Integrated Shootout: Rogue Tempest/Cary Sli80 sig

The Cary is stock re: all tubes except power tubes, the 6922 tubes are Sovtek, the 5u4g tubes are Sovtek as well, the 6sn7 tubes are Chinese, and the power tubes are Svet 6550 and Electro Harmonix 6550EH.
The Rogue has the Sovtek 12ax7 and JAN Phillips 12au7(tube upgrade from Rogue) and the same power tubes (Svet 6550, EH 6550EH).

Ok. The Cary is a bit more refined. Alot, actually. But the Cary with stock tubes, is brighter (I can't believe I think it sounds bright, but it does).
The Rogue had soundstage DEPTH out the yin-yang, while the Cary is more 2-D (I don't like this at all).
As far as Soundstage width , the Cary is wider, but with the depth lacking so, it seems more "fake" than the Rogue.
The Rogue, because of it's depth and acceptable width, sounds more like music in real space, but with a more "tubey" sound (it sounds colored, but the coloring makes it sound real), while the Cary's tone is purer and the pace more lively, but because of the brightness and flat soundstage, it seems to suffer by comparison. Both throw an image very, very well.

I am going to be tweaking around with some 6sn7 and 6922 tubes for the Cary, in an effort to get the brightness out (I know this can be fixed) and most importantly, the soundstage depth up to snuff. I just wanted to post my results so far. The Tempest, with the upgraded preamp tubes from Rogue (I think a $100 option) gets the nod vs the totally stock Sli80.

This is going to get good.... stay tuned.
Opinions are appreciated...
You need to hearRogue Tempest Magnum Version. This will walk all over the Cary. Check the Rogue Website for detail on the upgraded model. Much more refinement and depth and control. Upgraded Electre Harmonix output tubes, power supply, caps , resistors. Truly an amazing amp.

YEah, I have the tubes that they use in the Mag.
Do you have a Tempest MAg?
Yes, and I had the stack version before. If you like the Tempest but would like a large improvement in all areas than go for the Magnum upgrade. What System are you using it with ? I have mine hooked up to Audio Physic Virgo's and it is a beautiful match.
Gthirteen, I also have the Rogue Magnum Tempest. I changed the 12AX7's to Mullard CV4004 from www.kcanostubes. I also put NOS Phillips in the 12AU7 slots like you. I am selling the QUAD of NOS Phillips here on the gon (need cash).
I heard a huge difference after adding both... This unit came with the Magnum upgrade so I don't know the difference between the normal and Magnum versions.
Chelillingsworth: Have you heard both at home?
That's where the real decisions get made...
I think it's hard to tell until you live with a piece on your own time for a while, usually the loaner period that the nicer dealers allow is only enough to get a rough idea.

Currently the system at chez '13 is as follows:
Rega Planet>Audioquest Python>Tempest OR SLI80 Siggy>Audioquest SA-40(silver,15 gauge) double biwire>B&W Nautilus 805.

Say what you might, but I'm keeping the Rega ;, even though it retails for half of what my cables retail for!!!

Again, right now, The Rogue sounds more like real music being played in a real space. I know, if you only own one, it may be tough to be unbiased, as some previous threads will clearly show. I think that both of these integrated amps are stupendous, and at the used price point of $1400-$1700, I doubt you could do any better.

The thing is, some people might prefer the stock Cary to the stock Rogue. Some people might not care as much about soundstage depth as I do. And, come on, the Rogue is far from ugly, but the Cary is absolutely sexual.(I have actual opinions from actual college coeds, law school ain't all bad) THis might matter more to some people, than it does to me.

I fear that what is going to happen is that once I get the Sovtek 6922 crap out of there, the Cary will transform, and smoke the Tempest. At which point, the logical next step is to go Magnum on the Tempest, but if the Magnum is NOT better than the Cary, I will obviously keep the Cary, and most likely NOT be able to get $650 MORE (the cost of admission into Magnum status) than what I could get for the stocker Tempest when/if I sell the Rogue Magnum Tempest. Whereas, if I like the Magnum better, I can get probably 95% of my money out of the Cary, and lose a bit more on the tubes...
So, either way, the experiment is going to get expensive...

