View Full Version : Grado SR-125 headphones and Creek OBH-11 Headphone Amplifier

3rd March 05, 12:22 AM
Well, combo review for this, since I bought them both at once to use on my PC...since my neighbors here arent as night-gamer friendly as my nocturnal roomates back in san jose were.

So off I went looking for a nice headphone amp, and headphones...price range <$500.

For $350 total I got the Creek OBH-11 amplifier ($200), and the Grado SR-125 headphones ($150).

Now given the amp should in general not cost as much as the sound producing parts of the system, but this was the cheapest "proper" (as in uses RCS inputs, and has a 1/4" jack out) headphone amp I could find, that was also of decent specs.

The logic of a headphone amp, is that it's a cleaner amplification than most soundcards, more power, and a better damping factor...the damping factor comes in handy when driving various loads...and althoght not a rating to put too much thought into, may be something to look at with specific hardware....more on this later.

Onto the reviews:

Creek OBH-11:

This is a small amp, well packed. The amp itself is 2.5x4x4" in size (HxWxD), and is powered by a wall-wart style power supply. Sadly this supply is not a regulated supply, but Creek does offer one, although at the unreasonably high price of $100. This pissed me off a bit, but I already have an isloation filter that I use for my PC audio gear, so no biggie.

Now since this is a unit with RCA input, I hat to use a 1/8" miniplug to RCA adaptor ($5 radio shack), this allowed me to use some RCA interconencts (I make my own nice double shielded ones).

Back to teh unit...this unit has RCA in and OUT....the reasoning being this unit can also be used as a pre-amp, feeding your stereo amplifier. It also allows for one to add a headphone out on a receiver that doesn't have one by using the tape monitor loop. Using it as a pre-amp is all fine and dandy, but you will need a source selsector if you do anything more than just CDs or just the computer, etc.

Well, I finally plugged everything in, my computer's soundcard has all sliders at 50%, and time to see what hiss I hear when I turn it up....at about 80% volume I just barely make out any hiss....this amp has exceptional signal to noise ratio, something rare for anything of this low output level.

Now for music...

Needless to say when I was listening to my SHure E3C phones (didnt use the grados just yet), at the same output level as I was right out of the soundcard, I really couldn't hear anything different, but I now had a nice volume knob....

This can be viewed as good or bad....myself, I was a bit teed off, but I decieded to trudge on and try the Grados next.

I'll tell you this, in the end I found the amp worth it, but I'll have to see once I have other headphones of this caliber.

Grado SR-125 Headphones:

These came to me in a white cardboard box with lots of bragging about them being the best....well Grado has a long standing reputation around their phonograph needles, so let's see.

The phones themselves, are rather old fashioned (almost ugly) spring steel band with leather padding, steel sliding rod adjusters, and round earpieces, made of plastic, with a perforated plastic grille to ventilate the drivers. The earpads are rather nice though, using dual-density foam and a relief cut, were quite comfortable even for all day use.

Now, these phones are 1/4" plug only...but for $10 you can get a 1/4" to 1/8" adaptor, which I bought for this review.

I hooked these directly into my soundcard, using this adaptor.

Upon listening to some music, I was very, very impressed....The sound from these are quite aggressive in the treble and midrange frequencies, making them quite suitable for rock and many other hard drivern music...however they do have a thin bass, so these are not suitable for those who like their bass. I did notice that the treble was a bit fatiguing over time though....I decided to try the amp again and see what it did.

After amping it, the treble was very, very nice....I have no idea why, but the amp fixed the fatigue issues I had with these phones and treble. Maybe there is a filter somehwere in it, maybe it's the wonders of damping factor...maybe these phones are super picky about the signal going into them (they are obscenely sensitive headphones)...but it just works.

I went to my Discman and my MP3 player (Nomad Zen Touch) to verify this, and unamped the Grado still showed that fatigue.

Overall this is a fantastic headphone, but my opinion is unamped this phone is not suitable for long term listening...but if you just wnat to unwind for an hour with something that buck for buck, will embarass any speaker even remotely close to its price range, give it a shot!

Both units: Combined these two are great...sound quality and detail is just incredible, and the amp seems to fix that one gripe I have about the headphones.

For the "OMFG" ratings, out of a scale of 5.

Creek OBH-11 amp: 3 OMFGz (It gives clean amplification, it's well built, and it works nicely with my phones)

Grado SR-125: 4 OMFGz (Fantastc sound, good build quality despite the odd cosmetics, good ergonomics, sensitive enough to be driven easily by portable electronics...only downside being the treble can be fatiguing over extended periods on some devices)

If anyone gives a crap, similar gear owned:

Sony EX-71, Shure E2C, Shure E3C

29th March 05, 11:58 PM
Interesting Vile, Remember me? =P

30th March 05, 01:49 AM
Sure do man, so how's it kickin?

