The Rogue and lose the Lounge units.
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I've had the Musical Fidelity M5si, the Creek Evo, and the Sphinx V1. Of the three, I preferred the Musical Fidelity. In my system it had seemingly unlimited power, good detail, and a deep soundstage. The Creek was also nice - a smooth sound, very easy to listen to. I didn't think it brought out low level details as well as the M5si, and it wasn't quite as dynamic as the MF. My Rogue was V1, and it was far too noisy. Haven't heard the V3.
I appreciated the feedback. Scott confirmed what I have heard about the Rogue with it being a little noisy. I was afraid of this with it being a Class D hybrid. I sort of thought that the Creek or Musical Fidelity would be a little cleaner sounding. Has anyone had any of these amps hooked up to Tekton speakers? I'm curious how they pair up together.
Noromance, what didn't you like about the Lounge phono amp? I had a Cambridge before the Lounge and it was way too bright. For me the Lounge has been pretty good sounding with a way larger soundstage. Is the built in phono amps of the Rogue or Creek a better phono stage?
musical fidelity signature is a little lean and bright but very clean open sounding with excellent drive and bass
my experience w creek is from quite a ways back, it was balanced sounding but had some subtle grain in the midrange/lower treble, but it was one of their mid/low units... mike creek is talented, i would guess his higher stuff will sound smooth
i have not tried rogue so far
Not sure I’d rule the Sphinx V3 out too quickly. I read a very positive review of it not too long ago and don’t remember noise being an issue. Rogue may well have sorted out any past issues by now, and its sonic properties are very much inline with what you’re looking for. I had the Medusa on demo and it had outstanding transparency and detail with one of the deepest 3D stages I’ve heard in my system, and it shares a lot of DNA with the Sphinx. That you can tube roll on the input stage to fine tune the sound to your liking is a considerable bonus feature IMHO.
If you’d entertain used I’d be on the lookout for a Bryston B100 SST. I heard one driving a small pair of Thiels and the imaging, soundstage, and detail were excellent. Haven’t heard the Creek or MF. Hope this helps, and best of luck in your search.
I'm going on two months with the Rogue Sphinx V3. No noise issue. Strong performer. Very musical.
Very capable with delivering sonic clarity, detail, and presence even with a 85db sensitivity monitor speaker. In fact, these speakers have never sounded better (and they have had a number of suitors).
Solid build quality. Very nice feel on all the controls. Smooth feel, precise response to input. The 'skeleton" remote is all you need.
Completely analog, One of the main reasons I chose it. One of the best audio values I have purchased in the last 50 years. And made in the US.
Good quality Class D amps these days are extremely quiet. I have 4 from 3 different vendors and all are dead quiet. Early Class D amps were sometimes noise prone but most makers have resolved that issue. Good chance Rogue has as well with the Sphinx. I would consider that amp or the bigger Pharoah as highly rated contenders. Tube preamp + Class D amp is a match made in heaven from my experience delivering the best of both tube and SS sound together.
I just purchased the M5si, really enjoying it. Very clean in presentation, lots of detail. I think it does have a nice richness to the sound. Compared to a class D Purifi amp I had, it strikes a nice balance. Lots of power. I’m waiting on a pair of Tektons hopefully next month and have Elac UB5s to hold me over. I found that my Hegel H90 could not do these UB5s justice on more dynamic music, but the M5si is making everything sound fantastic.
I will say that I’d consider the Sphinx V3 if I made a switch to a different integrated. Either that or the Pharoah. I think Rogue is a fantastic company...might as well audition both and return the one you like less, but I bet it’ll be hard to decide.
The rogue is nice. Get a used rogue Cronus magnum 2 with the kt120 tubes for $1500-$1700. I sold 1 for that amount 5 years ago.
For my office system with nice floorstanding speakers, I use the PS Audio Sprout 100 integrated. It costs $600 new. I prefer than over the lower budget musical fidelity amps. Read the reviews on the sprout 100. The Cronus magnum II has more power than the sprout and if you like tubes, that would be a better fit if you have inefficient speakers too
I've looked into the Belle but they seem hard to find at my price point. I did look at a couple of used Hegel H160 and was interested but I've never heard one in person. It is interesting that some people have had noise issues with the Rogue and some haven't. I am keeping this in my top picks. The Musical Fidelity also seems to get favorable reviews. So far, I haven't heard any feedback on the Creek. Do they have a bad sound signature? Thanks for all of the alternative ideas. It has kept me busy researching.
All of the amps you are looking at will work fine with your system. I think I would go with the Rogue. More importantly I would take a look at upgrading your phono stage. Just about any competent amplifier will drive those Tektons, but you will really notice a difference with an upgraded photo stage. I am not familiar with the Zyx carts, but I know they are held in high regard. If you have an amp that works, I would ask around to get recommendations from some Zyx owners. Sutherland Engineering might be worth exploring.
