As our name implies, we are committed to excellence.
Benchmark products are designed and built by audio enthusiasts. We are musicians, audiophiles and audio professionals who are passionate about audio quality. We also are passionate about the durability and build quality of our products. Most of our products are designed, assembled, tested, and shipped worldwide from our headquarters in Syracuse, NY, USA.
Our goal is to build top-quality sonically-transparent products that you will enjoy for years to come.
Benchmark products are designed for professional applications, but we include features that make our products well-suited to the home environment. Our products are designed for demanding 24-hour a day use in professional environments but we offer options, such as remote control, to meet the needs of our audiophile customers.
When you see the Benchmark name on an audio product you can be assured that the product has been designed to be sonically neutral and transparent. We lead the industry with our wide-bandwidth, linear-phase, low-noise, low-distortion designs. Transparency can be measured and defined by these parameters.
Independent measurements show that our products continue to define performance "benchmarks" for the entire audio industry. Benchmark products are key components in may of the finest recording studios, but they are also found in many high-end home systems. Over the years, many hi-fi enthusiasts have joined our loyal base of professional customers.
Benchmark products define the state of the art when it comes to measured performance.
If you are looking for audio products that will change or enhance the sound of your music, you have come to the wrong place. If you are looking to add the warm sound of even-harmonic distortion, you have also come to the wrong pace. On the other hand, if you are looking for accurate, clean, and transparent audio equipment, you will enjoy Benchmark products.
If a product is transparent, this will show in the measurements. A product that measures poorly is not transparent. But, a product that measures well is not necessarily transparent.
It is very important to verify transparency by listening. Many times, we have detected problems in listening tests that didn't show up in basic measurements. Usually this was an indication that the measurements were incomplete.
We have learned that if we hear something that didn't show up in the measurements, then we haven't done the right measurements. Over the years, our listening tests have helped us to refine our measurement techniques. We have learned how to detect and quantify defects that were initially revealed by our ears.
When measurement techniques are adequately refined, defects can be quantified and design changes can be evaluated objectively. Measurements then allow us to refine the product until the defect is reduced to inaudible levels.
Transparency is essential in a studio monitoring chain but it is also important in a home listening environment. Transparent home systems can recreate the studio experience. If you want to hear your music the way the artists heard it in the studio, you will need a transparent playback system.
Many audio products are designed to euphonically enhance the sound of a recording. These products produce effects that change the sound in an attempt to improve the sound of a recording at playback. With these effects, the home playback may differ substantially from the studio experience. For this reason, Benchmark products do not add euphonic effects. Our products deliver an accurate rendering of the input signal.
If the entire recording and playback chain is transparent, the listener can be transported to the performance space. This is the magic of music. It is enabled by the magic of a transparent audio chain - from the performance space to the listening space.
Enjoy the magic!
1982 brought us the CD and "Perfect Sound Forever". On a top-quality playback system, the CD can sound stunning. Nevertheless, we have come to understand that the 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, CD format is somewhat less than perfect. For this reason, the recording industry is migrating to a variety of high-resolution audio formats. Recordings are now available in 24-bit PCM at sample rates of 96 kHz and 192 kHz. These recordings promise performance that extends well beyond the limitations of the CD, but formats alone are not enough to gain entry to the world of high-resolution audio.
High-Resolution Audio is a myth unless the entire playback system extends beyond the limitations of the CD format. The truth is that the CD format often pushes the limits of very good playback systems. Very few audio systems are capable of rendering the full capabilities of the CD format. Fewer yet are capable of rendering true high-resolution audio performance.
If a D/A converter, preamplifier, power amplifier, or loudspeaker is limited to CD performance, the entire system will be limited to CD performance. In such a system, the new high-resolution audio formats will fail to deliver any audible improvements.
Benchmark is focused on building some of the highest-quality audio components available. Audio professionals and home audiophiles have come to appreciate the outstanding performance of our products. Benchmark's products will allow you to experience the full capabilities of the new high-resolution recordings while discovering previously overlooked details in your favorite CDs.
If you look at the back of any Benchmark product, you will find balanced XLR analog-audio connectors. As a convenience, we also provide unbalanced RCA connectors on many of our products. In all cases, the balanced interfaces will provide better performance.
We build our unbalanced interfaces to the same high standards as our balanced interfaces, but the laws of physics dictate that the balanced interfaces will provide better noise performance.
This application note explains the advantages of balanced interfaces.
Benchmark has introduced a new analog-to-analog volume control circuit that features a 256-step relay-controlled attenuator and a 16-step relay-controlled boost amplifier. The volume control has a +15 dB to -122 dB range in 0.5 dB steps and is a key component in the HPA4 Headphone / Line Amplifier.
Our goal was to produce an analog-to-analog volume control with the highest achievable transparency. We wanted to be able to place this volume control in front of our AHB2 power amplifier or in front of our THX-888 headphone amplifier board without diminishing the performance of either device. Our volume control would need to have lower distortion and lower noise than either of these amplifiers. Given the extraordinary performance of these THX-AAA amplifiers, this would not be an easy task!
This application note discusses the engineering decisions that went into the development of this new analog volume control circuit. The end result is a fully buffered volume control with a signal-to-noise ratio that exceeds 135 dB. THD measures better than the -125 dB (0.00006%) limits of our test equipment.