Pre Amp or Amp Best Money Spent

Hello, putting together my first system around a pair of non sig. Vandy 2ce's late serial numbers. I am looking at Rogue tube pre/amps. I am wondering if I should spend the money on M-120's with an entry Rogue preamp or go for the Rogue 90 with Rogue 99 pre? Obviously there are tradeoffs but where is the long term benefits. I will be buying used. Thanks Dean
63dc3829 76aa 4f7e 8890 f4bde5d54b32pubbrewer
In general, the preamp will have more effect on sound than the the amp (as long as the speakers have enough power). The Rogue 90 will drive the 2CEs without a problem. You might consider have them upgraded to Signature if Vandersteen still offers the upgrade. It is much more transparent than the standard speaker.
Long term benefits are best served by buying the best pre-amp you can afford, Rogue or not, and then build up your system around it. Speakers, amps, and sources come and go with regularity but most folks could effectively use the same pre-amp for a decade or more without change and with complete satisfaction if you select it properly in the first place. FWIW.
I would personally go for the better preamp and the budget amp. I always found the better pre gave me more of what I wanted as far as sound quality.
Well, I'm going to go against the grain of the above suggestions and recommend you do some deep digging to find out what amp best mates with the Vandy 2CE speakers and put your money there. Amp/speaker match is critical for best sound. You can buy the world's best preamp, and the system will still sound like sh*t if your amp/speaker match isn't good.

Do you know the Rogue amps are the best options?
I back Tvad. A match between Power Amplifiers and Speakers is more important than Pre-amplifier. Everything depends on the type of load your speakers present to the Power Amplifier.

See the following article. This will give you the details:
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I too agree with Tvad.

The rogue mono blocks are a good match and it also
allows you to keep the systems Speaker wire short.
You can start out with the 2ce 120 Mono blocks
and add a good second hand Rogue 66 or Perseus
pre amp.
The Alpha Core Goertz speaker wire works wonders with this pairing.
I also must disagree with what bob said as you will hear every improvment along the way.
Later you can even invest in a single or a pair of the Vandersteen 2WQ subs and have a pretty amazing system.
Good luck
Cheers John
Well, I have read alot of reviews in the archives here and people suggest Mccormack alot but never give alot of reason why but others say they are running them with rogue Cronus and they rock. So with all the knowledge out in Audiogon world can someone shed light on this speaker/ amp pairing. Others say that the preamp does all the processing so it is the most likely to show up as the weakest link, good preamp with a decent ss amp. I have heard alot of people say that these speakers really shine with better up streamm components and both Rogue amps I am looking at are close or above 100 watts. thanks
Tvat, I think you meant with grain.
Another vote for speaker/amp(s) synergy.


I'm in the amp camp too.
Clearly you need an amp to properly drive your speakers, BUT what come before the amp, the preamp and what comes before that, the is all a balancing act and results in a "system" given fixed funds, assuming your source is up to snuff, a better preamp into a good but modest amp will IMHO sound better.

I have multiple systems and time and time again have tried many combos, and I always come away with a better sound fueled by a better preamp/modest amp combo.
So does anybody have opions on the vandy's with either the mono blocks or stereo rogue amps. The mono's keep the speaker wire short improving resistance I believe? The Vandy's seem to have a flat responce so the tubes with 90-120 watts should be in the target range? thanks for all your support. John seems to have some real life experience and good advice. Cheers
12-03-07: Bob_reynolds
It seems to me that your budget for electronics is way too high for your Vandy speakers. A simple NAD integrated, like the C370, will get all they have to deliver. Spending more on electronics won't get you anything, IMO. If you want to spend more money, then add a subwoofer.

Any speaker, including a model from Radio Shack, will sound better with better electronics driving them. So I couldn't disagree more with Bob's assertion that the NAD integrated "will get all they have to deliver".

That said, Bob does have a point in questioning the budget allocation toward each part of your system. Spending bigger dollars on a Rogue amp and preamp raises the question of whether that money would have been better spent on the superior 2Ce Sig or vastly superior 2Ce Sig mkII.

