AHB2 Lab Evaluation - AVMENTOR.net

Benchmark Media Systems - June 15, 2016

AHB2 › HiFi › Test Reports ›

AHB2 - "This stable and load-independent behavior ... is something not often encountered"

"AHB2's output power ... easily confirmed the specs given by the company itself."

"Based on this performance, the amplifier seems more than capable of driving difficult loads."

"Damping factor was estimated above 200, therefore, no system frequency response discrepancies, due to loudspeaker's impedance variability, should be expected."

"In distortion measurements, AHB2's behavior was impressive ..."

"The amplifier's spectral behavior does not seem to change significantly with a 4-Ohm load at its outputs."

"This stable and load-independent behavior of the output stage is something not often encountered."

"This performance clearly shows that the Benchmark/THX design approach works ... the result is a power stage with very low distortion, indeed."

"The noise performance of the amplifier was, also, top-class ... there is an apparent absence of noise components from the power supply ... this is a remarkable behavior, especially with the output stage under load conditions ..."

- Dimitris Stamatakos, AVMENTOR.net

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DAC2 Lab Evaluation - AVMENTOR.net

Benchmark Media Systems - April 05, 2016

DAC2 › HiFi › Test Reports ›

DAC2 HGC - "Offered a very high level of performance, with very low distortion"

"The noise spectrum shows that the DAC2 HGC is indeed a very quiet device without problems of interference or hum."

"Frequency response is flat across the entire range of measurement without a visible cut-off towards the lower frequencies, and with a rather mild roll-off at very high frequencies close to 80kHz. The differences between the two channels are small, in the range of 0.2dB."

"The THD+N Vs Frequency graph does not hide any unpleasant surprises. The curves (for an output level of 1Vrms) are below 0.003% with an apparent increasing trend from the 10kHz upwards but with minimal level-depended variation, an indication for a good analog stage design."

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AHB2 - "A Technical Tour de Force Without any Question"

"The Benchmark amplifier is quieter than any other amplifier I am aware of."

"It has noise of around 110 dB down relative to 1 watt, and since it has 100 watts of power, the signal-to-noise ratio that is relevant to resolution is around 130 dB."

"The Benchmark also has extremely low distortion—among the lowest around and surely far below known thresholds."

"The Benchmark can be used in bridged mode, to give 400 watts into 8 ohms (actually 380W is specified). That ought to be enough for most applications except in extremely large rooms."

"The Benchmark AHB2 amplifier is a technical tour de force without any question."

- Robert E. Green, The Absolute Sound, April 2016

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DAC2 DX - "had some of the lowest distortion of any DAC we have ever tested"

"Listening to my music collection via USB was a pleasure with this DAC. It had a very musical sound, reminding me of a Class A triode tube amplifier. When you check out the bench tests, you will see why."

"For my money, the Benchmark DAC2 DX represents one of the best values in high end audio today."

- John E. Johnson, Jr., Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

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AHB2 - "An extraordinary amplifier ... its performance lies at the limits of what is possible for me to reliably test"

"Conventionally, it is assumed that the measurement system used to test a product is much better than the device under test."

"However, the Benchmark amplifier's specifications are close to those of my Audio Precision system ... correctly characterizing the AHB2's measured performance would therefore present a challenge. The second and third harmonics lie close to the residual distortion in the Audio Precision's signal generator."

"The Benchmark amplifier has a claimed S/N ratio "approaching 130dB," which, at 6.02dB per bit, is equivalent to more than 21-bit resolution. It is truly a high-resolution amplifier." 

"Benchmark Media Systems' AHB2 is an extraordinary amplifier."

- John Atkinson, Stereophile

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HRA System - "I was impressed with the sense of space"

"I was admittedly quite cruel with my initial choice of listening material ... Vladimir Homyakov playing Bach organ works on the Eule organ at St. Alexander Church in Cheylyabinsk. Yes, we're going to try playing organ music on a modestly-sized pair of bookshelf speakers! And my jaw dropped. Unexpected depth there is, and natural it sounds too. I was also impressed with the sense of space the system created; it felt uncannily as if I was in the church"

"Benchmark ... has managed an impressive feat. If you want a large-scale yet musical sound but don't have the space for big boxes, they're well worth checking out."

- Martin Pipe, Hi-Fi World

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DAC2 HGC - "Better performance than DACs ten times its price"

"Superb: I have used that word a number of times to describe the results returned by the Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and there is really no better word to describe its overall performance as well."

"I have analysed the test results of a half-a-dozen of the world's best DACs, most of which sell for more than ten times the price of the DAC2, and across almost all parameters tested the performance of the Benchmark DAC2 HGC equals or exceeds that of every single one of those DACs."

"This is digital audio engineering at its very best."

- Steve Holding, Newport Test Labs

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AHB2 - "Less distortion and noise than any other power amp I’ve measured over the years"

"All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs."

"The AHB2 is Benchmark’s attempt to produce a very-low-distortion, low-noise power amplifier using THX’s AAA Technology, which linearizes the amp’s class-AB output stage without using large amounts of overall negative feedback. I must say that they’ve succeeded; I measured less distortion and noise in the AHB2 than in any other of the many power amps I’ve measured over the years."

"High-frequency THD+N is admirably low, and in stereo and mono modes, the AHB2’s level of distortion throughout most of the power range is amazingly low."

"... the signal harmonics -- consisting of the third and fifth harmonics in stereo mode -- are extremely low in amplitude."

- BHK Labs, SoundStage!

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AHB2 - "I was struck by just how much focus and clarity was on offer"

"This is an amplifier with very serious slam, and – even better for those with less sensitive speakers, big rooms or just a hankering for ‘just in front of the PA stack’ listening levels – it keeps it all together however loud you decide to play things."

"If that doesn't make you smile every time you listen, I don't know what will."

- Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News

"... the widest A-wtd S/N ratio of any amplifier I've measured in some 30 years."

- Paul Miller, Hi-Fi News

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AHB2 - "Dynamic, open, with quick, taut bass - yet with the silky ease of the best tube amp"

"Like the Benchmark D/As and A/D, the company believes that great measurements correlate to great sound. In the case of the AHB2 I totally agree."

"The AHB2’s sonic character is dynamic, open, with quick, taut bass - yet with the silky ease of the best tube amp. But tube amps don’t have the energy and speed in the transients, nor bass, that the Benchmark possesses."

"I can’t wait to get two more for a full-high-end home cinema amp test in my big A/V room. For now, based on mostly stereo listening, it receives, with certainty, an Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award."

- John Gatski, Everything Audio Network

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