"The Benchmark AHB2 solid-state stereo power amplifier immediately grabbed the audio world’s attention about 7 years ago when it was introduced."
"There are already a number of reviews, so the purpose of this one is to add another data point, another reaction to add to the knowledge base of this remarkable amplifier."
"Just looking at the amplifier’s diminutive size of about 11 inches wide, 3.9 inches high, and 9.3 inches deep, and 12.5-pound weight will not prepare one for the quality of performance delivered by the nicely finished package."
"The key to the small size and weight is the “tightly regulated resonant switching power supply”, which is claimed to be over 90% efficient. A switching power supply does not require “big iron” power transformers and large capacitors."
"One might well assume that due to these specs the amplifier is some kind of Class D “digital” tech. Not so! The amplifier has a low-bias bipolar class AB output stage which produces far less heat than most other amplifier bias schemes, especially those with high bias Class A output stages."
"Other significant technologies include patented THX-AAA feed forward error correction. This is critical to the excellent sound of the amplifier as it eliminates crossover distortion, the common bane of push-pull amplifiers."
"Immediately upon cuing up the first musical selection, it was perfectly obvious that the AHB2 has outstanding extension in the upper treble, seemingly unlimited. In this regard, the Benchmark amplifier should be compared to excellent Class A or AB amplifier technology."
"The AHB2 lacks the characteristic, almost subliminal harshness in the upper frequencies that is observed in some push-pull amplifiers, but absent in single-ended amplifiers."
"The overall sound is very true to the recording with regular 'virtual reality'-like experiences. These last for long periods of a listening session, not just as a momentary feeling of great sound. This is due to the exceptional linearity across the musical spectrum. The coherence and resolution of all sounds - which have stunning low level resolution - is special, encouraging the listener to maximally enjoy a musical performance."
"The imaging and sound stage is 3D, large and stable. It is a simple exercise to point a finger directly at a performer, even when several are present in the recording. The sonic image is remarkably focused and apparent."
"The Benchmark AHB2 is a very fine sounding, easy to live with, zero-maintenance power amplifier that has enough power for most systems. If more power is needed, two amplifiers configured for mono can provide it. The decision to purchase the review sample and make the Benchmark AHB2 a new, long term reference took over a month of listening and comparisons."
"The outstanding musicality of the Benchmark AHB2 takes some time to convince the listener of its wholly musical presentation. This subtle excellence assures long term satisfaction."
-10 Audio, Perfect 10 Award
"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
Alpha-Audio.net tested 10 DACs side-by-side. Only one received the "Alpha-Audio Approved" award. That DAC was the Benchmark DAC3.
"Are you looking for the best DAC (d/a converter) in the price range from 1500 euro to 2500 euro? That’s great! Because we’ve put ten beauties side by side. And we tested it live on camera for you."
"It was incredibly instructive to put so many converters side by side. We clearly hear differences - and the viewers could as well."
"One of the models we all agreed on is the benchmark DAC3. This is a delicious musical product. Virtually no coloring, nice stereo image and plenty of inputs."
DAC3 - Alpha-Audio Approved!
"Prior to reviewing these Benchmark components, I had heard the company’s products powering some of my favorite-sounding rooms at several audio shows. Based on what I’d heard at these shows, I was eager to hear how this equipment could perform in my own listening room."
"Listening to the Benchmark gear in my own room, I felt an immediate and gratifying emotional connection to the music I was hearing."
"The LA4 and AHB2 tear down so many of the usual walls that come between the listener and the music."
"If you value transparency and accuracy, the LA4 and AHB2 will perform beyond your highest expectations."
- Drew Gagliano, The Audio Beatnik