels already achieve the highest performance of any D/A we’ve ever built, but the two-channel mode takes it to a whole new level.”

When used with the optional interface card, the DAC16 can be operated as a bi-directional computer interface. This allows the user to feed digital audio into a DAW via the digital inputs on the DAC16 (which include eight balanced AES, eight coaxial, and eight optical).

Benchmark will ship the first units in March, 2012, for $3995.00 USD. The optional computer interface card will be $500. The comapny’s 5-year warranty will apply to all U.S.-based DAC16 customers (two-year warranty for all others).