"The sonic results of all the time and effort spent refining this circuit and developing this design are nothing short of extraordinary! Bass is rendered with exceptional detail and speed, and brother can it go deep! In fact, I can't think of another amplifier (or pair of monos) I've experienced for under about $6000 that can do what the AHB2 can do with the bandwidth below 100 Hz. It has jaw dropping, chest-thumping impact while still being able to render remarkably accurate and refined pitch definition. In many ways, its bass performance reminded me of my time with the $65,000 WAVAC MD-805 Mk II monos, which rendered some of the most engaging bass I've yet heard."
"Midrange is simply captivating, rich in both musical resolve and harmonic texture. It affords an exceptionally well-balanced mixture of both tonal truth and emotional expression. Instrumental voices are provided the body and bloom needed to complete the "live" illusion, recording permitting, and are related with the proper texture and tonal color, if ever so slightly to the dryer side of natural."
"Treble is extended, airy, and resolute. Once again, I'm hard pressed to think of an amplifier for less than twice as much as the AHB2 that can even begin to compare, let alone match, this amps performance with the spectrum above 2.5 kHz. This extended and replete high frequency performance bestows a sense of ease and relaxed enchantment to well-recorded materials previously unheard of in this price point."
"One of the areas where the AHB2 really shines is in its ability to render the space between and the sense of both the space occupied by, and the interrelationships of instrumental positions and locations. Instruments and vocalists occupy an uncannily realistic sense of size and locale. I was left speechless more often than I cared to count by this engaging and enchanting ability."
"Benchmark's AHB2 amplifier is a truly breakthrough, innovative design."
- Greg Weaver, Enjoy the Music.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
"The benchmark combination offers a full range of equipment that can hardly be topped, leaves nothing to be desired in terms of sound, and meets professional requirements without any ifs or buts."
"The HPA4 has the HIFIMan one hundred percent under control, eliciting neutral timbres, tons of spatial information and crisp dynamics."
"I connected everything the household had to offer in terms of speakers - Spendor S3 / 5, Ayon Seagull / c, Quad ESL57. It goes without saying that the American coped with the dynamic boxes with ease. But even the quads, which have some meanness on the part of their impedance, did not pose a challenge for the amp."
"There are many things that come into play when putting together a hi-fi system, one of which is synergy."
"After the arrival of the Benchmark Media Systems AHB2, I immediately thought of the matching HPA4 that colleagues Jaap and Yung were very pleased with."
"The key question, of course, was whether the HPA4 would really provide an audible improvement."
"Well you bet! The synergy between preamp and power amplifier is nothing short of magical, not to mention the DAC3 B that I got from importer Helios for the occasion."
"Not only a few curtains disappear, the whole window is gone."
- Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio