Creek Audio A52SE Amplifiers

4.5/5 (2 Reviews) MSRP : $1095.00

Product Description

80 watts

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Belgarchi a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 14, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Very good power amp, but I was slightly disappointed. I have an integrated Creek 5350SE, and it sounds better.
The A52SE is detailed, non-agressive, but is "dry", lack extreme-bass, and the soundstage is narrow (compared to a Bryston 2B LP).
To be fair, I compared this power amp to more expensive ones.
The finition is "light", but it is very well built inside. Two toroidal tranfos !

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $480.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Greg Falken a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 1, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I am not able to compare the Creek A52SE with larger, more expensive amplifiers, as I have never had such units in my system. I can say with certainty however, that moving up from a mid-fi amp results in startling improvements in signal resolution and soundstage. The Creek replaced an Adcom GFA-545, which had given me eight years of trouble free service. Other equipment in my system includes an Adcom ACE-515 power conditioner, Denon DCD-820 (used as a CD transport only), Creek OBH-14 DAC/passive pre-amp (see separate review), NHT MA-1 subwoofer amplifier, NHT SW2P subwoofer (see separate review), NHT Super Zero speakers, BetterCables digital interconnect, Lindsey-Geyer and Audioquest Turquoise RCA interconnects, Kimber 4TC speaker cables.

I didn’t expect that the reduction in wattage from the Adcom’s 100 wpc to 80 wpc for the Creek to make any audible difference and that turned out to be the case. In my smallish listening room, I expect that I’m using a fraction of the available power from either amp. Volume aside, the difference that the Creek made in my system was not subtle. Music played through the Creek acquired an “in the room” presence, with each instrument or voice occupying a specific space. On a few recordings, instruments appear beyond the horizontal plane of the speakers, almost outside the walls of the room! High frequencies are much less fatiguing than they were through the Adcom. The NHT Super Zeros are very revealing speakers and I used to prefer listening to them with the grills in place, to knock the highs back a little. When driven by the Creek, removing the grills just reveals more of the music. I’m still discovering bits of music that I didn’t realize were present in my recordings. An aside: for my money, the most consistently excellent recordings in my collection (from a sound standpoint) come from Lyle Lovett. Audiophile quality for the mass market; amazing.

The Creek has two unusual features; one that I find indispensable and the other not-so-much. The inputs have a second pair of RCA jacks, wired in parallel. This arrangement is tailor made for driving a separate subwoofer amp with the higher quality line level signal, rather than using the speaker outputs. The musicality of the subwoofer is better now than I’ve ever heard it in my system. The second feature is a variable high pass filter, controlled by a knob on the front panel. I expected to make use of this, given my subwoofer arrangement and the fact that the Super Zeros have no real output below about 70hz. After much experimentation, I find that I prefer the sound with the knob in its center, detent position. I’m sure that this control would be useful in some systems, just not in mine.

Fit and finish is very good. This is not an amp that calls a lot of attention to itself. It’s easy to find space for it and it doesn’t require two people to lift. Roy Hall, the importer for Creek in the U.S., suggests 48 hours of break in and this matches my experience. As good as it sounds right out of the box, this amp has gotten better over the two months that I’ve been using it. I can’t think of any reason for upgrading again any time soon.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $649.00

Purchased At:   Hollywood (FL) Sound

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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