Creek and QED headphone amps
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bugsy_pal

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I am considering what is around (here in Australia) in the way of cheapish headphone amps.

A few places have puched a QED amp, which I know nothing about - anybody know about it.

What about the Creek models - are they to be recommended? I am considering K501s to replace my old Audio Technica ATH-70s.

I've also seen a listing for a fairly inexpensive Audio Technica amp - anyone own one?
 
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Snufkin

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I just recently got myself a Creek OBH-11 and I'm very happy with its performance.

IMHO it's superior to my X-cans, and in some ways superior to my MG Head (although I still have to try a few different tubes).

However, I don't know how it performs with the K501, I've heard the K501 requires a fair bit of power to sound its best and I'm not sure if the Creek will provide enough (never tried).

In terms of entry-level amps here in Australia, I definately think the Creek is a winner.
 
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bugsy_pal

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Thanks again Snufkin - the Creek sounds worth a look. What about the "SE" version? I believe that has a better power supply unit. Do you know if that makes much of a difference?

So you really think that the Creek betters the Musical Fidelity X-Can? That's interesting. I must say I prefer the look of the Creek in terms of ergonimics. That tiny volume control on the X-Can would annoy me pretty quickly I think. I believe the X-cans sell for around AUD $550 at present - I contacted the distributor recently, and was told that they don't have any in stock. Furthermore, according to the guy I spoke with, Musical Fidelity don't want to make many more of them because they don't make any money on them! He said that they might be doing another batch of 100, in the near future, but beyond that, who knows?
 
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Snufkin

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I'm using the OBH2 PSU with my OBH11, I couldn't justify the SE

I don't have a generic PSU to try the 11 with right now, so I can't comment on what the difference is.

IMHO the OBH11 has a much more even and exciting sound than the X-cans, I suppose some extensive tube rolling or an upgraded PSU for the X-Cans would help, but off the bat I don't think it's that fantastic an amp.

I initially bought the X-cans over the OBH11 (don't know why) and I don't really regret buying the X-cans, but definately prefer the OBH


If you're in Perth, I can give you a demo of any amp/headphone combos that I own.
 
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bugsy_pal

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Thanks Sunfkin - I'm in Adelaide however, so a demo is out of the question unfortunately.

So is the OBH2 PSU that you are using the same power unit that comes with the OBH11se? In other words, you'd get the same result with your setup as with the "se" model?

Is the only other difference between the two Creek models the fact that the se has two headphone jacks rather than one?

Cheers
 
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Snufkin

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Creek basically claim the OBH-11SE will only work with the OBH-2, but I think it's closer to "there's no point getting the SE unless you get the OBH-2"
The OBH11 works with the OBH1, OBH2 or TANDYGENERIC


I haven't heard the SE as yet, and I haven't tried the OBH1 or generic PSU with my 11.
 
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TravelLite

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Snufkin

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TravelLite: you in australia?
 
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Moonwalker

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Hi bugsy_pal!

I heard Creek 11 with OBH-1 standard power supply, and it sounded fantastic even on my Porta Pros, more so on HD-600!
But I decided to purchase the 11 SE version of the creek, because it has more powerful, thermal and current protected stabilised low-noise OBH-2power supply and it operates in pure A-class with zero feedback! The sound of SE is slightly better to my ears on HD-600 or MDR-F1. It has minimalistic construction from quality components at it sounds like that. Pure, clean, smooth sound with no distortion you could hear. The X-Cans has lower quality parts, especially the pot, generic tubes and is prone to slight hiss and aggressivity in upper mids/lower highs. I think the Creek is little gem that needs no upgrade to itself and can serve you forever.

Hope I helped you.
Moonwalker
 
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wasifazim

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Quote:

Originally posted by Moonwalker
I think the Creek is little gem taht needs no upgrade to itself and can serve you forever.


Or at least until one figures out that one needs a better headphone amp
 
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TravelLite

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Quote:

Originally posted by Snufkin
TravelLite: you in australia?


Hi Snufkin. No, I'm in the US...Boise, Idaho.

TravelLite
 
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Hirsch

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IIRC the X-Can v2 was my second headphone amp, and the OBH-11se was my third. I've still got the X-Can, but sold the Creek long ago. The Creek seemed to do everything right, but wasn't fun to listen to. I could identify flaws in the X-Can more clearly, but at the same time, it did a better job of presenting the music. It was some time after this that I got the X-PSU, and started rolling the tubes (and upgrading the op amps).

In addition to the above, the X-Can can be much less forgiving of upstream components than the Creek. If the interconnects or source are inadequate, the X-Can will not sound good. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend the X-Can for a low budget system. It's simply going to reveal system flaws that you don't want to hear.

It's not that the Creek is a bad amp...it's certainly very good, and a lot of people like it very much. I just found the sound to be analytic, and on the cold side...too uninvolving for me. YMMV.

The Creek OBH-11se does have the power to drive the AKG K-501.
 
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Nick Dangerous

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My experience with the two mirrors Hirsch's. The Creek OBH-11 w/stock power supply and X-Cans w/stock power supply were my first two dedicated headphone amps to try.

(*sniff* the memories...)

I returned the Creek. With my HD-600's, it was no contest. Voices and instruments sounded more realistic on the X-Cans.

In hi-fi, "real" is a good adjective to chase.
 
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bugsy_pal

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Thanks for the info. Food for thought. Nick, I looked up the ASL Twin Head amp, as per the info on the bottom of your message - a very sexy looking little unit. Might be a bit pricy for me at this point, although it seems to be reasonably priced.

Do these valve amps generally have more noise than solid state? What about maintenance? My dad used to have a valve preamp that was very noisy, and the valves were always blowing. I realise that's part of the deal with valves, but I'm sure some are better than others.
 
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Snufkin

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Hm.. I'm using the OBH-11 with the better PSU, maybe that's what increases the performance.


I still have my X-cans so I got my girlfriend to do some comparisons herself last night for a 2nd opinion and she agreed that the Creek sounded better out of the 2 - she tends to listen to rockabilly a fair bit and liked the energy of the Creek stating that the X-cans while smoother just sounded less "out there".

I find the Creek to be great fun to listen to, it's clear and energetic.. although it doesn't add any "love" like my tube amps do, it presents a clear and ... well, fun sound.

The Creek is more like the fun of a jack russel whereas the tube amps are a bit move like a labrador



In terms of noise - I think the Creek actually has slightly more noise than the tube amps, but it's of such a low level it doesn't bother me at all, I have to turn the amp up past 1/2 way before I can hear any hiss and at that point any music playing is pretty loud.
 
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