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Review and Measurements of Benchmark HPA4 Headphone Amp/Pre

RichB

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Interesting. Before purchasing I asked about discrete input codes and received a response that it was not possible…..seems they should be able to do it. Such a fundamental and basic need and something that is offered on most any remote controlled preamp I can think of.

Rich S.

It was clearly an oversite coming from their DACs. The HPA4/LA4 has a remote option.
1675105540329.png

The assumption appears to be the IT5 is paired with Benchmark DAC.
If not use a Benchmark DAC, this remote D1 through D4 and USB are useless.
They already provide a setting for the Remote paired with Benchmark DAC.
Two things are needed:

  • Two new remote codes to Analog1 and Analog2.
  • The default LA4/HPA4 remote setting could D1 through D4 as the analog inputs. Benchmark thinks D means Digital Input. In this new mode, D mean Direct Input :)
I am dumbfounded as to why they have not addressed this issue.
As shipped an LA4/HPA4 with Remote (non Benchmark DAC) has 5 out of the 14 buttons unused.

- Rich
 

enricoclaudio

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My Matrix Audio X-SABRE 3 had the same issue. The original remote had a single Input button to scroll between inputs. Then they released the New Element 2 series with a new remote, the RM4 remote with direct inputs and playback controls. So, X-SABRE 3 owners, me included, asked Matrix Audio to add playback controls in a new firmware update and they not only added playback controls, they even ran the extra mile and now the X-SABRE 3 can be controlled with their MA app and with the new RM4 remote. You have now direct input selection, playback control which also works with Roon, you can stream with the MA amp directly to the X-SABRE 3 and it took them less than 2 months to develop the new firmware. I ordered the RM4 remote directly from Matrix Audio and they shipped it to me from China in 2 days. All I can tell you is that @MatrixAudio has one of the best customer services I have ever deal with. I love their products and personally, they got from me a lifetime customer.

IMG_7399.jpeg
 

TLke893

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Hi,

i am a happy owner of a HPA4 too. Had my unit updated with 2.2.0 several months ago without any problems.

Does anybody use a Logitech Harmony for HPA4/LA4 and can confirm that all buttons need to be pressed twice? I think it has to do with the screen wake (1st press: wake screen, 2nd press: execute command) and can be easily avoided by programming the Harmony with doubled commands. The only problem is the volume control. The trick does not work here, probably because of the difference between short and long press.

So does anybody has a better workflow for this behaviour and volume control in particular? the latter annoys me and is counterintuitive.
 

enricoclaudio

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Yes, I just checked my HPA4 with my Harmony Elite and you have to press twice any command for the HPA4 to respond, even if the screen is not in sleep mode.
 

RichB

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Hi,

i am a happy owner of a HPA4 too. Had my unit updated with 2.2.0 several months ago without any problems.

Does anybody use a Logitech Harmony for HPA4/LA4 and can confirm that all buttons need to be pressed twice? I think it has to do with the screen wake (1st press: wake screen, 2nd press: execute command) and can be easily avoided by programming the Harmony with doubled commands. The only problem is the volume control. The trick does not work here, probably because of the difference between short and long press.

So does anybody has a better workflow for this behaviour and volume control in particular? the latter annoys me and is counterintuitive.
That is weird. I learned the codes with my Pronto and a single press wakes and performs the action.

- Rich
 

richsto

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Yes, I just checked my HPA4 with my Harmony Elite and you have to press twice any command for the HPA4 to respond, even if the screen is not in sleep mode.
So this is why it's so slow - I also use a Harmony Elite. Primarily (try to) use the Harmony for volume control but will verify the double press on other commands tonight. Will have to find a solution as I'm tired of using two remotes; the Benchmark remote works flawlessly.
 

RichB

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So this is why it's so slow - I also use a Harmony Elite. Primarily (try to) use the Harmony for volume control but will verify the double press on other commands tonight. Will have to find a solution as I'm tired of using two remotes; the Benchmark remote works flawlessly.
If all else fails, can you just learn the codes?

