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Creek OBH 21SE - Page 3

post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by prisoner #6
Sure I'm defending it. Don't I have a right to? Why is that any more silly than all of your anti-Creek posts, back when you were so enthusiastically discovering what a "POS" it was?
For the record, my posts are anti-OBH11, not anti-Creek. I've never heard any of their other amps, and have no opinion.

The reason I comment on the OBH-11 is because I feel it's a poor sounding amp (confirmed by poor test results of the sort manufacturers have been doing for decades), and feel it would be better people didn't waste their money when far better alternatives are available at the same (or even cheaper) price point. I'd like my experience and extensive testing to be helpful for more than just me, in other words.
Quote:

Are *you* perhaps a bit concerned that all of your brow-beating might not be totally successful in getting everybody to rush out and sell their Creeks?

No, I really don't care if people who own the OBH-11 keep it or not. I'd only encourage people to audition other amps in the same price range. As you can see, I'm not even saying "take my word for it," I'm saying go out and listen to other amps. Don't believe me, go listen for yourself. Do the tests yourself.
post #32 of 65
Like I said I have no opinion on any of the OBH amps as I have not auditioned any, but I remember Creek's OBH-11 brochure greatly overhyped this product. Many users had unrealistic expectations because of the manufacturer's hype, only to be disappointed later.

Cheers,
Alex
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by Alex Altorfer
Like I said I have no opinion on any of the OBH amps as I have not auditioned any, but I remember Creek's OBH-11 brochure greatly overhyped this product. Many users had unrealistic expectations because of the manufacturer's hype, only to be disappointed later.

Cheers,
Alex
I believe you're referring to the infamous "parts" issue, Alex? I believe the Grado RA-1 was maligned for similar reasons--parts just not up to snuff, and too simple a design!

I fail to see how what the gear looks like on the inside has anything to do with how it sounds objectively. Perhaps for those who are into DIY, how pretty a kit looks has a lot to do with their perception of the sound of it. That's not me--I can't work my way around a soldering iron to save my life, and frankly I wouldn't know a good parts diagram if it bit me. My question is: how does it sound? A person should be able to determine the answer to that without knowing what the guts look like.

Sure, Creek over-hyped its product. Many manufacturers boast that they've "spared no expense" to offer the best of everything. At the time the OBH-11 was released (mid 90s), it was one of the few commercially-available headamp products. I've got no problems admitting that the technology at that point had not developed to where it is today, so that by comparison today's designs are more sophisticated (and yes, probably even sound a bit better, at a comparable price point). Hell, maybe they even cut a few corners here and there. But that takes nothing away from the OBH-11's strengths, especially with the OBH-2 on board.

I've heard people say it's grainy, muddy, harsh, analytical, "bassy" (because of that dreaded "bass hump," of course), cold, lifeless, etc. I can't understand these criticisms (in part because many of them are contradictory). In my gear, with my music, it's got crystal-clear highs without a trace of graininess. The bass isn't "muddy," it's full but taut, with real texture. And the midrange is very well-defined. Admittedly, the midrange doesn't rock my world as it might in better amps (this was never considered a huge strength of the OBH-11, even when people were raving about it)--but it does nothing wrong.

Are there better amps? Of course! That can't be disputed. Going the DIY route would probably get a person a better amp for less money. But that doesn't make the OBH-11 an obsolete or "terrible" amp, as some have said. I'll continue to defend its virtues, and yes, even recommend it to people, at the price it's currently going for used. It's a very solid buy at $150, w/ the OBH-2.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by prisoner #6
I've heard people say it's grainy, muddy, harsh, analytical, "bassy" (because of that dreaded "bass hump," of course), cold, lifeless, etc.
Interesting you'd put the words bass hump in quotes.



Above is a graph of the OBH-11's frequency response (while driving Senn HD600s). This is a graph of the amp's response, not that of the headphones.

Does that not look like a bass hump to you?

