Creek Audio OBH-11 Headphone Amplifiers

OBH-11

User Reviews (35)

Showing 1-10 of 35  
tlea   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 18, 2004]
Strength:

Performance for value. Sound is very precise and transparent. Build quality is very good. Small size is convenient.

Weakness:

None significant at this price point.

This is a simple, straightforward, no frills unit. It is a substantial improvement over most of the built-in headphone amps you will find at this level. I have two of them: One on my main system; the other hooked up to my computer. My headphones are Grado SR-125 and Etymotic ER-4S.

Similar Products Used: Parasound built-in
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
stimuli   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 14, 2004]
Strength:

Small. Simple design (a must for analogue sound equipment). Very low noise floor. Sexy dense volume pot for adjusting attenuation. Can be purchased for about $100 used. Good detail.

Weakness:

Bright. This may be due to the crap interconnects I used. On detailed headphones like ER-4Ps this makes for unpleasant long listening periods. Hideous green ink silkscreened over an otherwise attractive black metal case. Absurd to think of paying $300 for this, considering what it does.

A good amp, with silent noise floor. I found it to be too bright, lacking a bit in bass and lower-midrange. This made the sound 'distant' and somewhat cold and uninvolving. This _may_ however be due to the absolute P.O.S. interconnects I was using with it (that came with my Panasonic F85 DVD player). I don't know, as I have no mid/high-end interconnects to experiment with. The sound is very clear, it does pretty much what you expect it to: make sound louder. I bought an Elpac linear regulated PS for this, which I found made the soundstage clearer, quieter, sharper. Not bad for $40 USD. This made for a noticeable improvement with ER-4P headphones, which are super-detailed, to a flaw almost. The Elpac is not a drop in replacement for the PS the OBH-11 comes with however. It fits, but loosely, occasionally cutting out power to the Creek. I purchased a properly-fitting plug from an electronics store and my dad soldered it on for me. It then fit perfectly snugly. When paired with my etymotic er-4p earphones there was a great deal of detail. The brightness I spoke of earlier I attributed to the ER-4ps for the longest while, before purchasing a Panasonic XR25 receiver and plugging my headphones into that. The XR25 has poor headphone out, due to persistent and annoying noise through the headphone circuit, but even with that, the sound was warmer and much weightier than the sound from the Creek. The soundstage was once again enveloping my head, instead of staying at a distance. The OBH-11 is good, not great, certainly not amazing. For $100 it's a good buy; for the $299 or so it retailed for it would certainly not be worth the money IMHO, considering all it does, the cost of parts, and the fact that this is not God's gift to headphone listeners. I give it 4 stars because I paid $100 for it; had I paid twice or three times that amount, it would get 3 stars.

Similar Products Used: none
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
zis_guy   AudioPhile [Sep 04, 2003]
Strength:

Relatively inexpensive, can be good sounding

Weakness:

The Creek OBH-1 power supply -- cheap junk that adds tons of nasty, measurable distortion and low level noise

The Creek OBH-11 (non-SE) is a great little amp -- with the right power supply. It just sounds terrible to me with the OBH-1 PS it comes with, and incredible with a 24v Elpac linear regulated supply (which is very close to the OBH-2, and about $70 cheaper). Bottom line -- if you get this, throw away the cheap Chinese wall wart it comes with and buy a Creek OBH-2... or check electronics parts stores online for Elpac model WM080-1950-760 which is nearly as good and a direct plug-in replacement. It's almost a brand new amp.

Similar Products Used: Have heard many, used none others regularly though
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
enri   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 18, 2002]
Strength:

Cost, performance, build, drives all headphones, good for a variety of purposes

Weakness:

Neds good power supply and good interconnects. Volume pot Ok but could be better ( eg ALPS)

Wishing to listen to music after the family had gone to bed, and not being happy with what came out of the headphone circuits of my amplifiers ( Yamaha HT and Revox) I looked around for a dedicated headphone amplifier, finally settling for CREEK due to reputation, reviews ( eg this site)and cost. I didn't get the overpriced power supply, but instead I use one I got for a quarter of the cost through the local electronics supply shop ( JAYCAR for those in OZ)which is regulated, gives 1000mA and has a good reservoir capacitor - and it works great! The amp works well with Sennheiser ( 570's) and Grado's , clean and detailed soundstage, little sound colouration or distortion, and excellent dynamic range. In summary it proved the good, cost effective solution I was looking for. However I wouldn't go as far as describing it as "audiophile" quality, for $$ more there's better out there ( no I'm not referring to STAX's). I've since got a NADC320BEE amp ( excellent!!!!!) and the headphone circuit is significantly better than what I get out of the Creek - all that from an integrated costing about USD 100 more than this unit. But if you are in the market for a good sounding, well built headphone amp that will drive a variety of headphones with no fuss go for the Creek, you can't beat it for value. Get a good power source and good interconnects to get the most out of it.

