Opinions on Upgrade Path

Hi All--

I'm looking for opinions on possible upgrade paths. 

My current system is:  Creek Evolution 100A integrated amplifier with Ruby DAC and Sequel MM phono stage, fed by either Roksan Radius turntable with Ortofon 2M Black cartridge or Bluesound Node 2 (Tidal streaming in lossless).  For loudspeakers, I'm running PSB Imagine T2s.   I have the turntable on a shelf, resting on a Project isolation platform--hardly, if any, vibration can be felt on my turntable.  

Option 1:  Biamp my speakers by acquiring the new Creek 100P amplifier.  It has identical specs to the Creek 100A integrated.  This would give me two amps each driving 110w in to 8 ohms/170 in to 4 ohms.  It would allow me to keep the great aspects of sound that I already like out of my setup, and possibly provide even better control and less distortion.

Option 2:  Switch out the Creek for something entirely different--i.e. PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Hegel 360, McIntosh MC152 (using the Creek as preamplifier).  Or go Class D, NAD M22, Red Dragon, etc.

Option 3:  Consider changing my loudspeakers out.  I like this option the least as my wife likes their look in the decor and I would like to hear them with more power biamped or with tubes.  But, it's certainly an option.

Option 4:  Change out my turntable.  I have to say I'm not fond of this either as I really like what the Roksan Ortofon 2M Black does together.  

I listen to 75% vinyl/25% Tidal or higher quality internet radio streams.  I have a great record cleaning machine that I'm super happy with. 

Assume that I'm not going down a pathway into more expensive cabling or significant acoustic room treatments as my system is in the living room.  While I cannot discern differences in cabling (over 12/14 gauge good quality copper speaker cabling), I do appreciate room treatments--they are just not a real option here as I'm dealing with an interior design nut on the living room issue. 

Thank you for your help!


One of the best ways to do biamping is using identical amps in a vertical configuration (one amp for each speaker) with an external crossover bypassing the speaker’s internal crossover. See this diagram:


With the Creek 100p, you would have identical amps, however the only option is horizontal configuration (one amp for high L&R and one amp for low L&R)using the speaker’s internal crossover. Even using the speaker’s internal crossover, it is still best do a vertical configuration. IMHO, I choose option 2, but not a tube amp. Looking at Stereophile’s measurements of the PSB Imagine T2, it doesn’t appear tube friendly with the phase angle and impedance issues. Tube amps work best with a benign load. If you want tubes in your system, then anywhere except power amp.

IMO.... Option 3 preferred : upgrade your speakers..... preferably to either quality British or French kit for potential great synergy with your UK-made Creek integrated amp.

You already have a quality amp with good grunt .... bi-amping your existing speakers won't get you anywhere closer to the Emerald City in Oz,  IMO.

There are quality speaker contenders and many pretenders out there to choose from.... My immediate choices with your CREEK that I would consider:

(1) Spendor (say the D7 or the S7  immediately come to mind).

(2) JMR (Jean Marie Reynaud) floorstanders (multiple models to choose from ...all are VERY efficient)


Happy hunting.

You have a nice system so how about a 5th option and something not quite so drastic as your proposed changes. Since you listen to vinyl 75% of the time, I would suggest a better phono stage than your current plug-in Sequel. One that is better suited for your Ortofon 2m Black.

Your current Sequel has fixed capacitance of 220pf. Ortofon recommends capacitance of 150-300pf. Add in the capacitance of your phono cables to the 220pf of your Sequel and you have exceeded the maximum of 300pf that Ortofon recommends. Higher capacitance with a MM cartridge usually results in a roll off in treble.

Creeks external phono stage, the OBH-15MKII for example, has adjustable MM input capacitance of 100 or 200pf, much better suited for your cartridge. It also has adjustable gain and impedance loading as well as MC capability for later down the road.  That's why it costs more - its a much better and versatile phono stage.

A great system is only as good as its weakest link and I would be concentrating on eliminating the weakest link. IMO its your entry level phono stage that is limiting the best performance a world class cartridge like your 2M Black can bring you.
Thank you!

Great advice. It does seem like a phono pre upgrade would be the most inexpensive way to go here.  I will look at that Creek and I'll look at some others.  I've always wondered whether the Graham Slee stuff would be an upgrade. 

Maybe bi-amping horizontally would bring only marginal sonic upgrades.  I do like all of the gear.  I just think that I may be able to get a bit more out of things.  And, I can easily agree that the Ortofon 2M Black is not a weakness.  When I listen to vinyl, my system sounds better and well recorded stuff is more holographic and real.  

I'd be curious to hear other loudspeakers in my system too.  I've always wanted to try Spendors.  Is it more audiophile folklore than truth about mating British amps with British speakers?  Hmmmmmmm.....

I also think that the Creek integrated is capable of sounding pretty darn good and could mate with better speakers.  

I've got some hunting and thinking to do. Any additional opinions are very appreciated. 
I've wandered down the rabbit hole of looking at phono preamp out stats. Good lord!
Is there any place you can take your amp to try with different speakers? Or a friend with larger amp to test your speakers with at home? The creek is nice and so are your speakers but maybe not the ideal match, you could try a cheap pro-grade crown or qsc to see if its a power issue. Trying a better matching phono section seems like a good idea, but if your streaming audio also seems lacking maybe looking downstream is worth pursuing...