The term benchmark, or bench mark, originates from the chiseled horizontal marks that surveyors made in stone structures, into which an angle-iron could be placed to form a “bench” for a leveling rod, thus ensuring that a leveling rod could be accurately repositioned in the same place in the future. These marks were usually indicated with a chiseled arrow below the horizontal line.
As audiophiles, we use the term to mean a standard by which we judge everything else.
For example, one of my benchmarks is the DirectStream DAC. It’s a benchmark not so much for DACs but for preamplifiers. For years I went from DirectStream straight into the power amplifiers. The shortest signal path possible. That was my benchmark.
Then along came first the Aesthetix Calypso preamplifier and later the BHK preamp that moved my benchmark.
It’s good to have benchmarks.
It’s how we can judge new arrivals.