"The LA4’s relay-managed volume control has 256 steps of adjustment of 0.5dB each, and is fully balanced -- each channel has its own dedicated attenuator. Each increment of volume adjustment produces a satisfying click from the 40 relays inside. Other circuit features include precision-timed relay closures, gold contact points in the relays, and metal-film resistors."
"The LA4 has an expansive specified frequency response of 0.1Hz-500kHz, -3dB. Other impressive specs include a signal/noise ratio of >137dB (A-weighted) and total harmonic distortion (THD) of <-125dB (<0.00006%). Benchmark has also tested the LA4 for “immunity to radiated and conducted radio frequency interference.”"
"Benchmark Media Systems’ LA4 preamplifier presented an utterly realistic reproduction of what was contained on each recording I played through it -- and weak recordings stood out more than usual. The LA4’s clean, analytical abilities are unmatched by any similarly priced preamplifier I know of. The LA4’s touchscreen brings it up to date with current user interfaces, and permits functions, such as balance control and muting at the device."
"Operation of the user interface is intuitive -- I found the LA4’s many features easy to find and adjust."
"The LA4 was designed from the ground up as an ultra-low-noise, ultra-low-distortion mate for the AHB2 power amplifier, which my brother Hans reviewed on SoundStage! Access in June 2015. Our measurements of the AHB2 confirmed that it had the lowest noise and distortion of any power amp we’ve ever measured. Benchmark claims that the LA4 (and HPA4) “may be the only preamplifiers or line amplifiers that [exceed] the signal-to-noise ratio of the ultra-quiet AHB2.” If so, the LA4 may be closer to the elusive ideal of a “straight wire with gain” than almost any other preamplifier on the market at any price."
"If you want a preamp that editorializes, look elsewhere."
"If, like me, you value a high-resolution, totally neutral musical performance, add a Benchmark LA4 to your system, particularly if you already own a Benchmark DAC."
- Erich Wetzel, SoundStage! Hi-Fi
"There are many things that come into play when putting together a hi-fi system, one of which is synergy."
"After the arrival of the Benchmark Media Systems AHB2, I immediately thought of the matching HPA4 that colleagues Jaap and Yung were very pleased with."
"The key question, of course, was whether the HPA4 would really provide an audible improvement."
"Well you bet! The synergy between preamp and power amplifier is nothing short of magical, not to mention the DAC3 B that I got from importer Helios for the occasion."
"Not only a few curtains disappear, the whole window is gone."
- Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio
"The Benchmark AHB2 is a very fine sounding, easy to live with, zero-maintenance power amplifier that has enough power for most systems. If more power is needed, two amplifiers configured for mono can provide it. The decision to purchase the review sample and make the Benchmark AHB2 a new, long term reference took over a month of listening and comparisons."
"The outstanding musicality of the Benchmark AHB2 takes some time to convince the listener of its wholly musical presentation. This subtle excellence assures long term satisfaction."
-10 Audio, Perfect 10 Award
Alpha-Audio.net tested 10 DACs side-by-side. Only one received the "Alpha-Audio Approved" award. That DAC was the Benchmark DAC3.
"Are you looking for the best DAC (d/a converter) in the price range from 1500 euro to 2500 euro? That’s great! Because we’ve put ten beauties side by side. And we tested it live on camera for you."
"It was incredibly instructive to put so many converters side by side. We clearly hear differences - and the viewers could as well."
"One of the models we all agreed on is the benchmark DAC3. This is a delicious musical product. Virtually no coloring, nice stereo image and plenty of inputs."
DAC3 - Alpha-Audio Approved!