building a system around dynaudios?

Hello Audiogoners,

I’ve gotten so much amazing advice here getting my first nice systems set up. With your help, I finally set up a system for a small listening room with the new Creek Evolution 50a and the Epos Elan 10 (still awaiting the new Creek Evolution 50CD) which is just lovely. I also bought a pair of used Silverline Minuet Supreme Plus’s here on Audiogon and have them working as a great desktop system with the Marantz PM5004 amplifier and CD5004. Needless to say, I like going to work a lot more than I used to.

So having been bitten by the bug, I am now assisting a friend to set up another system. We were all set to go with Dynaudio Excite x12s with the Rega Brio R, Apollo R, and eventually, the RP3 turntable. I know a lot of people really swear by the Excite x12 + Rega combination.

However, I just heard the Rogue Sphinx amp this past weekend, and was really impressed. So now we are considering an alternate system which would be the Dynaudio Excite x12 with the Rogue Sphinx, perhaps the Sony XA5400ES cd player (Oppo also an option?), and a Rega turntable.

As a newbie to audio, mixing and matching of course makes me a little more nervous than, say, an all Rega system. But I was really taken with the Rogue amp. Does anyone have any experience driving the Dynaudios with the Rogue Sphinx, or other advice to share to help us make the decision?

Many thanks,
Have not heard either amp, but regardless the Dynaudios will like the additional power that the Class D hybrid Rogue has to offer. If it were me, I'd go with that over the Rega as a no brainer based on the published specs. The Rogue tube hybrid design will likely be another plus+ in that column, though I'm sure the Rega would sound very good as well, just more limited with less power apparently.
Margot, glad that your new systems that we helped with have worked out so well!

Regarding the candidates you've listed above for your friend's system, although you are probably already aware of it let me mention that the X12 appears to have recently been discontinued. As you are probably aware it may still be available from some sellers, perhaps at discounted prices, but it appears to have been superseded by the X14, at a somewhat higher price.

Although I have heard neither the Brio R nor the Sphinx, I agree with Mapman that on paper the Sphinx appears to be the clearly superior choice, albeit at a somewhat higher price. Even at that higher price point, however, my instinct is to have some degree of skepticism that a component combining a tube preamplifier function, a 100 watt Class D power amplifier function, a phono stage function, and a discrete circuit (as opposed to integrated circuit) headphone amplifier, that is described as being hand-built in the USA and yet sells for only $1300 or thereabouts, would be of sufficient quality to do justice to the speakers. I say that despite a number of very favorable reviews I know the Sphinx has received.

FWIW, a relative of mine recently purchased at my recommendation a pair of Dynaudio X14's and a Parasound Halo A23 power amplifier, available here for $949. I haven't had an opportunity to hear it yet, but he is thrilled with the combination. As a power amplifier the A23 does not include a preamplifier function or a phono stage function, of course. He is using it with a no longer available and somewhat more expensive tube preamp that includes a phono stage.

The reference in the A23 description to "circuitry designed by the legendary John Curl," btw, is not hyperbole. John Curl has been a distinguished designer of very high end equipment for several decades.

If you and your friend were to choose a separate power amplifier such as that one, I have no specific preamp or phono stage recommendations to offer that are in a complementary price range. But I'm sure that a bit of research would disclose several good choices. The combined price of those pieces will undoubtedly be somewhat more than the price of the Sphinx. But I suspect that the additional investment would be well rewarded, and the use of separate components would also provide greater flexibility for possible future upgrades.

Regarding the CD player, both the Sony and any of the Oppo models would be fine choices. I have no familiarity with the Apollo R.

Best regards,
-- Al
Its true, Sphinx delivers a lot on paper in a small and affordable packages, and I have never heard any Rogue gear sound less than very musical (I have heard various other integrateds and amps, but not SPhinx yet), so I am a big Rogue fan when it comes to value, but no doubt Dynaudios typically can deliver the goods best with the best gear, so a bigger budget if possible would likely pay dividends as well.

BTW, Sphinx uses Class D power amp technology which is the most efficient amplifier technology available and enables a lot of power and current and I have found out top notch sound as well out of a small and often very affordable package. More power and current is what Dynaudios feed on mainly to deliver the goods, but of course there is always more to it than that. But in general, I have the utmost confidence in any product from Rogue until something comes up otherwise, and I have not seen nor heard that yet.

I use 500w/ch Class D amps (BEl Canto ref1000m) with my Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkII monitors. This is an excellent matching! The Dynaudios deliver a just slightly laid back sound with just a touch of warmth, energy and lots of air and is most extended and clean top to bottom for speakers their size. They love the power and current! They open up to the max well away from walls. Really good stuff! I also use them with 180w/ch TAD Hibachi monoblock amps, another pretty good matching, though dynamic headroom at higher volumes does lag in comparison to the BCs as one would expect as a result in the discrpency in power and current delivery capability.

My Dyns are probably a bit beefier in terms of overall build quality output capability compared to the lower cost ones of interest here, but similar to Sennheiser headphones over the years, Dynaudio speakers always deliver the goods I have found!
Go to the archives and use "match all words" setting, enter "Rogue Sphinx" and you will find mostly positive threads about the Sphinx.
I agree with Mapman regarding the power benefits. As AL said the X12s have been replaced but there are still some available and should be had at a discount. Quintessence Audio in Chicago had some in December. I heard them there driven by a Simaudio integrated W/120WPC, sound was wonderful. I have always been treated well at this shop.

This forum has been very beneficial to me as well.