Newbie needs to make a decision, Rogue? Manley?

After 2 years with a HT system, I realized that my music was lacking and that I needed to explore the 2 CH world. After reading numerous reviews, seeking the advise of several 2CH friends and talking to several dealers, I'm ready to take my first step and purchase a tube amp and then a pre-amp. First, my current system consists of an Anthem AVM 30 processor, a Rotel 1075 amp, a Rega Apollo CD player, Paradigm Studio 60 V.3's for my fronts, and a SVS 20-39 subwoofer. The interconnects and speaker wires are a snakes pit of mid-line Monsters which I know I will grade next (Signal Cable maybe). My living room serves as my HT/listening room. It's 26x12x8 with the setup against the long wall and my seating position against the opposite wall. The room is well furnished with a soft leather sofa, no coffee table and more than sufficient carpeting. I know my seating position is far from perfect but I have no options in my layout.

My first audition was with a Rogue Stereo 90 amp and then a Rogue Cronos integrated amp with Thiel 1.6 speakers. Needless to say that as a newbie I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two very well but I was impressed overall. Another dealer then offered to let me audition a used set of Rogue M-120’s mono-blocks at home for a month. It was at this point I truly heard a distinctive difference between the Rogue and the Rotel (especially with my own speakers which I feel I know well). To complicate matters the dealer whom I purchased the Rega from provided me with a set of Manley Mahi’s as well as various Cardas speaker wires, interconnects and PC’s. In the brief time I has this set-up I began to believe that sex with my wife was no longer necessary. I listen mostly to jazz and Cassandra Wilson’s husky contralto with the Mahi’s in triode mode with minimum feedback sounded like she was standing next to me. Unfortunately I did say a brief audition as one of the Mahi’s died after 5 hours of playing!! The dealer confirmed that the amp was defective. Unfortunately it will take him a few weeks to obtain another set.

With all that said, I’m ready to make a purchase before my money goes elsewhere. My budget can stretch to $3,000 for a tube amp or solid integrated tube amp. The Stereo 90 would be able to deal with less efficient speakers when I decide to upgrade (Thiels, Salks, etc.) however, I’m still intrigued by the sound of the Mahi’s. However with only 40 watts at ultra-liner mode I’m afraid the Mahi’s may not be a good match down the road with less efficient speakers. Whatever I end up with would also need to power my fronts when I use my HT set-up. I don’t think this would be much of a problem as I peak out at about 85db when I look at movies. Are there any other amps with an adjustable feedback in my budget? Sorry about the long post. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Ultralinear produces a terrific, holographic and potentially warmish sound. I happen to really like tube amps running in ultralinear...especially versus pentode. There are plenty of speakers that will work with 40 wpc, and moreso considering you also use a powered subwoofer. Frankly, I wouldn't let the thought of less efficient speakers knock you off the path of an ultralinear tube amp or integrated amplifier. You might find down the road that you regret making that choice.

Of course, there is the option of stretching your budget by buying used, and getting a more powerful ultralinear tube amp or integrated amp than you could if buying new. However, it appears you have a very accomodating dealer, so perhaps buying used is not as large an option as it might otherwise be, since you may not want to risk damaging your relationship with your dealer.

Anyway, the take away here is to consider efficient speakers rather than non-ultralinear amplifiers. I believe you will be more satisfied in the long run.
I'm no expert when it comes to tube amplifiers but I am running an inexpensive ARC VT-60 with a Modwright linestage (highly recommended) and Paradigm Signature S4 speakers. I was ready to sell the S4's when I tried the ARC amp. My solid state system consists of Mark Levinson No 23.5 and No 27 in a bi-amp configuration.

