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!


For a system geared more towards music, I would choose different speakers, electronics and speaker placement. But at least you are a good sport about all this.

I had two Benchmarks in my system for a while but just did not get along with them. They did not sound as refined as I prefer in the treble and were extremely midrange forward because they had such a dynamic range.  The midrange content like horns and vocals were so high in volume level that the system had to be turned up quite loudly to get good bass.  

I tried several other amps like Parasound JC5 and Pass Labs XA25 and 30.8 but settled in on a new McIntosh MC 312.  

The Mac sounds specracular in my system, excellent clear midrange and the highest level of treble refinement.  The newer Macs have plenty of detail.  

To the op, I am very familiar with the NHT monitors ( with the B6 bass modules ). If you are looking to move some air ( more oomph ) out of the monitors, you need to upgrade them. I will not comment on the room, as you say, the photo is outdated. I am not a Mc fan, as I prefer the presentation of dc coupled, class A designs, and I have some experience with the Benchmark amps ( the LA4 preamp is the star of their show, imo ), but I believe, you will come to realize the NHT monitors will be the weak link, and need to be changed. If you want to discuss what to change to, I am sure you will get many opinions, some stated here. I have my own thoughts on the subject. Good luck, and Enjoy ! MrD.


I have never heard the Benchmark amps, but what you describe is exactly what their preamp sounds like.