16 responses Add your response
I had a much different experience with the Pharaoh. Sure it had power, but completely cut off the lowest octaves of the music. It wasn’t apparent until I compared it with my old class AB amp.
Once I got into full tube amps I realized these Rogue hybrids have little if any tube magic. I found the CMII has a much wider and more 3-dimensional sound stage. Clarity and resolution also bested the Pharaoh. I’m telling you this because in my experience, the CMII was a much better value and unless you’re stuck with the Pharaoh, I think you should consider the CM. I really can’t understand how Rogue markets the Pharaoh as its flagship integrated when the CMII is far better. I can only guess it’s because it can pair with a greater variety of lifestyles and speakers.
I apologize for raining on your parade, but that was my my honest experience and I thought it worth sharing in case others are weighing these two options.
No raining here, just stating my experience. I'm sure that there is much better out there. Really do not have anything to compare it to other than SS and it does beat it hands down. I wanted to see if it could handle the big floor sanders and it can. I never thought about low end as it supports a sub. It did not seem to me that the lows were questionable in the least. But then...?...... I do have a sub hooked up I had forgotten to mention. I'll turn that off and see what happens.
Rogue Pharoah is a great match for the B&Ws and their similar ilk.
If its tube magic one seeks, best to go simply go all tube.
If you want the best of both worlds, low distortion and and the ability to drive most any speaker well, a tube pre-amp and suitably matched Class D power amp (input impedance 40KOhm minimum or higher) is the way to go. That’s what Pharoah provides quite well! I’ve heard it and could live with it easily perhaps some day.
Agreed mapman, I'm enjoying the experience. Too old to start going into the tube rabbit hole but wished I'd tried tube everything in my younger years. My immediate concern was that a tube amp would not be powerful enough for my style of listening hence the hybrid. Tube amps with enough umph to go where I go were cost prohibited for me. I'm satisfied with my purchase.
I can relate with the OP, about the experience. I have a pair of B&W 804`s, and that treble was fatiguing to listen to. I swapped in a hybrid tube amp, and that sure made a difference in how the music sounded. I, also, did not have to spend a lot, to make the upgrade.The Jolida 1501P is under appreciated.
Helomech many Class D amps soft clip like a tube amp which woukd account for bass leveling off at some point. The Rogue puts out a lot of power and decent current for an integrated amp. I use 500w/ch class d amps with my current hungry OHM speakers and would hate to give up any of it especially when I crank things still on occasion.
I was referring to low octave bass at low volumes, like 70db. I often listen around an average SPL of 70db and at those volumes, the Pharoah seemed to cut all the bass below about 50Hz. When I swapped it out for my old Yamaha amp, those low octaves returned. Just for reference, that was with Monitor Audio Silver 8s and Epos Epic 2s.
I did remove the sub from the system and did some experimentation regarding low octave reproduction ranging from 65db levels to 90db. The most obvious noticeable change was the loss of very and I mean very low bass reproduction however the system is still very much enjoyable. I did not notice any drop out of low frequencies at any dB level but then my ears are not what they used to be. The lack of a sub did not in any way make the listening experience any less enjoyeable.
Could be. Some gear makers opt to do things like that for good reasons usually to enable better sound overall for more with less effort. Low bass is a bear to get right in most rooms. My Audio Research tube pre-amp does not dig as deep as my prior "midfi" Carver pre-amp. Things go louder and clearer than ever but not as much rafter ratttling. A sound meter would tell for sure. There are various apps one can run on a smartphone that would tell. Also of course adding a sub that provides more flexibility in setting bass levels is a very common practice these days.
I also think it's possible that the listening environment has some effect. In my case I did substantial room treatment years ago trying to improve the sound of my SS system. I was fortunate to accomplish that. Had professional come to set up my room and after all was set and done with his measurements and computer generated graphs and 4 hours of him setting up microphones and all he determined that only the front speakers needed toe in about .5 of an inch. What a waste of $250.00 that was, but I had to know. Even he said that the room was as close to perfect as he's seen. Maybe that's why I can't hear a real discernable difference between sub on and off. I think the B&Ws are limited to around 40hz and that's where the sub comes into play. In any case I like what I'm hearing.
Thanks for all your comments, there is always something new to learn. I hate to say this but I already wonder what it would sound like with all tube only gear. Lord help me!
I’d want a very beefy tube amp for B&Ws which is not likely to come cheap. B&W are generally NOT inherently tube amp friendly speakers. Check out any impedance curve measurements available for your model before taking that dive. Low impedance and high phase angles at various frequencies will bring the majority of tube amps to their knees very quickly ie make them distort and that’s not how they perform best. Nominal impedance specs alone will likely not tell the whole story. That’s why tube amp makers like Rogue build hybrids, so they can sell gear to the many owners out there of not tube amp friendly speakers (the vast majority of the market these days) without doing those customers a disservice.
I personally think many underestimate what 100 watts or even 40 watts of tube power can achieve, even with low efficiency speakers. It largely depends on the quality of the transformers and tube type. KT120s have a ton of grunt. I have no doubt a CMII could easily drive your speakers within sane volumes.
The SPL might work fine with not too many watts, but in general, high output impedance tube amps will distort to a greater degree into a lower impedance load as is typical of many modern speakers (like most B&W) that are designed to sound best with low output impedance, high current SS (or Class D) amps.
So on paper at least, its typically not inherently a match made in heaven.
Short update on the Rogue Pharaoh, after 2 short months of daily use it has gone south for the winter. Currently back at the birthplace for warranty repair. Although I really like the performance of the Pharaoh, when working properly, I now question it's reliability. It may of course have been a fluke. We will see when I hear something back from Rogue Audio. Rogue Audio representative was very helpful and professional and gave all information needed to return the unit. Note: shipping charges are not covered by warranty, return shipping is by digression of the manufacturer who decides whether or not they will pay for return shipping. I'll deal with that when it happens. Here is what went wrong with the Pharaoh, during use, phono, a pop was heard and the right channel went silent. I followed the instructions in the manual, checked all connections and reset unit. After first reset, again no right channel, after 2nd reset both channels producing sound but without any soundstage or depth. Mono? Turning balance knob either right or left changed nothing, both speakers continued to play. Same happened with all sources, not just phono. Well its back at the factory for diagnostics and repair, turn around time I am told is 4 to 5 days.