SPL Phonitor X vs. Benchmark HPA4

ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,804
edited May 24 in Headphones
I've been looking at and researching two big boy headphone amps (plus built in preamps) and wondering which one is "best".

SPL Phonitor X - $2,500 (without DAC)

9669413.jpg

Phonitor_x_back_wDA.png

Which of course I would get in red, naturally.

vs.

Benchmark HPA4 - $3,000

Benchmark%2BHPA4%2BBLACK%2B.jpg

HPA4_Silver_L180_2000x_a41baf62-4955-4115-b4e2-7fa77f2b7674_2048x.jpg?v=1552786875


They both have a similar feature set, so I'm not sure if there is one clear "winner". It's possible the only way to know for sure which is "best" is to listen to both of them back to back.

Anyone have experience with either of these pieces?
  • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."

Comments

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,804
    Guts!

    Phonitor X:

    maxresdefault.jpg

    Bild02.jpg


    HPA4:

    HPA4_INSIDE_2_cropped50_grande.jpg?v=1539116168

    1118benchmark.ins.jpg
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,963
    Both look the part for sure.
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, AURALIC VEGA G1

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, AQ CARBON COAX, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,804
    I agree!

    And they both have a perfect feature for my specific use case, the ability to have a fixed or variable preamp output!

    The SPL has the interesting crossfeed feature and VU meters going for it. The Benchmark has a superior relay stepped volume control, a touchscreen and great specs. It's also $500 more expensive though.

    I'm leaning toward the SPL, even though it's slightly too large for where I want to put it.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,224
    edited May 25
    Clipdat wrote: »
    And they both have a perfect feature for my specific use case, the ability to have a fixed or variable preamp output!

    Why not get a preamp with headphone output? I have a pre that I used for headphones at work, and it was great.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,804
    Typically products like these that are "headphone amps first", will have much higher headphone performance versus regular preamps that happen to have a headphone output.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,224
    Okay. Thanks. I can respect the desire for the best sound, but, to me, it seems like overkill.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,963
    I would think any one of us have overkill in our setups, all depending on perspective.
    I like the look of the SPL better. But gotta love the touch screen :#
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, AURALIC VEGA G1

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, AQ CARBON COAX, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • IrrenhausIrrenhaus Posts: 839
    HT
    AVR-Pioneer SC99
    Adcom 585
    RTi12s
    Rear- RT150
    Center-CSi5
    Sub-Rythmik audio F25
    Player- Oppo BDP-103


    Living room 2ch rig:
    Peach Tree Decco, Onkyo CS-5VL SACD and Linn Kelidh

    Bedroom 2ch rig.
    Cary AE-3, Parasound 2125, Marantz SA8005, Usher V-601 or SDA 1C, SVS SB12-NSD, Intel NUC PC and Panamax MX5105

    Headphone rig;
    Little DOT MK II with upgraded tube's and Sennheisers HD650.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,804
    BlueFox wrote: »
    Okay. Thanks. I can respect the desire for the best sound, but, to me, it seems like overkill.

    Heh, "overkill". That's funny coming from someone with 600 watt Pass Labs monoblocks. :)
    Irrenhaus wrote: »
    One for sale. No affiliation.

    Saw that. Also listed on USAM for $2,400.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,178
    Clipdat wrote: »
    BlueFox wrote: »
    Okay. Thanks. I can respect the desire for the best sound, but, to me, it seems like overkill.

    Heh, "overkill". That's funny coming from someone with 600 watt Pass Labs monoblocks. :)

    I don't know, sounds about right to me.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,889
    Clipdat wrote: »
    BlueFox wrote: »
    Okay. Thanks. I can respect the desire for the best sound, but, to me, it seems like overkill.

    Heh, "overkill". That's funny coming from someone with 600 watt Pass Labs monoblocks. :)

    It’s all he could afford.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,804
    I ended up ordering the Phonitor X in red.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
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