Anthem STR Int or Benchmark AHB2 + Preamp


I am looking for suggestions to choose between Anthem STR Int and Benchmark AHB2 + Preamp.

My speaker is Goldenear Triton Reference. My source is mainly from digital streaming. Have been checking so many reviews. I have auditioned the Rogue audio amps, and results are pretty good. But I hope I can get a bit more details and keep the smoothness and richness from the setup.

That is why I am leaning toward solid state power amp so that I can get enough power and less distortion. Due to the high sensitivity of the speakers, the output power might not be an issue in this case. 

Two combos have been considered right now:
1) Anthem STR Int. The ARC room correction looks very interesting. Tons of power. However, the analog in signal has to transform to digital first to utilize the ARC and convert back to analog. I am not quite sure about this topology. 
2) Benchmark AHB2 plus some tube preamp. AHB2 is respectable amp receiving numerous reviews. The output power is 100W at 8 ohms, enough for the Triton reference. Some review mention the sound is a bit analytical. I thought a good tube preamp can tune the sound a bit. Now, I am looking at used PS Audio BHK pre and Rogue Audio RP-7. The price is similar. But I cannot find any comparison. 

I am not sure which route will give better performance. I will appreciate any impression or suggestions.

Thanks in advance.


Bearwarrior we are an Anthem dealer so we are going to be a bit biased.

Personally we don’t feel this is a fair comparison as the Benchmark amp is $3,000.00 and a good preamp is also going to be around $3k vs a $4,500.00 integrated.

Also you are getting a good dac and room correction with the STR.

The Anthem Room correction is indeed excellent and may be a huge improvement with the Golden Ear’s whose bass response may exacerbate room issues.

When you factor in the cost of a good dac to the Benchmark combo you are now comparing an $8-9k package vs a $4,500.00

You are indeed correct about digitizing an analog source do you actually have one? If not no big deal, most people including the Anthem engineers feel that even analog through one of these units gains more from the room correction than the more purist approach to pure analog preamplification.

The Anthem STR preamp at $4k plus a good amplifier tube or otherwise would get you even better performance and would still retain the excellent dac and room correction.

We are going to get the Golden Ear loudspeakers after hearing them sound incredible at AXPONA. so we can advise you on our findings.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Anthem dealers
With those speakers, the STR, the room correction will be worth everything. I believe they have a 20% or more trad in going on next month.
Thanks for the suggestions. I am looking forward to your findings. 

I currently own a good source setup, including Roon render and NOS R2R DAC. If I buy Anthem, I will definitely use analog input. 

I will keep an eye on the Anthem. Meanwhile, I will appreciate if anyone has recommendations for preamp and power amp combo for Triton Reference.


Another +vote for the Anthem STR Integrated.  Happy Listening!


I wonder if the Pass Labs XA25 will be enough for Triton Reference. Although it rates at 25 W at 8 ohms, the measurement shows it goes to 80 W at 8 ohms with very low distortion. It also has beautiful tonality and tube-like sound signature.

I will appreciate if someone has experience with this combo.
I have the STR preamp and think it's excellent. As @audiotroy suggested, you might consider that, rather than the integrated. You could mate it with a Benchmark amp or Anthem's matching STR amp or, really, any amp that pairs well with your speakers.

Whether the benefits of ARC will outweigh any losses due to A-D-A conversion of analog sources will depend entirely on your system, particularly the speakers and room. I have found that in general room correction is beneficial, and after using several devices that have it, I consider the STR to have the most transparent version I've tried. All the processing is done at 192 kHz.