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Benchmark HPA4 based on THX AAA Amplifier

RayDunzl

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#61
The sound levels with the DAC direct config seem more like an On/Off switch after a certain point --- with just an increase of one additional detent
Ok. My DAC2 has no detents with which to compare.

I think in my case the purchase of the HPA4 is still well justified
I won't argue, as you've done the experiment with a critical eye, and come to the same conclusion.

---

The only other thought I have is to be sure the attenuation jumpers are set correctly for the XLR outs...

Page 29 - https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0321/7609/files/DAC3_DX_Manual_1.0.pdf?1825706725623701216

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#62
I think the date for the monoprice version has pushed out. No?

View attachment 12433

I thought it was supposed to ship in June originally.
Worth noting that the release date has slipped a whole bunch of times. Design changed to add the line output too.

I am curious if that's going to be any good. Wish it had balanced line outputs, if only so I could use it with my LSR305s.
 

amirm

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#65
Yeah, it does, and it's not a problem, but hey...it's the one piece of equipment I have that has XLR inputs. I'd love to actually use them someday!
:)
 
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#66
Mine is shipping Monday July 9th :) I'm really looking forward to using it; I've been waiting a while since I pre-ordered.

It could even ship this Friday per an email I got last week, but the website says available July 9th so it seems like a firm date.
 
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#68
Interesting, that'll make it the first THX AAA product to be released. The others I believe aren't coming until October.
 

watchnerd

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#70
Yeah, it does, and it's not a problem, but hey...it's the one piece of equipment I have that has XLR inputs. I'd love to actually use them someday!
I've had two sets of all XLR systems, my Wyred4Sound mPre & 2 x mAMPs, which were great budget ICEpower amps, and my Schiit Freya, which self destructed its XLR input when I tried to use it in passive mode one time.

Sadly, the best, legitimate use case I would want right now is to go direct via XLR from my turntable into my Devialet Expert, but it only has RCA inputs.... :(
 
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#71
My Sennheiser HD800 headphones have the most improvement compared to the headphone amp in the DAC3 DX. Very easy to hear more dynamic slam at high volumes. Before for some quiet tracks, one could turn the DAC3 all the way up when using the HD800's, not anymore! Low volumes definitely sound like they have more dynamics.

The Focal Utopia headphones are a little more sensitive, so the difference from the added headroom is not as great. The low level details are definitely easier to pick out, but this type of comparison is hard without knowing the voltage levels of the DAC3 and HPA4 and having them set the same.

Definitely there is no degradation with the HPA4 in between the DAC3 and AHB2 (and that's really saying something). I can turn the unit down to -89dB and still understand the spoken words if I put my ear into my horns. Too bad these speakers have passive crossovers in them unlike my other setup ;) But really, for having passive crossovers in the mix, the driver control is very very impressive and distortion is incredibly low. It definitely sounds like a much much more expensive setup (even though retail on the speakers and Benchmark gear is pushing $12k.

The volume control is very neat and works smoothly. The relays sound asolutely cool when you turning the volume up and down too. The unit is very nice. It's a pity I only plan to use one of the analog inputs (for the DAC3 DX input), but I am 100% digital.

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amirm

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#74
I will pay for shipping it back if you pay to send it to me. I use post office fixed price boxes where weight doesn't matter. If it fits in those boxes, it is pretty cheap to ship things back and forth.
 

sprellemannen

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#75
Thanks for your interesting first impressions on HPA4, etc6849.
And congratulations with the unit!
I am sure it is state of art! Benchmark's products are amazing.
 
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#76

Sal1950

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#79
Good to see the cheaper price on "B" version for people who don't need headphone output. $500 is good bit of discount there.
Also smart marketing.
Now if you want Benchmarks SOTA DAC and a HP/Line controller you need to get both.
Yes, they still have the original DAC3 but it can't sound as good as the dedicated separates. :)
 

jtwrace

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#80
How does the dac direct sound compared to going through the HP4? I'm seriously considering trying the LA4 in front of my PS Audio DS dac.
 

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