In a word ... it was incredible. I'm using mostly Signal cable silver resolution IC's and Frank's Shotgun copper speaker cable. I was running a Rotel way back when and I upgraded to Nakamichi PA-7's and finally older Mark Levinson amplifiers. Each time it got better and better ... but the ARC amp was a huge jump. I'm now looking at amps in a similar price range to what you are seeking. I'd like to hear the Audio Research VT-100 MkIII - It can only get better. I am also looking at the McIntosh 275's (possibly a pair) ... I figure that should be enough power to handle a lesser efficient speaker but honestly I hesitate to make a change right now. I like it so much - I dont want to screw it up.

I'm also interested in VTL (mono blocks) but I have yet to hear a set.

Good luck ... I think we are on the right path.
betewwn the two,, plinius.
I say look at a pair of Hurricanes by antique sound labs. There is a new version comming out so the older versions will be a steal. has pretty much the lowend of the rogue with better trasparency and much more power. Its really one of the best Kt88 amps there are.
Thanks for the responses. Someone emailed me about the Cayin 70T and I will look into it tonight. Hiend2 - Aren't the Hurricanes about $5K new. I've already sold off one child to get the funds for my HT. I wonder how much the others would fetch in the open market? I think that $5K is too rich for me right now as a newbie and at that price it would open up lots if not too many options. As Tvad noted in his post, I'm interested in making sure whatever I end up with has both ultralinear and triode modes.
I'm interested in making sure whatever I end up with has both ultralinear and triode modes.
Do you mean ultralinear and pentode modes? Ultralinear is sometimes used interchangably with triode, although the two are not precisely the same.

My VAC Phi 110/110 had both pentode and ultralinear, as does my Eastern Electric M520 (remote switchable), presently for sale.

The Rogue Cronus does not offer triode/ultralinear and pentode modes, and having to rewire the unit on the inside of the amp to switch to 4 ohm speaker taps seems to be a PITA, IMO.
Tavd- Here is where my ignorance on these issues shines brightly. Both the Rogue Stereo 90 and Manley Mahi's have a switch which allows the choice of triode or ultralinear. Neither offers pentode. Unless of course the terms are interchangeable like you noted. And your right about the Cronus, it doesn't offer a choice of modes. I keep that in the mix becasue 1) it's a relatively inexpensive starting point for me and 2)I heard it. My speakers are 8 ohms. I didn't consider what would happen if I needed 4 ohm taps. Your right,,,PITA.
Gotcha. You know, I might have the terms screwed up. I seem to recall the VAC switched from Ultralinear to Triode. The M520 switches from Pentode to Ultralinear. Of that, I'm certain.

In any case, triode and ultralinear always sound better to me than pentode.
I would suggest the Eastern Electric M520 tube integrated. I picked one up a year ago, about a $1k used, spent another $500 for tubes, and am very happy with the sonics. It runs in pentode or ultralinear, EL34's. I have used Reference 3A de Capo i's, Jamo E450 floorstanders and First Horn single-driver speakers, and it works with all three types, very well...I'm also not getting ready to sell mine either!

I have no affiliation with this company, just love the amp!

You can pick up Hurricanes arount 2500 used. Watch the claifieds when the new ones are out (4 weeks :)
Get the Rogue Magnum M150's, and you are set.Better than the 120's,I think.The Hurricanes are Chinese,buy American and in the event that you require service the Rogue people will be there with a smile to help you.
It's always been my impression that Rogue has a somewhat aggressive midrange "house sound". Am I wrong about this? I'm sure someone will tell me that is the case. I wonder if that's the difference you hear between the Manley and Rogue?
I also like the Rogue Magnum 150. Find a nice used pair and you've spent your money wisely.

Skip the Hurricane idea. You have a better chance of success in Vegas or Atlantic City.
Why not try a tube preamp in your current setup first? Your paradigms are not the warmest or most lush speaker, but neither are Thiels so you may not be far off. You will not get the same sound as a full tube output, but you may be surprised how much tube goodness you can get and still have more power on tap giving more dynamics and potentially other benefits with less heat and maintenance. Rogue, VTL, Manley, and other nice sounding tube preamps can be had used for under a grand, and if you decided this didn't do the trick you add tube amps later. Just my 2 cents...