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!


Benchmark if you place higher value on resolution. Mac if you have inefficient speakers that require headroom. 

Or if you want to split the difference go with a Pass X amp for details and a decent midrange with very good rhythm and pace and lots of power, or XA amp if you want even warmer midrange with details and great rhythm and pace.

I have owned both a full benchmark system and a McIntosh 462 but not at the exact moment for a direct AB. I highpass at 60-70hz which should be noted

….I still own the Mac and own nothing from benchmark at the moment. For music the Mac is more enjoyable to my ear. I just want to turn it up louder and louder and it just get better. With the benchmark it sounded fine, maybe a hair thin and I found myself turning it down after a few hours then off…. The Mac never gets turned off early into a listening session.


I don’t notice any loss of detail on the Mac vs the benchmark. The details are just not forced on you. I don’t like contributing soundstage to electronics but the system does seem “bigger” both in width and depth on the Mac  

benchmark has a 30 day trial. No harm in trying them but I don’t see myself owning them again.

maybe the older Macs were a tad rolled off on top but not the newer ones. At least not in my experience I have a mac preamp and power amp. Also Mac has the best resale value of any audio components in the business. The newer mac SS amps are all above 120db SN. 

@helomech Yes, need the headroom. 86/87db for the monitors. 

@james633 Very good info. I cross over at 80 or 90 or 100 (depending on the song - I have three profiles in the preamp that I can change on the fly.)


I am going to give McIntosh monoblocs a go. As many stated (and I agree) if they aren't a good fit for me - I can resell fairly easy (or even trade-in for that matter) 

Was REALLY considering those Parasound JC5s. 1200w at 8ohm. They aren't the prettiest girl in the room, by far, but the performance looks top-notch.