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What would you choose? Benchmark x2 or ATI Hypex based or Apollon Purifi / NC1200SL based

Vacceo

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This is an excellent thead to actually ask something technical: with speakers being the same and assuming they can be driven at desired spl, perceived sound performance is going to be equally good. Choice could boil down to other considerations such as heat, power consumption, aesthetics...

In that regard, what will produce less waste heat at the same voltage being provided? Purifi or Hypex? Is the difference relevant or the real use impact would be very close?

However, I got a technical question on top of all that: what if the amp gets more than 2 channels? Does adding extra amplification channels impact the total performance other than, logically, adding strain on the power source? Do you get extra distortion and noise adding further channels?
 

MakeMineVinyl

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This is an excellent thead to actually ask something technical: with speakers being the same and assuming they can be driven at desired spl, perceived sound performance is going to be equally good. Choice could boil down to other considerations such as heat, power consumption, aesthetics...

In that regard, what will produce less waste heat at the same voltage being provided? Purifi or Hypex? Is the difference relevant or the real use impact would be very close?

However, I got a technical question on top of all that: what if the amp gets more than 2 channels? Does adding extra amplification channels impact the total performance other than, logically, adding strain on the power source? Do you get extra distortion and noise adding further channels?
You would need extra AC power supply capability to deal with the added channels, and that's why I believe the Monolith amp uses two 20 amp AC inlets; that's just what's required in order to supply enough AC current to support all those channels to full power output.

Noise and distortion would not be impacted by extra channels as long as input/output wiring harnesses are routed with this in mind.

Having multiple switching power supplies in one chassis can potentially cause EMI/RFI leakage, and I've seen other situations where this has had to be addressed by filtering the AC mains inside the chassis; EU regulations require emissions be below a certain level for example, and I think also in the US.
 

Vacceo

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I´m asking this question because I have been taking a look at Apollon´s Purifi multi channel amp. It has the option to buy now and add extra channels (up to 12) further down the line. I assume they already know how to do it without compromising the quality of the amp as a whole, but at the same time, I´m quite amazed at how clean, elegant and minimalist everything looks for such an amount of power. I guess the mark of excellence is making things look easy and clear when they are not.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I´m asking this question because I have been taking a look at Apollon´s Purifi multi channel amp. It has the option to buy now and add extra channels (up to 12) further down the line. I assume they already know how to do it without compromising the quality of the amp as a whole, but at the same time, I´m quite amazed at how clean, elegant and minimalist everything looks for such an amount of power. I guess the mark of excellence is making things look easy and clear when they are not.
It certainly looks well made.
 
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Derkkk

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This is an excellent thead to actually ask something technical: with speakers being the same and assuming they can be driven at desired spl, perceived sound performance is going to be equally good. Choice could boil down to other considerations such as heat, power consumption, aesthetics...

In that regard, what will produce less waste heat at the same voltage being provided? Purifi or Hypex? Is the difference relevant or the real use impact would be very close?

However, I got a technical question on top of all that: what if the amp gets more than 2 channels? Does adding extra amplification channels impact the total performance other than, logically, adding strain on the power source? Do you get extra distortion and noise adding further channels?
For me the consideration is more price to be honest because I honestly feel like all of these perform equally well in terms of noise and anything else I’m not sure I’d notice. So, then I considered head room as I love high dynamic music and learned recently how much power you really need in reserve to play some of this music at high volume levels. The benchmarks get spendy when you need two and even then I’m not sure I’d be satisfied with the power. So, I’ll likely end up going with the new purifi units or even the NC1200 route. Just depends and can’t quite afford it just yet but in the future looking to make a change. My little McIntosh MC152 is pretty well maxed out when I crank it up.
 

Kal Rubinson

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:facepalm: how on earth did i miss that... Ive read that review a few more times than Id like to admit and somehow I missed he was using Benchmark amps.
He?
 
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Derkkk

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I see what you did hahah I wasn’t paying attention who did the review. Great review Kal. I’m yearning to listen to the Perlisten S7t’s. Worst part is they were at the Florida expo but I was out of town so I missed them. Can’t say an expo is always a great listen anyway but would have been cool to see them in person.
 