- Rich
 

richsto

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If all else fails, can you just learn the codes?

- Rich
Think the codes are fine as they work but there is a definite delay - likely need to mess with the Harmony settings. Maybe related to a hub based system but I've not encountered this on any of my other devices.

Rich S.
 

richsto

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Think the codes are fine as they work but there is a definite delay - likely need to mess with the Harmony settings. Maybe related to a hub based system but I've not encountered this on any of my other devices.

Rich S.
Yep, all commands seem to require two button pushes to execute with my Harmony Elite.

Rich S
 

TLke893

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Good to read that I am not the only one with the combination Logitech Hamony + Benchmark Media. I contacted the very responsive supports from Logitech and Benchmark Media in the past. Rory tells me that they sent the right codes to Logitech. But I think there should be some minor tweaking from Benchmark Media or the manufacturer of the IR function. The codes do not work like intended. A manual learning of the codes doesn‘t help.

By the way, a good thing is that you don‘t need discrete codes for input switching with the Harmony. It needs just some programming within the activities.
 

winsmyton

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Need some help.

I got LA4, tried to update firmware to 2.2.1 it's stuck.

One device, it says "File transfer waiting, Set baud rate 162240"

One PC, it says "2.2.1 updater: Successfully detected Benchmark amplifier."

And that's it, waited 1 hour, nothing.

Please help.
 

enricoclaudio

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Need some help.

I got LA4, tried to update firmware to 2.2.1 it's stuck.

One device, it says "File transfer waiting, Set baud rate 162240"

One PC, it says "2.2.1 updater: Successfully detected Benchmark amplifier."

And that's it, waited 1 hour, nothing.

Please help.
Did you get it brand new from Benchmark? If yes, call them and they will tell you what to do. My HPA4 purchased in January came with the latest firmware so I had no need to do the update.
 

winsmyton

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Did you get it brand new from Benchmark? If yes, call them and they will tell you what to do. My HPA4 purchased in January came with the latest firmware so I had no need to do the update.

No I got it used.

Now finally, firmware upgraded successfully, but result is worse. It will not turn on any more :( If I try re-install, it says already have 2.2.1

I will contact Benchmark...
 

winsmyton

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My sub doesn't have XLR input, only RCAs.

I wonder if I could use the RCA output of LA4 (connect to L/R input of a single Subwoofer), while at the same time, XLR out to amp? Will this affect main signal quality?

Thanks for your help.
 

Nybto

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There is no problem with doing that, the outputs are implemented to allow it. I have made up a XLR to RCA cable for mine however, and am driving the RCA mono input on the sub from the XLR mono output - as another option.
 

TLke893

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Are there any news regarding Logitech Hamrony operation. Anybody solved the „price button twice“ issue?
 

TLke893

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I solved the Logitech Harmony issue after 2 years finally. Whether the support from Logitech nor Benchmark could help but the solution is so simple.

You have to delete the HPA4 from your devices view in the app. Now you have to add the Benchmark DAC1 HDR instead. Voilà, no need to press the buttons twice anymore. Everything works like a charm now. Benchmark Media should be aware of this for future products.
 

The Equalizer

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Has anyone been able to use the Apple TV remote control to adjust volume on an LA4 or HPA4? The remote learning procedure appears to work, but the control doesn't function. I saw one post on reddit suggesting the latest silver Apple TV remote doesn't support all IR frequencies.
 

reddavin

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New HPA4 added to the Benchmark stack. Sounds amazing! What are you finding for gain using a Benchmark DAC? DAC is at 0 internally and in HT/Compatibility mode. With 2 AHB2 amps in mono, I’m having to crank the gain more than expected?
 

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Matthew87

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I got some spare money to spend and I am considering buying HPA4. But I wonder. Given it isn't cheap (even if I will get small discount) is it worth it compared to anything else on the market? I currently have Monolith THX AAA headphone amp and I wonder if I am may be missing something and it would be "worth" to upgrade it once and for all to HPA4. Or maybe there is something cheaper/better?
 
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