Audio Research or Rogue

I'm fairly new to tubes and after about 200 hours I am pretty happy. However, I'm considering a new pre-amp to get phono and the potential for even better sound. What are some opinions regarding an Audio Research LS-16 MK2 and a Rogue 99 Magnum? I know little more than the experienc of my Dared class A, and frankly I'm very satisfied with it. My upper end is driven by an SET 845 into original AR9s. Most of my listening is classical. I probabaly like my music louder than most(she never complains)but, not excessive, I also like my hearing.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.
LS16 is good, but there's no phono section.
However, ARC PH5 is a highly regarded phono preamp, so you can add it to LS-16. ARC equipment is reliable. I have my ARC LS-15 preamp since 1999 and am very happy with it.

I heard mixed things about Rogue, but never listened to one myself, so I can't comment on that.

If you need a pre with built-in phono section, it's ARC LS-25.
"I heard mixed things about Rogue, but never listened to one myself, so I can't comment on that."

Well, Audphile1, you really did comment on that. ;) I think your idea of adding a phono stage is a very good one.


I've not heard the ARC gear and I have only had a Rogue 99 Magnum just a few days. The rouge does have some characteristics that are better than a popular, and much higher priced, component pre and phono stage I've had for a while. It does seem to respond well to the right tubes and you can choose from 3 different tube types in the phono stage. Best thing you could do is try to get both the ARC and Rogue in your system for a demo and A/B them.

I can't find anything to suggest that Dared makes a phono stage so you may half to look somewhere else. I'd suggest looking for a simple circuit design. Don't know your budget but I'll throght out K&K, EAR, Hagerman along with the PH5 mentioned.

Best of luck,


In my search for a preamp with a phono section I auditioned at great length both the SP16 and 99 Magnum in my home system. While I didn't buy either (bought Cary SLP98p) my preference of the two was the ARC. The Rogue had a little more warmth and a few more features, but overall I liked the detail and soundstage of the SP16.

Replacing the AR9s may be the the best bang for your buck. Even though they are great speakers, speaker designs of today are much more open and will give you more of what tubes have to offer. Also, if you like the Dared and if it has an unsed input why not consider a seperate phono stage. The ARC PH5 mentioned above is an excellent choice. If at all possible though try to audition some Triangle or Talons speakers which sound very good with tubes. Finally, I use a TAD-150 signature for a tubed pre and was my choice over the Rogue which I also considered and I have been very pleased. It has a good phono stage and all the other dimensions of a good sounding tubed pre. The ARC phono stage however is in a different league. You have much to consider. Good luck.

I heard mixed things about Rogue, but never listened to one myself, so I can't comment on that.

How's that a comment? I don't undertstand... Were you offended by what I said because you own that particular piece? If so, I appologize.

back on a subject now....another pre-amp to consider is Blue Circle.
Again, they don't come with built in phono section, but they do make a nice stand alone phono stage, which is pretty affordable, as is their basic pre-amp, BC-21.1
Although I never auditioned that particular pre(there is a review on it on, I did hear the BC3000 MkII and it is VERY good. All point-to-point wiring, superb built and great sound. Very spacious and holographic presentation. Superb resolution of micro and macro dynamics. Basically anything anyone would want from a pre-amp, IMO.

Lots of good press on Blue Circle. I'd recommend auditioning their pre-amps if you can.
They could be picked up used here on the 'gon for a reasonable price, unless you want new.

And personally, if I was going for a phono stage, I wouldn't look for a preamp with a built in one. I am a firm beleiver that stand alone phono stages are best.
Just a quick comment regarding the Audio Research LS25
LS stands for line stage, there is no phono pre built in.
I have own the LS25 it is a very good choice and currently own the ARC PH5 which is excellent
Dsremer, Sorry, I thought the LS25 has phono stage. My bad.
But what's the PHONO input on it for? Is it just a labled line level input?
First off, thanks for all the input, I really got the stuff I was looking for.

I would probably trade a little detail for more warmth.

Dared does have a pre with phono but, no remote control.

I am always sensative to price and will be looking for something on Audiogon. These are two units that seemed to fall into my price range in the used market.

The 9s are staying! Fortunately, I have been very effective in positioning for spacial affect and detail in a living room setting, and the tubes definitly took it to a new level. Even my wife, whom in her own words doesn't consider herself sophisticated with regard to audio, commented that the sound doesn't appear to becomming from the speakers. That made my week...

However, I have the same question as another. If the LS-16 MK2 doesn't have phono what is the phono input on the back? Is it for the external phono stage?

I was just poking fun at the way your comment struck me. "I've heard mixed things" and "but I'm not going to comment". Just sounded funny to me. I'm not offended at all.
I bought the Rogue used for a temp solution while I await another pre and phono I have on order. So, I have no attachment to it. Based on comments here I wish I could a/b with the ARC gear. I love doing stuff like that when possible.

Back OT, I'm guessing that the phono input is designed for a smaller signal than what most digital gear ouputs. Most external phono stages don't, I believe, output quite as strong of a signal. I doubt you would do any damage plugging a phono stage into one of the other inputs but you would probably have to turn the volume up a little more. And I would expect the reverse to be true. Best thing is to consult the manufacturer or distributor.

Best to all,

On the ARC LS-series (I own the LS-25mk2) the phono input is the exact same as all the others, it's just labeled "phono" for your convenience. It's line-level like the rest.