"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 on the Saturday to be greeted by two 87” tall white sticks in the middle of the room."
"These skinny posts that for all the world could pass as antennas were in fact a pair of line array speakers by a company called Laufer Teknik. Called The Note, each speaker is an array of 50 tiny full-range drivers. The arrays are crossed over to a pair of SVS subwoofers."
"The whole shebang was controlled by a DEQX preamp/processor. Next in the signal path was a pair of Benchmark DAC3 B DACs and a pair of AHB2 amplifiers running in mono. An Elephant memory player rounded out the gear."
"The intent of this setup is to create a 360 degree sense of sound with an image that didn’t change at any point in the room. Jim and I tested this out by walking the room and even standing between them. 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
LA4 - Receives Stereophile's Highest "Class A" Rating for Preamplifiers
"Benchmark's usual approach to design is to out-spec the competition, and so it is here. Like other Benchmark equipment he has tested, the affordable LA4 challenged the resolution of John Atkinson's test instruments, with'superb'channel separation,'extremely low noise, and virtually no power-supply-related spuriae.'"
"Benchmark's LA4 is the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I have encountered."- John Atkinson
"In his listening room, Kalman Rubinson compared the LA4 to a cable—and couldn't hear any difference. He concludes,'the LA4 is probably the most transparent and revealing audio component I've ever used. It does not seem to leave any fingerprints on the sound.'"
"The DAC3 B is a stripped- down, lower-priced version of the DAC3 HGC, which omits the headphone amplifier, balanced and unbalanced analog inputs, volume, mute, and polarity controls."- Stereophile
"The DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects...I heard deeper into the music."
"All I can say is Wow!"
- John Atkinson
"In a Follow-Up, JCA wrote of using the Benchmark processor with the same company's AHB2 power amp—a combination of high source output voltage and modest amplifier gain that he describes as 'optimal for minimizing noise and distortion' —and reported hearing 'richer and more interesting' reproduction of very subtle details."