Creek OBH-21 Headphone Amplifier

Average User Rating:
5/5,
  1. dan.gheorghe
    5.0/5,
    "Very good amplifier at the price"
    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

    Posted on September 19, 2013by HeadMania
    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

    1. bass with good punch and extension
    2. detailed sweet mids
    3. well extended but not harsh treble
    4. good transient response
    5. good PRAT and energetic sound
    6. good voice reproduction

    Cons

    1. at this price I cannot find any cons


    Klypso and raoultrifan like this.