For $2k I wouldn’t do any of those. Research research and research some more. Buy used. A well built amp is going to be reliable, especially if it isn’t too old. Check customer service as well.
I was contemplating a Musical Fidelity M6i, a Kinki Studio EX-M1, a Primare I30. Creek is supposed to be good as well but I couldn’t use my spade connectors on the creek. I also looked at Vincent and Parasound but thought they were more in line with my Anthem than companies like, Belles, Creek, Hegel etc.
I ended up going from my Anthem I225 (with upgraded fuses and powercord) to a Belles Aria Integrated. The Anthem I225 is a great amp for the $. Lots of muscle, pretty refined and smooth. The Belles absolutely destroyed it. Waay more open and with better bass control / definition.
The Aria Integrated doesn’t come up often and will sell within a day or two. I was actually contacted by another AGon member when I bought mine. Mine was never even on the market. The seller contacted me, offered me a fair price and I paid within an hour.
The Belles made me start looking at amps a little bit differently. The Belles lets you take a little peek inside what the world of true hifi sounds like. The Belles sounds tube like to me with a touch of sweetness and more oomph.
Anyhow, I’d possibly broaden your search and start looking preowned. Decide what strengths in an amp you are looking for then go after that amp. I had to wait 3 months before getting the opportunity to buy a Belles Aria Integrated. Also, start looking at pictures of the insides of the amps to get a feel for their layout. Dual mono design? Size and number of caps? Quality components inside? Sand cast resistors (no bueno if you like smooth sound). Size and quality and location of the power supply. Binding posts and connections. Do you need / want xlr? Class D, Class A/B, Class A, Tube? Hybrid? Do you want an onboard dac?
I’ve heard the Sphinx many times (my friend owns it) and I own the bigger brother m6si. In my opinion the m5si will drive the speakers better and the sound will be well rounded dynamic and detailed. I went for the m6si for the extra power. His sphinx struggles to drive his speakers (they are Adam speakers) when he wants to play it loud. Just an opinion
Maybe this? https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisa69c5-primaluna-prologue-classic-tube
And these too
https://www.peachtreeaudio.com/collections/amplifiers Got my son the Sky and he uses it for Spotify
I've not heard the Musical Fidelity; but compared to the Rogue and Creek I prefer my Primare I32. You should be able to get one within your budget when one comes available; which is rare since they sound so good. I had to wait quite a while for mine. I hear the newer I35 is da bomb; but I think it would be well above your budget.
Here's some reading material:
I own a Sphinx v2 and really like it with my Magnepan .7s. The phono stage is very good, based on replacing it with a diy Pass Pearl 2 Phono preamp and hearing less improvement than expected. The Rogue’s phono stage is pleasant but the Pearl digs more out of the groove, but also costs $500 just for the parts. I bought a MF M2si for another system and found it wonderfully energetic but just a little bright, and sold it. But I’ll bet for rock it’s a winner. I think MF makes excellent value equipment.
Noromance, what didn't you like about the Lounge phono amp?
I trust this guy. He's a fellow Croft phono amp user. (See my systems)
Come to think of it, you might look at the Croft phono integrated. Superb tube phono stage and MOSFET power amp. Class A Stereophile rating.
1. Croft Integrated amplifier
2. Belles Aria Integrated
OP - I was in your position not too long ago. Key is to make sure you pair the integrated amp closely to your speakers. I am sure there is a forum just for Tekton speakers where you can learn from others what works best.
In any case I needed to match an integrated to my Harbeth p3esr in my office set up, which means I needed all musical note production at low volume and the p3esr matches superbly with the Croft Integrated. My other condition was the amp should be hybrid. Now I listen and prefer to listen to my office set up much more than my main listening set up which is x10 more expensive. Good luck.
I have a mf nu vista , its quite nice actually ,but if I was spending 2k on power I would buy this integrated tonight thats for sale used here .(I do not know the owner and not trying to sway you into used ) but this is getting you into much deeper end of the pond imho .
BAT VK-300x SE Hybrid Integrated Amp
If you could stretch yourself a bit. I would take a look at the Cary Audio SI-300.2D integrated. You can leverage their zero interest program - plus test it in your system with a 30 day trial.
I've had lots of integrateds.
My favorite is my Musical Fidelity M5si. It's perfect and has no issues driving my difficult dynaudio stand mounts.
It really does it all..tremendous bass & warmth with excellent tonality and gorgeous midrange, yet doesn't shave anything off the top end.
I will probably keep forever unless I trade up to one of the new MF beasts! Tempting.
Re: prima luna. I loved my integrated, but to be honest my 1962 fisher kx 200 is actually much better sounding. and looking.