As a comparison, the frequency response of the Headsave Ultra (Meta42) driving Senn HD600s:



If you don't think measurements like this matter, that's cool. However, if you think measured frequency response isn't audible, you are wrong.
post #35 of 65
You sure get a lot of mileage out of those graphs, fewtch.

I put the term in quotes because it's such a common complaint about the OBH-11. I personally don't have a problem with a little bit of warmth in the OBH-11 (although interestingly, this conflicts mightily with all those who say they found the amp "cold" and "lifeless")!

There are people who can't rest until they're certain that they've got gear without a trace of coloration or flavor of its own. For these folks, measurements mean everything. And there are others who care more about something that sounds good, *even if* it means the sound isn't completely neutral. What do you think explains the differences between people who prefer Senns to Grados, and vice versa? Is one group superior to the other, because their gear "measures" better? At the end of the day, this comes down to personal preference. I don't think one can ever decide completely on the virtues of a piece of gear simply based on how it measures. If that were the case, tube gear would have died out long ago.
post #36 of 65
Hey, like I said, no problem with people liking the euphonic colorations of certain gear. No problem with people liking the sound of a $20 "Made in China" CD player sold in the kid's toy section of Wal-Mart either. However, my opinion may differ and I'll state it for what it is. I don't feel the OBH-11 is a quality piece, period, end of story.
Quote:
Originally posted by prisoner #6
There are people who can't rest until they're certain that they've got gear without a trace of coloration or flavor of its own. For these folks, measurements mean everything. And there are others who care more about something that sounds good, *even if* it means the sound isn't completely neutral.
And then there are a few of us (sadly, far too few) who go with "ears first" but also use measurements to support what our ears are telling us. I find that well-considered measurements help to give me a ground on which to base my opinions of gear, rather than groping blindly in the dark (and possibly wasting tons of money in the process). The guys at Headroom share this philosophy, for whatever it's worth. DIYers like Tangent also use measurements to help guide them in circuit design.

You say you care about gear that sounds good, yet you haven't auditioned other amps and claim to not be able to afford even a $100 MINT (or not have the time, or energy, or whatever). As you don't even have the basis of comparing against other gear (let alone using measurements), I feel your arguments in support of the OBH-11 are entirely baseless. You have nothing to say but "doh, it sounds good to me and heck with everyone else." That's fine for you, but is a totally nonexistent foundation for recommending something to others. I wish you would realize that much, at least.
post #37 of 65
Quote:
As you don't even have the basis of comparing against other gear (let alone using measurements), I feel your arguments in support of the OBH-11 are entirely baseless. You have nothing to say but "doh, it sounds good to me and heck with everyone else." That's fine for you, but is a totally nonexistent foundation for recommending something to others. I wish you would realize that much, at least.
"Entirely Baseless?" Please get over yourself.

All your graphs tell me is that you have found a neutral amp and you like how it sounds, not only because you have used your ears but because your graph proves that it is in fact neutral. I'm glad you like your amp, and the sound you get from it,

I use the OBH-11 mainly with grado 125's. I love the warmth, clarity and bass. I'm glad I like my amp. It makes my grados sound good. In fact many others share the same opinion. It really is a matter of taste, IMO.
post #38 of 65
Thread Starter 
Okay, once more into the breech. Fewtch, it is clear you are well informed and thoughtful about your headphone amplification choices, and it has been very helpful to read your posts (indeed I very much look forward to reading more of them in the future on this site). But I need to say a word of defense for Prisoner 6. If he is happy with his OBH-11 that is wonderful, and comparing it to a $20 child's CD player is a bit beyond the pale. There may be better choices available, but that is *always* the case in the world of audiophile gear. You need only to pop over to the audiogon forums to learn from equally zealous experts why your (and my) source, cabling, etc. are completely inadequate and really fit only for the unwashed, ignorant masses. I like learning from those guys too, but heartily ignore them when they move from knowledge into condescension.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally posted by newmanoc
Okay, once more into the breech. Fewtch, it is clear you are well informed and thoughtful about your headphone amplification choices, and it has been very helpful to read your posts (indeed I very much look forward to reading more of them in the future on this site). But I need to say a word of defense for Prisoner 6. If he is happy with his OBH-11 that is wonderful, and comparing it to a $20 dollar child's CD player is a bit beyond the pale. There may be better choices available, but that is *always* the case in the world of audiophile gear.
I feel the OBH-11 is a rather low fi amp marketed as audiophile gear. From the quality of parts to measurements, to the sound quality, I don't see anything "audiophile" about the OBH-11 unless you want to count the nice solid case it comes in... very solid, very nice looking.

