Amps: Benchmark AHB2 vs. Bel Canto REF600M/601M

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Amps: Benchmark AHB2 vs. Bel Canto REF600M/601M
« on: 18 Mar 2023, 05:42 pm »
Has anyone compared the Benchmark AHB2 amp(s) and the Bel Canto REF600M or the current REF601M amps, paired with their Spatial Audio speakers?  I sold my X5s late last year and will be ordering the X4s when Clayton starts taking orders soon.  So, I’m using my KEF LS50 speakers at the moment until the stork arrives with the X4s at my camp!

Last week I had the VTV Purifi amp with the Sparkos 2509 Opamp in the house and it was shockingly good!  They removed distortion in songs that my Luxman L-509x integrated could not do. Unfortunately, the VTV amp would not power up when I first took receipt of it.  I returned it and received the second VTV amp and it played the first song and stopped playing music in the middle of the second song, so I returned it for a refund.  VTV amp customer service is wonderful and we’re not sure why the amp failed twice?  My chain is as simple as can be with good quality gear, so VTV and I don’t believe the amp failure has anything to do with my gear.

I’m familiar with other class D offferings; Apollon, Nord, Merrill, Orchard Audio, Mini Gan5, etc., but I haven’t heard any of these class D amps.  I owned and sold the PS Audio M700’s and S300 amps, but never heard them with my X5s.  I’m only interested in your thoughts on the Benchmark vs. Bel Canto if you heard it.  I’ve read tons of forums and reviews about the Benchmark’s no nonsense approach to no color and straight forward sound.  Some love it some hate it because they want a little color to make their listening more enjoyable.  I don’t know which camp I fall into until I hear it?  I just don’t want to hear unnecessary distorted instruments and vocals if it’s not already in the original recording.  If my gear is causing the unnecessary distortion, it’s a problem. 

My gear is as follows;
Mac mini w/external SSD > English Electric 8Switch > Lumin U1 mini Streamer > Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC > Holo Audio Serene KTE preamp > Luxman L-509x (using amp as a separate) > KEF LS50 > Cardas Clear cable loom > Audioquest PC’s > Audioquest Niagara 3000.

Lastly, share any unreliable experiences you had or someone you know may have had with class D amps or the Benchmark amp.  I owned Benchmark DAC’s since 2008 and they’ve always been solid.

Thanks in advance!