When is a $3,000 Power Amplifier an Audiophile Bargain?

When it comes to amplifiers, great power comes at a significant cost.  That then begs the question, what constitutes a great amplifier bargain?  Last year, we did an in-depth series of articles with THX’s Laurie Fincham and Benchmark’s John Siau around the technology behind the Benchmark AHB2 stereo power amplifier.
In our review of the Benchmark AHB2, we absolutely loved what we heard. So much so, in fact, that we gave the Benchmark AHB2 our Amplifier of the Year award.  It seems that the April 2016 edition of Stereophile Magazine shares our view. Stereophile has just named the Benchmark AHB2 in its prestigious Class A category, meaning it’s the best of the best from the products they have reviewed.
We weren’t at all surprised about the AHB2 receiving that prestigious classification.  Rather, what surprised us was that it was the only amplifier under $3,000 to be given Class A status.   The next closest was the ATC P1 ($3,999), Arcam FMJ P49 ($4,999)  and Parasound Halo JC ($9,000/pair).  As you can imagine, the Class A designation goes into the stratosphere from there.

It’s worth noting that only the Benchmark AHB2 ($2,995) and Parasound Halo ($9,000) received an additional nod for being high value for their price-point in the Class A ranking.

When you’re competing against products costing 10x, 20x or more and you’re mentioned in the same breath, that’s a big compliment.  We wanted to extend our congratulations to Benchmark on that recognition.  In our book, we considered this $2,995 power amplifier a phenomenal performer.  You can now add the relative term, “bargain” as well.