Vacceo

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For me the consideration is more price to be honest because I honestly feel like all of these perform equally well in terms of noise and anything else I’m not sure I’d notice. So, then I considered head room as I love high dynamic music and learned recently how much power you really need in reserve to play some of this music at high volume levels. The benchmarks get spendy when you need two and even then I’m not sure I’d be satisfied with the power. So, I’ll likely end up going with the new purifi units or even the NC1200 route. Just depends and can’t quite afford it just yet but in the future looking to make a change. My little McIntosh MC152 is pretty well maxed out when I crank it up.
If you want to stay McIntosh, perhaps their D class amps in 4 or 7 channels may work fine for you. The 4 channel can be used biamped if you just use a stereo.

Those class D run on Hypex Ncores, so you should be well-served in terms of power.
 
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freemansteve

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Are the shortlist items all class-D?
If not I'd stick with class-D as they'll drive anything well, no matter how oddly the speakers present as a load - I doubt there is much to choose between high-end Class-D's these days, bar brand identity and quality of the case!
 

pogo

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I doubt there is much to choose between high-end Class-D's these days, bar brand identity and quality of the case!
This is not quite correct. With this purifi amp, for example, you have the option of a selectable damping factor to make an adaption to the speakers or listening preferences: Link
 

MaxBuck

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Fot that same money you can buy a Bryston 3B3. In all honesty, i would either keep the Mac or look at Bryston.
I see no reason to choose Bryston over the other amplifiers being considered. (Conversely, I would see no real reason to replace the Bryston with either the Purifi or the McIntosh.)
 

bkdc

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The idle power consumption of the NC 1200 is a deal breaker for me. Unless you absolutely need the high end of power output, I hate my class D amps running warm to hot. I’ve read people posting that their stereo NC1200 draws 75 watts idle. WTF.

My Benchmark AHB2 is only slightly warm and supposedly draws 12Watts in idle which is considerably better than the NC1200. The heat sinks probably help a lot too.

My Purifi 1ET400A Eval 1 stereo amplifier (VTV case) barely runs above room temperature. Love love love the efficiency at idle.
 
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Sal1950

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So I've been reading about amps a lot and for the longest time I was really really drawn to the Benchmark AHB2 amp. Mainly because I happen to be a pretty measurement focused buyer.
I'm with you there. IMO you couldn't hear the difference between the two.
Personally I'd grab a Buckeye Hypex NC502MP based, 6-channel amplifier. That's what I'm looking at now for a future move if I should start having issues with my current amps. Why, because they're also made in the USA and less money than either of the mentioned amps and give me 6 channels to boot for my multich rig.
Just my 2 cents. ;)
 

Bombadil

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The idle power consumption of the NC 1200 is a deal breaker for me. Unless you absolutely need the high end of power output, I hate my class D amps running warm to hot. I’ve read people posting that their stereo NC1200 draws 75 watts idle. WTF.

My Benchmark AHB2 is only slightly warm and supposedly draws 12Watts in idle which is considerably better than the NC1200. The heat sinks probably help a lot too.

My Purifi 1ET400A Eval 1 stereo amplifier (VTV case) barely runs above room temperature. Love love love the efficiency at idle.
Second this, my AHB2s in mono or stereo are barely warm when in use. I also have 3 March P701 (NC1200) monoblocks and they get "quite warm" but not hot. Not sure if this is a big deal but other modules that run cooler would be an advantage. Hopefully Purifi modules will soon be available with similar power to the NC1200 (400/700/1200) at similar prices. When considering cost I also believe the resale value of the Benchmarks will be much higher than any D class amp, considering the fast advancing tech in the D class world (and of course the Benchmark reputation). cheers
 

amper42

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The idle power consumption of the NC 1200 is a deal breaker for me. Unless you absolutely need the high end of power output, I hate my class D amps running warm to hot. I’ve read people posting that their stereo NC1200 draws 75 watts idle. WTF.

My Benchmark AHB2 is only slightly warm and supposedly draws 12Watts in idle which is considerably better than the NC1200. The heat sinks probably help a lot too.

