Looking for an upgrate from Cronus Magnum


I live with Cronus Magnum with KT120 tube 100wpc for 2 years. I feel that it has been great for jazz, accoustic and vocal music. However I also listen to rock, pop, R&B, and movie scores. I feel the Cronus lack clarity and punch in the bottom end. My speaker is Salk HT2-TL 87dB efficiency 4ohm impedance.

I am considering the following options with a budget $3500. What is your opinion? If plan B is the better route, which integrated amp you suggest? My speaker is a bit cold and analytic, i want to add some warmth to it. Thanks.

PLAN A
Change the preamp and driver tubes on the Cronus. Cost about $300. Could enhance the clarity over the stock JJ12AU7. But bottom end would still lacking. Get a subwoofer for bottomend $1500

PLAN B
Replace Cronus with one of these SS used:
Krell Vanguard
Pass INT150
ModWright KWI200
MF M6si
Parasound HINT

Current system:
Salksound HT2-TL speaker
Cronus Magnum integrated amplifier
Oppo 105
Morrow Audio MA3 Interconnect and SP2 speaker cables



ucc118
Plan A
Keep what you have and give a subwoofer a shot!
Agree with plan A.  I've always found I regret going from a tube amp to SS.
Agree w/above.

plus the combination of the 2 in step A, especially adding a sub, will give you the best improvement in my opinion.
You could try Rogue Pharaoh hybrid integrated, I think it is $3500 new.
Yes Pharoah hybrid will handle speakers like those much better than Cronus magnum. 

Rogue in general is a great line.  Gotta match the right amp with speakers though always for best results.  Ive heard the Pharoah and it is a unit I could live quite happily with.   Has built in phono and dac as well.  
I actually consider the Pharoah to replace my trusty Redgum RGi120 solid state integrated in the future. My speakers need iron fist control or they get too loose. I like slightly loose sound, though.
Hello Ucc118,
Intrinsically I like plan A. However Mapman makes a very good point. At least on paper your speaker’s specifications would seem to favor a transistor amplifier. However actually listening to the amp/speaker pairing is the ideal scenario. If at all possible audition the Pharoah or any other amplifier contender. You may find you prefer the tube amplifier with better quality tubes vs the current JJ brand tubes. Generally speaking I find tubes more natural sounding (exceptions do certainly  exist ). Some speakers are designed with the intention of using solid state amplifiers.
Charles,
BTW I have heard and like the Cronus Magnum very much and have considered buying one from time to time, but only for use with the right speakers in teh right situation meaning the speakers are not bottlenecked by the limited drive power of the amp (compared to Pharoah).

Having right amp for speakers is fundamental to best possible sound, much like having a suitable performance engine in your car for optimal performance.

I run various speakers in my home (the better ones from largest, most demanding to least in terms of power needed to max them out):

1) OHM F5 series 3
2) Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkII
3) OHM 100 series 3
4) OHM L
5) Triangle Titus XL

Cronus Magmum (tube amp) would be my choice for 5 maybe 3 or 4 in a smaller room if not listening very loud. I would not even consider it for 1) or 2) unless in a smaller room and no need to ever go very loud.

Pharoah (hybrid) for 1-2 and most likely 3 though it would do quite well with most anything out there so it is a safer bet if unsure.

The two amps will sound different in most any case though and its certainly possible that either might sound best to someone in any particular case. What sounds "best" is always a very subjective things whereas what performs best (and therefore has the best "chance" overall to also sound best accordingly) is a more objective thing.

As is pretty much always the case it all depends and you never know for sure until you try.



