There was a neat shoebox amplifier in the 1980’s which stirred emotions in unsuspecting 'Hi-Fi Freaks' and music lovers alike. Sadly, the unabashedly different design of the original Ion Obelisk had become entirely forgotten. Well, almost entirely.
After two decades of silence, Heed resurrected this legendary integrated, updating its exterior aesthetics and internal components. More importantly, however, Heed challenged themselves with the demanding task of preserving the classic Obelisk’s absorbing delivery and infectious musicality, while offering even greater transparency, leading-edge detail and more gripping dynamics. Mission accomplished – the Heed Obelisk Si has become a must-hear sensation straight out of the gate.
The Obelisk Si MKIII builds upon the award winning MKII (Best stereo amp £1000-£1500, What Hi-Fi? Awards 2012). It refines and hones the endearing drive and qualities of this highly regarded integrated amplifier. During the years of evolution, the Obelisk Si showed us the nature of RC-coupled amplifiers. By the designing of the current version of this amp, the experts at Heed have found the solution that describes the magic it creates. Transcap technology is now the main path, which they pioneer and intend to follow, unaccompanied in the world.
The Obelisk Si MKIII is rated at a very healthy 50 watts per channel. However; do not be fooled by the kilowatt amps, this fifty is like a valve-amp fifty. And more, as a Transcap amplifier is rather different in this aspect. With this kind of power the Si is capable of astonishing dynamic authority and massive transients any time, and will drive some of the most demanding of speaker loads if required (you will be honestly surprised!).
As ever with Heed, you can upgrade the Si on the power front - by adding in a bespoke power supply also. By adding in the Obelisk X2 power supply (which effectively converts the Si-system into a preamp/power amp combo), you get clearer dynamics and depth - but also free up the actual Obelisk amplifier to really roam free and push those speakers a little harder too. This upgrade makes the Obelisk Si purr, and this has been reflected in the press - with What Hi-Fi? Sound & Vision (UK) remarking on the Obelisk si + Obelisk x2 :
"This is one of the most musically accomplished integrated amps we've heard anywhere near this price. Play something like Mama by Black Eyed Peas and the Heed charges along, making the most of the intricate rhythms and dynamic thrust. This unit sounds robust and in charge even when pushed hard. And it's enthusiastic without ever becoming overbearing." "We like this amp a lot. Forget first impressions: this is a peach of a product."
The Obelisk Si MKIII features a newer remote control for volume (input switching is mechanical to preserve the best quality of sound) and this particular Obelisk Si caters for the lovers a dedicated digital source. The Obelisk Si MKIII DAC 2.3 variant (24bit/192 kHz) has the highly acclaimed Dactil 2.3 card (the same advanced DAC card used with the Obelisk Pre and Obelisk DA) already embedded enabling it to cater for any digital source that supports a S/PDIF digital input (such as streamers or CD players/transports). The DAC 2.3 card has user selectable settings to cater for both the source characteristics, system set-up and also user preference in terms of audio 'appreciation' or taste. This knocks the standard RCA analogue inputs down to 4 with the dedicated DAC input, but is still more than enough to cater for most systems at this price-point (and it will out perform many at a higher one too).
Small in stature, austerely beautiful in function and simply stunningly good at making you fall in love with music again - the Heed Obelisk Si MKIII/DAC-2.3 is a to coin a phrase...a 'peach' of a product.
Available in a black casing with black front.
Heed Audio Obelisk MKIII/DAC-2.3: Integrated Stereo Amplifier - Features & Benefits:
Upgradeable analogue power supply (Obelisk X2)
Heed 'Transcap' technology
Heed Audio Obelisk MKIII/DAC-2.3: Integrated Stereo Amplifier - Specifications:
Inputs: 4 x analogue (RCA) & 1 x S/PDIF Input
Outputs: 1x stereo speaker / 1x Tape out
Frequency response: 5 Hz – 60 kHz
Input impedance: 10 kΩ
Input sensitivity: 500 mV
Power (8Ω): 50 W / channel
SNR: 96 dB
Power supply options: Internal / Obelisk X2
Max. consumption: 200 W
Weight: 6 kg
Dimensions (WxHxD): 22 x 8.5 x 36 cm
Heed Audio Obelisk MKIII/DAC-2.3: Integrated Stereo Amplifier - Resources & Downloads:
Heed Audio Obelisk Si MKIII/DAC-2.3 Owners Manual