But, I seriously doubt that anyone has compared the Magnum to a tweaked Sli-80 signature in a familiar system, with no time constraints, at their leisure, so I'm willing to take a hit to the wallet for "science"

AS I have previously stated, in my system, for the above mentioned reasons, if a person is going to buy one of these and NOT roll tubes, the Rogue is a better value and sounds better TO ME IN MY SYSTEM.

However, I can't imagine someone reading this post that wouldn't want some nice NOS tubes smiling back at them...

And, to recap, I'm not necessarily looking for the best value, but the best remote controlled tubed integrated amp at the used price mentioned above, plus a bit for tubes.

So, we shall see what happens next... Anyone want to donate some 6sn7 or 6922 tubes for the sake of science? (big "ups" to Dekay)
I have owned a stock and Magnum Rogue. I haven't bothered to bring that or any other Cary home as their sound from what I have heard at a variety of dealers and systems does not interest me at all. The reason you find the Rogue to sound like real music in a real space is because it is very neutral and detailed, something that you cannot say about many Cary products.

That said I would not spend the extra money on the Magnum upgrade if you are only going to feed it with the rather mediocre Planet CD player ( the most over rate dcd player of all time). You might find your money more well spent upgrading the source which in my opinion is a much larger issue than tube swapping etc...

You will be amazed at how well even the stock Tempest will pass along the added musicality and resolution of a real digital front end.

If you end up with the Cary Then I wouldn't imagine the Cd player would matter much. Ouch ! am I going to make some enemies with Cary fans but man you can keep that stuff ;^)
Chelillingsworth, you don't like Rega and you don't like Cary- that's fine by me, and you might be right(I'm assuming that you'v tried them in your system, and that they were the only variable being changed) but in my house, you might find yourself eating some crow along with those statements...Until you have tried a piece of gear in your home, you just don't know.

The "I own this, it is the best" attitude is not one that I respect or perpetuate. I stand by my above statements regarding what sounds better to me and why.

As previously mentioned, I'm doing this as an educational experience, and I invited anyone with any useful info to contribute. If you think what you have to say is useful, then by all means, contribute...

There we go !! I knew I would instigate some sort of riot here. But really, even my old discman could make a bag of potatos out of that "Hey Look Ma ! I'm on the cover of Stereophile" Hunk of Bunk.
Chill Worth! :~) the Planet is a fine player and a ball to use.Get one for yourself and see!(hear)
Gthirteen, you seem to really like your planet! If you think it is good, than it is TO YOU. Keep it, and you'll save yourself lots of money. Ignorance is bliss! Sure there's tonnes of better stuff out there, but you can trick yourself by thinking the way you are. If we could all think like that we'd all have much more cash in our pockets. Thanks to Audiogon, there's really no chance in the world for that theory to work for myself... Meh

What is a dcd player? see "Integrated Shootout: Rogue Tempest/Cary Sli80 sig" post

Ok. Fine. Buckingham and Chelly don't like the planet. Fine.
I just started a "Buckingham and Chelillingsworth think G13's Rega Planet sucks" thread on AudioAsylum. Why don't you boys go over there and fan your flames....
G13, Any opportunity to plug some E188CC/7308s into the Cary? To put NOS in the 6922, 6SN7 AND 5U4 positions is to really hear it sing (and should give you the depth), and seems to allow the Svet/EH tubes to reach their full potential. I hope to plug some T-S 6550s into mine in the not-too-distant future to see just how good it can sound overall. I'm sure the Rogue is no slouch. -John
Oh I don't have any flames, just having a little fun !? It is honestly where I think the money is most well spent.

