I have heard the Rouge M150's at length at my buddy's house and they are very good IMO. He drives Vandy 2C sig's which are not the most efficent speaker and they never run out of juice. I think they sound best in the tri mode as does my buddy. Haven't heard any other tube mono blocks. Good luck.
I can also vouch for the Rogue M150's. I have had a set in my system for a while.
I had traded down from a set of Mark Levinson 33H monoblocks, so it was quite a shock, at first. But as they got some hours on them I became quite fond of them.
I am playing them through a pair of Revel Studio speakers. I was not totally satisfied with the bottom end, so I have recently added a REL sub to boost the low end.
The amps seem to really like silver speaker cables.
Just my two cents.
Another Rogue M-150 fan here. Have had a pair hooked up to my hard-to-drive Martin-Logan Aerius i's. The sonic characteristic of the amps can be taylored to your taste by rolling the input tubes. They are high-quality amps and Rogue service is world class.
Consider a pair of conrad-johnson Premier Twelves. 140 Watts per chassis into 4, 8, or 16 Ohms from 2 pairs of 6550s per amp. Two pairs in A-goN now, at $3300 and $4500. These are from the same era as the Premier Eleven, and I sure loved my 2 Elevens (until I turned into a triode freak).
May want to try older VAC amps --monoblocs 90 D. 100+ watts/channel EL 34--great sounding amps with Martin Logan Aerius. See system for rest of my "stuff" Eclectic tastes in music--and Kevin HAayes of VAC is a great guy.
And yet another Rogue Audio M150 fan.I own a pair and confirm the above remarks.My speakers are Aerial 10t.For the ultimate use a Zeus on the bass.I will as soon as I can afford the upgrade.One of my pre-amps is a Rogue Magnum 99.
VTL all the way....get a higher powered VTL that runs high powered in triode mode and you will not regret it
All the above sounds reasonable. One caution, if you want 150 wpc minimum, you'll only get that from the Rogue 150's when they are switched to ultralinear. May not be an issue for you (I have a Zeus and always leave it in u-linear because I prefer the sound), but as noted above, some prefer the triode mode sound which drops max. power output significantly (to maybe 110wpc ??? + -).
Enjoy your ZEUS.I am all green over here.
Best and happy listening to all.
Jeff Jones, I have no personal knowledge of the Rogue 150s, but usually when UL amps are wired or switched into triode, the maximum power reduces TO about one-third or just a little more. I'd be surprised if the Rogue 150s have more than 60 Watts max. in triode...
...which MIGHT be enough, depending on one's listening levels. I have and LOVE Quad 989s, which have a sensitivity rating of around 86dB. I was driving them full range with tubed monoamps that use 4 6550/KT88/KT90s in either UL or triode and are rated at 100 Watts in UL. (Never got an owner's manual so don't know what the triode rating is.) My room is fairly large at about 3200 cubic feet, and I listen to large-scale symphonic music. The '40-Watt' amps had plenty of power, never clipping. I recently replaced them with Antique Sound Lab Explorer 805 DTs, mono SETs with 50 Watts max. power. Again, I have plenty of power and NO clipping.
883Dave, I suggest you try some tubed amps before you commit your thou$andS.
BTW, UL amps run in triode sound to me simply richer and more like real music in the mid and high frequencies than they do in ultralinear. There was a long and thoughtful discussion of UL v. triode here a few months ago; you might search for it.
How about AES/Cary Audio Sixpacs? I have a pair along with one of their preamps - they are gorgeous!
According to Mark O'Brien @ Rogue, the M-150's put out ~100 watts in triode mode.
Don't forget Aronov LS-9100 tube monobloc's which provide the reality of a performance in your listening room, and the best in bass for your classic rock (and everything else). Some days,I seem to be a one person Aronov cult believer, although in other threads more voices are added to the chorus of praise.
Get a pair of BAT Vk-60s and strap them as monoblocks (120wpc). All-triode operation. Will be plenty loud. Can be had for under $5k for the pair I'd think. Will easily kick the arse of anything by Rogue, and will be quieter than the big CJ monos (12s, 5s, etc)
ED_Sawer. To each their own. I auditioned a mono blocked pair of BAT VK150's driving the speakers I own & prefer the Rogue. May depend on what type of music you listen to, or could have just been a system matching or personal preference thing. Seems like the BAT excelled in body and what some folks think of as midrange magic (and others call coloration) and the Rogue was a bit more solid state sounding. Have not heard the VK150SE's. FWIW, it is bugging me that I never got a chance to hear the CJ140.
Easy with the kicking Ed!
Enjoy your amps!
Sonic Frontiers is, as I am sure you know, no longer in business, but I understand that service can be obtained through a sister company, Anthem.
A close hi-fi friend of mine had the Power 3's for over four years. They were incredibly reliable (they never even went out of bias) and sounded great for the money. These days, they can be had for +/-$3,500.
I have a pair of VTL MB250s (same as MB450 but wired for triode only and 25w more) driving Aerial 10Ts, speakers that need quite a bit of power to shine. I too like to listen to classic rock and full orchestra classical music. This combo rocks! Tube amps rule I think in recreating the sound of an electric guitar. I've had a number of SS amps and although the VTLs are not nearly as fast & quick, less impact, in the lower octaves, I think they are more natural and like the real thing. Midrange on up I've not owned a SS amp that can beat the VTLs.
i have the chime in for VTL as well. I have MB185's and the triod/tetrode switching is a feature that once lived with can't be lived without though there are days i toy with the idea of going with the all triod MB250. I like the tonality of the VTL better in the mids and highs compared to an ARC, which would be my second choice. The VTL is more open sounding and just a tad warmer in the mids. CJ stuff sounded a bit bloated. Haven't heard the Rogues For your budget MB450s should be an easy find used (new even at $7500?).
Thanks for all the comments and help, gave me a lot to look at.