"The AHB2 easily outperforms the DIY Hypex NC400 I had tested before which used to be the best amp I had tested."
"THD+N versus output level looks far cleaner than anything I have tested before."
"Intermodulation distortion versus power level shows the same story of clean power."
No Rise in Out-of-Band Noise
"Usually when we test switching amplifiers we see all kind of "interesting" things in their outputs above hearing range. The AHB2 is a classic configuration albeit, with a switching power supply so all is well and clean here."
Signal to Noise Ratio (22.5 kHz BW) at Max Power
Ch1: 130.286 dB
Ch2: 130.180 dB
"Down 0.3 dB at 20 kHz. -3 dB down at 200 kHz!! Since this is not a switching amplifier, there is no filter there allowing the bandwidth to go to 200 kHz and beyond."
Stereo Power into 4 Ohms
"We have 185 watts of power at incredibly low distortion of 0.00016%, besting the company specifications."
Bridged Mono Power into 4 Ohms
"500 watts into 4 ohm! Stunning 0.00026% distortion at 500 watts!!"
Low-Power 5W THD Test
"As usual, I start with my 5 watt output test using 4 ohm load... I hope your jaw is on the floor just like mine was when I saw this picture emerge! 113 dB THD+N [at 5 W] in a power amplifier? Are you kidding me?"
"Look at the harmonic distortion. The worst case spike is below -130 dB! This is insanely good. Of course this type of SINAD (signal and noise ratio) crowns the Benchmark AHB2 as the best I have ever tested."
"Separating the noise from THD, we see that it is noise that we are measuring as THD+N, rather than distortion. Noise dominates (more benign than distortion)."
Noise Relative to 5W
Ch1: -112.964 dB
Ch2: -112.550 dB
THD Only (no noise) at 5W
Ch1: -122.337 dB
Ch2: -120.982 dB
"There are a set of LEDs that show the status of the amplifier. They are driven by an FPGA (field programmable digital logic) that monitors all aspects of the amplifier and shuts down the unit if stressed. It did so very quickly and efficiently in my testing. Usually this is done with purely analog or maybe a small microprocessor. As such, the coverage of scenarios that could damage the amplifier is much less complete than using the approach Benchmark is using in AHB2."
"Bridged mode using same 4 ohm load ... you get 500 watts of stunningly clean power. Protection circuits shut the unit down after that, so it is quite safe to try. With a THD essentially matching the non-bridged mode, there is no reason to be afraid of trying this."
"... the FPGA protection mode kicks in and essentially shuts the amplifier down past the limit. You get absolutely distortion-less and noiseless performance until there is no more."
"There is a switch for selecting stereo or mono bridged output. The latter quadruples the amount of power available."
"In use the AHB2 stays very cool for a power amplifier when it is idling, outputting little power which was a nice surprise."
"Being a proper company of course the AHB2 comes with full set of regulatory/safety/emissions certifications which is super important with power amplifiers given the high voltages and currents running around in them."
"It goes without saying that the Benchmark AHB2 breaks new ground with respect to performance of power amplifiers."
"Using it, you can be assured that any distortion that you hear is from other sources (speaker, source, content, etc.). This is what I look for in high-end audio: absolutely the best performance so no second guessing is involved. You buy once, and you are happy forever!"
"All of this comes from a company that is a model of transparency with proper and accurate measurements of their products on their site. And importantly, volunteering to have that data shown to be correct by independent sources such as us."
"Needless to say, the Benchmark AHB2 gets my strongest recommendation."
- Amir Majidimehr (@amirm), AudioScienceReview.com
"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."