"There are many things that come into play when putting together a hi-fi system, one of which is synergy."
"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."
"This is a great touchscreen that works very intuitively. You never have to think twice to run any function. This is where Benchmark's pro background comes into play."
"The 'killer feature' on the HPA4 for me is the ability to make each input play equally loud. Adjusting the gain so that different sources and dacs are equalized is a fantastic tool."
"Balance control is also an important feature given the fact that listening spaces are never perfect."
"Remote controls are a pet peeve of mine, but this one is a 'beauty'. It is beautifully made and it fits perfectly in the hand. It has just the right selection of buttons, nothing extra, nothing missing. Adjusting the volume, choosing the inputs and being able to mute every now and then are the most important features.The other settings, which you usually only have to do once, are made via the touchscreen."
"Initially I thought to buy an LA4 (preamp only) because I am not really a headphone aficionado and because I thought that the LA4 would perform slightly better... but Benchmark assured us that the line amplifier is identical in both devices."
"The HPA4 is the best deal because for a limited additional charge you get one of the best headphone amps on the planet."
"The DAC3 B also fits seamlessly into the system. So much so that we prefer it to the Metrum Acoustics Onyx in this setup. Once again proof that synergy is important."
"The HPA4 has now taken a permanent place in my reference system."
"The slogan of Benchmark Media Systems actually sums it all up nicely: “Benchmark ... the measure of excellence!”"
- Geoffrey Vanhouwaert, Alpha-Audio
Note: The quotes above were translated from Dutch. The full review (in Dutch) is available below.
Jim Austin wrote, "The DAC3 was all about depths, in several respects . . . I heard deeper into the music."
The concise conclusion to John Atkinson's Measurements sidebar: "All I can say is 'Wow!'"
In a Follow-Up, Jim Austin 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.
- Stereophile Magazine
"The benchmark combination offers a full range of equipment that can hardly be topped, leaves nothing to be desired in terms of sound, and meets professional requirements without any ifs or buts."
"The HPA4 has the HIFIMan one hundred percent under control, eliciting neutral timbres, tons of spatial information and crisp dynamics."
"I connected everything the household had to offer in terms of speakers - Spendor S3 / 5, Ayon Seagull / c, Quad ESL57. It goes without saying that the American coped with the dynamic boxes with ease. But even the quads, which have some meanness on the part of their impedance, did not pose a challenge for the amp."
"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