I've really said enough -- if you want to defend someone recommending a piece of gear (and a lower end piece price-wise too) without having auditioned anything else, that's your prerogative. If this was a case of someone recommending a pair of cheap Sony earbuds without ever having heard other headphones, would you be defending their point of view?
post #40 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by fewtch
I feel the OBH-11 is a rather low fi amp marketed as audiophile gear. From the quality of parts to measurements, to the sound quality, I don't see anything "audiophile" about the OBH-11 unless you want to count the nice solid case it comes in... very solid, very nice looking.

I've really said enough -- if you want to defend someone recommending a piece of gear (and a lower end piece price-wise too) without having auditioned anything else, that's your prerogative. If this was a case of someone recommending a pair of cheap Sony earbuds without ever having heard other headphones, would you be defending their point of view?

Well...the issue of what qualifies as "audiophile" is a matter of degree. I am sorry to point this out, but to many people I know your listed sources are nowhere near true "audiophile" quality. Per one friend of mine's opinion, good digital starts at $4000. So, ease up.

As to the issue of defending someone’s right to make recommendations I consider inferior, I think I would approach it by suggesting politely in the forum that there are other options available that I and others have found to be better. I wouldn't go into a full frontal assault on the issue. I realize some of the passion of Prisoner #6's comments provoked this, but both of you should consider backing off. You're a very knowledgeable person who has a lot to offer those of us interested in growing in this hobby, but too much heat is distracting from the light you have to share.
post #41 of 65

Re: Creek OBH 21SE

Quote:
Originally posted by newmanoc
Does anyone have experience with this new (and as the saying goes, "improved") Creek amp?
I may be mistaken, but I would appear that out of more than 30 posts in this thread there is not a single one who provided an answer to the question above. Although I never tried the OBH-21 (SE) either, my contribution to this thread is the following:

I remember quite clearly that head-fi member Duncan had (or still has) that amp. He put it up for sale once, and I almost bought it, but the deal never got signed.

Maybe you'd like to consider sending a PM to Duncan.
post #42 of 65
Thread Starter 

Re: Re: Creek OBH 21SE

Quote:
Originally posted by Sugano-san
I may be mistaken, but I would appear that out of more than 30 posts in this thread there is not a single one who provided an answer to the question above....I remember quite clearly that head-fi member Duncan had (or still has) that amp....
Maybe you'd like to consider sending a PM to Duncan.
Thank you, Sugano-san. You are of course not mistaken. I might add this fact is a little bit curious given that this is the web's premier site for headphone amp expertise and the Creek OBH-21SE is far from an obscure product.

I will pm message Duncan, though as I have mentioned in an earlier post, at least for the present I am going to try cheaper DIY products before deciding to buy the 21SE. The process will possibly lead to an equally satisfying and cheaper amp, and will definitely be educational and fun.
post #43 of 65

Re: Re: Re: Creek OBH 21SE

Quote:
Originally posted by newmanoc
Thank you, Sugano-san. You are of course not mistaken. I might add this fact is a little bit curious given that this is the web's premier site for headphone amp expertise and the Creek OBH-21SE is far from an obscure product.
It's not an obscure product, and it's a bit sad that all the OBH-11 bashing has apparently tainted Creek for life as a headamp manufacturer, at least around here. In the threads (prior to this one) I've seen on the OBH-21SE, there's usually one post followed by dead silence. Which is too bad, because for a lot of people that amp will be their entry into headphone amp listening, and it would nice to have informed folks who could comment knowledgeably on it--especially here of all places.

