Buy 2 components and get 4 free cables. Free shipping on USA orders over $700.

0

Your Cart is Empty

SMS1 Review - Gary Galo, Audioxpress

Audioxpress Logo
Audioxpress Cover Featuring Benchmark SMS1

Benchmark SMS1 Loudspeaker

SMS1 - "I Easily Preferred the Benchmark"

High performance Components

"The drivers in Benchmark’s two-way system include a proprietary 6.7” (170 mm) woofer and a 1” (25 mm) soft-dome tweeter. The woofer is a long excursion design with a co-polymer cone, specifically designed for use in Benchmark’s acoustic suspension enclosure. The crossover boards for the SMS1 loudspeakers are hand assembled from premium quality components. Benchmark uses ClarityCap ESA-series polypropylene film capacitors and, to avoid paralleling capacitors to achieve desired values, Benchmark has exact values custom made for them."

"There are no iron core inductors in the SMS1. Air-core inductors are custom wound for Benchmark by Renco Electronics and are physically oriented to avoid magnetic interactions with each other and the driver voice coils. Power resistors are non-inductive, wire-wound types with low temperature coefficients. The crossover frequency is set at 3 kHz."

Benchmark Listening Room - Nearfield Monitor Listening Tests

The Listening Room - Nearfield Monitor Listening Tests

"When Benchmark moved to its current facility seven years ago, it built a dedicated, properly dimensioned listening room with acoustical treatment. The concrete floor in this commercial building is certainly an asset. The listening room showcases the SMS1 loudspeaker, fed by a DAC2 HGC DAC/Preamp and the AHB2 power amplifier, with an OPPO Digital BDP-80 digital player and a computer server providing high-resolution digital sources. Benchmark has three other pairs of loudspeakers set up in the listening room for comparison to the SMS1. The room is arranged in such a way that left and right speakers are the same distance apart for each pair. All the listeners need to do is rotate their heads when moving from
one pair to another."

"The other speakers in the room included the Adam Audio A7X, the Focal Solo 6Be, and the Klein + Hummel O300D."

"During my afternoon in the listening room, I played excerpts from several classical CDs and high-resolution PCM discs that I brought from my own collection. Siau then played a variety of high-resolution popular music recordings, all from files on the digital server. Several of the selections Siau chose featured solo vocals that the recording engineers placed in the center of the stereo image."

"I easily preferred the Benchmark SMS1 to the other three loudspeaker systems, for both the classical and the popular recordings. It provided the largest and most spacious soundstage, the most precise imaging, with solo vocals accurately placed in the center of the stereo image."

"The SMS1 also had the most neutral tonal balance, with excellent inner detail and resolution. The Adam A7X came in second, acquitting itself extremely well. But, imaging and depth perspective were not as precise as on the Benchmark SMS1. The Focal Solo 6Be had a curious upper midrange depression in its tonal balance, which I found most noticeable on the classical orchestral recordings and the solo vocals on the more popular selections. The Klein + Hummel O300D produced the least precise stereo image, with the location of solo vocals rather vague."

"All four systems produced impressive bass for their sizes, but I preferred the smoother, more natural character of Benchmark’s acoustic suspension design to the Adam and Focal vented designs. The Benchmark also had the best detail in the bass region."

"If you’re in the market for a small, accurate monitoring system, the SMS1 deserves serious consideration."

- Gary Galo, Audioxpress

 

Read the full review →


Also in Reviews

AHB2 Review - Constantine Soo, Dagogo

AHB2 Review - Constantine Soo, Dagogo

by Benchmark Media Systems April 02, 2024

 

Benchmark AHB2 - Black

 

"The AHB2 bridgeable stereo amplifier ... was the topic of a recent discussion between American electrostatic panel speaker manufacturer Sound Lab’s president, Dr. Roger West, and me."

"In our discussion, he related his highly positive experience in driving even his largest, $55k Majestic 945 panels with the $7,000 pair of Benchmark Media AHB2 monoblocks, along with the $3,050 LA4 Preamplifier and factory XLR cables."

"Dr. West described the AHB2 as a class AB design using “feed-forward distortion reduction [thus removing] any possibility of pushing the margin of safety of a standard feedback loop, used in most amplifiers, into an unstable oscillatory mode.”"

"He further shared with me that “this is of most concern on powerful musical transients. The distortion of the amplifier in the balanced mode is astonishingly low even at just below the clipping level of 380 watts.”"

"The prospect of the AHB2’s specified distortion level of 0.00015% or lower when at full volume is comical at first glance, but upon actual audition the impact of the achievement is very audible from medium-high listening levels and upward."

"It was unlike any other sub-$20,000 amplifier I have auditioned."

"My audition of the Benchmark Media AHB2 amplifiers underscores the reason Dr. West is so taken by it, and confirms the design is best described as a watershed moment in the high-end audio industry."

- Constantine Soo, Dagogo

Read Full Post
DAC3 Review - Jerry Del  Colliano

DAC3 Review - Jerry Del Colliano

by Benchmark Media Systems April 02, 2024

Benchmark DAC3 B with Silver Faceplate

"Benchmark is a stalwart brand in pro audio, but has carved out a very respectable niche in the audiophile world with their diminutive but powerful components."

Benchmark DAC3 B Studio Version with Rackmount Faceplate

"The audiophile world sometimes looks to the professional audio world for enlightenment, especially on the digital side of things, and Benchmark Media is one of the companies that we put high on a pedestal."

"They are hardcore digital engineers freezing their asses off in upstate New York as they come up with some pretty innovative ways to get your varied digital sources sounding as much like the master tape as possible. Thank you for your service, gentlemen."

"If you really want to hear what your music sounds like in today’s streaming-driven world, this might just be the DAC that you need to test out."

- Jerry Del Colliano, Future Audiophile

Read Full Post
DAC3 & AHB2 - System Review, Trevor Butler, The-Ear.net

DAC3 & AHB2 - System Review, Trevor Butler, The-Ear.net

by Benchmark Media Systems March 28, 2024

Editor's Choice Award - DAC3 and AHB2 - the-ear.net

"I began with the DAC3 HGC and AHB2 powering the glorious Morel Avyra 633 three-way floorstanders."

"This pairing created a full-bodied sound which brought the recording to life."

"Notable from the off was the bass from the DAC3 HGC and AHB2."

"Wow! It was deep, tight and conveyed a real feeling that the electronics were in charge of the transducers."

"Involuntary foot-tapping confirmed the timing ability and the overall presentation was spot-on, the Benchmark electronics created a fluent sound across a vivid soundstage; performers evident both tonally and spatially in an easy-to-believe presentation that brought the performance close."

"The Benchmark’s ability to retrieve deep-down detail and display it so well across the soundstage, with accurate positioning and convincing layering, made for a glorious re-creation of the recordings."

"To my mind the AHB2 is an amplifier with no obvious characteristics of its own: the level of transparency is sublime."

"Above all, the improved transient response performance stood out in a presentation that was not only lively but incredibly fast and revealing. The attack and decay displayed was awesome and not something I expect at this price point."

"The Benchmark DAC3 HGC and AHB2 are cracking products, sonically superior to a lot that’s available and well priced."

"They are superbly designed and built to an extremely high standard."

- Trevor Butler, the-ear.net

Read Full Post