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Creek Audio OBH-12
45 Reviews
rating  4.51 of 5
MSRP  325.00
Description: 


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Reviews 1 - 5 (45 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ryder a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 3, 2004

Bottom Line:   
My system :

Sony XA7ES
Sonic Frontiers Line 1
Plinius SA-100MkIII
Sonus Faber Concerto Grand Piano
Nordost Blue Heaven speaker cables
Wireworld Eclipse interconnects


Most people would think this dirt cheap passive pre from a relatively budget company producing low-mid end gears would be of inferior quality. Wrong.

This tiny little piece will reveal the sound signature of the rest of your system since it doesn't have any character on its own. Although I have the SF Line 1 which is a very good preamp on its own account, I never enjoyed listening to faster pop and rock music. Those sharp twangs of electric guitars lacked dynamics and sounded lame and lifeless. This suggest that most tube preamps basically falter when it comes to playing rock material in comparison with their soild-state counterparts. Although the Creek wouldn't be on par with most good active preamps, IMO it basically kills the SF Line 1 when it comes to playing pop and rock material.

Since my musical taste varies from smooth jazz to pop and rock, I'm getting the best of both worlds by having 2 preamps in my system. Listening to Fourplay and Norah Jones with the Sonic Frontiers was pure pleasure while the Creek waves its magic wand when you put in some music from Republica or Linkin Park.

The only caveat with the OBH-12 is bass. It lacks authority and doesn't go deep in comparison with my SF line 1. Judging from the price tag, it doesn't seem to be a weakness. For about $200 used, whatmore can you ask?

Highly recommended.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $200.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ArthurGatos a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 12, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Guys (and gals), passive preamps are all about synergy, and to all those reviewers that complain about the OBH 12 I say this:

What you hear, good or bad, is the rest of your system, NOT the little Creek, this has NOT a sonic signature of its own.
What you also hear is the match or mis match between your components, as the OBH 12 unlike active preamps. does not offer impedance matching.
Therefore, with the right choice of cables, you may be able to 'tailor' the sound, to a degree, but unless the output of your source matches the input of your power amp. you better NOT use the OBH 12.

In my particular set up it works brilliantly, and in blind tests I had many people prefering it to my Audio Research LS 2, which by the way, is a great active preamp.
But the Creek sounds cleaner, more accurate in tonal balance, and...simply it doesn't get on the way of the signal.

Since I bought it, I use it constantly, and every now and then, I connect the LS 2, for an hour or so, just to remind myself of the weaknesses of active preamps (coloration, noise and the rest).

If your source and amplifier(s) are matched, go for it. At the price is a steal.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Audioweb



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by olly911 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 2, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Having tried one of these recently I was as impressed as I expected. I don't follow the argument that passive pres limit dynamics, I think there are just certain systems they will work well in and you need to get the impedances matched and have the right intercnonects otherwise they will sound crap. However, since you cannot control source switching from the remote, all this unit consists of is a switch box and remote volume control (obviously) so as someone else suggested why not buy the components yourself? Look at the Placette reviews and website - the quality comes down to the resistors... I'm sure for les money you could buy much higher quality components and it wouldn't be a home-build project as daunting and perhaps pointless as trying to create an active preamp. Also, for tweakers, has no-one thought of replacing the potentiometer with a higher grade one to really see what the OBH-12 and your system are capable of. Sorry to make this more discursive than informative but I'd be interested to know what other people think on the subject. Having read the reviews and assuming the OBH-12 sounds good in your system do you think there is any chance that the Placette passive pre or volume controls would sound worse? Surely they should equal or improve, and if so the simplicity suggests you could save a packet and put a couple of high grade components between your source(s) and poweramp. Before you say it I know manufacturers budgets don't all go on components and not everyone is interested in making up their own kit. Please email me with any relevant experiences or thoughts on the subject or on the OBH-12.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Charles a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: November 26, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I bought this unit to serve a remote volume control for a Yamaha RP-U100 receiver in an A/V setup that my Dad has in front of his Lay-Z-Boy chair. Having to lean forward to adjust the volume was unacceptable to him, so I got this unit to limit motion to a finger wiggle. The unit works as advertised and gets the job done. The supplied remote control is a different story. It was weak to begin with and after about one year of use it started to become even weaker. As a precaution, I stored the codes in my Marantz universal remote. About a month later the remote stopped working completely and I had to get purchase a El Cheap-O learning remote and teach it the codes from the Marantz.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Audio Advisor



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jay3 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 25, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this unit four years ago as an interim measure for my home theatre set-up. It serves as volume control for the Front channels on a SONY D500 DVD player w/onboard DD5.1. I upgraded to a ROTEL RSP 976 Pre/Pro and put this little preamp away for a while. Recently, after a power outage, my BAT VK30 would not come on. I dug out the OBH 12 and installed it in my system - without a power supply! The sound was a bit more forward in the mids than the VK30, but had the same uncolored sound. It was slightly more solid-state-sounding on the "esses", but otherwise quite enjoyable - except when my wife wonders why we have a big ole BAT VK30 that cost 10X the OH12. Fortunately, the OBH 12 does not have balanced ins and outs, or I would have had very little to argue about.

My stereo system:
BAT VK 30
AES SuperAmp w/ Balanced in
SONY C333ES
Parasound DAC 1100 and Monarchy DIP
Johnson Transformers ISO MAX
ASL MG Head OTL
Assorted Kimber and Homegrown Audio cables and ICs

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $270.00

Purchased At:   Reference Audio-Vide




Reviews 1 - 5 (45 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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