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

Kal Rubinson

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A lot of folk are very happy with the "musicality" of their Benchmark amps. Pretty sure @Kal Rubinson finds his engaging enough...
Glad you put it in quotes. I find the term "musicality" troubling because I have yet to find a logical definition for it that I can usefully apply.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Glad you put it in quotes. I find the term "musicality" troubling because I have yet to find a logical definition for it that I can usefully apply.
A "musical" amplifier automatically transposes every work into the key of C Major with the most complex harmonies ending at the minor 7th, with no inversions, so that nothing is offensive and nothing is overly exciting, as the gods intended. :cool:
 

amper42

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A "musical" amplifier automatically transposes every work into the key of C Major with the most complex harmonies ending at the minor 7th, with no inversions, so that nothing is offensive and nothing is overly exciting, as the gods intended. :cool:

I know you are being funny, but as a musician trying to transcribe jazz solos from some of the greats, I would love a DAC that could slow the music down without effecting pitch. It would require a bit of RAM and small CPU. I do it now with tape decks or computer software but a DAC that could do this internally would be wonderful. :D
 
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MakeMineVinyl

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I know you are being funny, but as a musician trying to transcribe jazz solos from some of the greats, I would love a DAC that could slow the music down without effecting pitch. It would require a bit of RAM and small CPU. I do it now with tape decks or computer software but a DAC that could do this internally would be wonderful. :D
That DAC would be a niche of a niche of a niche of a niche of a niche. And then they'd probably only sell one. :)
 

pogo

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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.
It doesn't seem to be that simple and especially with potent speakers like Magico or Avantgarde Acoustic there are differences to be heard, see also here:
Link
 

Inner Space

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It doesn't seem to be that simple and especially with potent speakers like Magico or Avantgarde Acoustic there are differences to be heard, see also here:
Link
How would e.g. Benchmark's DF affect the Avantgardes, which have their own active bass amplification?
 

pogo

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It also affects the passive part above the bass range. See also the manual of the T+A A200 for explanation.
 
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freemansteve

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I know you are being funny, but as a musician trying to transcribe jazz solos from some of the greats, I would love a DAC that could slow the music down without effecting pitch. It would require a bit of RAM and small CPU. I do it now with tape decks or computer software but a DAC that could do this internally would be wonderful. :D

I tab music all the time - OK, not anything like as hard as actual scoring from jazz music - but sometimes I load Audacity with the sound file, and play it back at whatever speed I need, and in-pitch, while applying various filters to help isolate the instrument I need. You can also do this with VLC. When learning a piece I also play along at half speed, in pitch, until I get the thing right.

In extremis, there are web-based AI engines that can do an alarmingly good job of isolating various instruments from a music file, which helps a lot, prior to playing it slow speed. Definitely worth a look here - https://moises.ai/ or here https://www.lalal.ai/ to unclutter sound files for scoring.

I think you are saying that you already slow music down on a PC with software - I'm not sure why a tape deck is needed, as I can't see how it stays pitch-correct!
 

Inner Space

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It also affects the passive part above the bass range.
No, it really doesn't.
See also the manual of the T+A A200 for explanation.
Cool story, but manufacturer woo is hardly authoritative. The best way to demonstrate "differences to be heard" is to prove it unsighted, which you haven't. Bring data, and then we can discuss.
 

Gorgonzola

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Glad you put it in quotes. I find the term "musicality" troubling because I have yet to find a logical definition for it that I can usefully apply.
Exactly. So "musicality" tends to mean whatever the listen prefers. Over the years I've heard a lot of tube or SET users insisting they prefer these technologies because they are more "musical". (Or they may use similarly undefinable terms such as "organic" or "liquid").

So after the Benchmark AHB2 was introduced a good many audiophiles declared that it sounded "sterile" and/or "uninvolving" or similar. Similar adjectives have been applied to NCore and Purifi amps.

My conclusion for some time is what these audiophiles are really liking in the tubes & SETs, and missing in the ultra-low distortion amps, is the formers' generous application of 2nd/3rd order harmonic distortion.
 

Hear Here

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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.
No, it's the source that I like but it's the reproduction of that source that was so disappointing with the Benchmark. I doubt there's a lab that can measure the "goosebump factor" but if there was, the Benchmark would come out badly, despite all its other good measurements.

When listening to the type of music one loves and there's no temptation to turn up the volume and wallow in the music - this is the Kiss of Death as far as I'm concerned, so the Benchmark that I bought new relatively soon after release (so no worthwhile reviews) was returned after a few months of really trying to enjoy the music. The dealer kindly offered a full-value credit note that I later used to buy a used GamuT D200 III. This was so much better (goosebump factor) despite having one inexcusable feature that meant it too had to be re-sold. This was the massive start up and shut down thump it generated though 104 dB speakers - otherwise it'd probably still be in my system.

Maybe with bland speakers the Benchmark would not disappoint in the way it does with high goosbump-factor Avantgardes!
 

Hear Here

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It doesn't seem to be that simple and especially with potent speakers like Magico or Avantgarde Acoustic there are differences to be heard, see also here:
Link
My Benchmark was bought to power my Avantgarde speakers, but this turned out a poor choice, despite its good lab measurements. Thanks for the link - I'll read that thread later.
 

pogo

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No, it really doesn't.
I cannot confirm this and have been making exactly the same experiences for decades, depending on the selected DF.
Here is an interesting video in german from a sound engineer, who explains which technical data are actually relevant and audible nowadays:
Link
You can also add a subtitle in your native language.
 

