SMS1 - "Airy mids, confident and powerful bass, spacious soundstage"
"I was impressed by the broad nature of the SMS1 soundstage. Clarinets and strings had a beautifully resonant aspect, letting the ear know that all of these instruments had a specific character. Another feature of the soundstage was the piano’s ability to make itself heard. Normally, this element of the song has the piano running along the base of the soundstage, largely unheard except for a few scattered notes. The Benchmarks were able to separate the piano from its surrounding orchestral instruments which provided a delightful keyboard rendition while delicate percussion effects via treble-infused cymbals, again normally masked in the mix, were also able to be picked out."
"Guitars were suitably aggressive while the bass never bled into the midrange area. Hence, any risk of muddying the bass was never an issue. While the higher pitched and louder edges of the synths did add a touch of the midrange bloom, this was relatively minor and largely offset by the magnificent bass response which was deep, punchy, confident, driving and weighty."
"The airy nature of the midrange from the Benchmarks really came into their own here with the twangy guitar, adding tension and portent, retaining a welcome suite of reverb tails while the secondary percussion from the bongos and wood blocks also added to this spacious feeling. The bass-ridden piano keys emanated from a dark and mysterious place and retained the power from the Benchmark’s massy lower frequencies while the screaming string effects were drenched in emotion."
"At the sharp end is a 170mm custom-made polymer woofer and a 25mm soft dome tweeter while, at the rear, is an unusual rear-mounted toggle switch to choose between single and bi-amp modes. Related to that, instead of two pairs of binding posts, the company offers a SpeakON 4-pole connector for bi-amping (which is a lot neater than the usual system)."
"The space and air around the midrange helps these speakers to tackle even the most complex of arrangements while the allied meaty bass means that they will be a good performer within any genre of music."
- Paul Rigby, The Audiophile Man - audiophileman.com
"Merriam-Webster defines a benchmark as "something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged." This is what the AHB2s has become for me."
"A pair of AHB2s are now part of my dedicated summertime amplification for my Sound Lab 545PX loudspeakers."
- Don Shaulis, The Stereo Times
"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."
- Don Shaulis, Stereo Times
"I love, I love, I love my Benchmark AHB2 power amps!"
- Theo Nicolakis, Audioholics Online A/V Magazine
Theo uses a pair of AHB2 power amps in bridged mono (480 W into 6 Ohms) to drive a pair of Revel Ultima Salon2 loudspeakers ($20,000/pair). This is his reference amplifier-speaker combination.
Find out why Theo loves his AHB2 power amplifiers: