Saturday, October 30, 2010

On My Radar: Heed Obelisk SI integrated amp

Is this the Naim NAIT 2 of the 21st century? I'm starting to hear a lot of great things about Heed, a Hungarian audio company that makes very compact audio components that offer great sound at relatively modest prices. The Obelisk SI pictured here is about 35wpc, which isn't that much more than the Nait 2. But you can add the X2, an outboard power supply, that brings the power up to 50.

When I mentioned the LFD integrated in this blog a couple of weeks ago, I instantly heard from Sandy Greene, fellow audio writer and former colleague at TONEAudio. Sandy said I should check out Heed before going with the LFD Zero Integrated or the Naim NAIT XS. Dan Muzquiz of Blackbird Audio/Gallery is also a Heed dealer, and he has had great success in matching the Obelisk SI with Rega speakers. So Heed is definitely on my radar now.

According to Dan, "retail for the Obelisk Si is 1550.00 and its optional external power supply, the X2 sells for 1150.00. The first input has the option to be a simple line level input or it can be fitted with either a MM phono card or DACtilus D/A card." That means the Heed with the X2 is about the same price of the Naim, and somewhat less expensive than the LFD. The Obelisk alone is a very intriguing idea...and I could certainly upgrade to the X2 in the future.

At only 7 kg, the Heed is compact and relatively light--which is why it reminds me of the Naim NAIT 2. I can remember picking up the NAIT with one hand and walking around with it. How many great-sounding amplifiers can you say that about? (And no, I don't want to hear about those $59 class-D amps from China!)


  1. And now, what do you think about this little amp?

  2. Have you heard the HEED? How does it sound in comparison with a NAIM or LFD?

  3. It's being sent to me for review as we speak.

  4. Hi Marc,

    As someone whom came into this shared hobby in '84 starting with the original Nait and ending with an olive version in 2003, before like yourself moving on to S.E.T. based amps from the likes of Fi along with Audion.

    Yet,as of 2009 I had shown interest in the Heed Audio Obelisk SI to my dealer, which recommended that I look into the Sonneteer line of amps instead, yet something still tells me........, that this amp might have served my listening habits better.

    Long story shorter, please add your insight, that review is in fact long over due.

    Oscar Johnson

  5. Hi Oscar,

    I have had the Heed stuff in my system for about the last month, and I have just heard from someone at Heed about reviewing their speakers. I have been reporting regularly on this stuff over the last month...please check out my more recent blog entries.

    As far as reviews go, I do not consider myself a professional reviewer anymore. I am a blogger, which means I'm just thinking aloud most of the time. I had one particularly dour individual try to attack me for this very blog entry, saying "You call this a review?"

    No, pal, it's not a review. It's a blog. But because I showed interest in the Obelisk, I now have some of their gear in my system. (It's also utterly fantastic stuff, by the way.)

    As I get older, I'm starting to question the effectiveness of equipment reviews. It's a very flawed process. I think I prefer to talk about gear in a very casual manner, as if we were hanging out in my listening room. I did the formal review thing for a while, and I didn't feel as if my real opinions were getting to the readers. In a blog, I get to say exactly what I want to say. It's better, trust me.

  6. Hi Marc, did you ever get to posting a review of the Dactilus DAC card for the Heed Obelisk? I've searched your blog but couldn't find any mention.

  7. I tried the Dactilus for only a brief period before I had to send the unit back--not enough time to really form a proper opinion or make comparisons to other units I had on hand.

  8. Hi Mark. I have a Heed Obelisk SI, X2 PSU and the v1.2 Dactilus card. I've read that things could get better with a different DAC. I used a Marantz SA8004 which was quite good but think the Dactilus card is better. Any recommendations?

    Thanks, Adam