Bartok as a preamplifier

I use rossini dac direct to the final amps , i think that Bartok is the same.
For me its better direct, more dynamics, more air.

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Very interesting, is it a keeper?

Hi @Marq. Yes the AHB2 is a keeper for me, but like just about everything else in this hobby, there is often a compromise. Operating within its range, the AHB2 is the most smooth, dynamic, effortless amplifier I’ve used. It is absolutely silent as well. The But here is that it is so linear - there is absolutely no added mid bass warmth colouration (the two octaves below however are so clean and clear!). This is great for classical music and a lot of acoustic Jazz. For poorly recorded pop music, I’d look elsewhere. I alternate with a McIntosh Mc275 which sounds so wonderful on just about everything - but it is very coloured!

I use the AHB2 direct from my Bartok on the lowest gain setting. In many cases I can run it flat out at 0dB at 2v. It is like having my dCS connected directly to my speaker with nothing in between! In some respects it reminds me of the Boulder Amps I’ve heard - although in all fairness I’ve only heard the Boulder in a large room hooked up to Rockport speakers.

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I think I know what you mean, I tried one at home briefly and whilst I was very impressed at how “clean” and transparent it was, I remained drawn to the Naim sound I was used to.

Same here. Both myself and a dear friend, each (former) Naim owners, purchased the Benchmark headphone amplifier. We came to the same conclusion and sent them back. Very clean and transparent…however ultimately un engaging.

Different strokes for different folks