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My humble review of the Benchmark AHB2 and LH4

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

  1. Slack

    Slack Forum Resident

    Yes I agree .Well it might be a problem in some rooms but generally and especially for listening at moderate volumes it is probably a good thing.
     
  2. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    That bass hump is an artifact of the near-field, quasi-anechoic measurement technique JA uses.

    “the slight boost in the upper bass is entirely an artifact of the nearfield measurement technique.”

    Besides, the HL5 Plus is anything but a warm sounding speaker on-axis. And even if that graph accurately depicted the speaker’s true response character, it wouldn’t prove they’re trying to conform to a Harman speaker standard that doesn’t exist.
     
  3. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Quite possibly but if the the overall tone leans bright there are more factors at play than the recording.
     
  4. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    none of the benchmark stuff is bright.
    as a matter of fact it’s kinda a touch on the warm side.
    It’s warmer than my rega and sweeter.

    the benchmark DAC3 is a touch warmer than my Marantz HD DAC1.
    I’ve had the benchmark DAC3 now for almost 2 months and gave it that much time because I wanted to hear it properly before coming to a verdict.
     
  5. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    Couldn't help myself - MD just put a black LA4 and a remote on open box. Total of $400 off between the two. Should be here in a couple days with them only being one state over.
     
    Kyhl, Dignan2000, james and 7 others like this.
  6. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    It's here. And while this is not my first time hearing it in here, it IS my first time hearing it behind Holo May. Jeepers creepers, this sounds delightful.

    [​IMG]
     
    james, Ingenieur, timind and 6 others like this.
  7. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Yeah. Like how much difference can a preamp make?
    But it does to my amazement as well. Nuts

    enjoy man!
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  8. MaxBuck

    MaxBuck Well-Known Member

    Location:
    La Quinta, CA
    Congratulations! I'm happy to hear about people who enjoy the products of this superb company.
     
    toddrhodes and Tone? like this.
  9. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I do think I'll eventually try an AHB2 as an amp. My only concern is grunt. These Dyns (and most Dynaudio speakers, frankly) really respond well to high current amplifiers. For instance, on a lesser set, I had an upgraded NuPrime ST-10 and it sounded nice and transparent, but really lacked energy and just did not produce lower bass like an amp like my McCormack can. So it'll be interesting. I love refinement and transparency, but not at the cost of full-bodied sound, even if that ultimately is a tradeoff.

    I've also had a DAC3L. It was an important piece of gear to me and while ultimately I wanted to get back to R2R DACs, I think the DAC3L is just a terrific little swiss army knife.
     
    Dignan2000 and iluzun like this.
  10. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    love that supercharged amp ! the LA4 looks cool, glad it is working out for you.
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  11. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    Just to get sidetracked a bit more, those Dyns are beautiful. How are the two tweeters configured?

    Coincidentally I was reading yesterday about the Magnat Signature range of speakers which also feature a double tweeter in an MTM arrangement. I believe they use one as a kind of super-tweeter to extend the freq. response into the mid/high kHz range.
     
  12. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gone
    The Benchmark amp puts out 30 A peak into both channels and 11.4 A continuous into 2 Ohm (260 W).
    That is significant.
    You could weld with them :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
    recstar24 likes this.
  13. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    The obvious solution? Get a pair of AHB2s. That oughta do it.;)
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  14. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    what I’m gonna do eventually.
     
    toddrhodes and timind like this.
  15. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Hooked up a set of Kimber Kable 8vs with Speakon connectors this afternoon. I don't expect my ears to hear any difference between the 8vs with Speakon vs the previous 8pr with banana plugs. Listening to The Decemberists, The Crane Wife now, sounds wonderful.
    [​IMG]
     
    Kyhl, Spazotron3000, james and 7 others like this.
  16. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Is that a wyred 4 sound mpre i spot? If so, great little preamp dac thingy, I was driving my ABH2 with it until I picked up my HPA4, the mpre is doing secondary rig duties in the basement.
     
    timind and Tone? like this.
  17. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    Yea I checked out the specs after I expressed that concern and was quickly reminded that I have no idea what I'm talking about, lol. They should do just fine from that standpoint, absolutely.
     
    timind and Ingenieur like this.
  18. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I'm not sure I fully understand how they are used and crossed over, to be completely honest. I know that they are not the same as the tweeters in the C1, because those are basically the gold standard of Dyn tweeters of that era since they are crossed over very low and have to do a LOT in that speaker.

    I think on the C2, there is one that is crossed over lower than the other, but higher than the C1. And the other is crossed over a bit higher but not even half an octave higher.

    And my understanding on the architecture/arrangement of them is to minimize ceiling and floor reflection, so they are very good at horizontal dispersion. They are pretty picky about vertical dispersion so, frankly, that's why I haven't put exotic footers on them. I already sit a little low for these in an ideal setup. I'm working with "lifting" my chair a bit to put me in a better plane with the tweeters. And if I were to do something like a really nice footer - that will raise them again another 1-1.5"

    Can't win for losing, lol.
     
    fully_articulated likes this.
  19. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Yep, I bought the mPRE as an interim to getting an LA4. I tried using the DAC3 directly into the AHB2, but it wasn't satisfying so did a little research and found a few preamps which would work. The mPRE was the first to pop up at a good used price. While I still intend to get the LA4, the mPRE has me wondering why, and reduces the urgency.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
  20. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Yup, pretty much same scenario with me. Was able to find a HPA4 for a great price used. I was never too happy with the headphone out on the mpre, but as a preamp the performance is excellent.
     
    timind likes this.
  21. Bryan T

    Bryan T Forum Resident

    Location:
    L.A.
    What didn’t you like about the DAC3/AHB2 pairing? I’ve been considering doing exactly that.
     
  22. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    When running the dac3 directly in to the AHB2 it's difficult to keep the dac's volume control in the optimum position. Although Benchmark says it's fine to run the dac's volume in the 10-11 o'clock position, they also state the optimum setting is 2-3 o'clock. I was usually running below 12 o'clock unless I wanted to listen really loud.

    The dac3 has internal jumpers which allow you to reduce the output level, and the AHB2 has a switch on the back which allows you to adjust the gain. No matter which configuration I tried, I was never comfortable with the level. I tried so many different configurations, I ended up keeping the top off the dac3 for easier access to the jumpers.

    With a pre though, I'm extremely happy with the combo.
     
  23. Bryan T

    Bryan T Forum Resident

    Location:
    L.A.
    Thanks! It sounds like the ideal way to go would be a DAC3B, LA4, and AHB2. I think that’s $1.7k, $2.6k, and $3k.

    I’m grappling with doing something like that versus getting something like a Hegel H390. Expensive hobby, but I do listen to music at least 20 hours a week.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
    timind likes this.
  24. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    While a lot depends on speaker efficiency, room size and preferred playback level, it does seem odd that there isn't a suitable combination for the DAC3 directly into the AHB2 (you would think that Benchmark would have made them synergistic -- especially since they solved this issue for the LA4/HPA4).
     
    timind likes this.
  25. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    I spoke to Rory at Benchmark before ordering the AHB2 and he was honest about using the dac3 direct. He was concerned because I listen at fairly low volume which made it difficult to use the dac3's volume control. I'll also say the level variations between different recordings didn't help. Using a pre has made all the difference though. I run the dac at the optimum level and the pre is at 11 o'clock nominally.
     

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