Benchmark or McIntosh....

Brain says two Benchmark ABH2 as monoblocks. Heart says Mc because meters and more power. A little background info:

Mixed-use theater/listening room. More listening versus movies. Primary source is a Hifi Rose RS150B into an Anthem AVM 70 pre/pro. Current amplifier is a Wadia A315 at 150x2. Speakers are NHT M6 monitors (a 6 ohm/ 250w sealed speaker, which is exceedingly rare and why I still have them.) I have seven 21" subwoofers so it is fairly equivalent to a live concert when everything is fired up but I need a little more oomph from the monitors.

I was set on a pair ABH2s earlier this week, but I keep getting drawn back to McIntosh - primarily monos MC601 MC611 MC1201 etc...

Do I pick Mc with more power (will probably be a second-hand model due to availability/wait times/budget etc) or so I go for the Benchmark with superior SNR (pre/pro is 110db and Hifi Rose is 117db)

TIA for any real-world feedback!


One each in the front Left and Right corner.  One in the back of the theater,  mid-wall. Two on the left mid-wall and two on the right mid-wall. Room is 22x12x7 in the basement on concrete foundation and it will vibrate the floor. 

You really must listen to them. These guys are on opposite ends of the spectrum. MAC is a powerhouse in midrange and bass, with little detail, benchmark heavy detail.

Both brands have lots of fans and are well respected. While I love the meters and look of Mac (typically women hate the look… not just dislike) the sound… twenty seconds of listening and it gets crossed off my list. Same with Benchmark, for the opposite reason. So, for me, neither.

But I think if you are contemplating both at once… I would find a way to listen to them.

I'd probably lean towards detail,  to be honest. Midrange would be nice.  Bass I have handled (lol!) The monitors cross over at 80, 90, or 100hz depending on the song and setting. I like the size of the McIntosh and the look. They'll run warmer,  which is a minus to me.  The Benchmark is small, but quiet and cool-running. I don't mind the sound being up front or my face. Again,  it's like a concert in here.  Almost a visceral experience.