HIGH END 2012: Creek adds innovative Evolution 50 amp and CD player to line-up

New here at the High End 2012 show in Munich is the Creek Evolution 50 series of CD player and amplifier, due to hit the shops in the next few months at around £500 apiece.

Both products are new designs; both aim to 'redefine the meaning of "entry-level" for High-End audio', according to the company, which is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary.

And though they retain the simple, slimline looks now familiar from Creek products, each features innovative technology designed to increase flexibility without compromising performance.

The CD player is an Evolution 50D – and not a 50C or 50CD – because it combines the functions of CD player, DAC and preamplifier. It can be used as a conventional CD player or DAC with fixed output level or, using its digital volume control, act as a digital preamp.

It has two optical and two electrical digital inputs, plus an asynchronous USB 2.0 input, the latter able to handle up to 24-bit/192kHz content either driverless when used with Mac computers or with a Windows driver download. Driverless it's limited to 24/96 with Windows.

Outputs run to fixed or variable RCA phonos, or preamp-level balanced XLRs, plus a headphone socket with its own Class A output stage, and the player has been designed by John Westlake and Dominik Peklo, who together have been responsible for recent products such as the Audiolab digital range.

At the heart of the digital section is an XMOS 32-bit event-driven multi-threaded processor, which handles all processing, filtering and volume control. Via the OLED main display of the player, this can also show information such as a peak level meter, real time bit depth, and bit perfect test results.

The player has a dual-mono construction to remove crosstalk, and will be upgradable in the future with an external power supply box.

Meanwhile the Evolution 50A amplifier uses a new bipolar transistor power amp circuit designed by Creek's David Gamble, and delivers 50W per channel into 8ohms, or 75W into 4ohms.

It has four line inputs, including the option of adding either the Sequel phono stage or an internal tuner module, and the preamp section can also be bypassed completely when using the amp with the 50D, allowing the player/DAC's preamp section to take over volume control for digital sources.

Both products will be available in silver or black.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.