My humble review of the Benchmark AHB2 and LH4

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tone?, Jun 1, 2021.

  1. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    I never get tired of the LA4 AHB2 combo.

    it just sounds ‘ right’.
    Timbre is totally spot on to me.

    people may think that the amp is sterile or whatever being so technically well made.
    But it is whatever the music says.

    just glorious
     
    guestuser, johnnypaddock and timind like this.
  2. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    The playback is whatever the music says, minus the music that is removed by the excessive feed-forward feedback corrections.
     
  3. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    have you heard the amp?

    legit question
     
  4. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    I've heard the upper end of the Benchmark designed THX-AAA headphone amps that are using the same feed-forward amplifier design as the AHB2. And I'd never buy one of those amps. They sound clean to a fault. Clean to the point of lacking depth. I don't want any sort of amp based on that excessive feed-forward error correction design. I want an amp that can capture the soul of the music, not strip that soul away.
     
  5. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Location:
    Malaysia
    Looks like you have not heard the AHB2 and you feel it will lack depth and life. I don’t find that with the AHB2 in my set up. Used it with a simple Oppo HA-1 to a Cary Audio SLP-05 and it’s not lacking depth or lifeless. Hmmmm …
     
    timind likes this.
  6. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    How many of the Benchmark designed AAA style amps do I need to hear before I can decide that they style of sound they do is dimensionally flat and lacking soul. Their feed-forward correction is clean sound to a fault. Schiit has also demonstrated this distinction with their Magni Heresy headphone amp vs. their Magni 3+ headphone amp. The Heresy amp is multiple op-amps in a feedforward design to eliminate distortion. Great for measurements. The Magni 3+ is a discrete amp design with current-feedback. The Magni 3+ sounds better to my ears. Benchmark isn't the only audio company that knows how to do excessive feed-forward designs. There is a reason why Schiit's other amps don't use that all op-amp feed-forward design.
     
  7. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Location:
    Malaysia
    @Ham Sandwich … you said you listened to the headphone amps, safe to assume it’s with headphones. But the discussion here is the AHB2 with speakers.

    It’s almost akin to me, after owning the Freya+ for a very short period, then say all of Schiit’s power amps, that I’ve not heard before, sound kinda dull.

    We need apples to apples. If you did and don’t like the AHB2 at all, it’s a fair call. At least you heard it.
     
    timind likes this.
  8. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    How many Benchmark designed AAA amps do I need to hear before deciding that their feed-forward AAA is never going to work for me no matter how well it is supposedly done. It is the sound of clean to a fault. And I find that fault very faulting. I don't want an amp that sounds like that. That sort of sound has nothing to offer me.

    There are people using the AHB2 as a headphone amp to drive hard to drive headphones like the $6000 HiFiMan Susvara (you connect the headphones directly to the speaker taps). Eventually I'll get to hear that setup at a meet or get-together. But I'd much rather get to listen to the $6K Susvara with some other amp. Something with imaging depth and soul.
     
  9. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    How many benchmark designed amps do you need to hear……

    now that is the question.

    lol
     
    timind likes this.
  10. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    Being that the only amps Benchmark has designed are the AHB2 and HPA4, you technically haven’t heard them. THX-AAA is a licensed tech. It wasn’t created by Benchmark.

    If the system’s volume control is not up to snuff, you’re not going to really hear what THX-AAA can do, similar to if you mate an AHB2 to any preamp other than the likes of an LA4/Topping Pre90/Bel Canto PRe5.

    Same for the circuit board layout. If it’s not done right the potential advantage is negated.

    Headphone listening “depth” is a joke compared to that of well placed, high performance loudspeakers.
     
    timind likes this.
  11. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    But how many Benchmark designed AAA amps does he need to hear?


    :biglaugh:
     
  12. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Anyone feel they need to have two amps bridged?
    How is the bass and dynamics with just one amp? Currently using 90db speakers with a min. of 4.5 ohms impedance.
    If I need two I would prefer to buy them at once and get a better deal.
    Thanks.
     
    Tone? likes this.
  13. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    They move my proacs which are 4ohms no problem.

    others can chime in for more demanding speakers.

    dynamics are amazing. Bass is tight and detailed and not lean.
     
    timind and avanti1960 like this.
  14. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    A single AHB2 has good drive and can handle low impedances but it doesn’t sound anymore powerful than you would expect from 100WPC.

    Only a couple times did I ever clip my AHB2, once with my Maggies at high volume and once with my Stirlings at high volume. Both speakers are relatively low sensitivity and sound considerably better with the additional headroom afforded by the Parasound A21.

    I think a single AHB2 would drive your speakers just fine in most situations but I also think there would be audible benefit from running two.
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  15. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    @avanti1960, I have used the AHB2 with five or six different speakers and have yet to see the clipping indicator lights flicker. Still feeling like it's the last amp I'll buy as long as I'm using passive speakers. FWIW, I have never gotten satisfactory sound from bridging amps.

    @Ham Sandwich, nothing personal, but your comments in this thread are about as useless as tits on a boar hog.
     
  16. jazzsurfer

    jazzsurfer Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york
    is there a predecessor to the LA4 that can be had used that is almost as good? I need a great preamp that is transparent.
     
  17. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I have a Topping Pre90 in house at the moment. It is equally transparent. I hate to admit it but it’s every bit the equal in SQ to the LA4. The remote control is nearly useless though.
     
    Linger63 and jazzsurfer like this.
  18. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    we'll see, i have one ordered.
    measurements show that my pass amp starts a vertical slope of distortion at about 65 watts at 8 ohms and a singe Benchmark is almost double that so it should be fine for now.
     
  19. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Reports say the Benchmark used as a mono is excellent. @Kal Rubinson uses three I believe.
     
    timind likes this.
  20. Harris11235

    Harris11235 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Congrats! I really like mine. I was originally interested in getting another one for bridging, but I decided it wasn’t necessary for my office setup.

    @Slippers-on - who won the bet? :laugh:
     
    timind and Glmoneydawg like this.
  21. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Wimp! :winkgrin:
     
    timind likes this.
  22. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Obversarian

    Although I’ve never heard one personally the Benchmark AHB2 it seems from the surface to be a very well designed amp and a genuine bargain at the asking price and worth a shot if looking in the price range.
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  23. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    So you ordered one AHB2?
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  24. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    Me!
     
  25. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    The power difference is only good for about 2db more volume....I'm sure you're aware though.
     
    Helom likes this.

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