"With roots in the broadcast and professional recording industries, Benchmark designs and engineers their equipment with a “measurements first” mentality. In mission-critical environments where a flat frequency response is not just expected but required, it’s imperative that the equipment doesn’t impart any of its own sonic character on the source material."
"This accurate reproduction enables recording engineers and producers to showcase their creative talents. Benchmark aims to give you the same experience musicians and engineers have in their studios when they play a recording they have just mastered; pure sonic perfection."
"The LA4 is a straightforward line-level preamp with four analog inputs, two analog outputs, and a summed mono output for a powered subwoofer. A relay stepped attenuator that uses gold precision-matched relays controls the volume level. From top to bottom, the design of the LA4 was meant to do one thing; preserve the sonic integrity of the material that passes through it."
"The Benchmark AHB2 is more than a quiet amplifier – it’s a silent one. When powered on, it exudes no noise whatsoever from its chassis, nor is there any hiss from the connected speakers. You can literally put your ear an inch away from the tweeter, and all you will hear is complete silence."
"Prior to reviewing these Benchmark components, I had heard the company’s products powering some of my favorite-sounding rooms at several audio shows. Based on what I’d heard at these shows, I was eager to hear how this equipment could perform in my own listening room."
"Two words immediately came to mind — unrestricted dynamics."
"I was shocked at the effortless dynamic swings that I heard from some of my favorite classical and jazz performances. I was also stunned by how certain sounds seemed to leap instantaneously out of the speakers and truly startle me."
"I had previously used the Comete EZ speakers with three other amplifiers, and I didn’t notice this explosive sensation. It was a genuine “you don’t know what you’re missing until you hear it” moment for me."
"Listening to the Benchmark gear in my own room, I felt an immediate and gratifying emotional connection to the music I was hearing. This unmistakable feeling was unique for me, and it was repeatable."
"As an audiophile, I strive to hear the soul, energy, and emotion contained within the music. My goal with this hobby is to enjoy that multi-faceted experience every time I listen. Pure transparency and unrestricted insight into my music is now affordable!"
- Drew Gagliano, The Audio Beatnik
"I don't think it is sterile sounding at all ... it is very neutral."
"In the studio, neutral, flat and detailed are on the top of my list."
"The HPA4 is speeding up my work, helping me make better decisions."
- Ken Jacobsen, Ken Jacobsen Music
"It has already been noted in previous reviews that the professional market often offers products that may also be of interest to the 'ordinary' consumer. In Japan in particular, home systems often consist of a mix of consumer equipment and (vintage) professional items."
"Benchmark was founded in 1983 and started building professional audio equipment."
"The goal, from the outset, is to build sound-transparent equipment of the highest quality. The employees are musicians, audiophiles and audio technicians. So sound quality is top notch."
"The HPA4 and LA4 are preamplifiers and largely identical. The HPA4 also has a built-in headphone amplifier."
"The Benchmark HPA4 and LA4 preamps deliver a very high quality neutral and transparent signal."
"Developed from a professional focus on sound reproduction, they bring the essence of the recording closer to the listener."
- Ruud Jonker, FWD Magazine, fwd.nl
"Before I dig into the sound of the LA4 it is important to know that it employs a wide bandwidth design. The LA4’s bandwidth is specified at 0.2 Hz to 500 kHz."
"Most of the wide bandwidth designs I have heard exhibit ... a purity in tone with superb timing and speed ... the LA4 proved to be no exception."
"The Benchmark LA4 yielded a change that was quickly apparent in several areas. Notably were; bass, upper midrange, treble, low-level listening, and the ability to distinguish the colorations of other components that were contributing to my overall sound."
"Acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica among many other instruments are presented with speed, clarity, and coherency that made them sound more “present” in the room and less like a recording."
"The Benchmark LA4 is simply the most transparent, least colored, and most revealing component I have had in my system to date. I look forward to it joining my stable of reference components."
- Ken Redmond, The Audio Beatnik