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Very good amplifier at the price

A Review On: Creek OBH-21 Headphone Amplifier

Creek OBH-21 Headphone Amplifier

Rated # 82 in Desktop Amps
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dan.gheorghe
Posted · 1827 Views · 2 Comments

Pros: Good well extended and punchy bass, good transient response, sweet mids, relaxed but energetic, balanced over the spectrum

Cons: none at that price

Creek OBH-21 Review

Hey guys,

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.

creek obh11 review

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.

creek obh 21 review

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:

Bass

The bass on the Creek OBH-21 is quite impressive. It has a very good punch  & extension.

Mids

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.

Treble

The treble has a decent extension without being harsh.

Transient response

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.

Voices

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.

Energy

This little guy is on steroids as it really makes me dance while listening to music.

creek obh 21 review

Conclusions

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • at this price I cannot find any cons

2 Comments:

Impressive and complete review, Dan! Thanks a lot!
Thank you, glad you like it! Don't forget to give it a thumbs up if you like it!
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