Similar Products Used: NADC320BEE headphone output ( very, very good)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
mcgfloyd   AudioPhile [Nov 08, 2002]
Strength:

In two words... "Sound quality"

Weakness:

I usually love finding fault but at this juncture...... no weaknesses to report (touchwood)

I was looking for a headphone system as I spend many hours on the computer and found it inconvenient having to "either" go downstairs to listen to music in my dedicated listening room or stay upstairs on the computer without any music. I had contemplated positioning the computer 3 metres away from my hi-fi, facing the speakers, in the classic "centre stage triangle position" but thought this a rather bizarre set up. For one thing, the ambient noise of the computer fans would mask much of the detail... It's all very well having a dynamic range of 90dB or so on your CD player, but if traffic, the washing machine, the computer or just general household noise creates a background level of 60dB or so, much of the quality will be lost. Some say that music sounds better at night... probably cause the ambient daytime crap has gone to bed! I therefore decided that "in head" sound would be the best bet and boy was I right! I've had this Creek amp up and running for 3 days now and it is getting better day by day as its circuitry burns in.. I could hear a slight buzz from the amp for the first 24 hours (probably the capacitors charging) but this has now disappeared.. a sign of just how revealing this unit is. It "will" reveal a lot of the source but will also reveal itself through the phones during the burn in stage. 3 days listening and I am VERY impressed... so much so that I can't concentrate on writing a review such is the quality of sound (listening as I type) so if this seems a bit "bitty" blame it on the Creek! Will write an extensive review (headphones off so I can concentrate!) once I have fully auditioned this unit. So far, so good. At this stage I really can't see what value could be gained from a "regulated" power supply.. I'm in the process of building a 24DC 250mA regulated PS so will report in my next review. I will upload a circuit diagram of my power supply to http://freespace.virgin.net/rock.grotto once it has been designed, built and tested. My impressions after only 3 days though are "a seriously neutral amp"

Similar Products Used: High end equipment.. never contemplated a "head amp" but glad I did. A very tweakable little piece of kit if you can use a soldering iron and are armed with some "siltech" caps... again, wait for futu
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Onyx4   AudioPhile [Oct 25, 2002]
Strength:

great bass, no background noise, clear mid/highs. Can be left powered on all the time without problems (as opposed to tube or battery powered amplifier). Attractice price.

Weakness:

Using pass-thru feature may reduce quality (to confirm).

I am pretty impressed with this little amplifier and it's sound quality. I used it originally with Grado SR-125 and now the SR-325. I found the Grado to be the best match for my taste. This amp gives a deep bass and the mid/highs are very neutral. The source is very important too, I use it with a MSB Link DAC which makes it even better in terms of sound quality, because some cheap CD player might sound too bright for example. I bought the upgraded power supply, and saw a tiny difference, but it's hard to do an A/B test. I think the bass got a bit more controlled and better dynamics. I like the fact that there is absolutely no background noise, not even a single hiss even with the volume turned up. If you hear something, it's coming from your source. The volume control feels great, and I just leave the unit powered on all the time since I use it so often. No need to worry about batteries like the Grado amp. I saw a big improvement when I switched from the Grado SR-125 to the SR-325, I could feel that now I was really releasing all the potential of this amplifier and my DAC. The only thing I noticed, is that if I leave the interconnect for the pass-thru connected to my pre-amp that it would pick up some noise from that cable when the pre-amp is not powered on. So I think it's best to not use the pass-thru for optimal quality. Maybe that's just my setup, but I would be interested to know if you had the same issue.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Yan SP   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 29, 2002]
Strength:

Warm, Clarity, Nice price, Strong Bass, TraNatural and Fine Detail also good Transient.

Weakness:

No

I have this sweet little amp about 1 week so I think need more time for break-in this amp. I am using with Sennheiser HD600 and sound natural, warmer than my NAD C-370 integrated, sound stage good, and clarity also better if listening with some classical recording. Bass very strong and quiet detail. For $ 180 I think it’s reasonable price. Arcam DIVA CD-72 cd player QED Qunex2 Interconect OBH-11 Headphone Amp Sennheiser HD-600 Headphone

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Cao   [Feb 22, 2000]
Strength:

price and performance

I have OBH-11 and OBH-2 power upgrade. According to Stereophile, this combo is almost as good as McCormack, a Class A headphone amp. Boy, is that true!

My Sennheiser 600 sings with it! Bass is very fast and tight, mid-range is full and high is natural. Cymbal really sounds like cymbal. The combo beats X-can hands down and surpass Home at very low price of $199 (of course after months' of careful shopping).

Equipment Setup:
Ah!99 Tjoeb CD player w/ AC Noise Killer and Super Crystal
Solid Silver Interconnect (SST from Soundstage)
Magenta ADE-24 (which improve the sound quite a bit)

Similar Products Used: x-can, headroom home
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Will Reeve   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 09, 2000]
Strength:

Tight bass, very good balance over entire audio range.

Weakness:

Takes 20 minutes to warm up before sounding great!

Outstanding unit. Good build quality. Cheap at 130UKP. All the CD player headphone outputs I have listened to just can't run my Sen. HD600's. The Creek has no problem. It is very transparent, almost too much as you can hear any imperfections and hiss on many analogue recorded CD's. The best improvement over my old Pioneer integrated amp. is the bass, very tight with no flab!
Great little bit of kit! If you have a 300Ohm pair of Sennheiser headphones please buy this amp. You don't know what you are missing if you don't!

Similar Products Used: Headpone out on various CD players.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Kenny   Audiophile [Mar 04, 2000]
Strength:

Clearity and Bass, Extremely Low Noise Floor

Weakness:

Yet to find for the price

I purchased OBH-11 w/ OBH-2 power upgrade. Turn the volume to max between tracks but no noise! Extremely tight and fast bass. Stereophile grades the combo close to Class A McCormack. Boy is that true! Beats X-Can hands down.

Set up:
AH! CD Player w/ all options
Stager Silver Interconnects
Senn 600 and Grado RS-1

Similar Products Used: X-can, Melos SHA Gold, McCormack
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 35  

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