Amp - preamp or integrated


This topic has appeared in the past but I like to hear audiophile suggestions specially if they honest. I currently have the Rogue Chronus Magnum II. With Vandersteen 2 sig. Soon I will sell the house and will have some extra $ for upgrades. I have 4 questions:

Is the amp/ pre amp a better way to go than integrated? Two choices Rogue and Parasound.
Is the mono blocks / preamp an even better way to go?
If I decide to go with mono blocks, due budget considerations , I will be looking at used or an small company/audio engineer where I can keep the cost under 3000. If I go with a small company product, how do I know it is a good quality prod. Vs big companies like Rogue etc?

All your comments to all or any of my questions is highly appreciated. Thanks
36a48ecb 0dc6 46e2 a446 445b9920e04elobinero
I must clarify when I say " better way to go" it means sonically/ musically. 
I prefer separates. I like the fact that each component is designed to do one specific thing. An integrated can generate crosstalk and/or noise between its sections. Also, if something goes wrong with the integrated, then the entire unit has to be sent for repair ... no more music. With separates, if one component fails, then you can sub in another and continue the party.
Are mono blocks any better? Its just separating the amplification into two units instead of one.
If you are happy with the sound of the of the 2CE Sigs  with the Rogue Chronos Magnum you are not likely to be happy with them paired with Parasound as that is the opposite end of the spectrum. How much of an upgrade going to Rogue separates will be is the subject of debate also.  A better upgrade my be to add subs to the Sig's if you don't already have them.  While the Vandy subs are a great match and what I used with those speakers for 8 years there are other subs that will work too when connected speaker level and that are a bit cheaper whether that be REL, Rythmik or others though the faithful will argue otherwise.
Jackd345 - thanks for your comments. However the Rogue CM does not have an out for subwoofer which IMHO is needed with the Vandys. The new CM does.
The Vandy subs will not work with an integrated unless it has a preamp out and amp in like the McIntosh integrateds do.  You can however use Rythmik, REL and several other subs speaker level from your Rogue.  I used both the Vandy subs and Rythmik F-12's with Treo's and they both worked fine.  
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Monobloocks are fine, but can be more expensive and you need sufficient room for them. You may want to consider a dual mono amp instead ... essentially, it's two monoblocks in one chassis.
Some good advice from Jack. And it’s always best to go line level for your subs so you wouldn’t need a sub out. 
If one wants to simplify their system then go with an integrated, there are many available that sound very good.
Otherwise separates would be the way to go.
Technictly speaking good monoblocks should sound better however I have not been able to detect a difference in the sound of music using monoblocks vs a two chanal amp.
One more thought to add, I know many audiophiles (myself included) that have gone the entire gamut of what you have asked and have made changes in their systems simply to try something different, the need to experiment or perhaps boredom.
Thanks lak3497. Your response make sense. I know of some good integrated amp but very expensive. I will probably go toward amp/ pre amp .
Pardon my ignorance, but how can I connect any sub(rythmik or REL) to the Rogue CM if there is no sub amplification. I dont understand what is to go line level?
If you buy a sub that's capable and has speaker level inputs (binding posts) then you connect it to your Rogue's speakers terminals along with your main speakers.  Simple way is to use whatever terminal type that is the opposite of your main speaker cables.  I use spades for the mains and bananas for the subs. 
It is so complicated, because there are many good options.
I think this really boils down to what kind of an audiophile are you going to be? Can you find 1 piece of gear you are going to love and stick with for years, or are you going to buy, and keep thinking about equipment for the rest of your life?
If the latter, separates are your ticket to constantly comparing, upgrading and tweaking. If the former, an integrated is the way to go assuming your speakers are a good match.