My Purifi 1ET400A Eval 1 stereo amplifier (VTV case) barely runs above room temperature. Love love love the efficiency at idle.

My March Audio P452 Purifi amp drives the Revel F328Be to 75dB with only 16W. It's pretty amazing how little power is required to get the Purifi design to support normal listening levels. In comparison, the Buckeye NC502MP uses 25W to do the same job and it idles at 23W. Both of these designs offer more power than I need.

The Monolith 7X200 uses 150W in idle and 165W to get to the same 75dB on the F328Be. Basically, 10x the energy use of the Purifi design. And the Purifi sounds just as good to my ear. The Purifi design is not only great sounding but can play 24 hours a day and never be concerned about energy usage. Plus, it runs cool to the touch unlike the NC502MP or Monolith 7X200.

Pair the RME ADI-2 DAC FS with the Purifi amp and you have an amazingly good sounding system that's also an energy miser. The RME ADI-2 DAC FS uses a mere 6W. The Purifi amp and ADI-2 drives the Revel F328Be to 75dB with only 22W combined. That's a far cry more energy efficient than all my other amps and Denon receivers. :D
 
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Hear Here

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> So I've been reading about amps a lot and for the longest time I was really really drawn to the Benchmark AHB2 amp. Mainly because I happen to be a pretty measurement focused buyer.

I can hardly believe my eyes! Are you serious in making purchase decisions based largely on measurements? Are you not more concerned about how they actually sound? It's a bit like saying “I choose the concerts I go to based on the measured acoustics of the venue rather than the performance itself”!

Sorry, but I must get this off my chest first! OK I've calmed down so let's look at your next point:

> Now that I've been reading about how far class D amps have come its got me into a spot of confliction. While I realize I could easily go the DIY route with the Purifi or Hypex, I want something that has a nice enclosure like the Benchmark.

The "DIY route" entails the purchase of a cheap off-the-shelf evaluation board and adding your own power supply, case, etc, etc. This will offer an indication of what Class D may deliver, but nothing like the result of the Class D system offered by the likes of NAD or T&A. They build the Purifi Eigentakt Class D amp (the best Class D technology currently available) under license using superior components and get the whole box of tricks working as a unit that will rival any other SS amp of any class - a far cry (sorry to say this) from either DIY jobs done by you or I, or even from one-man bands who set up shop (probably in their spare room or garage) to knock up "Purifi amps" that they sell seemingly cheaply on Ebay etc. You just won't get the pro-products that well-established and respected brands offer – with warranties, customer support and anticipated good re-sale price when you next upgrade.

And Benchmark! OK, have you home tested this amp in your own system? If you do, and you also get into your system a handful of other good amps, you are unlikely (I predict) to purchase the Benchmark - or like me, you are convinced by its wonderful measurements and generally favourable reviews to buy it untried. I did this on the rave recommendation of a fellow forum poster who had almost identical speakers to mine. I found lots of lovely features (adjustable gain, exceptionally low noise, nice case, etc), but ended up with a drearily DULL amplifier. The Benchmark offers no sparkle, no goosebump factor, no real feeling of sharing your room with the artist, no temptation to turn up the volume! No, you sadly get little more excitement than "elevator music". Great for background sound while you are doing something more pressing than listening to music, but in a word - dull.

The only way to select a good amplifier that suits your room, your speakers and you music preferences is to select 6-10 amps (after reading reviews, recommendations, etc) and buy (used) or borrow these short-listed amps from dealers. Reject the dull ones (likely including the Benchmark) and carefully listen to the best of the batch before making a purchase decision. Let you ears be the deciding factor, not what some reviewer has suggested and not for goodness sake, what the oscilloscope says!

Sorry, but I’m saying this from first-hand experience that I hope you can avoid. I wish I had loved the sound of the Benchmark – it would have saved me a couple of years of experimentation with 12 solid state amps that I hoped would provide equally good or better sound than my previous SET tube amps, but in the end I bought a bargain Class D amp from a weel respected brand that knocks spots off the Benchmark and many other amps of Class A and AB designs. Good luck in your search.
 

amper42

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> So I've been reading about amps a lot and for the longest time I was really really drawn to the Benchmark AHB2 amp. Mainly because I happen to be a pretty measurement focused buyer.

