Benchmark HPA4 headphone amp, and THX AAA 789, Amir review

Since I have written about the Benchmark HPA4 headphone amp, and the related THX AAA 789, note that Amir just published a review of it:

I bought this device sans headphone amp. It was beautifully made, but in my system I could detect no audible difference between it and the pre-amp from my iFi Pro DAC.

Consequently, I returned it and the Benchmark folks took it back without any argument, but that isn’t why I’m posting.

The Benchmark factory is an hour down the road from me, so instead of incurring the cost of shipping and insurance ($5 per $100, so not negligible) I decided to take a drive.

The only way the factory and offices of Benchmark could be smaller is if they were in someone’s basement. The entire operation - receptionist, offices, conference room and assembly/shipping occupy probably less than 10,000 feet on the 2nd floor of a nondescript building on a side street in a low rent neighborhood on the outskirts of Syracuse.

This not meant as a criticism. The people I spoke to couldn’t have been more cordial and Benchmark makes well known and well engineered equipment. As far as I can tell, the Benchmark pre-amp is one of the few pieces of (semi) expensive kit that Amir has approved. Wonder what he would think of their DACs.

My point of this anecdote is that, I suspect many of the device/software manufacturers, e.g. Sonore, SGC, and probably Roon (to name only a small percentage), are on this scale. This would seem to be a truly boutique area especially compared to the likes of Sony, OPPO, Marantz, etc.

Great stuff.


Benchmark Media is a good company. I purchased a DAC3 HGC, and was considering adding a HPA4 for another system (ended up going with a Headamp GSX-mini). You can always call and ask questions, and the support is friendly/helpful.


BTW - review of Benchmark amp -