AHB2 - "This stable and load-independent behavior ... is something not often encountered"
"This stable and load-independent behavior of the output stage is something not often encountered and adds, of course, another positive point for the device."
"AHB2's output power, near its clipping limit, was measured at 108Wrms per channel into 8 Ohm loads and at 190Wrms per channel at 4 Ohm loads, easily confirming the specs given by the company itself."
"Based on this performance, the amplifier seems more than capable of driving difficult loads."
"Damping factor was estimated above 200, therefore, no system frequency response discrepancies, due to loudspeaker's impedance variability, should be expected."
"In distortion measurements, AHB2's behavior was impressive with a total harmonic distortion and noise (THD+N) figure at 0.0009% for 8 Ohm loads and 0.0012% for 4 Ohm loads (measured at 1/3 of its maximum power) and harmonic distortion at 0.0005% and 0.0009% for 8 and 4 Ohm loads respectively."
"Intermodulation distortion (SMPTE) was also low, at 0.0005% and 0.0007% (8/4 Ohm loads). This performance clearly shows that the Benchmark/THX design approach works in practice as intended (at least from the distortion point of view) and the result is a power stage with very low distortion, indeed."
"The frequency response of the amplifier (with an 8 Ohm load) was practically flat with a slight attenuation towards the high-frequency part of the spectrum which is very progressive and does not exceed 0.3dBr at 60kHz."
"The noise performance of the amplifier was, also, top-class. With a reference level corresponding to 1Wmrs/8 Ohm, the signal to noise ratio was measured at -109dBr (A) (with a 1kHz input signal) and the dynamic range at 129dB."
"In both spectrum graphs, there is an apparent absence of noise components from the power supply and their intermodulation products in the low-frequency range (the 50Hz component is hardly distinguishable), all of them being below -130dBr. This is a remarkable behavior, especially with the output stage under load conditions, which justifies the choice of a switch-mode power supply."
"Finally, the square wave response shows a very good transient behavior, without any particular problem. Slew rate was estimated at 16V/uS and rise time at 3.5mS, a value that corresponds to a conventionally calculated bandwidth of 100kHz."
- Dimitris Stamatakos, AVMENTOR.net
"Thanks to the special, discrete analog circuit/relay attenuator, this may be the most transparent line-stage preamplifier in the audiophile world."
"If you got a great-sounding source, the LA4 presents the audio in its original state — with gain or attenuation to the amplifier. I have never heard such low-level detail from a pre."
"The better the DAC, the better you hear it through a quality amp and speakers. It is quiet as a top-notch DAC, with S/N exceeding -135 dB and, feature-wise, it comes with unbalanced/balanced I/O and a really slick user interface."
"I use the four-input LA4 for audiophile A/B testing of DACs, monitoring my Hi-Res home recording/editing/mastering projects, as well as just listening how good my vast collection of 24 bit and DSD music sounds through an accurate amp and speakers."
"A steal at $2,500!"
- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network
"Since the HPA4 arrived, I have rediscovered so many of my favorite works all over again with improved detail retrieval dynamics and transparency that it’s hard to pull myself away!"
"It drove my power hungry Abyss Phi TC headphones with complete authority, but it was still dead silent and nimble enough to amplify my easy to drive Focal Utopia headphones."
"Rarely have I come across such a wonderfully revealing amplifier that can drive many different types of headphones so darn well! The solid build construction and various controls make the $2,995 price tag seem a bit low based on the other headphone amplifiers in this market space."- Peter Pialis, Headphone.guru
"Benchmark Media Systems’ LA4 preamplifier presented an utterly realistic reproduction of what was contained on each recording I played through it -- and weak recordings stood out more than usual. The LA4’s clean, analytical abilities are unmatched by any similarly priced preamplifier I know of. The LA4’s touchscreen brings it up to date with current user interfaces, and permits functions, such as balance control and muting at the device."
"If you want a preamp that editorializes, look elsewhere."
"If, like me, you value a high-resolution, totally neutral musical performance, add a Benchmark LA4 to your system, particularly if you already own a Benchmark DAC."
- Erich Wetzel, SoundStage! Hi-Fi