Special thanks to Dml1 the friendly neighborhood typo police.
thanks, guys. Keep it coming!!
The Planet is a good little player for the money. But there are better out there for a little more $$$.
Gthirteen, are you able to play at all with power cords on these amps? They can be an effective way to adjust brightness with some components, but finding the right match can take some time. A Black Mamba might do the trick on the Cary.
Why do some people have such a problem with the Rega Planet? Because it so popular and doesnt cost $3-5K?The Rega Planet will get ya 95% of what the "$best$" players have to offer.Digital products are so close in sound quality I feel its a waste to spend mega bucks on a CD player.You want that very last 3-5% of 'improvement'then lay down the big green.I have a player that sounds very,very good.I have a player that looks real cool and is fun to use.I have a very popular CD player that will hold its value if I decide to sell it(I wont)I didnt pay out the ass for a player that gets me most of the way there.Most of my money goes into analog.I wanted a really good CD player that wouldnt cost me a lot.I found it with the Planet.This CD player sounds and looks great.I know my ears and this is a very musical CD player.
I would take the cheaper Rotel 971 over the planet any day. So it's not just that more expensive players are better it's that cheaper ones are!
have you done a side by side with a Planet and anything?
Oh yeah Man ! I'm not one of those guys who talks out of my behind. I think though we can settle as sying that perhaps it is more personal taste and associated equipment. I just think that it is a little nutty when some affordable piece of gear gets a good review and everybody runs after it thinking it's a giant killer. Or like all the great reviews of Patricia Barber trying to pass her off as a Jazz singer uhhg.
Finally back to the original post my comments were to make the point that the Rogue products are so good that they really do outclass the little Planet and that I really feel that much more bang for the buck improvements lie with the front end. Have fun, give it a try.
Just read through all of the previous posts and without going into lots of detail I have listened to lots of players at home including the planet and planet 2000. So I feel that my opinion of those players is well founded and I would have refrained from commenting otherwise. I really did want to like them. I am certainly not trying to push itmes I own. As I regretfully don't own even the much loved Rogue anymore as I needed something that could be left on all of the time. I am currently playing with a modded sony 9000es which is quite good an I love the versatility but lacks the body of some of the better redbook only players although still a league beyond either Rega.
The Cary house sound is well documented and I have heard it next to a Rogue at a dealer and it lacked the tranparency and drive of the Rogue by quite a bitjust wasnt something I had any interest in lugging home. Again try some other players and have fun. I don't think I need to eat too much crow eh?!
Thanks for all the comments, guys.
I threw the Rogue back in last night, and (no NOS tubes received for the Cary yet) I am confident that the Cary, while certainly MORE transparent and possessing a more capable drive than the Rogue, simply sounds more like HiFi, whereas the Rogue sounds more like music. My opinions of the Rogue v Cary sound seem to be in absolute conflict with Chelly's ideas, but hey, that's what makes my ears golden, and Chelly's brass (JUST KIDDING, REALLY). Anyway, I'm waiting on some 40's vintage 7308's and 6sn7, as well as some loaners from 2 of the coolest members of Audiogon (you know who you are). I think that once I get the Cary going with some nice tubes, it will shine. I shudder to think what would happen if I could keep the much more neutral sound of the Cary and it's superior drive and transparency, but get the presence, and soundstaging of the Rogue... Anyone interested in the TOPIC of this thread, please stay tuned, as I promise to document this competition fully, and hopefully get some other locals involved, so as to get the all important second opinion.
I got some loaner Amperex 7308s from Dekay (thanks David) and some loaner Sylvania 6sn7-GTB from Musicdoc (thanks John)and put 'em in the Cary. This was a BIG help. THe upper level harshness is gone, and there is some more air, and more depth to the soundstage. OK. The depth is not quite as deep as the Rogue, which still sounds more natural, however, I have noticed that the bass of the Rogue in ultralinnear isn't as tight as the Cary's bass, even when the Cary is run in Triode.

Rogue Tempest:
A really natural tone, a but fuzzy, good presentation (soundstage deep but confined laterally to the space between the speakers with most recordings), a bit laid back, perhaps a tad rolled off, somewhat languid, pace-wise, and somewhat loose, somewhat bloated bass.

Cary Sli-80 Signature:
Less natural sounding (JUST A BIT), no Fuzz whatsoever, good presentation (soundstage wider but not quite as deep) Images, while more defined, sound more artificial, not laid back, Even throughout the frequency range, nice pace, (a toe-tapper for sure), and nice, tight bass.