Also, the quality level of both the preamplifier and power matter and should be optimized for the best overall results, but assuming that a choice had to be made on which is more sonically significant, it would be the preamp. This assumes that an asinine choice isn't made for either component.

I'm a Vandersteen and Rogue dealer.
Dave Mitchell, do you think these amp pairings are good choices. I have also considered an Mc mc105 150 watts then pairing with a tube pre. Just so many choices. I understand the principles but don't have the experience to pull the trigger and I would like to hear some MUSIC soon. I reieced the speakers as gifts and they do have great reviews. So what amp do would you choose, Mono 120,90, Atlas or the Mac. The money is about 400 difference. Which pre to synergize. thanks
I think the better preamp is more important, as Narrod said "In general, the preamp will have more effect on sound than the the amp (as long as the speakers have enough power)." So yes the amp/speaker interface is absolutely critical and must be accounted for - the amp must have enough power to drive the speaker, but that should be easily accomplished. Finding a great preamplifer is more difficult. Sure a great preamp and an underpowered, underdamped amp (for 2CEs) won't be so great, but finding a competent amplifier with enough power should not prove too challenging. For Vandersteen 2Ces within a relatively modest price range, I would go with a McCormack 100 watt SS and a tube preamp, maybe an Audible Illusions 3A or the higher end Rogue, or the lower priced Modwright - all three of which should be available used on Audiogon, or of course, can be purchased new. While VS can sound great with tubes, you need a pretty hefty tube amp as the VS are not the friendliest tube impedance loads. It will sound a lot better than an NAD entry level intgrated.
12-04-07: Pubul57
...the amp/speaker interface is absolutely critical and must be accounted for - the amp must have enough power to drive the speaker, but that should be easily accomplished.
Simply having enough power is not enough to properly match amp to speakers.
This article does a good job of explaining all that's involved in amp/speaker match. It's theme is primarily tube friendly speakers, but the concepts can be applied more broadly.

Those who take a simplistic approach of matching an amp to speakers based solely on having enough power are in for a rough ride. I've been on that road before.

Pubul57, I guarantee you the Ars Sonum/Merlin match is based on more than the Ars having enough power. I've listened to Merlin speakers sounding like crap driven with very powerful tube and solid state amps...more power than the speakers would ever require. On the other hand, I've heard the Merlins driven by significantly less powerful amps and sounding quite good.
As mentioned in my previous post, I think you may be spending money disproportionately. The pre-Signature Vandersteen speakers are quite dated sounding compared with the newer versions. The Signatures and MkII's are much more open, alive in the highs, and transparent by comparison. I think you are going to always be limited by the older speakers to some extent.

That said, the Rogue amps sound nice with Vandersteen speakers. I can't comment on the others because I have no direct listening experience with those combinations.
Tvad, I agree with you and the point made in the article (a good informative read); it is not as simple as power (maybe the difference between horsepower (watts) and torque - current) - I am aware of the other factors, especially with tubes. But I still think it will be easier to find a good amp to drive the 2Ces without having to spend "a lot" on amplification, especially with SS, which I think generally work best with the Vandersteens. In other words, I think you could find a satisfactory pre/amp combo that will work well with VS with more budget going to the preamplifier. Frankly, I would just ask Richard - boy does he shoot straight, sometimes you have to duck. I also agree with you about the Merlins.
Kumba-ya, Pubul57...
Thanks guys. The info you provide regarding matching loads is the most direct. I will have to ask Richard becuase I simply can't decipher all that info, but you all do seem to be correct. Well the older Vandy's were a gift and just before the Sig models and we all gotta start somewhere, right? I will ask about the McCormack and Mac with Richard and let you know how it flows. Very helpfull!
Richard also likes Rotel with the 2Ces. See what he thinks. You get a lot of power for the money with Rotel, but Richard is the go to guy.
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Tvad, the article you provided the link to is really a must read; I reread it at lesiure. I finally really understand why Bobby (designer) says the Merlins are made for tubes and why the little Ars Sonum can drive them so well. I've argued in the past that one ought not to talk about the sound of an amp universally, but only the sound of an amp with a particular speaker - again the importance of the match between the two.