SPL Phonitor X vs. Benchmark HPA4

ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,234
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: 7,234
    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: 3,588
    Both look the part for sure.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,234
    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: 12,180
    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: 7,234
    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: 12,180
    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: 3,588
    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 :#
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61
  • IrrenhausIrrenhaus Posts: 860
    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: 7,234
    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: 3,391
    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: 16,215
    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: 7,234
    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."
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,061
    Buds got cables that cost more than my system.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,234
    Update: I still haven't unboxed the Phonitor X.

    I have issues. Deep and troubling issues that may never fully be addressed.
    "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."
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 5,288
    Clipdat wrote: »
    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.

    I totally agree...my Woo WA3 is special as is my Bottle head crack I built myself....or as Arron can contest, as he has built many of these headphone amps... I still think their awesome seriously special head phone amp's out theirs that when use with the right amp can sound so special..like many sennhiesher cans are 300 ohms and need a different head phone amp then many of the 32 ohms cans do!

    you must match the correct amplifier to the cans you are using or your results will suffer big time!
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,234
    Nice to see you around these parts, Darryl! Speaking of Woo Audio, I tried this amp from them recently and was impressed: https://wooaudio.com/amplifiers/wa11

    Anyway, I'll get the Phonitor X unboxed one of these days. Before the end of the year with any luck!
    "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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