Clarke reflecting deeply while performing A/B testing of the Benchmark DAC1 against the new Headroom Portable Desktop DAC+amp combo.
Next to those two amps are a Channel Islands VDA-1 DAC, VHP-1 amp and VAC-1power supply (only one, though, it’s like Sophie’s choice whether to power the DAC or the amp). Next is a Musical Fidelity X-DAC V3, X-CAN V3 and X-PSU V3. In the foreground, a Singlepower Maestro ZR. The consensus of A/B testers was that the Channel Islands stack is nearly undistinguishable from the Musical Fidelity, and thus offers better value. The Benchmark DAC1 was higher rated than the VDA-1 when used as a pure DAC. When comparing the DAC1’s built-in amplifier against the CI stack, the results were more mixed.