Best,
E
So far I had my Vandys 2 sig for over 4 yrs. It seems im ready for a change or at least would be open to listen to others. Heard good things about the magnepans. They seem to require a good source or current which my Rogue CM did not supplied. So my dilemma is how much of my current equipment will I change. Is a good situation, albeit a stressy one since there are so many options. I believe that I should start with knowing how much of a budget I will have and going with amp/ preamp. Then if I like the way the vandys sound, keep them or then go with a dofferent brand. Too many x and Y.
you need sufficient room for them


??? Not all mono blocks are monoliths. 
Thisall depends on your budget , a sound ruleof thumb 
less then 25% of the piece of electronics goes into the build,the rest overhead and dealer markup.  A  great integrated has several advantages  such as 1 less pair of interconnects, power cords  and seperate wiring . My brothers Gryphon Diablo is a Perfect example of excellence. There are many excellent integrated amps 
from Denmark  my $6500 Gato 400S was a steal and can match seperate ofmuch more monies.  Pass Labs make a very good integrated in their new line . What is your budget $6k $15$?
please remember respectable interconnects and extra power cord 
is probably $1500-$2k alone .itisthe Parts Quality thst counts .
ifunder $10k the Pass Labs Reno Hifi sells demo,or open box with a full warranty and save several grand.dependingon your Loudspeakers efficiency . Pass has high power, as well as low power models let others know  about your speakers to help you better . 
Lobinero, I have the Vandersteen 2CE Sig II and I’m driving it with the McIntosh MC601 monoblocks (600 watts) and the McIntosh C2300 Tube preamp. I which I could have come over and listen to my system because I reall swear by this kind of set up, it’s overwhelmingly sweet sounding like live music and the sound stage is deep and wide, the speakers disappear most of the time depending on how good is the recording. I highly recommend separate amps and preamps.
Have you changed the tubes in the pre section? Very satisfying and worthwhile changes.
What is your front end? table, DAC, etc? Look there for upgrades.
Interconnects, speaker cables?
And the biggie ....room treatments.

Yes I own the Cronus Mag II it's quite excellent here.
I will never go back to separates. One of the biggest improvements I made in 5 years was the room treatments. GIK Acoustics.

The Vandies may be a little laid back wake them with the tube changes.
I owned these years ago and were very good.
Just my opinion of course.
First thing is keep in mind that there are integrated amps that are designed as separate amp and preamp within one cabinet. If you go with an integrated amp, put that high on your list. I’ve leveraged that with my two NAD integrated amps wired to bi-amp my speakers. Your choices of configuration are just as unlimited as with separate amp(s) and preamp. 
First, I estimate that my budget for new amp /pre amp or integrated will be around 5K after selling my Rogue Chronus Mag 2.  McIntosh would be out of range unless I get a good deal on used ones. 
My Rogue integrated although 4 yrs old, the tubes have low hrs. I barely put 10- 15 hrs per month. Short of 10k hrs they claim to last. Adding a subwoofer was brought up in this thread also. 
Preamp Audio-gd Master 1. About 2k shippment included. Someone compared it with some much more expensive Krell preamp saying the M1 blew it out of the water. Some others believe it can easily compete with preamps costing 3 to 4 times its price. Look for it on Internet. 

Class D Power Amp Nord Stereo SE (dual mono) with Rev D boards. About 2.5k shippment included. Someones compared it with amps costing 50k or more. Look for it on Internet. 

Hulgich Audio won the best sounding stand award in the Melbourne Hifi Show in 2017 and second place in 2018, with Nord amps and an Audio-gd DAC, competing against systems costing up to 500k. And the Nord amp used had Rev C boards, not the Rev D ones. Ive had both and Rev D is much better.

