HPA4 Review - Kevin Fiske, the-ear.net

by Benchmark Media Systems September 12, 2021 4 min read

"Benchmark’s HPA4 is the first item of audio kit I have encountered that peels apart the ying and the yang of audio to expose the fault line between those of us for whom measurements are all that matters… and those of us that approach audio from a more emotional, less scientific direction. But in another sense it might also bridge the divide."

HPA4 Driving the Audeze LCD-5

"It had been the arrival of Audeze’s latest flagship planar headphone the LCD-5 that had prompted me to ask if I might borrow an HPA4."

"With the LCD-5 being a statement 14 Ohm/90db design, I felt I owed it to Audeze and myself to try driving the headphone with an amplifier whose specs suggested that it could easily cope with the requirement for current."

"The LCD-5 and HPA4 made an impressive partnership."

"On more energetic material, such as Marcus Miller’s M2 album from 2001, and the aptly named track Power, the LCD-5 showed that the HPA4 couples deep reserves of low-end grunt with a good level of dynamic expression. At loud but not silly volumes, the boom and snap of Miller’s slap bass technique had timing and tonal qualities that to my ears – alas, I do not have Miller’s talent but I do play bass – sounded uncommonly real through the LCD-5 headphone."

"I’d encourage anyone in the market for a high-end headphone amplifier to audition an HPA4."

"It is a device that achieves stellar measurements, yet sounds excellent too; evidence that the science-based approach can deliver high musicality."

"The HPA4 can drive pretty much anything, its resolution is truly remarkable, and you will likely hear your music with an acuity as never before."

-Kevin Fiske, the-ear.net

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