This little guy brought some memories back when I’ve seen it on one of jack’s shelves.
A few years ago when I got into this hobby, I was looking for an headphone amplifier for my newly bought Sennheiser HD595. This was one of the choices I had at that moment, as it was one of the few headphone amplifiers sold at that moment in Romania.
I decided to go with a Corda Cantate 2 instead.
However I have always been curious of what it is capable of.
Well let’s see how it stands.
The amplifier looks quite nice and has a good build quality.
In the front it has 2 headphone inputs and a volume control.
In the back it has 2 rca inputs and 2 rca outputs.
It also features a 24v power supply.
You can find the full specs here.
The test have been done with Burson Conductor as DAC, Audiobyte Hydra-X as usb interface, Sennheiser HD800 & PowerInspired AG500.
Let’s get to the sound of Creek.
Zdob si Zdub – Ciobanul vrea sa se desparta de oi
The song really caught my attention. The bass had a good punch, it was well controlled and had nice extension. The sound was opened, detailed & relaxed but with good PRAT. The drums had a very good impact and the whistle a decent extension and spatial presence.
Michal Jackson – Man in the mirror
Michael’s voice was very personal and had a good texture. The synergy with HD800 is amazing on such a small amp. No harsh sound at all. The treble is well extended but without being harsh. Again the PRAT and bass impact was very good.
Massive Attack – Teardrop
The OBH-21 really impressed me with the bass. It has a really nice punch and transient response. The sound has weight on HD800 and that is extremely important for me. I just loved the voice on creek. It had a very good tonality, very natural and intimate.
Enya – The Celts
Ok, I observed that I love the voices on the little creek. It was only fair to test it with one of my favorite female singers. It was as I expected. Her voice had a good presence with good tonality. The layering & soundstage were quite decent. One thing I observed is that the sound had a little grain in it compared to Conductor….but the comparison is not fair.
Coldplay – Don’t Panic
Creek strikes again. The guitars were really nice tickling the ears with their very present plucking. The voice again had a very pleasant tonality and texture.
Leonard Cohen – Here it is
The voices are a treat on creek obh-21. They are not as well extend as on Conductor (again not fair comparison), however they have a very warm and pleasant tonality with decent texture.
The Fellowship of the Ring – Concerning Hobbits
The cello at the beginning has a good weight and tactility. The sound is relaxed, opened and yet detailed overall very pleasant to listen to. The mids were present, had a sweet tonality and were quite detailed.
On the fence:
The bass on the Creek OBH-21 is quite impressive. It has a very good punch & extension.
The mids are sweet and quite detailed entangling themselves in a very balanced way with the lows and with the extended but not harsh at all treble.
The treble has a decent extension without being harsh.
It is full of energy, has a good PRAT, and has a very good transient response. The drums, guitars plucks and similar sounds are very nice with the obh-21.
I loved how the voices were reproduced by the Creek. They had a very warm, pleasant and intimate tonality with a good texture and presence.
This little guy is on steroids as it really makes me dance while listening to music.
I am glad I had the chance to listen to it, as it brings a lot in it’s small package. To be sincere, I wasn’t expecting this much from it, so I can say it surprised me a little.
One other thing I didn’t expect is the fact that it has a very good synergy with HD800, having a good prat, good bass, detailed mids, well extended treble without being bright .
I have also tested Audeze LCD2 a little with it. It was quite nice, but it felt a little under powered for it.
It is very good at it’s price and would make an excellent first amp or for a “portable” sound system for the workplace.
One thing I forgot to mention is the fact that OBH-21 is out of production and a newer model has taken it’s place.
- bass with good punch and extension
- detailed sweet mids
- well extended but not harsh treble
- good transient response
- good PRAT and energetic sound
- good voice reproduction
- at this price I cannot find any cons