I can hardly believe my eyes! Are you serious in making purchase decisions based largely on measurements? Are you not more concerned about how they actually sound? It's a bit like saying “I choose the concerts I go to based on the measured acoustics of the venue rather than the performance itself”!

Sorry, but I must get this off my chest first! OK I've calmed down so let's look at your next point:

> Now that I've been reading about how far class D amps have come its got me into a spot of confliction. While I realize I could easily go the DIY route with the Purifi or Hypex, I want something that has a nice enclosure like the Benchmark.

The "DIY route" entails the purchase of a cheap off-the-shelf evaluation board and adding your own power supply, case, etc, etc. This will offer an indication of what Class D may deliver, but nothing like the result of the Class D system offered by the likes of NAD or T&A. They build the Purifi Eigentakt Class D amp (the best Class D technology currently available) under license using superior components and get the whole box of tricks working as a unit that will rival any other SS amp of any class - a far cry (sorry to say this) from either DIY jobs done by you or I, or even from one-man bands who set up shop (probably in their spare room or garage) to knock up "Purifi amps" that they sell seemingly cheaply on Ebay etc. You just won't get the pro-products that well-established and respected brands offer – with warranties, customer support and anticipated good re-sale price when you next upgrade.

And Benchmark! OK, have you home tested this amp in your own system? If you do, and you also get into your system a handful of other good amps, you are unlikely (I predict) to purchase the Benchmark - or like me, you are convinced by its wonderful measurements and generally favourable reviews to buy it untried. I did this on the rave recommendation of a fellow forum poster who had almost identical speakers to mine. I found lots of lovely features (adjustable gain, exceptionally low noise, nice case, etc), but ended up with a drearily DULL amplifier. The Benchmark offers no sparkle, no goosebump factor, no real feeling of sharing your room with the artist, no temptation to turn up the volume! No, you sadly get little more excitement than "elevator music". Great for background sound while you are doing something more pressing than listening to music, but in a word - dull.

The only way to select a good amplifier that suits your room, your speakers and you music preferences is to select 6-10 amps (after reading reviews, recommendations, etc) and buy (used) or borrow these short-listed amps from dealers. Reject the dull ones (likely including the Benchmark) and carefully listen to the best of the batch before making a purchase decision. Let you ears be the deciding factor, not what some reviewer has suggested and not for goodness sake, what the oscilloscope says!

Sorry, but I’m saying this from first-hand experience that I hope you can avoid. I wish I had loved the sound of the Benchmark – it would have saved me a couple of years of experimentation with 12 solid state amps that I hoped would provide equally good or better sound than my previous SET tube amps, but in the end I bought a bargain Class D amp from a weel respected brand that knocks spots off the Benchmark and many other amps of Class A and AB designs. Good luck in your search.

There is so much misinformation in this post it's hard to know where to start. :D

The technology for the Purifi is in the modules. Whether you put them together yourself or a company does it the differences is minimal and the extra "features" that might be added can easily increase distortion and noise by altering the design. All most people need from an amp is the ability to connect speakers and turn it on. Most will do well to stay as close to the original Purifi design as possible rather than stray from it. If that leads to a less expensive build - all the better.
 

DonH56

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Opinions vary... Measurements are useful, and trying a bunch of different amps in one's system can be time-consuming and expensive. A lot of folk are very happy with the "musicality" of their Benchmark amps. Pretty sure @Kal Rubinson finds his engaging enough... If I start with a near-perfect system I can always adjust the EQ to taste, cheaper and easier than finding electronics (cables, whatever) to do it.
 

Sal1950

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Sorry, but I’m saying this from first-hand experience that I hope you can avoid. I wish I had loved the sound of the Benchmark
The sound of the Benchmark? I guess you don't like the sound of the source, cause that's what they are, a completely transparent amp.
If you didn't like them in comparison to the SET amps, that I understand. The vast majority of SET amps are highly colored devices designed to produce a particular sound based on the type of distortion they produce.
When well measuring modern SS amps are listened to under tightly bias controlled conditions they are shown to all sound the same.
 
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