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For sale is for a professionally modified, Creek Audio OBH-11 Headphone Amplifier with the serial number OBH-11/1209/3684, indicating that it was manufactured in December of 2009, making it one of the latest Creek OBH-11 units manufactured. The inventory sticker shown in the images indicates that the amp left the factory for distribution on May 19, 2010. (It is also the newest Creek OBH-11 that I have modified!) It comes in its original factory box. The amp is in very good or better cosmetic condition. It had a suggested retail price of $275.00. The unit's circuit board is revision V2.0B that's ROHS approved and is Creek Audio's latest OBH-11 circuit release. It was designed specifically for 30 - 300 Ohm headphone loads and is the ideal amp for the audiophile who wants reliable, modern looking gear that's not only in great cosmetic condition but is also professionally modified for more accurate and superb musical reproduction, as well!
This headphone amplifier has the very useful RCA "looped line level out", that's found in all the newest Creek OBH-11 amplifiers and has the distinctive silver Creek logo that's recessed into the brushed anodized aluminum, rectangular face plate with rounded corners. When this amp was stock it was very decent sounding, and now it's a LOT better! The Creek OBH-11 was a Stereophile Recommended Component and is the ideal headphone amp for the audiophile on a budget. It was originally constructed with production grade electronic components and was then much improved with the following modification parts purchased from bona fide US electronics distributors, with the exception of the TeraDak Op Amp Adapter:
2 ea. Burr Brown OPA604AP 20 mHz FET Input Op Amps (original owas NE5532)
1 ea. TeraDak Singles to Dual Op Amp Adapter (at IC1, sourced from eBay electronics distributor)
1 ea. 3300 uF 35 Volt Nichicon KW Audio Quality Power Supply Capacitor (horizontally mounted at C11 - original was 2200 uF 25 Volt)
2 ea. .33 uF 250 Volt WIMA Polypropylene Signal Coupling Caps (C1, C101 - originals were .22 uF)
2 ea. 220 uF 35 Volt Nichicon "Muse BP" Audio Quality Bipolar Coupling Capacitors (C4, C104)
2 ea. 47 uF 25 Volt Nichicon "Muse" Audio Quality Power Supply Capacitors (C10, C12 )
2 ea. 47 uF 25 Volt Elna "Silmic II" Low ESR Electrolytic Feedback Capacitors (C3, C103)
2 ea. 1/8 Watt 1% Vishay/Dale 10.0 kOhm Precision Metal Film Resistors (under PCB at IC1)
1 ea. .22 uF 400 Volt Polyester Film Capacitor (across power switch SW1)
1 ea. 1.0 Ohm Vishay BC Components Resistor (R20 - original was 10 Ohm)
1 ea. 27 Volt 1 Watt Zener Diode* (replaces the Zener diode at ZD1)
*This raises the amp's overvoltage protection to 27 VDC which safely eliminates any potential Zener diode interaction with the new 24 VDC power supply.)
In short, every important component in the headphone amp's signal path and power supply section that the manufacturer couldn't provide due to legitimate production cost concerns has been carefully selected for this modification. (These components are displayed in one of the images.)
Additionally, the following components were relocated from the original circuit:
2 ea. .22 uF 63 Volt Polyfilm Signal Coupling Caps (under and parallel with C4, C104)
1 ea. 47 uF 35 Volt Electrolytic Power Supply Capacitor (under and parallel with C11)
The modification helps lift a veil of haze from the music by replacing lesser quality film and electrolytic caps in the signal path and the power supply of an already decent sounding headphone amp. The op amp replacements allow for enhanced instrumental and vocal detail, dynamics and clarity to flow through without ever being harsh and enervating. These op amps are the superior, single channel version of the dual Burr Brown OPA2604 op amp that's quite popular in the DIY audio community. Since they create two genuine, "dual mono" op amp sections, they provide wider and deeper sound staging over the single, dual Burr Brown OPA2604AP op amp. This op amp combo reveals more inner detail and enhanced musical nuance compared to its "little brother", as well. Transients are very quick with no overhang and the bass is clean, deep and solid and the highs are sweet and have excellent extension. Additionally, this modification biases these high fidelity, 20 mHz Burr Brown OPA604AP FET input op amps into single-ended (SE), class A operation. This biasing helps provide a subtle, warmer and smoother, more "tube-like" musical presentation. (For a technical explanation of the "pull down" resistor biasing used in this headphone amp, please see the bottom of this listing.)
