HPA4 Review - Gary Galo, Audioexpress.com

by Benchmark Media Systems October 31, 2019 3 min read

"You’ll have a tough time finding a cleaner, quieter, more transparent line amplifier and headphone amplifier anywhere, at any price. I found it to be a new reference. Once I heard it, I could not live without it, so I purchased the review sample. The HPA4 deserves my highest recommendation."

"The HPA4 is the latest product from Benchmark Media Systems, an upstate New York audio manufacturer."

"We think very highly of the products that Benchmark and John Siau, the company's director of engineering, have been launching in the market - and I'm certain our readers share that opinion."

"Benchmark calls it a headphone amplifier, but it’s really two products in one, combining the LA4 Line Amplifier introduced in 2018, with a headphone amplifier. It is also based on the same THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier technology used in Benchmark’s acclaimed AHB2 power amplifier."

- Gary Galo, Audioxpress.com

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DAC3 Review and Test Report - Gary Galo, Audioxpress

by Benchmark Media Systems June 09, 2017 2 min read

DAC3 HGC"Benchmark has taken an already remarkable product and moved it to the next level"

"Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.’s DAC series of high-performance digital-to-analog converters (DACs) have earned the respect of audio enthusiasts and professional users alike for their state-of-the-art performance, including exceptional audio transparency and vanishingly-low levels of noise and distortion. Now Benchmark has made its DAC3 even better with the upgrade to ESS Technology’s new ES9028PRO DAC chip."

The ES9028PRO has four key areas of improvement over its predecessor:
  • Total harmonic distortion (THD) compensation
  • Improved oversampling filters
  • Improved phase-locked loop (PLL)
  • Improved power supply distribution

    "Benchmark considers the THD compensation to be the most significant improvement."

    - Gary Galo, AudioXpress
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    SMS1 Review - Gary Galo, Audioxpress

    by Benchmark Media Systems September 01, 2015 2 min read

    SMS1 - "I easily preferred the Benchmark"

    "I easily preferred the Benchmark SMS1 to the other three loudspeaker systems, for both the classical and the popular recordings. It provided the largest and most spacious soundstage, the most precise imaging, with solo vocals accurately placed in the center of the stereo image."


    "If you’re in the market for a small, accurate monitoring system, the SMS1 deserves serious consideration."

    - Gary Galo, Audioxpress

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    DAC2 DX Review - Gary Galo, Audioxpress

    by Benchmark Media Systems July 29, 2015 2 min read

    DAC2 DX"Sonic performance in an entirely new league"

    "The sonic performance of the DAC2 DX is in an entirely new league when compared to the DAC1 (I still have a DAC1 USB available for comparison). First, the tonal balance is extremely neutral, without any of the DAC1’s brightness. The DAC2 DX also has a harmonic richness which, by comparison, I find somewhat lacking in the DAC1."

    "Since I reviewed the OPPO BDP-105 in audioXpress, I’ve been searching for a reasonably-priced D/A converter that will actually improve the OPPO’s performance as a stand-alone player."

    "The Benchmark DAC2 DX is a hands-down improvement over the OPPO as a stand-alone player, especially in the areas of inner detail, soundstaging, high-frequency airiness, and bass. The extreme low end is both deeper and better controlled than the OPPO. Dynamics, across the spectrum, are excellent."

    "Benchmark’s goal in all of its products is ultimate precision and accuracy, and the DAC2 DX tells the truth about every source it’s fed, while being free of unmusical artifacts sometimes associated with digital audio."

    - Gary Galo, audioxpress

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    AHB2 Review - Gary Galo, AudioXpress

    by Benchmark Media Systems March 16, 2015 1 min read

    AHB2 - "Redefines the Word 'Transparency'"

    "Benchmark and THX have clearly set out to produce the most accurate amplifier possible, free of the colorations - euphonic or otherwise - that we've come to expect from most amplifiers."

    "The difficulty in creating an "accurate" amplifier, as opposed to a "euphonic" one, is that an accurate amplifier's designer must make absolutely certain the amplifier doesn't add any unpleasant character of its own. In this regard, the AHB2 is a resounding success."

    "The most immediately striking characteristic of the amplifier is the jaw-dropping level of detail and resolution. The AHB2 redefines the word "transparency" and will make many competing amplifiers sound veiled and foggy by comparison."

    "The speed of this amplifier gives percussion instruments a crisp, well-defined quality."

    "This amplifier's performance in the bass is nothing short of phenomenal - easily the best I've ever heard"

    "The AHB2 delivers the entire envelope of sound with incredible precision and realism."

    - Gary Galo, audioXpress

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