You’ve heard about tube based products. The proponents are ardent. They say you’re a fool to consider anything BUT. So you’d like to dive in. What makes sense?
Rogue Audio is designed and built in Pa. Rogue makes fantastic integrated amps that those of us who work for a living… can actually afford.
Before I go on to the specifics about Rogue, let me point out that literally all of Rogue’s competitors are built in China on a piece-work basis. A company that makes electronic widgets of all shapes, sizes and varieties, is hired to “do a run” of this or that product. You’ll find the company wants to get this work done ASAP, because there is another job right behind it. Quality is not the watch word. COMPLETION is the name of the game. When these products show up state side, YOU are the beta test site. When these products have problems, due to design or construction issues, the only thing in the road between you and disaster is “a guy” the importer hired, with a soldering gun. Keep in mind, this guy didn’t design anything. He didn’t sit through training sessions and quality control seminars. These products are just dumped in his lap. “Save us!” Good luck buddy.
That’s not Rogue.
Sphinx v2 $1400 (100×2)
Sphinx v2 (Version 2) is a terrific integrated amp. It uses two tubes in the preamp section. The power amp section is solid state. Sphinx v2 is known for its very warm, musical sound. It is also known for being able to drive most speakers to your satisfaction- but not if you’re a cement head. If you really pound the volume, an NAD C-375BEE is a more appropriate choice at this price point.
Sphinx v2 has a very nice, built in MM phono section. Rogue does NOT build in DACs. They feel that category is a moving target so you should buy it outboard. The power amp doubles output into 4 ohms so you can drive MOST speakers on the market.
In short, if your volume needs are not abusive, Sphinx v2 provides a warm musical presentation, unlike any other choice for $1400.
Cronus Magnum II $2500 (100×2)
CM II is all tubes, through and through. It features a tube preamp AND tube power amp section. The flavor is warm as toast. And it runs warm too. With KT-120 tubes, CM II is conspicuously stronger than all the Chinese imports that usually provide just 40×2 of power for $2500.
With on board high quality MM phono section, CM II is an analog lover’s integrated. Even though the wattage rating is the same as Sphinx above, CM II is noticeably more muscular. It weighs 55lbs to Sphinx’s 25.
Pharoah $3500 (200×2)
Pharoah is a stronger, more refined Sphinx. It has two tubes in the preamp section, and a solid state output section that doubles into 4 ohms.The phono section is more flexible as it supports MM and MC.
It has a better echelon of parts (for ex, Mundorf oil caps) and weighs twice as much. The tubes are employed in the headphone amp as well.
Everything nice about Sphinx v2 is stronger and more refined in Pharoah. It sounds as tubey as the CM II but has a lot more power!