a follow up my past audio systems were integrated amps and souces direct connected to the amp no preamp this is a regular config for low power tube amps and horns.......which leaves me as a hifi fan with not a whit what to do when I want to use a R2R for the analog source......and preamps w/ all the design juices on vinyl connections and what for tape? a couple of rca's? oh! I whine again......still it sounds to me that the SS Hafler preamp on the KT66 tube mono's and horns is quite adceptable!
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I got the Benchmark HPA4 preamp + headphone amp yesterday and have been playing it for the past 24 hours. It is hooked up to the Benchmark DAC3B which was also purchased yesterday. I bought these at a discount from a dealer and did not try the 30 day free home trial from Benchmark. The Benchmark designers have said that the units really do not need burn-in.
The HPA4 is now driving my headphones to burn-in for 200 hours and also my KEF LS50’s connected to the OK amp section of my Peachtree NOVA 150 integrated.
All I can say is that my shins are hurting from all the toe tapping I have been doing while listening to the KEF LS50 speakers (not headphones). I am burning some nice calories listening to the tunes now. The 2 Benchmark’s are incredible together, I have read posts from people that are pairing the Chord DACS with this preamp.
I am not going to keep the Peachtree NOVA as a long term solution for amplification. I will be adding the Benchmark AHB2 amp soon and another much more expensive amp as an alternative (maybe Class A).
Give yourself a 30 day home trial on this preamp. It is a giant slayer based on my hearing. I have also heard a lot of very expensive gear.
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/7605 (last photo is the Benchmark gear)
BTW - I am not a headphone guy but decided to spend the $500 dollars extra and buy the HPA4 instead of the $2500 LA4 preamp without headphone amplification. A quick 10 minute listen to the headphones seems to indicate that was a wise move.
Next thing to do is to buy the under $100 Benchmark XLR interconnects to hook up the DAC + Preamp + Amp. I am currently using $500- $1000 Audience XLR interconnects. They sound good but I think the Benchmark maybe better.
@jamesgang - thanks for your information. Looks like your recommendations are a bit hard to find around my places. I will need to list them out and find out a way to have a look and check it out.
@yyzsantabarbara - Benchmark seem to fit your ears, I hope it would fit mine too, since I am using Chord Hugo now. Will definitely have a look.
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