This specific biasing process remains part of Walt Jung's "POOGE" modifications and in the late 1980's, Nelson Pass pioneered a similar SE, class A, op amp biasing method in the Model Forte 2 Preamplifier design that he engineered while he was president and chief engineer at The Threshold Corporation. (I learned both biasing techniques while at Threshold and have implemented them extensively for nearly 30 years.)
Also, part of this modification's superior performance over a stock OBH-11 is due to the new, fully regulated, universal, 24.0 Volt 4 Amp power supply. It is superior to almost all the other possible power supplies available for the Creek because it has a very low output impedance, high current capability AND it produces virtually NO measurable noise within the audio frequency band. It can deliver over 25 times the 150 mA current needed to power the Creek HP Amp at full audio output. (All these are very good improvements, but are effective ONLY with a modified Creek OBH-11 having proper parts alterations to its on-board 24 VDC supply section.)
This replacement supply is FAR superior to the unregulated Creek M23 wall wart and the OBH-Uni power supplies typically provided with the Creek OBH-11 Headphone Amplifier. It even handily surpasses the performance of the Creek OBH-2 Linear Regulated Power Supply available for the Creek OBH series products.
The sonic improvements to this amp should be apparent when first powered ON and will sound better after the unit has warmed up over a period of about 30 minutes or so. It will continue to improve a bit with a few days of continual "burn in". It is quite safe for this unit to remain powered continually and is recommended as well. The amp and its new power supply draw little current at quiescence, so let them "idle" in the ON position.
Please be sure to view all of the images and don't hesitate to ask questions! In particular, compare the interior picture of a stock, unmodified headphone amplifier versus the interior image of a fully modified unit. (You can easily tell which image is which!)
And if you're an audiophile that's considering this headphone amp, but are hesitant to buy because you're unfamiliar with my audio modification work, just know that I've been doing equipment modifications for almost 35 years. I have been mil-spec soldering and materials handling certified and have modified and sold over 65 of these fantastic headphone amps in the last 4 years alone. Please check the feedback from my buyers to see what they think of my modification work.
This is a great hi-fi item for the asking price, but it is still is a relatively expensive item, so be sure you want it before you buy. Please don't hesitate to ask questions! The headphone amp is guaranteed to work and a return is OK only for shipping damage.
USPS Priority Shipping with insurance are for the US only. I offer international shipping and those sales will be shipped via International First Class or USPS Priority Mail depending on its destination outside the US. This modified Creek Audio OBH-11 Headphone Amplifier and its new power supply come from a nonsmoking household and will be packaged properly for its safe and secure delivery to your doorstep.
Thanks for looking and Enjoy the Music!
Here's an explanation of how "pull down" biasing an op amp into single ended, class A operation is done and why it works:
This resistor "pull down" biasing process is called "current sourcing" and is accomplished by directing a small, specific amount of current from circuit ground (or -V) past the PNP output transistor, the device which is the conventional bottom half of the "push-pull" transistor pair in the output stage of an op amp channel. (The PNP transistor is typically the device chosen to bypass because its NPN complement is more linear in operation.) This bypassing is done using a precision resistor of a calculated, typically high Ohms value and because it shunts the collector and emitter of this transistor, it effectively turns that transistor "off". With this PNP transistor nonoperational, the NPN transistor now operates fully "on" due to the current guided through it and past the PNP device. Thus, the op amp output stage becomes converted to true single ended, class A operation and can now take full advantage of their sonic benefits over complementary, class B operation. (Within the class A "current envelope" created, this biasing completely removes any output stage crossover (notch) distortion and this prevents half-wave, class B artifacts, meaning nasty, odd-order harmonics, from entering the supply rails which potentially reduces noise and distortion caused from the coupling of these extraneous distortions into sensitive power supply circuit nodes.) Additionally, this current sourcing creates a steady state "thermal envelope", in which the entire op amp circuitry operates more stably. And while quite unlikely, should the load on the op amp require more current than was provided to bias its output stage, the op amp will simply "slide" gently and transparently back into its original design mode to fully accommodate that more demanding load requirement
This ad was originally posted on US Audio Mart and the seller ships to the United States.