I ordered the Gustard x26 pro so we will see how that works with the AHB2 and the HPA-4. My finger is on the trigger of the Coda 07x and it’s twitching. If I could only run both the 07x and the HPA-4 into the AHB2 at the same time so I don’t have to switch cables every time I want to change preamps it would be a done deal!
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@mapman This reviewer is on the money for me. I bought the following based on his reviews and I got exactly what I expected.
- Benchmark HPA4 (was going to get the LA4)
- Gustard X26 Pro
- Matrix Mini-3 Pro (my buddy has this now)
- Topping A90 headphone amp (my buddy has this now)
I expect the Topping pre90 to also work for me.
@regg I labeled my cables and since they are XLR's it is really easy to hook up. The Gustard X26 Pro, CODA 07x, HPA4, AHB2, DAC3B are great paired up in any combo. I will be adding the CODA#8 to this soup. I have no desire to buy anything in the uber expensive range.
Note that the CODA 07x does not have a power swatch, it is always on. So I make sure I change the active preamp input to a source that is turned off when I am removing the XLR from the AHB2.
BMS equipment is transparent.
If you are hearing hardness or ’lack of warmth’ it is on the original recording. I’ve proven this with CD/SACD "masters" of performances that were recorded in different ways with different mics, etc.
if you must, I’d add the Troubadour you are thinking of to supplement the system you are already have. If it is available you might try changing the filter characteristics of the BMS DAC.
I’d run BMS cables on all your equipment. If I'm late to the fair I apologize.
I agree with you completely, the Benchmark equipment only shows what’s on the recording and that is amazing most of the time. I guess the question I have been pondering is what is the best way to make the Benchmark system more forgiving in those cases where the recording is not so great, or if I just want a different flavor part of the time. You cannot change filter settings on the Benchmark DAC. I have a Gustard x26 pro DAC on order, @yyzsantabarbara has had much success with that DAC in his Benchmark System. My guess is that the Troubador is warmer still and if the Gustard is not to my liking I will try that. People also uniformly rave about the Halo KTE, which is also on the radar.
I had the all Benchmark system but decided to sell the preamp, even though it was the best one I had ever used. I find that no preamp is better - more transparent. It is as if you are in the room with the performers. Not warmer, just more real. More emotion! I use the EVS Ultimate attenuator: http://tweakaudio.com/EVS-2/custom_modsultimate_attenuators.html
to control volume. At the moment I am all digital so I don't have to switch cables. Streamer and cd transport just plug into the Benchmark DAC 3b. I have tried two other interconnect brands but always returned to the Benchmark cables. This surprised me; when I substituted well-reviewed much more expensive interconnects, things took a turn for the worse. Details went missing and the immediacy of the performance disappeared. Incidentally I use the Amphion 7LS speakers with Isoacoustics Gaia 2 feet.
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