"THX has patented a novel amplifier design, THX AAA Technology(TM) and Benchmark Media Systems has turned it into a new power amplifier – AHB2. The design is called Achromatic Audio Amplifier. Achromatic may mean colorless or neutral or without modulation. The AHB2 is an attack on current amplifier design. It’s basically an AB amp with a class H power rail arrangement."
"A low power Class A correction amplifier ... runs in parallel with the regular AB amplifier ... and corrects ... non-linearity in the transition stage."
"The AHB2 is a class AB amp – but could easily be mistaken for a class D with its very compact dimensions. The small size is made possible by the compact switching power supply."
"The AHB2 has a resonant zero-voltage switching power supply. The switching is carried out at frequencies well above the audio band to reduce any audible artifacts from the power supply. Switching power supplies are much more efficient, and smaller, than linear transformer based supplies."
"The AHB2 power supply is regulated and very efficient in combination with the H Class rails. Benchmark claims that there is no sagging in internal voltage during high loads or when line voltage dips."
"The amplifier has a spectacular frequency response of 0.4 Hz to 200 kHz. This means that the AHB2 will amplify the high frequencies present on high res digital files."
"So is there a sound signature to the AHB2? Since THX calls it Achromatic we can assume that they were not aiming for a warm and sweet tubey sound – and this is not what it delivers. The sound is indeed neutral and exact without being sterile or clinical. Colorless? Not really. The amp will send through the sound palette of the source component and disc/file without stripping any color away."
"The Benchmark AHB2 is a solid foundation for an audio system. It is very quiet with extremely low distortion."
"The AHB2 is so good it will immediately expose weaknesses in your system. It requires a very good pre-amp ... which should output a balanced signal."
"Medals to everyone and a rebel princess to the AAA Technology inventor!"
- Toby Tingskog, dagogo.com
Benchmark's Rory Rall shows a storm trooper the AHB2 power amplifier at the NAMM 2016 Show, and explains the new THX AAA Technology. Rory waved his hand and was heard to say: "These are the amplifiers that you are looking for."
"The headphone section, with its choice of 6.35 mm stereo or four-pin balanced XLR connectors ... really impresses with a smooth signal delivery."
"While on the one hand it can rock out when it needs to – its prodigious output means it can give as much power as your headphones can take – its sheer impact, openness and vivacity is jaw-dropping."
"An immaculate all-analogue design, the aptly named Benchmark is both technically and sonically as good as it gets."
- AV Tech Media Awards 2018/2019
Stereophile's editors chose 10 products to receive their top award, the "2018 Product of the Year - Editor's Choice Award". Two Benchmark products made this exclusive list - the AHB2 power amplifier and the DAC3 HGC D/A converter.
"I was impressed by this revolutionary stereo amplifier but it became an obsession when I mated three as monoblocks to a trio of Benchmark's DAC3s."
"The AHB2 is deadly silent, musically revealing, surprisingly compact, and quite powerful."
- Kalman Rubinson
"Benchmark has created a long line of DACs (several of which I've purchased) that present recordings with as little embellishment as is possible at their price points. The latest incarnation, the DAC3, is no exception, and excels at presenting the unvarnished truth, as the artist intended."
- Jon Iverson
The competition in the amplification category was very tight. There was a two-way tie for first place between two amplifiers that cost $30,000 a pair and $13,500 a pair.
The Benchmark AHB2 was just two points behind the leaders when the Stereophile reviewers cast their final votes. In all, there were 13 amplifiers that made Stereophile's select list of finalists. The Benchmark AHB2 was the least expensive amplifier on the list, yet it received top scores from the reviewers. The list included amplifiers with stratospheric prices. Six amplifiers were priced between $25,000 and $118,000 a pair!
At Benchmark we believe that a great audio system shouldn't set you back by the cost of a sports car.