AHB2 Review - Mono Mode - Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio

by Benchmark Media Systems May 18, 2021 2 min read

AHB2 Review - Mono Mode - Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio

"Benchmark Media Systems Inc from Syracuse, New-York is an American company and has been one of the top pro-audio manufacturers for thirty years. In recent years they have also ventured into the consumer market with considerable success. Their first commercial product, the Dac1, was very well received worldwide."

"Of course it didn't stop with d/a converters. In collaboration with THX came the AHB2 power amplifier and not much later they developed a suitable headphone amplifier and preamplifier, the HPA4 and LA4 respectively."

 

Benchmark HPA4 Headphone and Line AmplifierBenchmark LA4 Line Amplifier

 

"The HPA4 and AHB2 have been a fixture in our reference set for several years now."

Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier

Versatility

"These devices are indestructible, wonderfully compact and not very heavy."

"Their greatest quality, however, is their versatility. With the HPA4 you can adjust the balance, name each input, set each input separately (useful when testing DACs) and control the volume very precisely."

"The AHB2 is also particularly versatile for a power amplifier. For example, you can adjust the gain (useful when testing DACs with volume control), a SpeakOn connection is possible and you can convert them into a monoblock."

Speaker Cable with SpeakOn Connector

 

SpeakOn NL2 to Locking Banana - Speaker Cable

 

 

AHB2 Rear Panel

The AHB2 rear panel features XLR inputs,  SpeakOn outputs, a 3-position gain switch and a Stereo/Mono switch.

Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier - Rear Panel

Testing an AHB2 pair in Monoblock Mode

"In stereo mode we get a nice 100 watts (8 ohms class A/B) but in mono that goes to an impressive 380 watts!"

"We set the small switch on the back of the AHB2s to mono and connect each speaker to an AHB2."

Conclusion

"Is it worth buying a second AHB2?"

"We say a resounding yes."

"The extra power (380 watts!) not only gives you more control over your speakers, but so much more."

"The AHB2 is not cheap, but it does deliver great quality. It is particularly versatile, compact and indestructible. And even more than in stereo, the playback in mono is 'off the charts'."

Caution!

"There's no going back really. You have been warned!"

- Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio

Read the full review here →



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