AHB2 - "BRINGS OUT NUANCES OF REVERB, QUICK PERCUSSIVE GUITAR ATTACK WITH AMAZING CLARITY"
"As I got into serious listening of recordings, I was impressed by the AHB2's "smooth" factor. Although it uses bipolar output devices, its tonal delivery ease reminds more of MOSFET designs. Drum cymbals and the upper register of the Bernhard album’s piano sounded fantastic without any edge, grit or harshness."
"For those who listen with very accurate, discerning speakers, an extra 20 dB of lower noise could be heard — in terms of ultra detail that may be hiding in the noise of an average audiophile amp."
"The -130 dB noise/dynamic range just gets us that much closer to the live music signature that we yearn to hear from our beloved electronics."
"The Benchmark brings out nuances of reverb, quick percussive guitar attack with amazing clarity, but no over the top edginess that lesser bi-polar (and even some MOSFET amps)."
- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network
"This little unit will change the way you look and listen to amplifiers."
"My first taste of this remarkable new amplifier came earlier this year in April at Chicago's AXPONA where I discovered it driving a newly redesigned Studio Electric Pasadena loudspeaker, also bearing the Benchmark trademark. Now called the SMS1, the Pasadena's crossover had been reworked by Benchmark, upgraded with very low tolerance components, and the new look, more in line with the look of the rest of the Benchmark product line up, had been adopted."
"The subsequent sound in this room was one of the most musically engaging I encountered at this year's event, a remarkable result considering its modest overall system price of just over $7000, sans source."
- Greg Weaver, EnjoythMusic.com
Jim Austin wrote, "The DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects . . . I heard deeper into the music."
The concise conclusion to John Atkinson's Measurements sidebar: "All I can say is 'Wow!'"
In a Follow-Up, Jim Austin 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.
- Stereophile Magazine
"Class A+" is Stereophile's highest award for Digital Processors
"Benchmark's LA4 is the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I have encountered."
- John Atkinson, Stereophile
"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."
- Kalman Rubinson, Stereophile
"Class A" is Stereophile's highest award for preamplifiers.