|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.
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.