In a recent interview by The Poor Audiophile, John Siau, Vice President of Benchmark Media Systems, explains some of the innovations in Benchmark's revolutionary AHB2 power amplifier.
"John is a long-time audiophile. In fact, it was his love of music and audio that originally inspired his interest in electronics and prompted him to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at Syracuse University."
"“Benchmark is not new to power amplifiers,” John told me. “For almost 30 years Benchmark sold the DA-101 audio distribution amplifiers for studio use. These were small 35 W card-mounted power amplifiers with a 150 kHz bandwidth, a 130 dB SNR and very low THD+N. These cards were designed to distribute line-level audio signals, but they were capable of driving speakers. Because of their outstanding performance, we often used these cards to drive monitors in our own listening room.”"
"That long experience with the DA-101 gave Benchmark some ideas for the next generation amplifier. As John mentioned, the team at Benchmark wanted to build an amplifier to bring out the potential performance of their DAC2 products. Benchmark wanted a high power, passively-cooled power amplifier that equaled or exceeded the performance of the DA-101. It was at that point that Benchmark knew that the current technology and existing topologies by themselves wouldn't be sufficient for their needs."
"“As we examined this task, it became clear that we would not reach our goals if we designed a conventional power amplifier,” John said. “We realized that we needed to look at some unique solutions. We were very focused on eliminating crossover distortion in the output stage because we felt that this was one of the most important factors in the sonic performance of the amplifier. We began experimenting with ...”"
"I'm asking because clearly Benchmark is a highly regarded company here, and plenty of ASR members own Benchmark amplification/DACs. We know they are top of the heap in terms of measured performance, outdoing plenty of the competition in terms of typical distortion measurements."
- @MattHooper, AudioScienceReview.com
AHB2, LA4, DAC3
Subtle aesthetics? Check.
Unobtrusive size? Check.
Solid build? Check.
Made in America? Check.
Best in class? Check.
Superior performance proven by Amir? Check.
Superior customer service? Check (and not just in audio world; best customer service I have experienced from any company, anywhere, ever).
Expensive? For me, yes. Limit of my budget, but buy once cry once.
"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."