AHB2 - "The perfect heart to any hifi"
"Starting with Dakota Staton’s album ‘Round Midnight from the original Capitol release, issued in 1960, I connected the Benchmark to my Quad 57 electrostatics."
"Staton’s vocal delivery was calm, even and smooth without any edginess to her delivery and certainly without any brightness or blooming during crescendos. Her even-handed vocal delivery was very pleasant indeed."
"As for the instruments backing Staton, I was impressed by the tonal accuracy of the introductory strings and the clarinet. Both, backed by the similarly impressive low noise nature of the soundstage, had room to express themselves that enhanced the richness of their performance."
"Everything was in order and everything was in its place. Part of the reason for this was the low noise so, right from the off, the music was much more focused than many other components."
"Bass was never one dimensional but had a layered personality of its own."
"Neat in construction, busy in terms of features and small in stature, the AHB2 is quite remarkable in how it goes about its business of delivering music. I’ve seldom heard such a balanced, easy on the ear power amplifier as this that also provides tonal accuracy plus an attractive space in the midrange. The AHB2 would be an ideal fulcrum to any hi-fi system, acting as the heart around which you can build up your hifi chain. It’s dependable and rock solid. The perfect heart to any hifi."
- Paul Rigby, The Audiophile Man - audiophileman.com
In his review, Paul Rigby mentions driving Quad ESL-57 electrostatic speakers using the AHB2 in bridged-mono mode. Potentially, this mode will provide too much output to the ESL-57 speaker and this may cause damage. The ESL-57s are rated for a maximum input voltage of 33V. The AHB2 can deliver 40V in stereo mode and 80V in mono mode. Mono mode can severely overdrive the ESL-57 speakers and may cause permanent damage to the electrostatic panels. The AHB2 should be used in stereo mode when driving ESL-57 speakers. Apparently the AHB2 gain switch was configured for a lower gain than Paul's other amplifier. This led him to believe that the AHB2 needed to run in bridged-mono mode when driving his ESL-57 speakers. The correct action would have been to turn up the preamplifier and/or adjust the gain switch on the back of the AHB2.
"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
"Sound was extremely well-integrated and controlled, and the bass memorable."
"The Note received signal through the introductory version of the company's Liquid Cables. Each cable contains 27,000 wires. The company's introductory Elephant memory player joined Benchmark Media's AHB2 power amps, DAC3 B D/A processor, and interconnects."
"With the aid of a forthcoming DEQX HDP4 processor that's due in the fall, the system sounded super on a 16/44.1 file of the famed rendition of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, recorded by Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra for Reference Recordings."
- Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile Magazine
"Laufer Teknik - The Note line array - The most immersive listening experience I had the entire show."
"There is no sweet spot because everywhere is the sweet spot. Even behind the speakers sounded incredible!"
"SVS Subs doing the low end work and Benchmark 380 watt class H monoblocked amps driving the arrays."
"I spent an extended amount of time in this room."