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Is the Benchmark AHB2, in mono mode, really better than my Mark Levinson No. 536 monoblocks?

Darkscience

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I understand what you are saying. Adele for example sounds like Adele in all of your devices - clock radio, boom box, radio in the car, home stereo etc.

To distinguish where this hobby leads some people…and sometimes it becomes an obsession…How loud can you play that Adele song on the clock radio? Play that same song in a $50k system at realistic levels. If you experienced the difference, does that make you to want to go out and spend the money to replay that experience that you heard in a $50k system (arbitrary $ selected)?

If not, you are in the same camp as my 2 well off bros and wife who doesn’t care enough to spend their hard earned money on a high end system while I have cared for 20 years and have steadily improved my system to a point where now spending much more money doesn’t seem to make sense anymore because I now have to spend a lot more money for tangible improvements.

This is the simplest I can explain what this pursuit is. How good of a sound system is good enough? We have passion constraints and/or budget/value constraints.
Yes, keep in mind though I was mainly making a point about how I think amps and speakers interact. I completely understand how $50k could be put to excellent use for a really nice system. Although for me at $50k most of that would go into the room, measurements followed by proper treatments, and likely include a small recording studio setup.

But at my budget and value like you mentioned, a pair of nice stereo speakers with the Benchmark electronics is about my limit, (likely a step above your bros and wife limit). That is not exactly cheap either, I likely overspent, but do not regret it, definitely brings me joy, but any further spending will be on a dedicated room if the possibility ever arose, (this would require a new home).
 

pogo

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You (we) can measure the transient characteristics (i.e. kick-up and fade-off of the cone/dome movements) using 8-wave and 3-wave tone burst excitation signals
Great measurements:) Have you also tested different amplifiers with different DFs connected to the same speakers?
 

pogo

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What has ones own taste got to do with it. DF has to be sufficient to ensure accurate driver control. We're not concerned about taste here.
Actually, it's always about that. A good example of this is the T+A A200, which allows a switchable DF on Purifis (DF HI > 800 / DF LO > 70).

'A high damping factor tends to produce a more clearly defined, very precise and analytical sound image, whereas a reduced damping factor produces a more warm and softer sound image.' <- extract from the manual
 

Killingbeans

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'A high damping factor tends to produce a more clearly defined, very precise and analytical sound image, whereas a reduced damping factor produces a more warm and softer sound image.' <- extract from the manual

The use of "tends to" is a red flag to me.

In my head it translates to: "We had this idea and we made zero effort at verifying it reliably. Instead we just rolled with it and made it a thing" :rolleyes:
 

Killingbeans

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Alright, with a damping factor of less than ~200 you risk getting audible attenuation at the points where the speaker has its lowest impedance. But how does that translate to "a more warm and softer sound image"? As far as I can tell it just gives you one or more dips in the frequency response that are highly dependent on the specific speaker being connected. A really odd way of applying EQ.
 

Killingbeans

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Ringing? As far as I can tell the damping factor needs to be stupidly low to make it worth any concern. Both the crossover, the drivers themselves and the enclosure/room loading do their part in squelching any ringing. With any reasonably low damping factor it's still completely dwarfed by the EQ effect I mentioned above.

Besides, there's no disconnect between the frequency domain and the time domain. They are two sides of the same coin. Affect one, and you affect the other equally. Distortion is distortion.

It just gets on my nerves that the switch on that T+A obviously is designed to mangle things (assuming it's audible). And instead of saying: "If you flip this switch you'll f¤¤k things up, but you'd might enjoy the result. Give it a go", they choose to prep your mind with fan favorites like "warm" and "soft" :rolleyes:
 

dualazmak

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Great measurements:) Have you also tested different amplifiers with different DFs connected to the same speakers?

My honest answer is YES and NO...

