"This year’s California Audio Show was one of the more intimate audio shows on the calendar, but it was packed with audiophile ear candy. Among the impressive audio innovations on display were a variety of speakers, tube amplifiers, preamps, and audio accessories."
"Come along with me as I show you my favorite audio products and my picks for the best sound from the 2019 California Audio Show..." - Drew Gagliano
"Kevin Welsh of Musica Pristina and Rick Craig of Selah Audio put together a room to celebrate the debut of Selah’s new Cali4 speakers."
"Driving the speakers was the Benchmark Media Systems AHB2 power amplifier."
"When I walked into this room, I knew right away that I would be coming back several times throughout the show. Almost immediately, I had a strong emotional connection to the music I was hearing. There was nothing digital or artificial sounding in the presentation; the gear was getting out of the way of the music and it was wonderful. This was the best I’ve heard digital playback sound."
"I ended up visiting this room more than any other room at the show. I couldn’t help myself; I had to keep coming back for more!"
- Drew Gagliano, TheAudioBeatnik.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