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Benchmark HPA4 Headphone / Line Amplifier Impressions

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by negura, Apr 8, 2018.
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  1. Roasty
    I just took delivery of an AHB2 today.

    Dac3b + hpa4 +ahb2 + roon + rew = I think i am done with purchasing audio gear for a long long time..

    I was worried the overall sound of the benchmark stack would be too cold/clinical/analytical/bright.. I was wrong. It's just clean, fast, accurate, and I am loving the detail. It actually sounds a tad warmer than when I had an Audiolab 6000a running in power amp mode. There is also more meat in the mids.

    The hpa4 is just a killer headphone and line amp. Plus it has a remote!
    dmdm and twoloszyn like this.
  2. twoloszyn
    I would love to read/watch a shootout between the HPA4, AAA 789, Monoprice 887, and the SMSL SP200. Apart from the obvious features of each just a sound comparison.
    FourT6and2 likes this.
  3. llamaluv
  4. FourT6and2
    Me too
  5. Tobes
    The DAC3 HGC?
    That has preamp functionality and 2 analog SE inputs + digital inputs.
    Do you mean a preamp with analog XLR inputs?
  6. FourT6and2
    Well I bit the bullet and ordered the DAC3-B and HPA4, as well as got a good deal on a THX 789. Hopefully they all arrive soon. Will know tomorrow what the lead time from Benchmark is. Last I heard it was like 10-15 days, but that was before I placed my order.
    nordkapp likes this.
  7. nordkapp
    What cans do you own?
  8. FourT6and2
    Sennheiser HD820, Focal Elear, Sony Z7M2, Meze Empyrean. Planning on trying Focal Utopia once I move some current gear. None of them are particularly hard to drive. Current amp is Sennhesier HDV820 and I think it sounds pretty good. So I'm looking forward to comparing it to the 789, Benchmark, and Aune S7 Pro.
    bluenight and twoloszyn like this.
  9. twoloszyn
    I sold the AAA 789 when I received the HPA4 and I had a very hard time telling the difference between the two sonically. I didn’t perform a proper AB or ABX test but I feel they’re too similar to distinguish (at least with my headphones). I might hear a slight difference due to the attenuator vs standard volume pot but that’s about it.

    I say if you need all of the additional features the HPA4 has and you have to have the “best of the best,” go with the HPA4. Otherwise, I would save $2500 and go with a 789, Monoprice 887, or SMSL SP200. The competition is really heating up in regards to THX tech and there’s great value to be found for a lower price.
    bluenight likes this.
  10. bimmer100
    Surprised to hear that! I didn’t have that experience at all. I was surprised how different they were.
    bluenight and phthora like this.
  11. FourT6and2
    See... two completely opposite opinions on the same two amps. Only way to know for sure is to compare them myself. I hope they're indistinguishable so I can save $2,600.
    bluenight likes this.
  12. phthora
    Same. I liked the 789, but was not impressed enough with it to ditch my Audio-gd 28.38, as it lacked weight to the sound and was not a significant improvement in resolution. More of a side-grade. When the HPA4 arrived, it was a decided improvement over the 28.38 on basically everything and an immediate keeper.
    bluenight likes this.
  13. twoloszyn
    I’d love to hear bimmer100 and phthora’s impressions between the 789 and HPA4. What headphones and/or equipment was tested, etc. I didn’t properly test them as I should’ve. Listened to the 789, packed it up to sell, and then either later that day or the next day hooked up the HPA4 with a playlist of 10 tracks. Couldn’t tell an immediate or pronounced difference. Now if owned Susvara’s or HE1000 it could’ve been a different story...
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  14. FourT6and2
    Just received tracking info for the HPA4 and DAC3. Should hopefully be here within a week. THX 789 arrived already.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  15. MacedonianHero Contributor
    Ok...so the HPA4 has no issues whatsoever on driving the power hungry Hifiman Susvara...I am very impressed with what I'm hearing tonight!!! My HPA4 review will be live in one week...one incredible amplifier!
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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