LA4 - Receives Stereophile's Highest "Class A" Rating for Preamplifiers
"Benchmark's usual approach to design is to out-spec the competition, and so it is here. Like other Benchmark equipment he has tested, the affordable LA4 challenged the resolution of John Atkinson's test instruments, with'superb'channel separation,'extremely low noise, and virtually no power-supply-related spuriae.'"
"Benchmark's LA4 is the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I have encountered."- John Atkinson
"In his listening room, Kalman Rubinson compared the LA4 to a cable—and couldn't hear any difference. He concludes,'the LA4 is probably the most transparent and revealing audio component I've ever used. It does not seem to leave any fingerprints on the sound.'"
"The DAC3 B is a stripped- down, lower-priced version of the DAC3 HGC, which omits the headphone amplifier, balanced and unbalanced analog inputs, volume, mute, and polarity controls."- Stereophile
"The DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects...I heard deeper into the music."
"All I can say is Wow!"
- John Atkinson
"In a Follow-Up, JCA wrote of using the Benchmark processor with the same company's AHB2 power amp—a combination of high source output voltage and modest amplifier gain that he describes as 'optimal for minimizing noise and distortion' —and reported hearing 'richer and more interesting' reproduction of very subtle details."
HPA4 - Receives Stereophile's "Class A" Rating for Headphone Amplifiers
"The HPA4 adds a THX888 amplification stage to Benchmark's LA4 line preamplifier to allow it to drive even low-impedance headphones with aplomb."
"It keeps the LA4's balanced and single-ended preamplifier outputs and adds a headphone output on a 4-pin XLR jack and a single-ended headphone output on a 1/4" jack."
- Stereophile, 2023
"The HPA4 showed each instrument in dramatic bas-relief. It accomplished this by presenting cleaner, better-articulated bass and manufacturing a sharper midrange focus than I had experienced previously with either my solid state reference, the Pass Labs HPA-1, or the tubed Linear Tube Audio Z10e."- Herb Reichert
"The LA4 preamplifier was the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I had encountered at that time. . . . To those virtues, the HPA4 adds equally superb balanced and single-ended headphone outputs."- John Atkinson
DAC3 HGC - "Does Not Color the Sound of Your Audio"
"It is a studio-grade piece of audiophile equipment that can be used by recording engineers and mastering artists alike to flesh out all the musical detail they wish without having to worry about the sonic signature of their equipment."
"In the audiophile world, utilizing the DAC3 HGC properly can bring realistic texture, voice, and integrity to instruments that would normally take a DAC well over five-figures to do."
"The afternoon before the start of the show I ran into John Siau of Benchmark Media Systems. He says to me quietly, “make sure you stop in our room, we have a surprise!” With curiosity suitably piqued, Co-Editor Jim Clements and I paid a visit ..."
"The results were pretty astonishing. A stable, enveloping stereo image that was devoid of any distortion whatsoever."
- Carlo Lo Raso, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
"I was led to Benchmark Media Systems through recommendations from Roger West, the designer of Sound Lab speakers. Praise from a local Sound Lab dealer and a local Sound Lab owner effectively twisted my arm to the point where I yielded to temptation to try the amplifiers ..."
"The Class-H Benchmarks give me what I wanted from Class-D amplifiers, but with the musical engagement, I found lacking in Class-D. There is the added benefit of a company that has been in business for over 36 years and has a depth of products, and offers an extended warranty."
"The highest compliment I can pay a piece of audio equipment is that it has found a home in my system. A pair of AHB2s are now part of my dedicated summertime amplification for my Sound Lab 545PX loudspeakers."
"The Benchmark performance continues to engage me, and the company gives me confidence in long-term support."
AHB2 - "I Purchased Two Units With My Hard-Earned Money"
"The highest compliment I can give to AHB2 is that I purchased not one, but two units with my hard-earned money. These weren’t loaner units and this wasn’t a sponsored review and you can draw your own conclusions."
"The AHB2 might look small and lightweight, but thanks to its clever engineering and power supply implementation, this little fellow could still deliver 190 Watts in 4 Ohms and 100 Watts in 8 Ohms, while maintaining an undetectable noise floor and distortion."
"For the craziest folks out there, you can even bridge two pieces together for ~580 Watts in 4 Ohms and 380W in 8 ohms."
"By far, without question this is the best volume control I have ever encountered."
"I must single out for special mention the volume control. While the whole unit is completely relay controlled, with a total of forty “precision relays switching high-precision metal-film resistors,” each channel has its own gain control with 256 steps in 0.5dB increments."
"Suffice it to say that, as with every Benchmark product I’ve used or reviewed, everything works smoothly, precisely, flawlessly."