- Mar 1, 2018
- Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
I played on a small set of speakers, with a Maratnz PM-80 MKII SE wit ha few friends, while trying out different equipment. We then tried the AHB2 with an old high end Denon pre amp - cant remember the details of it. But the Benchmark started clipping easily, before we found out that you need to adjust the load on the rear. But still, there was no real improvement in sound. Maybe the Denon was not up to the job. But maybe, sometimes even good specs, does not equal better sound.
The only downfall with the original PM-80 was the voltage stage driver IC. They are unavailable (easily) when they fail. The PM-80Mk2/SE used a much better power amplifier stage which was completely discrete with optical (optocoupler) based bias switching and rail switching for the Class- A.
In short, the Benchmark may have an order of distortion lower than the Marantz, but other than that, the PM-80mk2SE would certainly not have been embarrassed in any technical way.
But it was built in a different era. Through hole and point to point harnesses. Bowden linkages to remote switches. It's an integrated with tons of functionality. The Benchmark is two boards, sandwiched together in a compact, modern form factor. The Benchmark is a work of art inside, that's for sure.