I wouldn't bother with tube rolling the Cronus Magnum.  I was in the same boat as you and I purchased over 300.00 worth of preamp and driver tubes.  I was happy for a week, then was unhappy again.  Although the Cronus Magnum has 100wpc, it doesn't seem to have the drive to power the speakers I was using.  I went back to solid state and couldn't be happier.  My listening taste is mostly rock, like Pink Floyd, etc and in that sense, the Cronus Magnum was a bit disappointing.
IMO it's harder to integrate a subwoofer into a system then to properly match an amp to speaker. Of the amps you mentioned the Krell Vanguard is a good starting point, it's claimed(have not demoed the Vanguard) to be a solid improvement over previous Chinese made models.
Quite honestly a subwoofer is the wrong direction if you want more bass definition.  You need to increase the power at nominally 100Hz +/- 20 Hz for bass impact and definition.  A subwoofer is poor at reproducing those frequencies.  
If your speakers have bi-wire terminals and your woofer to tweeter crossover is low enough (e.g. 2Khz max.)  you might consider adding another amp- e.g. parasound a23, and connect the Cronus sub outputs to the inputs and connect that amp to the woofer terminals.  
The CM has relatively low gain so you would need to adjust the gain on the bass amplifier by ear or measurements in order to match the tweeter level.  
Ideally you do this in a three-way system where the tube / low power amp drives the midrange and tweeter.  However there is no reason it couldn't work in your situation.
The tube amp will not even break a sweat while the solid state amp should deliver all the bass and drive you need.
I have done this successfully and am considering doing the same thing with my CMII.  
you guys with experience with the pharaoh- do you think it gives up anything in sound quality to the CM?  
does it have a sound signature?  
what type of speakers pair best with it?  
thanks.  
Hegel integrated power and sweetest.
Best I ever tried from the H80 to H360 all awesome.
Regards 
I am not sure that the problem here falls into tube/ss dilemma, in a strict sense of it. Yes, amp/speaker match etc., of course. Really good tube amp will give you great drive and bass with many speakers. Rogue is an audiophile value company, the expectations should be realistic. At this price level, yeah, I think the OP would prefer hybrid or ss. That's why someone said not to bother with tube rolling. Tube Rogue integrated is not up to the task with these speakers with any tubes. No tubes can compensate for class, class that the Rogue does not have.
I have a Rogue Audio Pharaoh that I have to put up on the site if you are interested. I had the Cronus Magnum and upgraded to the Pharaoh. The first thing I noticed was the increase in the bottom end. 
Thank you everyone for the responses! I got in touch with a local audio shop which have used Pass INT150, ModWright KWI200 and Primaluna HP integrated. I am planning to bring my Cronus Magnum to the shop to compare with these amps. My problem is not only lack of bottom end, but when listen to rock music or any modern song with mutiple instruments, it lacks of clarity and seperation. I read from somewhere it is typical from tube amplifier, lack of air and not clean like SS.
I just upgraded from Cronus for the same reasons. After playing with various 12au7s,
I got more bass out and gained more staging but lost on clarity, there is always some trade off. For me it just lacked detail with music that is more busy, classical, rock and lacked the lower bass for electronic. So to compensate for detail I would play it louder and that's when it really lacked the oomph and seemed to get congested. I went with bmc cs2. Right away the sheer power and control had me sold. The amp has grip on speakers at all time. Don't see a need for a sub. 
Quick update. I took home the Primaluna HP integrated. WOW what a great amp! Perfect match for my speaker! Everything is better than Cronus Magnum! lower power but more powerful bass! I dont need to buy a subwoofer now! mid is richer and fuller. high is clearer. I can enjoy rock songs and hip hops now! It also has more detail than Cronus. It costs $2000 more than Cronus Magnum but to me the level of sound improvement is worth for more! It is 20lb more heavier than the Cronus Magnum. May be that can tell about the quality. It is better than the same price level SS amps which I auditioned lately.
For the sound I am getting from Primaluna HP and Salk HT2-TL, I can now forget about equipment and just enjoy music! 
I was going to recommend the Dialogue HP but you beat me to it.  Interesting comparison to the CM and awesome that you had a dealer nearby with such great choices and that you got to try it at home.  Congrats and enjoy!
Ucc118,
What you’ve just described and experienced is the unquestionable result of a "higher" quality tube power amplifier. The additional 20 pounds and 2000.00 dollars certainly suggest bigger and better output transformers and power supply. I’m not surprised that sonic performance improved across the board. The watts rating can be deceiving, overall power supply quality is more relevant. Were you able to do comparisons to the solid state  Pass integrated and  Mod wright amplifiers?
Charles,
Charles1dad, yes I did but not with the same speaker unfortunately. The Primaluna was with Sonus Faber and another shop had the Kef R900 both were excellent. Sonus Faber standout in vocal and accoustic songs but not as good in rock songs compare to Kef or my Ht2-TL. I can live happily with the Kef combo as well. However, they were not auditioned in the same room or settings so it was not fair to compare. I also auditioned a Parasound INT, the ModWright, Pass INT but all with different speakers, B&W. Golden Ear. The SS amps all have tighter bass than the primaluna, but to my ear, primaluna leads on everything else. The sounds is more warm and emotional, and fuller body yet details still retained. Considering my speaker is on the neutral side and not warm, also my music taste is so wide, I decided the Primaluna is more suitable for me. Another pro for Primaluna is it has the option to use KT150 for even tighter bass but the con is it has 8 power tubes so I will need to pay about $800 to change the EL34 to KT150 or $400 to KT120. I decided to stick with EL34 for now. It is already excellent now with the original EL34 and less than 100 hours so it may get better after open-up. Tube rolling will be my next year project. :) Very happy for now!
I forgot to mention. I also auditioned a Krell s550 with a Kef R500 and Kef LS50. It was pretty bad and sounded harsh with the LS50 when I play rock songs, but vocal was ok. With R500 it was sweet sound and extremely clean/quiet, but a little bit lean to my taste. I just prefer fuller sound, feel more emotions in it.
Ucc118,
When you describe the Primaluna as providing more warmth,  emotional connection and fuller sound then you’ve made the right choice. These are the qualities that will keep you very happy for the long term. Congratulations!
Charles,