A New Leap Forward in Evolution Integrated Amp Performance
After three successful years in production, the Creek Audio Evolution integrated amplifier and CD player have been given a makeover. Subtle changes have been made on the outside together with new and improved circuitry, which has boosted the performance of both products. This has made Evolution 2 a hard act to beat.
If you are looking for a powerful amplifier and CD player combination that achieves high-end performance at a reasonable price, the Evolution 2 combination could be for you.
Massive High-Current Power Supply
To achieve 80 Watts power into an 8 Ohms load and >140 Watts into 4 Ohms, the mains transformer has to be big. The Evolution 2 uses a 250 VA toroidal transformer, which will provide enough current to almost double its output into 4 Ohms. To achieve high-end sound quality, no expense has been spared.
Separate windings are used for each of the high current high voltage and low voltage, analog, and digital circuits. A high capacity power supply using 20,000 micro-Farads of multiple smoothing capacitors are used to power the left and right power amplifiers and provide a very dynamic performance.
Premium Burr-Brown Volume Control
The Evolution 2 uses a high quality, Burr-Brown PGA2311, digitally controlled analog volume control. This lets you adjust the volume accurately, from 0 to -80 dB. An analog-style rotary encoder, with 40 mm solid control knob, is used to alter the volume from the front panel and display the relative level on a large blue colored VFD display. Position 80 is the loudest and 0 is mute. To amplify the signals into the volume control circuit, a high grade Burr-Brown OPA2134 Op-Amp is used as a pre-amplifier. Signal switching is performed by gold contact relays, which are digitally selected from a microcontroller, similar the system used in the Destiny Integrated Amplifier.
Impressive Driver and Output Stages
The Evolution 2 is configured with higher open-loop gain, using a double differential input and driver stage plus discrete Darlington power output stage, using high current bi-polar transistors. High-grade polypropylene capacitors, bypassed with large value electrolytic capacitors, are used to couple and decouple the signal into the power amp.
To keep the amplifier safe, it is monitored by discrete transistor circuitry to protect against over-current demand, short circuits and DC offsets. Relays mute the input and separate the loudspeaker output in the case of faults.
Evolution 2 Remote Control
The Evolution 2 operates conventionally with rotary controls for input selection and volume control and buttons for Tape selection and power On/Off. It has four inputs plus tape, including a new feature Direct AV, which bypasses the pre-amplifier and volume control to allow the power amplifier to be used in a 5.1 surround system. Input selection is via the Evolution 2 remote handset or the rotary input selection control. The display brightness can be altered from the Evolution 2 remote control.
Gold plated input and output sockets have been chosen to provide a good connection and appearance for a product at its price point. Loudspeakers are connected with 1 set of 4mm terminal binding posts, with plastic touch-proof covers. The amplifier also has a headphone jack, which is becoming an increasingly rare feature of modern amplifiers.
Power connection is via a standard, fused, IEC chassis plug. A high quality power cord, with suitable mains plug for the country of use is supplied.
Upgrades from the Original Evolution Integrated
The Evolution 2 is chock full of upgrades from the original Evolution integrated amp. Functionally the preamplifier now provides a separate AV input. Selecting AV switches the input signal direct to the power amplifier. This allows the front channel of a 5.1 Receiver to be amplified by the Evolution 2 conveniently.
The power amplifier section has been upgraded to provide better sonic and measured performance. And the power amp's open loop gain has been increased by more than two times. This has been achieved by altering the current through its input and voltage gain stages to improve the high frequency gain. Therefore, negative feedback has been reduced, to allow the amplifier to have a higher closed loop gain. The effect is lower distortion and noise.
The preamplifier has been modified to remove a gain stage after the volume control. This has reduced unwanted noise, improved signal handling and lowered distortion. The distribution of gain in the pre-amp and power amps is now similar to Creek's higher-end Destiny model.
Unwanted or unnecessary capacitors have been removed from the signal path, in keeping with standard Creek practice. Signal paths have been shortened to make improvements to crosstalk and interference suppression.
The power supply has been optimized to improve speed and timing of audio signals, and the transformer size has been optimized to improve performance.