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AHB2 Review - Peter Davey, Positive Feedback

AHB2 Review - Peter Davey, Positive Feedback

Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier

AHB2 - "It's phenomenal! Gobs of power, detail, finesse and control."

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"Benchmark has been around for a long time. In fact, they are one of the early Audiophile pioneers of USB DACs ... I had always thought of them as more of a digital conversion company, and not an amplifier company—until the AHB2 came about."

"A PF colleague of mine (Steven Lefkowicz) said... Dude, you HAVE to try the Benchmark in your system (which at the time was going through a gamut of speaker changes as part of a myriad of reviews being done for PF) to which I replied, wow, they have an amp?"

Benchmark AHB2 rear panel

"I was immediately taken aback with the level of detail given to this unit. Just one glance at the back plate will tell you that this is a well-engineered piece of equipment. Fully Balanced = Check. Speakon Outputs = Check. Bridging Support = Check. Input Sensitivity Adjustment = Check. 12v Trigger support = Check."

Benchmark AHB2 Silver

"The front panel is rather minimalist; a few LEDs to indicate the health of the amp and a power button. There is even a way to program the amp to turn on if it senses power so one can integrate it into a secondary power system if you wanted to (which then turns the power button into a mute circuit). Or, just leave it on all of the time. Even at LOUD levels, it does not get hot."

"I'm currently running it at a 4 Ohm stereo load, and the 190 Watts is going a long way! To be honest I haven't heard the amp clip yet, and I listen to music at cathartic levels sometimes (sorry, neighbors!). I believe these measurements to be on the conservative side."

"So, how does it sound, after all of that? Well, this thing is no slouch. It's phenomenal! Gobs of power, detail, finesse and control. I have thrown so much music at this tiny little amp, that I just can't seem to beat it to submission. It just takes it in and gives it right back. The damping factor is really at play here."

"For the price, you just can't beat it. If you have been looking for an all-in-one chassis stereo Class A/B amplifier that is reliable, energy efficient, and one of the best designs on the market, this is the ticket (it even comes in Black!). Most other offerings are at LEAST twice as expensive, and I can speak from experience that they don't sound half as good as this one. If I had the means, I'd keep this one as a perfect Swiss-army knife and never let it go. Hell, if you're feeling insecure about power, you can get two of them for cheaper than most Class A/B monoblocks out there, and have twice the power. Think no more, do it!"

- Peter Davey, Positive Feedback

Read the full review →

Steve Lefkowicz's review of an all-Benchmark system (DAC2, AHB2 & SMS1), Positive Feedback →

Gary L Beard's review of the AHB2 and DAC2, Positive Feedback →

PF Writer's Choice Award 2016 for AHB2


Also in Reviews

AHB2 Review - Constantine Soo, Dagogo

AHB2 Review - Constantine Soo, Dagogo

by Benchmark Media Systems April 02, 2024

 

Benchmark AHB2 - Black

 

"The AHB2 bridgeable stereo amplifier ... was the topic of a recent discussion between American electrostatic panel speaker manufacturer Sound Lab’s president, Dr. Roger West, and me."

"In our discussion, he related his highly positive experience in driving even his largest, $55k Majestic 945 panels with the $7,000 pair of Benchmark Media AHB2 monoblocks, along with the $3,050 LA4 Preamplifier and factory XLR cables."

"Dr. West described the AHB2 as a class AB design using “feed-forward distortion reduction [thus removing] any possibility of pushing the margin of safety of a standard feedback loop, used in most amplifiers, into an unstable oscillatory mode.”"

"He further shared with me that “this is of most concern on powerful musical transients. The distortion of the amplifier in the balanced mode is astonishingly low even at just below the clipping level of 380 watts.”"

"The prospect of the AHB2’s specified distortion level of 0.00015% or lower when at full volume is comical at first glance, but upon actual audition the impact of the achievement is very audible from medium-high listening levels and upward."

"It was unlike any other sub-$20,000 amplifier I have auditioned."

"My audition of the Benchmark Media AHB2 amplifiers underscores the reason Dr. West is so taken by it, and confirms the design is best described as a watershed moment in the high-end audio industry."

- Constantine Soo, Dagogo

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DAC3 Review - Jerry Del  Colliano

DAC3 Review - Jerry Del Colliano

by Benchmark Media Systems April 02, 2024

Benchmark DAC3 B with Silver Faceplate

"Benchmark is a stalwart brand in pro audio, but has carved out a very respectable niche in the audiophile world with their diminutive but powerful components."

Benchmark DAC3 B Studio Version with Rackmount Faceplate

"The audiophile world sometimes looks to the professional audio world for enlightenment, especially on the digital side of things, and Benchmark Media is one of the companies that we put high on a pedestal."

"They are hardcore digital engineers freezing their asses off in upstate New York as they come up with some pretty innovative ways to get your varied digital sources sounding as much like the master tape as possible. Thank you for your service, gentlemen."

"If you really want to hear what your music sounds like in today’s streaming-driven world, this might just be the DAC that you need to test out."

- Jerry Del Colliano, Future Audiophile

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DAC3 & AHB2 - System Review, Trevor Butler, The-Ear.net

DAC3 & AHB2 - System Review, Trevor Butler, The-Ear.net

by Benchmark Media Systems March 28, 2024

Editor's Choice Award - DAC3 and AHB2 - the-ear.net

"I began with the DAC3 HGC and AHB2 powering the glorious Morel Avyra 633 three-way floorstanders."

"This pairing created a full-bodied sound which brought the recording to life."

"Notable from the off was the bass from the DAC3 HGC and AHB2."

"Wow! It was deep, tight and conveyed a real feeling that the electronics were in charge of the transducers."

"Involuntary foot-tapping confirmed the timing ability and the overall presentation was spot-on, the Benchmark electronics created a fluent sound across a vivid soundstage; performers evident both tonally and spatially in an easy-to-believe presentation that brought the performance close."

"The Benchmark’s ability to retrieve deep-down detail and display it so well across the soundstage, with accurate positioning and convincing layering, made for a glorious re-creation of the recordings."

"To my mind the AHB2 is an amplifier with no obvious characteristics of its own: the level of transparency is sublime."

"Above all, the improved transient response performance stood out in a presentation that was not only lively but incredibly fast and revealing. The attack and decay displayed was awesome and not something I expect at this price point."

"The Benchmark DAC3 HGC and AHB2 are cracking products, sonically superior to a lot that’s available and well priced."

"They are superbly designed and built to an extremely high standard."

- Trevor Butler, the-ear.net

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