Benchmark Media DAC2 HGC/AHB2

Benchmark Media DAC2 HGC/AHB2

Benchmark entered the lives of audiophiles with the DAC1, a device which laid the foundation for what we now regard as a standard D/A converter (and sometimes as a standard headphone amplifier too). DAC2 HGC (which is one of the subjects in this review) consolidated the company's presence in the field of home audio and it was a matter of time for the speculation about what the company's next step could be, to begin. The announcement, about two years ago, of a power amplifier, which could accompany their DAC2 and form a complete amplification system for domestic or professional use, was -probably- not a complete surprise. The real surprise was hidden carefully inside AHB2's chassis (the name was given to honor Benchmark's founder Allen H. Burdick), where, Benchmark opted to follow a path other than the ordinary, to say the least.
News about AHB2 began to make their appearance (along with some relevant photos) in the summer of 2014 and it was clear by then that we were dealing with something different. The compact size of the device and its power performance were strong evidence in favor of a switch-mode technology, but the quite visible and hefty external heatsinks confused the whole picture. The question about what exactly AHB2 was, found an interesting answer: Here, we are dealing with an amplifier which is based on the THX's patented AAA (Achromatic Audio Amplifier) technology, AAA referring to a linear output stage configuration which seems to provide both high power efficiency and top distortion and noise performance.
This review explores the features of AHB2 combined with a DAC2 HGC (a full review of which you can read -in Greek- here), the latter in a role not adequately addressed in most reviews, as a conventional/analog preamplifier.

Dimitris Stamatakos

Text Data
Original Publilcation: 2016/04/05 Last Follow Up: 2016/06/15 Original Language: Greek (Translated)

Previous | Next | More Reviews