Stereocheck Reviews:

Creek Voyage i20: Cutting-edge integrated amplifier

Creek is a family-owned audio business founded in England over 40 years ago in 1978. In order to create truly cutting-edge audio components, the manufacturer applies rich development experience and...

Creek Voyage i20
Creek Voyage i20

Creek is a family-owned audio business founded in England over 40 years ago in 1978. In order to create truly cutting-edge audio components, the manufacturer applies rich development experience and complements it with technological innovations. The new Voyage line is the intention to create high-quality equipment and gain a foothold in the High End Audio segment. The new range is designed in the UK and handcrafted in Europe.

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The Creek Voyage i20 integrated amplifier is designed by Luke Creek (son of Mike Creek) to be ergonomic and easy to use. It is manufactured using only the highest quality materials to provide easy-to-use yet high-quality stereo sound. The Creek Voyage i20 combines an analog preamp and digital-to-analog converter with a power amplifier connected to a unique regulated power supply. All this is housed in a compact and elegant body. To create the Voyage i20, Creek engineers combined several advanced technologies to deliver impressive amplifier power in a small package.

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A large OLED display located on the front panel of the amplifier displays all the necessary service information. Switching through the menu is carried out using either the remote control or the buttons and control knobs on the façade of the Creek Voyage i20.

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The Creek Voyage i20 amplifier is extremely versatile, with ten analog and digital inputs. Analog sources can be input via three pairs of RCA connectors or one pair of fully balanced XLR connectors. A relay with gold contacts directs input signals to a high-precision volume control chip – MUSES from New Japan Radio Company. The MUSES resistor ladder attenuator provides precise tuning over a range of 80 dB in 1 dB steps with extremely low distortion. Line In 1 can be supplemented with an optional Sequel mk4 Phono board to provide high output playback from a moving magnet or moving coil vinyl record player.

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The Creek Voyage i20 preamp circuit is typically set to unity gain (0dB), but if required, each input can individually boost the input signal in 3dB steps up to a maximum of +12dB. Each input can also be configured to bypass the preamp and volume control. This user-selectable DIRECT mode allows the Creek Voyage i20 to be used as a four-input power amplifier or a combination of them for customization. Sequel can be configured for 40 or 50 dB gain, 100 or 200 pF capacitance, and RIAA filtering.

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To ensure compatibility with a wide range of headphones, the Creek Voyage i20 uses a dedicated amplifier connected directly to the pre-stage. The high-current amplifier is capable of driving headphone loads with nominal impedances from 8 to 300 ohms without additional noise or loss of quality.

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The Creek Voyage i20 includes an advanced DAC circuit with multiple inputs for USB, SPDIF, optical, USB and Bluetooth. The Class 2 USB digital input on the Creek Voyage i20 provides bit-perfect audio streaming potential. Its XMOS multi-core streaming controller can handle a wide range of high-resolution PCM and DSD sources up to 32-bit, 768 kHz PCM, 22.4 MHz DSD. The USB circuitry is galvanically isolated from the DAC to eliminate common ground loops and interference from the external device’s power supply.

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Firmware updates for i20 can be downloaded from the internet and installed via USB input. In addition to USB, the Creek Voyage i20 supports 24/192 SPDIF signals through 2 coaxial and 2 optical Toslink inputs for connecting to TV output, CD players, streamers and other digital sources. Built-in Comet MK2 aptX HD Bluetooth module for convenient wireless streaming from mobile or static computing devices, capable of playing CD-quality audio from mobile devices. All signals are electrically buffered and output through a pair of RCA connectors after passing through the volume control stage.

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The Creek Voyage i20 switches the output stage using a more efficient Class AB to Class G design. This allows the i20’s powerful circuitry to fit into a slim package but still run cool, even with a relatively small heatsink. Creek has further enhanced the efficiency of the Class G circuits successfully used in the Evolution 100A amplifier. The Class G amplifier operates with two voltage levels. The Creek Voyage i20 monitors input and output signals, and the smart MOSFET circuit instantly switches to higher voltage if needed. To know when the amplifier switches to Class G mode, the letter G is displayed on the OLED display.

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The key to the Creek Voyage i20’s impressive performance is its high-frequency power supply, optimized for audio electronics, bringing out the hidden quality of its amplifier. Creek Voyage i20 performance is not affected by network quality or voltage stability. Unlike most conventional amplifiers, its massive 1500W power supply is voltage-regulated, allowing dual-channel output power to double every time load impedance is halved, regardless of line voltage. Backup power allows the amplifier to go into sleep mode after no signal is detected at the output for 30 minutes. Touching the control knob or remote control will wake up the amplifier again.

Creek Voyage i20 Specifications

Output power at 1% THD > 480 W into 2 ohms, one channel driven
Output power at 1% THD > 240 W into 4 ohms, both channels driven
Output power at 1% THD > 120 W into 8 ohms, driven both channels (31 V RMS)
Maximum continuous output current > 10 A (sine wave)
Peak output current +/- 26 A, current surge into 0.5 ohm load
THD and noise < 0.002% – 20 Hz to 20 kHz at 2/ 3 power ratings 8 ohms
Signal to noise ratio 102 dBA line input
Frequency response 1 Hz to 100 kHz, +/- 2 dB
Power amplifier gain 33.4 dB (x 47) unbalanced
Analog preamp gain 0 dB, 3 dB, 6 dB , 9 dB, 12 dB, selectable on inputs 1, 2, 3 and 4
Input sensitivity 645 mV for maximum output power with 0 dB preamp gain
Crosstalk > 80 dB at 1 kHz
DC offset <+/- 5 mV
Preamp inputs 4 x RCA (unbalanced) and 1 x XLR (balanced)
Preamp output 1 x RCA (unbalanced)
Additional Phono features Input 1 changes to Phono with Sequel mk4 MM Phono installed
Digital inputs 2 coaxial SPDIF – (192 kHz 24 bit), 2 optical TOSLINK – (192 kHz-24 bit), USB Class 2 Audio – PCM 768 kHz, 32 bit, DSD 22.4 MHz, Bluetooth – aptX HD
DAC Delta Sigma PCM 768 kHz, 32 bit, DSD 22.4 MHz
Headphone Out (front panel) 6.3 mm jack, suitable for 8-600 ohm headphones
Output impedance <0.02 ohm 20 Hz to 20 kHz (damping factor > 400)
Weight 9 kg
Dimensions W/H/D 43 x 8 x 35 cm