DAC2 and AHB2 - "Open, Colorful, Well-Balanced, and Immediate"
"I loved the open, colorful, well-balanced, and immediate sound of this system."
"I was happy to have finally heard the Benchmark AHB2 power amp that Kal Rubinson and so many others have raved about."
"The courage to play banjo music: that's something the lucky showgoer encounters only in those rooms whose sponsors know—really, really know—that their systems won't make a horrid, clattery, barbed-wire-on-glass mess of it. The people representing Benchmark Media Systems electronics and Studio Electric loudspeakers had such confidence, and it was not misplaced: I loved the open, colorful, well-balanced, and immediate sound of this system—and I was happy to have finally heard the Benchmark AHB2 power amp that Kal Rubinson and so many others have raved about. Also in the system was the Benchmark DAC2 HGC DAC/preamp."
"Special mention is due the Studio Two loudspeaker ($7500/pair with stands) from Studio Electric, a company I wasn't familiar with before CAF 2016. This deep-boxed speaker combines an 8" woofer with a 1" compression driver that's loaded with a MacPherson horn. The manufacturer's specs include a 6-ohm impedance and a sensitivity of 93dB. I was very impressed."
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."