Creek OBH-21 MK2 – Review
I have recently reviewed the discontinued Creek OBH-21 headphone amplifier and found it to be very good at that price and size. I always wondered why Creek discontinued this product and if they will replace it with a similar one.
The answer is on my desk and it is called Creek Obh-21 MK2.
Build Quality, Looks & Specs
I find the new unit to have a very similar build quality and looks as OBH-21, but more appealing to the eye, as it has a nicer finish.
You can find the products specs here:
The OBH-21mk2 is essentially a very high quality miniature integrated amplifier, designed specifically to drive two pairs of low impedance headphones simultaneously from a line level source, such as a CD player, DAC, or amplifier without headphone output. It can even drive demanding 8 Ohm headphone if called upon to do so. Unusually, it is also designed to act as a single input high quality pre-amplifier, if required. Its output level is controlled by an ‘audiophile quality’ ALPS 27mm Blue Velvet volume control on the front panel and by user adjustable gain setting switches on the bottom of the case.
So let’s see how this little fellow stands:
I must say that I was really impressed with MK2 on this song. It has good bass with strong punch and depth. It wasn’t as fast or controlled as on Burson Conductor but I felt that sometimes had more presence on MK2 which I liked very much. The PRAT was nice and the overall tonal balance very pleasant.
I found the little Creek to be very musical and enjoyable on this song too. The guitars had nice plucks and body while the voice was full and well textured.
Creek has a nice analogical/tubey touch that gives a very musical presentation. The drums from the beginning were very pleasant as they were full, punchy and had a very good impact. The guitars have a thick extension with a good body and pluck. I also loved the voice as it had a nice warm tonality and was present and clean throughout the song.
I started to like this little amplifier very much, especially with LCD-X. I just love how I can hear all the guitar’s body, showing the very good mid-bass capabilities of the MK2. The voice is clean and has a natural and very enjoyable tonality and texture.
Again, the creek added musicality with warmish and lush tonality, full toned voice, punchy drums and well extended guitars. Leonards voice wasn’t as textured as on Conductor but it was fuller and a little warmer.
Hugh’s voice has a smooth and musical tone, but it seemed more natural and better textured on Conductor. The drums are very present and punchy but I wouldn’t have mind for a little more control. Overall the song was very enjoyable.
The bass is very present on the MK2 with good punch and depth. It doesn’t have the best control, but I like it’s approach overall.
The midrange is very pleasant and smooth, with warm and full voices.
The treble is well integrated in the rest of the spectrum and doesn’t show signs of harshness or sibilance.
While the attack is powerful, the decay is a little slower giving a tubey and pleasant sound.
Fun & Engaging Tonality
The mk2 has a fun and pleasant tonality with engaging PRAT and musicality.
Creek has done a very good job replacing the old OBH-21, as the MK2 managed to fill it’s shoes quite nicely.
I found it to be a very good match for Audeze LCD-X, Focal Spirit Classic and even Sennheiser HD700 which became punchy and smoother with it. With HD800, I found it interesting and fun on some songs, but on others I felt that it didn’t receive all the juice it needed to power up the bass and the lower tones.
Overall, the MK2 had a very engaging, musical and fun sound presentation that was very pleasant to listen to and earns my honest recommendation.
It would be a great amp to take at work or even for home desktop use. It’s not in the same league with the big boys but the price performance ratio is excellent.
- present bass with good punch and depth
- smooth and pleasant midrange
- warm & full voices
- transients with good attack but slower decays giving a tubey feeling
- very pleasant, musical & fun tonality
- good build quality and finish
- good price-performance ratio
- it would have been nice if it would have had a little more power