AHB2 and HPA4 Review - Ulrike Schwarz, Anderson Audio NY

AHB2 and HPA4 Review - Ulrike Schwarz, Anderson Audio NY

by Benchmark Media Systems May 29, 2019

"The AHB2 power amps ... are fantastic."

"I use them as mono blocks due to my power hungry speakers."

"I hear clarity, precision and an openness in the treble that I haven't heard in my speakers before."

"The HPA4 line and headphone preamp and the power amps are made for each other..."

- Ulrike Schwarz, Anderson Audio NY

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HPA4 - Review - Tom Martin, The Absolute Sound

HPA4 - Review - Tom Martin, The Absolute Sound

by Benchmark Media Systems May 20, 2019

"I thought the HPA4 sounded as good as any headphone amp I’ve heard for dynamic headphones, and it might be the best of the lot ..."

"The HPA4 is exceptionally good at presenting a layered, dynamic, yet relaxed sound. You can hear these rich results on, for example, Eliza Gilkyson’s Hard Times in Babylon (Red House), where the instruments not only are clearly differentiated but also sound fully rendered, as live instruments do. You also can hear the overtones of each instrument as they decay, which makes them sound more real."

"... wish the review sample didn’t have to go back."

- Tom Martin, The Absolute Sound

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HPA4 -

HPA4 - "Best Headphone Amplifier" - AV Tech Media Awards 2018/2019

by Benchmark Media Systems January 22, 2019

"The headphone section, with its choice of 6.35 mm stereo or four-pin balanced XLR connectors ... really impresses with a smooth signal delivery."

"While on the one hand it can rock out when it needs to – its prodigious output means it can give as much power as your headphones can take – its sheer impact, openness and vivacity is jaw-dropping."

"An immaculate all-analogue design, the aptly named Benchmark is both technically and sonically as good as it gets."

- AV Tech Media Awards 2018/2019

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HPA4 -

HPA4 - "2018 Product of the Year" - Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems January 03, 2019

HPA4 - Top Product of 2018, All Categories

For 2018, Everything Audio Network has selected just one product for the honor of "Product of the Year". That product is the Benchmark HPA4 headphone/line amplifier.

"One of the most transparent audio products I have ever heard at any price"

"Marvelously open and clean"

- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

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DAC3 B & HPA4 - RMAF 2018 Show Report - EnjoytheMusic.com

DAC3 B & HPA4 - RMAF 2018 Show Report - EnjoytheMusic.com

by Benchmark Media Systems October 15, 2018

"Speaking of reference gear, few names in high-end audio are so closely attached to the reference sound as Benchmark. Their fantastic HPA4 reference amplifier could be found at booths throughout the show. This year, Benchmark was introducing its new DAC3 B."

"I spent some time playing around with the Benchmark pieces, and they really have a high quality pro-audio-like build to them. They're the polar opposite of some of these more DIY-feeling boutique amps and DACs out there – Benchmark has a very professional level of finish on it."

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HPA4 Review - Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News

HPA4 Review - Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News

by Benchmark Media Systems October 09, 2018

Hi-Fi News "Outstanding Product" Award

"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."

"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'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."

"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."

"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 ..."

 - Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News, November 2018

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HPA4 - Lab Report - Paul Miller, Hi-Fi News

HPA4 - Lab Report - Paul Miller, Hi-Fi News

by Benchmark Media Systems October 09, 2018

"Here's a brand that's aptly named - its products providing a 'benchmark' technical performance. The HPA4 is no exception with its relay-switched stepwise volume attenuator calibrated in 0.5 dB steps over a 'useable' 105 dB range."

"Distortion and noise are vanishingly low."

"The frequency response is ruler flat (+/- 0.01 dB) from 1 Hz - 100 kHz."

"The [line output] source impedance is a sensible 30 Ohms and the maximum output a huge 22 V."

"Via the headphone amp, the maximum voltage is 11.2 V and ... the maximum power output is a substantial 4.4W/25ohm and 7.7W/8ohm."

"So, not only will the HPA4 drive the toughest headphone loads but its ... insignificant -102 dBV (8uV) residual noise also ensures exceptionally quiet backgrounds when listening with the most sensitive headphones/earbuds."

"Distortion is broadly unaffected by loading."

"The source impedance is a low <0.6 Ohms up to 10 kHz, increasing to 0.78 Ohms at 20 kHz."

- Paul Miller, Hi-Fi News
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HPA4 - Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

HPA4 - Review - John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

by Benchmark Media Systems July 31, 2018

HPA4"One of the most transparent audio products I have ever heard at any price"

"Marvelously open and clean" 

"The HPA4 is a co-design by Benchmark and THX, Ltd. using the THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (AAA™) technology that was implemented in the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier a couple of years ago."

"The HPA4 is sonically neutral, distortion free and deeply dynamic."

"The rotary relay gain control features 256 steps in 0.5 dB increments."

"The key to a superior volume control is how it sounds when you turn it down ..."

"... you should be able to hear the gentle room reverb of drum cymbal or ringing piano note decay as you turn the volume down."

"The Benchmark HPA4 with its precision relay and ultra quiet amp section, sounds the same at reduced levels as it does when it is turned up."

"The Benchmark HPA4 is one of the most transparent headphone amps I have ever heard — at any price. Just as impressive is the line stage, which delivers volume control that many an esoteric analog or digital preamp could only dream of."

"To say I am impressed with Benchmark HPA4 would be an understatement."

"Based on my impressions, the Benchmark HPA4 receives two Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Awards. One for its headphone amp and one for its line stage. Folks, it is that good."

- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

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HPA4 Review - Tom's Corner, What's Best Forum

HPA4 Review - Tom's Corner, What's Best Forum

by Benchmark Media Systems July 27, 2018

HPA4 - "The best sounding headphone amp I've heard"

"For the first time in my audio life I can pin my ear to each speaker driver and hear absolutely no sound coming from the speakers in a quiet room with the system volume control at any position from minimum to maximum with no source material playing."


"I find that lowering the background noise paints the music on as black a canvas as possible and thus seems to bring out realistic low-level detail in recordings."

"The Benchmark HPA4 is the best sounding line amplifier I've yet heard. It's innovative approach to controlling system volume/SPL results in what for me is a uniquely transparent-to-source experience."

"It is also the best sounding headphone amp I've heard, both for very-insensitive, hard-to-drive phones and those sensitive enough to easily be used directly from a smart phone."

"The HPA4 truly stands apart in terms of measured and subjectively low background noise and distortion when driving either loudspeakers or headphones."

- tmallin, moderator of Tom's Corner, whatsbestforum.com

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