Inner Space

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I cannot confirm this and have been making exactly the same experiences for decades, depending on the selected DF.
The passive part of a current Avantgarde is mostly a featherlight silk midrange dome, with an 18ohm voice coil, and no crossover components in circuit. Its sensitivity is such that it's running on fractions of a volt and almost no current. So-called DF is irrelevant. What matters is amp performance at micro-watt levels, where the Benchmark is actually really good, not suspect.
 

pogo

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Yes, the Omega voice coils themselves increase the DF, but it is still an interaction with an amplifier.
 

Hear Here

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The passive part of a current Avantgarde is mostly a featherlight silk midrange dome, with an 18ohm voice coil, and no crossover components in circuit. Its sensitivity is such that it's running on fractions of a volt and almost no current. So-called DF is irrelevant. What matters is amp performance at micro-watt levels, where the Benchmark is actually really good, not suspect.
If that were so, why did I get such a dull and un-involving sound from my Avantgardes when powered by Benchmark?

There are many better choices, even amongst the 12 amps I bought or borrowed before deciding which was best with my speakers. Class D won out, though I was expecting Class A would be likely better (Accuphase came closest) - or the Benchmark that a fellow AG user was raving about. It transpired that he was obsessed with noise and found the Benchmark the quietest amp he'd ever owned. I don't doubt that, but there's more to life than sticking your head into AG horns and listening for noise!

PS - Congratulations on your 1000th posting on this forum!
 

pogo

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What matters is amp performance at micro-watt levels, where the Benchmark is actually really good, not suspect.
And what subset of measurement data are you relying on?
I have not yet received an answer to this questions: Link
And right here could be the truth.
 
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Inner Space

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... why did I get such a dull and un-involving sound from my Avantgardes when powered by Benchmark?
Well ... and this is said with love and respect, in friendship, not antagonism, and only because of a century of science, and four decades of experience in the pro world, where results need to be really real, to justify a skinflint owner's expenditure ... you got a dull and uninvolving sound because of sighted testing and multiple layers of bias.

The gross ab initio bias was believing there could be a difference. (How likely is that, anyway, with a speaker where two-thirds of the sound power is generated by its own internal DSP and active amp? Literally everything below middle C is nothing to do with your choice of amp. But anyway ... )

In some hidden corner of your subconsciousness, you bought into the old audiophile mantra that clean + clinical = dull and boring. And so on, and so forth. Whoever you are, you are not the one human among seven billion who might be immune to bias. I absolutely guarantee that if an alternate-you in an alternate-world had tested your 12 amps unsighted, you wouldn't have heard any difference at all. That has been demonstrated over and over and over again.

It's as simple as that, I'm afraid. Again, said with respect.
 

Hear Here

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Well ... and this is said with love and respect, in friendship, not antagonism, and only because of a century of science, and four decades of experience in the pro world, where results need to be really real, to justify a skinflint owner's expenditure ... you got a dull and uninvolving sound because of sighted testing and multiple layers of bias.

The gross ab initio bias was believing there could be a difference. (How likely is that, anyway, with a speaker where two-thirds of the sound power is generated by its own internal DSP and active amp? Literally everything below middle C is nothing to do with your choice of amp. But anyway ... )

In some hidden corner of your subconsciousness, you bought into the old audiophile mantra that clean + clinical = dull and boring. And so on, and so forth. Whoever you are, you are not the one human among seven billion who might be immune to bias. I absolutely guarantee that if an alternate-you in an alternate-world had tested your 12 amps unsighted, you wouldn't have heard any difference at all. That has been demonstrated over and over and over again.

It's as simple as that, I'm afraid. Again, said with respect.
Oh dear! Are we to believe that because an amp measures well, it will sound well? If that were the case, wouldn't everyone be happy buying a cheap amp that measures well (eg the Benchmark) and not waste their money on amps costing several times as much? Perhaps I've wasted a ton of cash on my latest speakers on the basis that the frequencies that it generates could be provided at similar volumes by a speaker system costing a fraction the price.

Where's your suggestion that "bias" has anything to do with my decision to return the Benchmark come from? I had no vested interest in rejecting it - quite the contrary as I was so confident that it would sound great that I bought it new and unheard.

The speakers I had at the time of my amp testing sessions were 2002 vintage Unos, so no DSP and no external amp involvement in frequencies above 150 or so Hz. So all the range that's likely to generate a goosebump feeling has everything to do with the main amp and nothing whatsoever to do with the amp that's built into the bass enclosure.

Where did you get the impression that I believe in "clean + clinical = dull and boring"? I don't - I have no interest in believing anything apart from the pleasure (or otherwise) that an audio system offers. And the more lifelike the system sounds, the greater the pleasure it offers.
 

Sal1950

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Oh dear! Are we to believe that because an amp measures well, it will sound well?
Yes
If that were the case, wouldn't everyone be happy buying a cheap amp that measures well (eg the Benchmark) and not waste their money on amps costing several times as much?
Yes
Where did you get the impression that I believe in "clean + clinical = dull and boring"? I don't - I have no interest in believing anything apart from the pleasure (or otherwise) that an audio system offers. And the more lifelike the system sounds, the greater the pleasure it offers.
Re-read Inner Space reply for the answer to your outcome.
 
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