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Thread: Benchmark LA4

  1. #1

    Benchmark LA4

    Notice the little David among the Goliaths in Mike’s latest mbl 101e mk 2 install Benchmark LA4

    Adjustments.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by apdoc2004 View Post
    Joe,

    Thanks for the wonderful description. Try it with your CJ Gat 2 and tell us what you are hearing. What are you waiting for?!! You have such a wonderful valve preamp in your stable.
    I have the Benchmark LA4 preamp. It is scary how close it comes to the Ayre KXR 20 in performance.
    Anshul
    Quote Originally Posted by nicoludio View Post
    Interesting I have the LA4 too.

    Two others have similarly compared it to the mbl 6010d & Robert Koda (K10, I believe). The owners of the mbl and the RK own the LA4 too. It is not embarrassed in such company.

  2. #2
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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Interesting
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e32 mk11, Marantz SA11S2. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen, DL Labs, Blue Jean.. ,Bryston BCD-1,Timbernation Rack, Metrum NOS Mini, WooWA6SE

  3. #3
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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    Interesting
    Very! Benchmark is awesome, but I’ve not tried the preamp.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AX Mark II, Job INTegrated.

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7, Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos. Absolute Audio Labs PCF 25 amp (improved First Watt F7 super clone)

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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    I’m guessing that some of the Goliath pieces have power cords costing more than the LA4. It must be something special to have a place in that system.
    Gary
    Accuphase E-650; Lumin A1; Tannoy Canterbury GR

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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Quote Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
    Very! Benchmark is awesome, but I’ve not tried the preamp.
    I never had any of their gear. The pre is interesting though. But its going to be hard to beat my W4S pre.
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e32 mk11, Marantz SA11S2. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen, DL Labs, Blue Jean.. ,Bryston BCD-1,Timbernation Rack, Metrum NOS Mini, WooWA6SE

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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Measurement/spec wise, the MBL preamp just reviewed was the only one to beat it in Stereophile.

    The VC makes that loud “click, click, click” as you turn it up/down.

    It sounded good. Those Pass amps were singing!
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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    I never had any of their gear. The pre is interesting though. But its going to be hard to beat my W4S pre.
    I have to admit my stage 2 W4S is very special.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AX Mark II, Job INTegrated.

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7, Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos. Absolute Audio Labs PCF 25 amp (improved First Watt F7 super clone)

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    The only Benchmark I have owned was their DACs. Solid well made gear but they were also very sterile sounding, too analytic for my taste, not what I would call musical. Honestly, sound wise I was very un-impressed after living with them.

    Several members of our audio club have had Benchmark pieces and almost everyone of us have moved on. The Benchmark always sounded good initially, but that analytic, designed for how they test in a lab quality became harsh after some time. Most all of us moved to more musical sounding pieces.

    A pre-amp is essential in the over all performance of a system, in my view. That amazing system would be well served with a more appropriate pre-amp in my humble opinion (not necessarily meaning more expensive just more musical).
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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Nice to read these comments on the LA4. I bought the HPA4 headphone amp/preamp on the assumption that it would pair great with something like the Luxman m900u or CODA #16 (very quiet at 130 SNR). I was considering spending much more for the Mola Mola Makua preamp + optional DAC, but now after many months of listening daily I think the HPA4 (same as LA4) is incredible and will center my system like in the photo above.

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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Quote Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
    Very! Benchmark is awesome, but I’ve not tried the preamp.
    I sure didn't like their DACS. I found them to be a little hyper detailed in my system. OF course my opinion.
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e32 mk11, Marantz SA11S2. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen, DL Labs, Blue Jean.. ,Bryston BCD-1,Timbernation Rack, Metrum NOS Mini, WooWA6SE

  11. #11
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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    I sure didn't like their DACS. I found them to be a little hyper detailed in my system. OF course my opinion.
    100% my opinion on their DACs as well, and I did own two different ones including their current top of the line unit. Far too analytic. From everything I have read, talking with folks at Benchmark, and using them, I believe this is their design. They rely very much on test numbers. I prefer to rely on listening and my ears... musicality is so much more important than the test numbers.
    Hattor The BIG - AMRG Trans | T+A DAC 8 DSD | T+A AMP 8 | AudioQuest Niagara 1000 | Rega RP8 w/Neo PSU | Rega Ania Pro | MOON (by SimAudio) Neo 310LP | Record Doctor VI | Falcon NW PC (music server) | Roon & HQPlayer | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | Magnepan MG .7 w/Magna Risers | KEF R700 | Elac Debut Sub 3010 | Abyss Diana Phi | Bryston ​BHA-1 | Astell&Kern AK240 | McIntosh MR7083 | Oppo BDP105

    "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  12. #12
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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    100% my opinion on their DACs as well, and I did own two different ones including their current top of the line unit. Far too analytic. From everything I have read, talking with folks at Benchmark, and using them, I believe this is their design. They rely very much on test numbers. I prefer to rely on listening and my ears... musicality is so much more important than the test numbers.
    I really don't place a ton of merit in measurements to make a decision on a purchase, measurements might be ok to identify the quality of the device and its assembly, but I don't listen to measurements I listen to the music coming from the device and the components in the assembled system, then I decide on how to spend my cash.
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e32 mk11, Marantz SA11S2. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen, DL Labs, Blue Jean.. ,Bryston BCD-1,Timbernation Rack, Metrum NOS Mini, WooWA6SE

  13. #13
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    Re: Benchmark LA4

    I am looking to get a R2R DAC to pair with the HPA4. I have the Benchmark DAC3B at the moment and I will add a R2R DAC as a second option to my HPA4 setup. Variety.

    At the moment I am considering the Denafrips Terminator Plus with the IRIS DDC to get I2S connectivity.

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Benchmark LA4

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