Benchmark DAC2 HGC Review

I think it's fair to refer to the Benchmark DAC2 HGC as a DAC since that is its official title, or a headphone amplifier but the owner's manual refers to it as a 'Reference Stereo Preamplifier'. Whatever you call it, this little box does a lot. I reviewed it mostly as a DAC but tried out the preamp and headphone functions as well.

Dream 20″ Contact Crash/Ride Cymbal

Dream Cymbals is one of the new companies whose products are manufactured in China. From what we are told, the cymbals are totally hammered and lathed by hand, directly from the cast bronze disc, rather than put through rollers to flatten them before hammering. If that is accurate, I don't think I would want to get into a fight with any of the cymbal smiths, because it must take enormous strength and endurance to perform this task from the raw cast ingot. However, the sound is very revealing, and suggests that it is so. The cymbals have a very strong wash that sustains. The Dream 20" Contact Crash/Ride Cymbal is the subject of the current review. Compared to the 20" Dream Bliss Crash/Ride Cymbal that we reviewed recently, the Contact has a higher pitch, and is, therefore, more penetrating.

December CD Reviews for the Audiophile – Holiday Recordings to Savor – Part I

Esperanza, founded by the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia in 1987, works to “bring a sustained response of hope to the barrio.” To raise funds for their work, they've put together this Christmas compilation with performances by Marcos Witt, Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Angel Guerra, Jose Carreras, Santana, and others. Michelle Bonilla sings quite the “O Holy Night.” The sound quality of the transfers leaves something to be desired, but the joy this will bring to its target audience is great.