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

DonH56

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I'm sure it has nothing to do with the assumption that the Benchmark is a "cheap amp".
 

Kal Rubinson

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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.
Actually, one can measure the "goosebump factor" easily by electrophysiological methods. The issue is that goosebumps are physiological elements of an emotional response and, as such, have more to do with the individual subject than with anything that the subject perceives.
 

Kijanki

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I have goosebumps listening to my Benchmark AHB2. Everyday I discover true timbre of instruments on the records I heard many times before. Sure, you add some distortions and sound will become more dynamic (as distorted guitar sounds more dynamic than clean Jazz guitar at exactly the same level), but it is not my cup of tea. AHB2 is as close to wire with gain, as it gets IMHO.
 

pogo

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AHB2 is as close to wire with gain, as it gets IMHO.
The AHB2 with its moderate DF is not that close. However, this is also very dependent on the speakers used. The sound engineering in my post #73 has explained it well that the less controlled swing-out behavior is also a kind of distortion and there is a purifi clearly superior.
 

Kijanki

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DF is pretty much irrelevant, at least for membrane damping purpose. As for "Less controlled swing-out behavior" - I'm not sure what it means, and how it applies to AHB2?
 

hc_416

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I choose the ATI, I had concerns about the SMPS. The ATI's have a linier power supply and works great. When I'm beating on it, aka volume at -10 it does get warm but performs great and always has the same output over time, this is with my subjective listing no volt meter or anything.
 

orangejello

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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.
True, but I still say that if you can compare the amps in you system, you should avail yourself the opportunity. The Benchmark has basically transparent distortion specs, as do the Class D amps that are being considered. But some of the Class D amps have quite a bit more power. I think that can make a discernible difference depending on your speakers. In any case, when I went through this, I wound up keeping the Class D and sending back the Benchmark. It was a tough decision because the Benchmark is such an admirable piece of gear. At low to moderate volumes they sounded the same to me. But when I cranked it up with very dense, dynamic, orchestral music, the Hypex NC400 modules seemed more pleasant to listen to. YMMV of course. The only bias that I will readily admit to is that the Benchmark cost more than twice what the Class D amp cost. So that may be a factor.
 

Hear Here

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Actually, one can measure the "goosebump factor" easily by electrophysiological methods. The issue is that goosebumps are physiological elements of an emotional response and, as such, have more to do with the individual subject than with anything that the subject perceives.
It would be interesting to get 20 people in turn sitting at the ideal listening chair in front of goosebump-inducing speakers and playing each of them their favourite track using the Benchmark and another good amp that suits the speakers. Then an independent medical expert could probably measure their goosebumps, or at least the way their bodies and brains react to the 2 alternative renditions.

I accept that the amp must be chosen to match the speakers (though there are people here who even dispute this obvious fact), but with my speakers, the Benchmark fared particularly poorly, although a Quad was worse and a Sugden (to my immense surprise) proved dull too. The Sugden model has since been discontinued despite being from their up-market Masterclass series! I've noticed that the worthwhile Benchmark reviews published since I bought my AHB2 (including your own in Stereophile) have all mentioned reservations to its performance, though perhaps not in the robust way I've criticised it.
 

orangejello

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The AHB2 with its moderate DF is not that close. However, this is also very dependent on the speakers used. The sound engineering in my post #73 has explained it well that the less controlled swing-out behavior is also a kind of distortion and there is a purifi clearly superior.
I recall people writing that DF was irrelevant regarding the Benchmark since, while it was not great, it was adequate. But it is certainly a huge spec difference between the Benchmark and the Purifi or Hypex modules. All I know is that after extensive listening I sent the Benchmark back. I don't know from a technical point of view why I failed to enjoy the Benchmark, but the two glaring differences were power and DF.
 

Kal Rubinson

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It would be interesting to get 20 people in turn sitting at the ideal listening chair in front of goosebump-inducing speakers and playing each of them their favourite track using the Benchmark and another good amp that suits the speakers. Then an independent medical expert could probably measure their goosebumps, or at least the way their bodies and brains react to the 2 alternative renditions.
Not workable since there is no way to control for central processes, attention and neurochemistry.
 

DonH56

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DonH56

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agiletiger

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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
The future is now. I wish I had the following app when I was studying and playing jazz. I use it today occasionally for learning a solo and more often for slowing down Korean Buddhist chants so I can learn them properly. You can adjust pitch and tempo independently.

 
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