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My humble review of the Benchmark AHB2 and LH4

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

  1. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    wouldn't you want to bypass the volume on the dac now that you have a pre?
    or is that what you meant by running it at the optimum level?
     
  2. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    The dac3 has firmware which sets the optimum output when used in preamp compatibility mode. Oddly, it's not with the volume control at max. I'm trusting them.
     
    johnnypaddock likes this.
  3. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Helom,
    I noticed your LH4 is up for sale. Can you share why it didn't work in yout system?
     
  4. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I think I ultimately preferred a Bel Canto preamp even though the LA4 is higher resolution and they sound very similar, it’s sort of splitting hairs really. The Bel Canto just seemed more engaging though I’m going off emotions really. Could be my girlfriend’s new dog is driving me mad, IDK…I might end up regretting the decision, but for some reason I can’t pinpoint, I’ve just been thinking maybe I made a mistake returning the Bel Canto.
     
  5. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I’m actually very torn between these two preamps, stay tuned…:confused::rolleyes::help:
     
    Tone? likes this.
  6. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    It’s the dag for sure.
    Lol
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  7. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Don't keep us in suspense, what type of dog is it? :D
     
    Kyhl and timind like this.
  8. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    blame the dog....:)
     
    timind and Tone? like this.
  9. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    A Frenchie.
     
    elvisizer likes this.
  10. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    As the owner of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, I say that thing has to go! :D

    [​IMG]



    (these aren't mine, but you get the idea)
     
    Helom, Tone? and toddrhodes like this.
  11. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    My neighbor has a CKC. Even though she’s not very friendly I bet she’d be easier to live with.

    All I know is I got 99 problems and a b!+# is one.
     
    Harris11235 and toddrhodes like this.
  12. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    An unfriendly Cavalier? Something must be up for that to happen. They were bred as lap dogs, and love attention (from anyone).

    I found this photo of mine from a previous dog thread (sadly, Winsome has passed away since, she's on the left):

    [​IMG]

    We used to have a tri-color too, but she has also passed on. There are photos of all of them in the dog threads in Off Topic.
     
    timind, Kyhl, Spazotron3000 and 2 others like this.
  13. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    oh those doggos are cute @Black Elk -with that liver coloring they kind of look like mini Brittany spaniels with long hair :)
     
  14. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    They are Beautiful.

    I am in fact a dog lover. We also have a Schnoodle who is the sweetest most incredibly affectionate dog. I’m just not accustomed to the commotion of a rambunctious puppy. Prior to last year, I had lived mostly alone for about 11 years.

    Suppose we better let Nick have his thread back. :hide:
     
  15. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    Location:
    Northeast
    I'm borrowing an AHB2 from a friend to power the ESL57. I'm not changing my listening habits to go to music I would test for except for one comparison, just enjoying what I'm in the mood to hear (Chopin, Morton Feldman, Ligeti, some Schubert songs, Beethoven Piano Sonatas).

    It's a really good sounding amp, the vocals in particular are super important and classical vocals have no processing done to them and I'm not missing anything. There is a new cycle of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas on a stunning sounding Fazioli and the amp does a fine job differentiating timbral differences between different pianos well.

    Very good at differentiating mastering as well, there was some discussion of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On in the OneStep thread recently, compared the MFSL SACD and sure enough the original Matousek CD is better on this amp just like the Atma-spheres so it's doing a superb job of showing off the superior mastering and the greater in room presence this CD has in the vocals.

    Don't want to write more than that with just three days on it. Ultimately if I don't lose anything with the Atmas I could see switching to this, especially since I want to move some place with warm weather year round.
     
    Tone?, timind and johnnypaddock like this.
  16. Mostec

    Mostec Well-Known Member

    [​IMG]
    Hello to All, this is my first post here. I just bought AHB2, LA4 and DAC3 HGC and I really like the sound. For the phono stage I use EAR Yoshino 912. Combo AHB2 and tube preamp EAR 912 is one of the best what I have ever heard. The sound it’s to my taste, which is the only thing that matters. I also believe not everyone would like it. Sound is fast, natural, organic, dynamic, transparent. Speakers I use are Danley SM60f, Dalquist Dq-10, Altec Lansing 19, Quad ESL 57, Phy Hp. Turntables are Thorens 124 and Garrard 401.[​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Dignan2000, tIANcI, gakerty and 5 others like this.
  17. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    125db continuous output? Wowza! :yikes:
     
    Mostec likes this.
  18. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Still in love with mine.

    best sound ever
     
    timind and Mostec like this.
  19. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    You guys are responsible for making me spend more money! I just placed an order for an AHB2 with Music Direct (they had ONE in stock, while at the same time Benchmark has a five week backorder). If I enjoy it as much as I’m hoping, I’ll be selling my Dynaco ST-70 Series III. Although I loved it for the couple years I’ve owned it, my Harbeth M30.1 just seem to need more power. And, the AHB2 should look right at home with my DAC3 HGC. I’ll report back after I receive the AHB2 and do some listening.
     
    recstar24 and Helom like this.
  20. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    What pre are you planning on using with the new amp? I've had my AHB2 for quite a while now and have no desire to replace it.
     
  21. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    Just the DAC3 HGC for now. I spoke with a tech at Benchmark and he said most people should be completely satisfied with the DAC3 HGC as a preamp. He did say the LA4 is a definite step up, however I could certainly live with just the DAC3 into the AHB2 for a while, and then if I feel a need for something a little better, I could then add the LA4 later. So that’s what I’m planning on doing.
     
    krambigmac likes this.
  22. krambigmac

    krambigmac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bellingham MA
    I'm saving up to get a Benchmark DAC3 HGC and AHB2 but with a tube preamp in between when the mood strikes. Would a Schitt Freya + be the best way to go for under $1K? It has a passive mode that I assume lets me switch from "pure measurement bliss" to "tubey bliss" without having to totally disconnect the Schitt. Does that make sense or am I missing something?
     
  23. Harris11235

    Harris11235 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    If you wanted to use the HGC as a preamp, you could look into an iFi iTube buffer to play around with different tube colorations. The clarity of the DAC3 and AHB2 would be a great platform to hear the different sound signatures that little box can produce. It's single ended only, if that's important to you.
     
    krambigmac likes this.
  24. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    When placing my order for the AHB2 I spoke with Rory (sales manager) who said the dac3 would be fine fronting the amp. He also said it would be better with the LA4. I used the dac3 for a few weeks but wasn't satisfied with the sound so I did some research on an affordable fully balanced amp and bought a Wyred4Sound mPre as an interim preamp. I also looked at the Schiit Freya+ but didn't like what I read all that much. I'm still planning on getting a Benchmark pre, but not in a hurry.
     
    krambigmac likes this.
  25. krambigmac

    krambigmac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bellingham MA
    I can use the HGC as the preamp so maybe a tube buffer is the way to go. I'm not too familiar with them but at least I know what to search for.
     
    Harris11235 likes this.

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