Do your research. You can have a 4.5k preamp-amp combination that can easily compete with multi thousands systems. You wont regret it. 
Im sorry, the Audio-gd Master 1 will cost you about 1.5k if you buy it from Audio-gd website directly. 
M1 + Nord = about 4k, a HiFi steal
Lobinero, for me,i would always a integrate amp.: I had Esoteric F0-5 (nice stuff) but it missed in the depht. Mid and high were clear. Before i had Esoteric ,i used Perreaux 250i , Unison research 845...still good apms but always the same problem :Problems with low, for the rest oké .
Till my best friend Tom arrived with the Audio Note M5, preamp, and the GamuT D200. The sound was brilliant: a very good representation of high,mid and low. Also more holographic. Low was better dan with the integrate’s. He showed me,the difference between an integrate an pre/power. If you read reviews of integrate amps like: dan D’Agostini, Dartzeel...;;the same problems with low. But thaks to Tom, i was in the 7th heaven. And connected to “his” Ilumnia Magister . Great!!!!
For your budget, I’d stay with the rogue unless:
1: you need more power. Do you have the KT120’s? Get the 120’s
2: Do you need to tighten up the bass?
3: Do you want to go SS?
I had the same amp with the kt120’s and it was a great amp until I changed speakers and the bass wasn’t controlled enough for me. I did change the phono and preamp section tubes and switched the internal wire for 4 ohm speakers which helped in the bass.
I went with the Hegel integrated amp which had 250 watts, neutral sounding and tightened up the bass. This had the internal dac which I did not use. You can pick up a Hegel 300 or 360 for around $3000 which are fantastic integrated amps.
Since upgrading to larger speakers, I went to separates but the preamp alone cost more than the Hegel, and the amp was 2x the cost of the preamp plus cost of cables. 

I don't believe separates are competitive sonically at the price level you suggest. I'd rather listen to a Luxman 5550AX II than any system with a preamp selling for less than $3k. I'd rather have an Ayre EX-8 than any separates available for $8k. Power transformers and chassis are a much higher portion of costs than they were back in the eighties. Also, the best engineers have learned how to put pre and power amp in the same chassis without overwhelming noise issues.
I got a pair of used Rogue m150 monoblocks and a NAD preamp/tuner for a total of  $2600 and haven't looked back, system sounds amazing 
I also own a Rogue Cronus Magnum II (with which I'm very happy). The CMII does have 2 outputs (L/R) which can be used to drive a powered sub. They are the variable outputs.
So far I had my Vandys 2 sig for over 4 yrs. It seems im ready for a change or at least would be open to listen to others. Heard good things about the magnepans. They seem to require a good source or current which my Rogue CM did not supplied. So my dilemma is how much of my current equipment will I change.


Very few amps, regardless of price, are as musical as the CMII. I actually prefer the CMII to their ST-100 and Pharaoh integrated.

If you're interested in the magneplanar or electrostatic sound, but don't want any of the drawbacks (smeared - unrealistic imaging, poor bass extension, current sucking impedance, narrow sweet spot, and limited SPL ability) then look into Spatial Audio's open baffle speakers. 
At the price point you are considering ($5000) there are integrated amps that are quite competitive with same amount spent on separates. 

The issue I see is that your are considering the purchase of different speakers. There are many amps that can drive the Vandys that may not be suitable for others (Magnapans). 

If I were building a system around a pair of speakers I knew were to stay, I would probably look for an integrated amp unless use of separates would allow for better system placement within the room.

Not knowing which speaker I might try in the future would cause me to go in the direction of separates. I would consider mating a tube preamp with whatever (SS or tube) best serves my current speakers.
After decades of separates including McIntosh, Krell Classe I have opted for a Hegel H590. It has a to die for DAC and the amp technology of the H30. A bonus, it does a terrific job streaming with airplay, audirvana, Qobuz, and others. I don’t miss the complexity and extra cables of separates. Give it some consideration. This amp is a winner. 
There are now some excellent quality integrated units.  One that I liked almost as much as the separate was the VAC Sigma170i .  Yes, that's an expensive unit but it is high quality throughout with optional phono.  I have the room and cabling for separates but if I had to limit my cabling costs, a great integrated would do.  I've also heard a great Luxman integrated.  I'd get a separate DAC because that technology changes too quickly.
while it is true that separates typically sound better, each component requires a high quality power cord and interconnect to benefit from the upgrade, with careful attention to the base each component rests on for proper isolation

If your budget doesn't allow for a sizeable expenditure in cables and PCs, you are much better off with a nice integrated.

There are some fantastic class D integrateds; Hattor and Nord come to mind.

hth
Stick to a Tube Pre-amp if you want to save your self from headaches (Listeners Fatigue) 

An Excellent Choice would be the MP-3 from Atma-Sphere.