So, until I cn find some nice warm 6922 tubes, the Rogue still has my heart, if not my Audiophile brain.
The Magnum pumps the Bass and loses the Fuzz. That is a good description ! That is one of the biggest improvements I heard was a pure, clear high end.
I FINALLY received the tubes for the Cary.... Sylvania VT-231 (6sn7),NOS 40's vintage, and some more Amperex 7308s.

WHile I was waiting, Dekay's 7308 (also Amperex) have opened up nicely, (I wonder if he used them at all?) and Musicdoc's Sylvania 6sn7 GTB tubes sounded pretty fine as well.
Basically, after a week of listening ONLY to the Cary, I was in Heaven. Clean, Clear, accurate sound. I really started to like the Cary.
About 2 weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Nickel Creek in concert in a relatively small hall in Columbia, SC. I went straight home and played their CD, which contains a live track. Sound, timbre, air, all almost exactly like what I had just heard!! AMAZING.

HOWEVER. Upon listening to the Rogue, again, I was awash in all the emotions of being there in the flesh, what the voices sound like, the ambiance of the hall, if a bit colored, was so engulfing...

The Cary is like a picture of a Jackson Pollack painting, taken with a Zeiss lens, and printed on the best paper. Pure. Accurate. Completely and totally representative of what was in front of that expensive lens when the shutter snapped open.

The Rogue is more akin to standing in front of a Jackson Pollack painting in morning light with someone else's glasses on. Immediately you can appreciate the majesty, the size, the texture; the colors aren't the same as through the Zeiss lens in perfect light, and are perhaps a bit blurred, but upon gazing for a brief time, your eyes adjust, and you see it clearly. The difference is night and day.

THe new tubes are a step foreward, but I don't think it's going to change this Pinot Noir to a Shiraz.(preference)
Unless something drastic happens re: the new tubes, I'm keeping the Rogue, which seems to love music just a bit more than the Cary.

as always, YMMV.

Joe: I had never used the tubes except to check that both sides were working when I received them (I purchased 10-12 of these and only used one or two in my previous Audion amp). I had mentioned to the previous user that they needed a mininmum of 25-35 hours for the bass to kick in (don't know if he ran them this long). A "rougher" sounding (but good) 6922 type tube is the older Mullard. I do not have any matched pairs on hand, just singles. If you don't end up using the 7308's, send them back my way as they are half of a matched quad that I may find use for in the future. As far as the Cary goes, I have not heard it, but have never been a Cary fan in the past (with the exception of a power amp that they had years ago that sounded like an AR modified Dynaco Stereo 70). I also prefer a somewhat blurred presentaion, which sounds more like live music to me.
Joe, your Jackson Pollock analogy is brilliant!
Thanks to all who posted.
I have sold the Cary, due to my perception of superior imaging in the Rogue.

After thinknig about it, it seems like the Cary sounded pretty good once I was able to get 10 or more feet away from the speaker plane. The stage starts at the same plane, and doesn't go Back quite alot, whereas with the Rogue, the soundstage is a bit more "laid back" literally, as it is 2-4 feet behind the plane of the speakers.
Big deal (for most people), however, I have a wierd room, which forces me to listen nearfield. AND the Nautilus speakers sound best (imaging, soundstaging) in a roughly 6 foot equlateral triangle. AND I have some wierd hearing/psychoacoustical/visual phenomenon which shifts a center image to the left if I'm (1) too far away from the speaker plane, (2)when I'm in an "altered" state of consciousness (hehe). SO for me, to reduce paranoia and trips to the hearing doctor (great, symmetrical, hearing, by the way) I like to stick to the nearfield setup.

So, thanks again, and for me, the beautiful sound of the Cary (at least, with a change in input tubes currently retailing for $225) still couldn't image and throw a deep stage like the 'ol Rogue, which wasn't quite as beautiful sounding (stock tubes, though) but possessive of an emminently more realistic presentation.

the end....
aha !!

Good for you, the Rogue is amazing.