PERFORMANCE

Hooking up a pair of Quad 11L standmount speakers, we sat down to hear what the fresh Creeks initially threw our way. The original Evos were lauded for sounding rhythmic, well-timed and controlled, and this carries through to these new MkII versions. Add a touch more dynamic punch down low, a smidge more insight and sweetness in the upper mid/treble agenda, and you start to hear just where the changes here are making their mark.

The pair gel together superbly, but that’s not to say you can’t use either component with others — both are very system-friendly. The Evo 2 amp is rated at 75W per channel into an 8-ohm load; this figure increases to 110W driving 4-ohm loudspeakers, and promises to deliver ample current.

We certainly had no trouble getting the 6-ohm and averagely-sensitive 86dB Quad speakers to shift some air through their small bass reflex ports. If you fancy a bit more grunt, the Evolution 5350 (reviewed in our Sept/Oct issue) offers up to 200W per channel and a healthy 25+ amps of current — enough to drive quite awkward speaker loads.

The Evo 2 runs a lot cooler than that 5350, and we couldn’t get it into thermal overload, no matter how hard we pushed it. Yet it shares the same sonic signature as its more powerful range partner — namely an authoritative grip on whatever style of music is playing, plus an ability to rock when asked.

None of this would be possible if the source wasn’t also musically obliging, and the Evo 2 CD player has its own take on the sonic proceedings. It produces an inherently smooth and transparent performance with plenty of insight into the music’s detail and low-end information. We loved the way it joined the amp in dishing up the subterranean bass of the Ummah mix of Jamiroquai’s Deeper Underground. The same went for the more gutsy delivery of Porcupine Tree’s In Absentia and the Creeks’ ability to rock; it sounded full and effortless.

The little Quads are able to pack quite a punch for their size, and with the Creeks in the driving seats the system delivered a very convincing sound no matter what music was on the menu. Although these standmounters don’t produce the biggest bass in the business, the electronics’ midband and treble performance was crisp, and delivered a good sense of soundstage and ambience, easily letting you hear the difference between different acoustics and recordings. A bigger floorstander such as Epos’ M16i would fill a larger space and give you more down low. To try this out, we dug out a vintage pair of Infinity Studio Reference monitors — an excellent party speaker — and the Creeks were more than happy to get these 1980s classics pumping out big bass.