Benchmark AHB2 Amplifier


Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2013
All below is using the Benchmark in mono on TAD R1s. It’s been a long while since I had a pure class A amp. Last one was the NRG Control 400 watt monos. Those were fantastic amps in their time in 1990. But they were room heaters, not very practical in Miami. And the last pair of Class D I had were the Bel Canto Ref 1000. But even that was 10 plus years ago. Most recently I had the fabulous sounding Constellation Centaur mono, very classic class AB. For me the treble sounds more natural on the Benchmark, and I hear more details with the vanishing noise floor. Bass slam is fine on both amps, same for dynamics, ease playing loud, plus they both sound great playing at low volume. But each Benchmark is $3000 and each Centaur is 9x that. For me both the Benchmark and Constellation were better than many other AB amps, including Levinson, Pass, MSB, Cello and Spectral. All of those are great at some things but not at everything. But as I said above, mileage may vary!

Regarding load sensitivity, given the regulated power supply on the Benchmark and the very sophisticated protection circuit, I would say they are a rather perfect voltage source into loads down to a couple ohms. When you over drive them they turn off. It’s very hard to overdrive them in mono. But that does not mean you may like them on every speaker as some speakers may sound better with a less perfect but synergistic output stage.

The articles on the Benchmark site are great explaining how these amps work and measure. They have almost no crossover distortion, like a great class A. And they have almost no noise or harmonic or intermodulation distortion. You will surely notice the absence of noise and distortion, but that doesn’t mean that it will surely sound better to you. For some, a little harmonic distortion is a good thing. And for some speakers a higher output impedance at some frequencies may be synergistic.

Kal, thoughts?

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