Which is connected to my main point. Although on this thread I've been insulted, called poor (the suggestion that I can't afford a MINT), and basically all-around clueless (because I haven't auditioned lots of gear), my original point was driven mainly by a concern for honest and intelligent opinions, about everything headphone-related. Personal attacks aside, I think it's really unfortunate that certain kinds of gear are branded, while others are praised, often based purely on the conventional wisdom--informed or otherwise. This should be a problem at any discussion forum, and I will stick by my assertion that it's absolutely a problem here.

I originally came to this site to start getting into serious headphone listening. I bought the OBH-11 based on a lot of recommendations, from *all over the place*--not simply ones on this site, although there were a pretty good number here as well, prior to the backlash. As I explained above, I've never been big on trying out gear. I do my research, buy something, and if I like it I keep it--if not, I'll get something else. In this case, I found that my ears tended to agree with the positive reviews I had read. So I was naturally perplexed by some of the negative stuff being said around here about the OBH-11, *especially* by people who had previously raved about it. If you're looking for objectivity in a reviewer, that's got to send up a red flag. I was even more perplexed by the *contradictory* negative stuff--like people saying it sounded "grainy" and "muddy" in the same sentence, or "analytical" in one post and then "mushy" in the next. A lot of that sounded like b****hit, to be truthful.

My postcount shows that I'm not exactly an expert in these matters--never claimed to be. My opinion is not going to gain the respect of most of the folks on this site, because as pointed out here by fewtch, my lack of experience testing gear renders my viewpoints totally "baseless." But I will chime in and call a spade a spade when I see it. If someone offers a view about a product that doesn't match with what I hear with my own two ears, I'll speak up. No apologies for that. Whatever--it's all good.
post #44 of 65

Wow...

This thread really has developed into something strange. All fewtch and I were trying to communicate was the fact that the Creek amps are overpriced for the quality of sound (and parts) they provide, and nowadays better options abound for lower prices. We weren't maligning any current owners of the Creek amps; we were simply informing the members that there are other, probably better (and cheaper) options they might want to consider alongside the Creek. It's too bad some Creek owners became defensive and somewhat hostile. Fewtch and I have heard the Creek amps along with several other DIY amps in the same (or lower) price brackets, and we feel that the competing options are better than the Creek. Is our opinion less valid than the Creek defenders? Of course not! Some may say our judgment is more valuable since we have actually heard other amps while prisoner #6 has only heard the OBH-11. I have no problem with someone enjoying their Creek amps, but I do have a problem with people trying to stifle the opinions of others that may not speak so highly of the amp. I was just trying to inform the possible buyers that the Creek really isn't a good option these days, especially with the Corda HA-1 MkII, PIMETA and PPA - all of these destroy the OBH-11SE (which I owned for 6 months) and the OBH-21SE (which I auditioned for several weeks). For the record, the audible differences between the OBH-11SE and OBH-21SE are very minor, with the latter demonstrating slightly better authority on the bass and a slightly less grainy sound in the treble. Enjoy your Creek but please don't stifle the opinion of others when you simply refuse to even listen to another headphone amplifier.
post #45 of 65

Re: Re: Re: Re: Creek OBH 21SE

Quote:
Originally posted by prisoner #6
I bought the OBH-11 based on a lot of recommendations, from *all over the place*--not simply ones on this site, although there were a pretty good number here as well, prior to the backlash. As I explained above, I've never been big on trying out gear. I do my research, buy something, and if I like it I keep it--if not, I'll get something else.
I have to agree with you on this matter, if it sounds good to you enjoy it, when those headphones are on your head your opinion is the only one that matters. Don't let somebody ruin your enjoyment of it. I have never tried it, I have a feeling there is probably better gear, but you know what, no matter what gear you have there will be better gear. And when you get the best, most expensive gear known to man, then there will be naysayers who say you are a fool for buying overpriced gear.
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