The Creek Voyage i20 combines an analogue pre-amplifier and digital to analogue converter with a power amplifier, powered by a unique stabilised power supply, housed in a slim and attractive case.
The Voyage i20’s intuitive user interface is easily navigated via its large OLED display. Its sophisticated menu system is navigated either by remote control or rotary control knobs.
The Voyage i20’ integrated pre-amplifier is extremely flexible, boasting ten analogue and digital inputs. Analogue signal sources may be input via three pairs of RCA sockets or one pair of fully balanced XLR sockets. Gold-contact relays direct input signals to a state-of-the-art MUSES electronic volume and balance control circuit. The MUSES’ resistor-ladder attenuator enables precise adjustment over an 80dB range, in 1dB steps, with extremely low distortion. The Voyage i20’s pre-amplifier circuit is normally set for unity (0dB) gain but, if required, each input can individually amplify the input signal, in 3dB steps, up to +12dB max. Each input can also be set to bypass the pre-amp and volume control. This user-selectable DIRECT mode allows the i20 to be used as a power amplifier with four inputs, or a combination to suit individual needs.
DAC (DIGITAL TO ANALOGUE CONVERTER)
The Voyage i20 incorporates a cutting-edge DAC circuit with multiple inputs for USB, SPDIF, optical, USB and Bluetooth.
Its USB Class 2 digital input provides bit-perfect audio streaming potential. The multi-core XMOS streaming controller can handle a wide range of high-resolution PCM and DSD signal sources, up to 32-bit 768 kHz – PCM, and 22.4 MHz – DSD. To further enhance performance, the Voyage i20 integrated preamplifier’s USB circuitry is galvanically isolated from its DAC to eliminate ground loops or interference polluting the signal path.
In addition to USB, the Voyage i20 supports 24/192 SPDIF signals via 2 co-axial and 2 TOSLINK inputs, for connection to television sound, CD Players, streamers, and other digital sources.
A “Comet mk2 aptX HD Bluetooth” module is built-in, for handy wireless streaming from mobile or static computer devices, capable of CD-quality performance!
All signals are electrically buffered and output via a pair of RCA sockets after passing through a volume control stage.
Powerful Sanken STD03 transistors are augmented by multiple MOSFETs to deliver prodigious power output current if required. The thermal tracking Sanken bipolar power transistors immediately correct idle current, to accurately control and minimise cross-over distortion and reducing warm-up time to a minimum.
To optimise performance and maintain left-right symmetry, Creek has developed a modular plug-in voltage amplifier circuit. Their discrete transistor circuitry and relatively low negative feedback allow input signals to be fed to the power amp without the need for additional gain in the pre-amplifier.
Emitter resistors are a necessary feature of bi-polar amplifier designs but, commonly used high-wattage wire-wound resistors are a source of unwanted inductance and potential non-linearity. To combat this problem Creek has developed an alternative high wattage, low inductance, resistor module, using multiple surface-mount resistors. To improve loudspeaker damping by maintaining the amplifier’s ultra-low output resistance, both left and right channel outputs are channelled through separate 10A relays. Internal wiring is kept to a minimum and isolated terminal posts allow connection by 4mm plugs, spade lugs and twisted wires, as required.
To ensure compatibility with a wide variety of headphones, the Voyage i20 uses a dedicated headphone amplifier fed from the pre-amplifier’s output. The high-current amplifier is capable of driving headphones loads specified from 8 to 300 Ohm, with no added noise or loss of fidelity.
CLASS G AMPLIFIER MODE
The i20 biases its output stage with a more efficient form of Class AB, called Class G. Class G allows the powerful i20 circuitry to fit inside a slim case yet run cool, even with a relatively small heatsink.
Creek has further enhanced the efficiency of Class G circuitry successfully used in the Evolution 100A amplifier.
A Class G amplifier operates with two voltage levels. The i20 tracks the input and output signals and a clever MOSFET circuit switches momentarily to higher voltage if required. To identify to the user when the amplifier is operating in Class G mode a letter G is displayed on the OLED display.
The key to the Voyage i20 integrated amplifier’s impressive performance is in its high-frequency power supply, optimised for audio electronics, enabling the latent quality of its amplifier to be realised. The Voyage i20’s performance is unaffected by mains quality or voltage stability. Unlike most conventional amplifiers, its massive 1500Watt power supply is voltage stabilised, enabling it to double its two-channel power output each time the load impedance is halved, regardless of the mains voltage.
Standby power enables the amplifier to go to sleep after no signal is detected on the output for 30 minutes. Touching either control knob or remote handset will wake the amplifier up again.
Line input 1 can be enhanced with an optional plug-in Sequel mk4 Phono Pre-amp, to provide for Moving Magnet or high-output Moving Coil vinyl record reproduction. The Sequel is selectable for 40 or 50dB gain, 100pF or 200pF capacitance and IEC filtering, to reduce disc warp frequencies.