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HPA4 Review - Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News

HPA4 Review - Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News

Benchmark HPA4 Silver

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HPA4 - Hi-Fi News "Outstanding Product"

"Benchmark describes its product as a 'reference Stereo Headphone Amplifier and Reference Line Amplifier with Relay Gain and Input Control', which should give you some idea of what's going on here, but only hints at the fact that this is actually two completely separate products packed into one relatively compact unit."

"Unlike most headphone amps able to do double duty as a preamp, this one doesn't split its output ... but actually has discrete amplifier sections for the two functions."

Benchmark AHB2 Audio Power Amplifier

Same THX AAA Technology is Used in AHB2

"The headphone section is powered by a power amp from THX, employing the same AAA (Achromatic Audio Amplifier) technology first used by the company in its AHB2."

Benchmark HPA4 inside view

Relay Controlled Gain and Input Selection

"Benchmark's line amplifier uses relays for input selection, gain control and muting while four independent 256-step attenuators ... feed the the headphone ... and preamp outputs."

"As PM notes in his Lab Report, this design gives the HPA4 not only outstanding performance, but also rather impressive - to say the least - signal delivery."

Sound

"All of a track or two should do the trick, as whether with revealing headphones ... or used as a preamp, the HPA4 simply drops jaws with the sheer impact, openness and vivacity of the way it plays music."

"I played a new Channel Classics recording, pianist Anna Fedorova's Four Fantasies [CCS 41318; DSD 256], and was instantly struck by the way it sprang to life, with every element of the playing, and the size of the Steinway in a credible concert-hall acoustic, readily on display."

"It was one of those real 'performer in the room' experiences and I was instantly transported back to the time I spent monitoring the recording as it was being made in the Eindhoven Muziekgebouw back in July."

"The HPA4 can certainly rock out, it prodigious capability when it comes to output levels meaning it can five as much as your phones can take."

"Its beauty is that it sets no limits on your system: any failings audible will need to be looked for elsewhere."

- Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News

HiFi HPA4 review page 1

Read the entire article from the November 2018 issue →

HPA4 Rear Panel

Benchmark HPA4 rear panel


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"The Sound of Silence"

"Benchmark Audio is an engineering focused company with a deep heritage in the recording studio world."

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"The HPA4 is a Headphone Amplifier and Preamp that incorporates the THX-888(AAA) achromatic audio amplifier circuit that was first introduced to the world in the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier."

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Listening

I used the track "Slink" from the brand-new Artemis album on Blue Note."

"It is a very dynamic driving track and the Artemis ensemble makes the most of it. The HPA4 and revealed all the sonic details of this track."

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