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!


My MA8900 never runs hot. I don’t think it lacks detail either. I find it to be an excellent balance of smooth and detailed. I’ve heard the 611 and 1.2 in a dealer room and I’m sure they would be an upgrade but I’m really happy with my setup at the moment and honestly they would be overkill in my small listening room.  I remember hearing some NHTs years ago and really liked them a lot.  Listen to all of them, buy what you like.

Hah - older Krell gear for sure.  The new Krell Amps don’t run hot at all.  For what I think you are looking for out of the amp, Krell and Max’s are the 2 American Made brands that really built their reputations on being able to drive almost any speakers, even 4 ohm or speakers that dip into the sub 4 ohm realm.  They went at if in different ways, Mac with their proprietary process that promises to deliverer stable power across the spectrum, automatically matching the need of the speakers, Krell designs their Amps to double down on power as Ohms drop.  By no means are these the only 2 that offer Amps are designed to drive difficult loads, they are the 2 most well known for it.  Hegel would be another great option.  Music Fidelity would be another along with Parasound.  If it’s drive and power, as others mentioned, the new Clas D amps deliver that in spades, run cool, more compact footprint and efficient.  No experience with the new Class D and not everyone falls in love with them, seems to be you either really love their sound or prefer Tube or old school SS Class A or AB amps. 


Your room size is your limiting factor. It seems you don't even have enough headroom to begin with. There is simply not enough " air volume" for 21 ft. of subs to breath properly in 7' ceiling room, never mind your eardrums. Your own skin maybe the only thing saving your nirvana.

@roxy54, @jasnobourne71, @ghasley  have all nailed it for you.

Best regards, Chris.

I love Tube sound I.have 4 Tube amps EL 34....KT 88 and 845’s...and Decware Zen Triode.......The new Aavik Amps ( Denmark).....have the warmth of tubes and the detail of SS with an EXPANSIVE soundstage. The Best of all worlds....High End Class D is the best sounding Musically of Any format at any $ IMHO. AGD is also a great amp....Peachtree ganfet 400 is a very musical class D amp for a Budget minded person w/ a tube pre.

Every amp I've had has been SS. Several Adcoms, Sunfires, Musical Fidelity, and the Wadia...which someone just bought, so I'll definitely have to do something and soon. 

@onhwy61 Yes, exactly. Pushing boundaries and the limits of this system. The 21s are surprisingly musical...they come from the sound reinforcement/live sound realm. I would say more musical than the 18's they replaced and the 15s before them. 

@jastralfu It's my third set of NHTs, I 've owned since new back in the early 2000's. Stereophile Class A limited back in their heyday. Only work that I had to do was replace the crossovers a year ago (I think room correction "adjusted" a little too much and they went out)