The purpose of my specific posts #495, #497, #503 on the project thread was to test and evaluate transient characteristics of the 40-year old Yamaha 30 cm woofer JA-3058 (at 63 Hz, 125 Hz, 20 Hz, 500 Hz, 1 kHz) directly and dedicatedly (without LC-network) driven by amp Yamaha A-S3000 (catalog spec: dynamic power 120W+120W/8 Ohm, DF >= 250/1kHz, 8 Ohm) , and also to test and evaluate transient characteristics (at 31.5 Hz, 63 Hz) of the huge heavy active sub-woofer Yamaha YST-SW1000 (catalog spec: 120W/5 Ohm, DF=??); the purpose of the posts were not to evaluate and/or compare the different amplifiers with different DFs (damping factors).

For the transient measurements on the woofer JA-3058, however, I have also done the same measurements with my Accuphase E-460 amplifier (catalog spec: 180W+180W/8 Ohm, DF=200 at 50 Hz), and I could get and confirm exactly the same transient characteristics as I got with Yamaha A-S3000 (the results were not yet shared in my thread because they were out of the scope at that time).

Consequently, as far as the (best?) transient characteristics of Yamaha 30 cm woofer JA-3058 concerned, both of Yamaha A-S3000 and Accuphase E-460 are powerful enough and the DFs are sufficient enough.

If you would be interested in my amplifiers evaluation and selection in my project, please review my long and intensive amplifier exploration journey on my thread; you may find here (on the project thread) and here (remote independent thread post) the Hyperlink Index for my multichannel project. Then you would well understand my current choices of four specific amplifiers for four SP drivers in my project. (You may find the summary of amplifier exploration in my post here and here.)

In any way, my point here in this thread is that we can apply the same measurement method and strategy also for the comparison of different amplifiers with much different transient power and much different DFs.
 
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Geert

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Ringing? As far as I can tell the damping factor needs to be stupidly low to make it worth any concern.

Besides, there's no disconnect between the frequency domain and the time domain. They are two sides of the same coin. Affect one, and you affect the other equally. Distortion is distortion.

For the transient measurements on the woofer JA-3058, however, I have also done the same measurements with my Accuphase E-460 amplifier (catalog spec: 180W+180W/8 Ohm, DF=200 at 50 Hz), and I could get and confirm exactly the same transient characteristics as I got with Yamaha A-S3000

I wonder if @pogo will now stop trolling about the 'time domain', as he's been doing in lots of treads for the last 6 months.
 

pogo

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In any way, my point here in this thread is that we can apply the same measurement method and strategy also for the comparison of different amplifiers with much different transient power and much different DFs.
I also find this measurement method very interesting:
Link
 

Killingbeans

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I wonder if @pogo will now stop trolling about the 'time domain', as he's been doing in lots of treads for the last 6 months.

Probably not. And if he does, somebody else will pick up the torch. Whenever something seems extremely unlikely in this hobby, there's always a plea to transients, time domain, and step/impulse response. And every time it gets pointed out, not only that the time- and frequency domains are interchangeable, but also that "transients" in music might seem fast and explosive seen from an emotional point of view, but electrically and physically they are about as violent as a pitch tar drop.

The bandwidth of human hearing is nothing to write home about. It's a difficult truth to acknowledge.
 
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pogo

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It just gets on my nerves that the switch on that T+A obviously is designed to mangle things (assuming it's audible).
This is definitely audible. Here is an example from this forum:
Link

In another forum it is described very similarly.
 

sq225917

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I'm not doubting the audibility of a broken amp choice, what I'm after is an understanding of the subjectivist use of the term speed, cos they sure as shit don't all mean the same thing when they use the term and im pretty sure none of them use it in reference to more accurate impulse response in bass drivers.
 

xirtam2005

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I replaced mono Parasound JC-1s with mono AHB2. I didn’t blind test the amps, but my subjective, sighted, and biased impression is that the AHB2s sound better and are my end game amps. Compared to the JC-1s, I hear into the room more (the reverb of the space). I was warned that the Benchmarks are “analytical and bright.” This is not the case at all. They sound smooth, completely neutral, yet I get more detail in the music. An added bonus is how cool they run. The JC-1s were like space heaters which was a real problem in my room.
I did a search and found this post. This is exactly what I'm looking for. I have a pair of JC-1 monoblocks. I live in a place with ridiculously hot summers, such that I do not listen to my critical system for most of the summer, given the A/C struggles to keep up with how hot we get. I'm very happy with the JC-1 monoblocks when run in high bias class A mode, but they are space heaters making the room unbearably hot in the summer, so the system is usually off in the summer. Given your screen name, we may live in the same state - so you may get what I mean by hot summers. The main speakers are Paradigm Persona 3 - the smallest persona full range floorstanders.

