Starting with the classic CAS4040 back in the early nineteen eighties, Creek Audio has an illustrious history of producing affordable but musical sounding transistor amplification. Launched in 2009, the Destiny was the company’s flagship product and took it very much into the ‘mid-fi’ sphere; by the time the Destiny 2 was withdrawn from sale in 2014, it cost £1,749. Unlike its distant ancestor, it was a line level device, with the option of adding Creek’s Sequel MM/MC phono input board. Creek amplifiers have traditionally catered for tape users, and this too has a tape monitor loop to go with its four line inputs. Two pairs of speaker outlets are fitted, and a headphone socket.
A classic MOSFET design, the power amplifier puts out a claimed 120W RMS per channel at 8 ohms (180W into 4), aided and abetted by the magnetically shielded 300VA toroidal transformer with separate windings for high and low current analogue circuit requirements, with two separate low-loss Schottky diode bridge rectifiers to separate left and right channel power supplies. Multiple small, low impedance 2,200uF capacitors are paralleled together for superior smoothing and there are separate feeds for all low voltage circuits. A 50VA auxiliary toroidal mains transformer powers the microcontroller circuitry when in standby and all the digital circuitry for better sound.
When the original Destiny came out, it was one of the sweetest sounding transistor amplifiers on sale. It had an almost valve-like liquidity, allied to a smooth, velvety tonality and a fulsome if slightly soft bass. The Destiny 2 tightened things up a bit without transforming the sound too dramatically, and the result was an amplifier quite unlike its contemporaries, one which let the music flood out of the speakers in a gloriously lilting and unselfconscious way. Tonally, it is neither light and bright like the average sub £2,000 solid-stater, nor syrupy like most mid-price valve amps – rather it’s just a little on the warm side of neutral, preferring to stand back and not force itself on the proceedings. Even if the recording you’re playing is poor, somehow the Creek’s forgiving nature means that it doesn’t really matter and its innate sense of rhythm carries the day.
It may be smooth but it’s not bland. String tone is excellent for example, the Creek capturing every last sinew a violin without getting edgy. Spatially it is impressive, with instruments superbly located in its large, three dimensional soundstage. It’s only when you move to powerful electronic music that the Destiny is found wanting in any way. It has loads of power and a satisfying warm tonality, but its bass just doesn’t quite have the ‘on-off’ speed of some rivals, such as the Exposure 3010S2. All the same, if you’re after a very human, musical and emotive performer, at its price this is in a gang of one.