For what it's worth, I'm blowing more cash on audio gear soon....I was hoping some Yamaha NS-U50 desktop speakers to go with the T-amp I just bought for my computer...but it seems they aren't made anymore and Ebay is bone dry for once...oh well...guess I'll make my own then :D

30th March 05, 02:07 PM
Hey bud, i'm returning to EQ after playing WoW, EQ-2, SWG, MxO... No game has ever held my attention longer than EQ or SWG. Traetick (best friend in real life) is back in EQ and as strong as ever. I've been talking to him about what class i should start since my account is a new one. We've been talking about either Shadowknight, Berserker, or Monk. I've read the forums over at Allah and alot of it seems outdated... I like ALOT of DPS as well as alot of HP and the ability to sidestep death in some cases "hence: FD". So i'm now looking more towards the Monk, only drawback is he is preferably a puller type (i'm not so into pulling). But he has more pro's than con's. SK's have always caught my attention since i played a necro pretty high up, not much DPS in melee terms but still fun... What's your opinion on SK's? The berserker i hear is really awesome at high end game but in the low-end to mid's would it be any fun at all? I'm a big fan of clickies too (just thought i'd throw that in there, haha)

So how's the audio atmosfear going bro? I've been playing in a band on and off with traetick for the past 6 years or so, pretty much a hobby sort of thing... but recently got invited to play rhthym guitar for an established band down south. I also am still doing electronic music in the veign of Skinny Puppy-Frontline Assembly, and also in the veign of Moby-Delirium-VnV Nation-Apop Berzerk... i'd rather concentrate on the more live vocal/trance/euro-dark stuff than the metal genre simply because it calls to me more than anything else... lots of adrenaline in songs like Covenants - Call the Ships to Port; etc etc... www.metropolis-records.com Check that site out bro and tell me whatcha think, i listen to pretty much every artist on that site as well as Nettwerk Records.

You still playing EQ? I haven't seen you in a LONG time since our run out in the desert where you summoned my corpse, lol i forget the name of that place *shrug* Cya


PS: I'll send you PM on my new toons name.

30th March 05, 11:02 PM
I'm pretty much out of the game now...I have 4 months till my 6 month sub dies out.

As far as the SK, soloable with difficulty at high levels (might still be able to quad kite at 45-51 though). Generally after 51 you are forced to go toe-to-toe, which means huge regen breaks and KEI required due to the obscene manadrain. SKs are puller classes, so no escaping that.

Basically an SK is the Tank/Puller/snap aggro/group buff (torrents) machine...if you cannot handle having a bunch of morons constantly scream at you about running out of mana when the chanter won't C you and they expect you to chain pull LDoNs and not run out of mana, with no med breaks at all, until you tell them all where they can put their gaping mouths and basically take over the group...then don't be an SK. People have this misconception that they are all powerful class, when in fact they have and always will be the most gimped...we use darkness and fear to get aggro (which fear aggro was an exploit that was allowed to slide since Sony nerfed Terror which was supposed to be our main aggro line to uselessness).

Don't get me wrong, SKs can kick major ass, but it's one of those classes you can't really fake skill in...you're either mediocre or your damn good. My downfall is I always pushed my DPS to it's limits, which caused obscene levels of aggro...so when the main tank died, I was usually the first to bite it, and usually so fast nobody could do anything about it....but again I was always the lowbie out there....taking taskmasters in SSra with two druids healing you whien your 57 is a bit of a challenge :)

Monks are easier to deal with...but the lack of magic bothered me...I like the spellsword type of character myself...it's fun, challenging, and really keeps you on your toes.

If your on EQ2 ever again, look for my name or Kuamil on Nektulos.

edit: oh and the T-Amp sucks...incredible sound quality...but don't ever try to use the plug for a 12v power supply...the feckin thing blew a tweeter as it died :(

Oh well, guess I'll save up for a Yamaha CAVIT system.

nother edit: by the way if your ever in the tampa bay area give me a holler/PM/whatever.

31st March 05, 12:52 AM
Just got back from band practice... fuckers had me learning a Black Dahlia Murder song... i was like WHY??? lol... anyways... Yeah i'm going Monk or Warrior for sure. I haven't been on EQ-2 much in a long long time, i enjoyed it for the most part until level 15 hit... then the leveling was a pain in the ass, slow as hell... My Druid hit level 20, Furies suck at soloing so i dropped playing her, started playing a Wizard after that, couldn't ever find any of the adept's for someone to make me or they were evil and i was good, just a pain quite frankly... If i ever do go back it's to be a Shadowknight cuz they seem pretty rockin in EQ-2. My EQ account will be active tomorrow so i'll start working on my toon hardcore likes. Hopefully plan to be at least level 51 by this coming Monday as i have other things IRL i have to do a couple days between then. Gonna be hard to find a Funky Tunic (fungus covered scaled tunic) cuz i haven't seen ANY in the bazaar lately, Barbarian Skin Leggins would be great to have too at level 1 even... might get a couple friends to camp those for me, (if your reading this *hint hint* =P ) I had a friend who lived in Tampa Bay, named Kyle Smith was a military buddy of mine.. haven't heard from him in a while though... i'm never really down that way, i stay mostly in middle GA. Been trying to move to Savannah to go to art school down there but haven't found the time yet or made time even... Guess that's all for now, take it easy bro


6th April 05, 03:50 PM
Heya Vile... check this out! VNV Nation playing at Earthlink Live, Atlanta GA May 11th!!!!! Rare oppurtunity to see this future pop/EBM band from Germany! I am there!

OH yeah... you got any items a shaman could use by any chance? My froglok shaman's name is Qubert. Thanks bud