I was considering getting a single stereo AHB2 to use as a "summer amp" so I can listen to the system in the summer. I never thought about getting two to use in mono to replace permanently. Might it be worth to try just one and see how I like it before committing to 2?
 
OP
J

JasonH

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I did a search and found this post. This is exactly what I'm looking for. I have a pair of JC-1 monoblocks. I live in a place with ridiculously hot summers, such that I do not listen to my critical system for most of the summer, given the A/C struggles to keep up with how hot we get. I'm very happy with the JC-1 monoblocks when run in high bias class A mode, but they are space heaters making the room unbearably hot in the summer, so the system is usually off in the summer. Given your screen name, we may live in the same state - so you may get what I mean by hot summers. The main speakers are Paradigm Persona 3 - the smallest persona full range floorstanders.

I was considering getting a single stereo AHB2 to use as a "summer amp" so I can listen to the system in the summer. I never thought about getting two to use in mono to replace permanently. Might it be worth to try just one and see how I like it before committing to 2?
Wow, you replaced very good amps and still see the difference. I ended up buying the NAD M33. I decided to give the Purifi Eigentakt amps and Dirac room correction a try. I’m very satisfied. The only thing that I can say is missing is absolute power. The 200x2 drives my Revel speakers to over 90db at about three meters. The sound with the M33’s volume maxed out is wonderful. That said, surprisingly, I know the Revels can take more and play even louder…. Because they did with the ML monos. But they’re already playing so loud that picture frames struggle to stay mounted. If I decide I want those last few dB or the dynamic headroom (probably don’t need) I think I’d add the NAD M23 amp before putting back in my ML monos. The ML monos are great but I have a wife and a little M33 box in the living room is much more palatable. And, with the exception of the difference in peak output, I think I have better sound too.
As an aside: I believe the first watt is the most important watt and I believed that 200x2 should be adequate for any system. Even low sensitivity speakers should be driven to satisfaction. BUT: I can now say with 100% certainty that 200x2 IS NOT enough to wring out all the performance my Revels have to offer. But again, the last few dB are at unsafe listening levels and were only ever used briefly before for the slightly increased visceral experience (AKA showing off)
 

PGAMiami

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I did a search and found this post. This is exactly what I'm looking for. I have a pair of JC-1 monoblocks. I live in a place with ridiculously hot summers, such that I do not listen to my critical system for most of the summer, given the A/C struggles to keep up with how hot we get. I'm very happy with the JC-1 monoblocks when run in high bias class A mode, but they are space heaters making the room unbearably hot in the summer, so the system is usually off in the summer. Given your screen name, we may live in the same state - so you may get what I mean by hot summers. The main speakers are Paradigm Persona 3 - the smallest persona full range floorstanders.

I was considering getting a single stereo AHB2 to use as a "summer amp" so I can listen to the system in the summer. I never thought about getting two to use in mono to replace permanently. Might it be worth to try just one and see how I like it before committing to 2?
I replaced Constellation Centaur mono with a pair of AHB2s. Never looked back. JC, John Curl, was involved in the design of the Constellation. I would think the JC amps may have a similar sound. I don’t feel there is anything the AHB2s don’t do as well or better. I’m using 4 AHB2S in a bi amp and this runs much cooler than a pair of Constellation. They are dead quiet and silky smooth with no crossover distortion. I expect Benchmark will let you try a pair so you can decide if you want 0, 1 or 2.
 
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