Preamp for Rogue Stereo 100 amplifier


Hi, I am considering getting a Rogue Stereo 100 power amp to drive my Tannoy Prestige speakers. I have heard the amp and really liked the way it "tried" to disappear. For a tube amp, it did not show any signs of sluggishness or tubey processing of sound. But tonally it had a more humane character than solid states so it was impressive overall. However the system I heard it was a very different one than what I have at home. The speaker brand was Audes. It uses smaller 5" drivers for mids and ribbon tweeters (unlike Tannoys). The rest of the chain was also kind of unknown but pretty neutral from what I could gather. The preamp was an EMT JPA66 Mk2. Very high end stuff, which I wont be buying.

So what kind of preamps would suit the tonality of Rogue ST-100 ? Neutral, a bit warm or..? Rogue's own preamp is an option but they are not as well reputed as the power amps so I am considering other options too. Budget, $3-4k new/used
pani
What features do you need?  Phono stage?  I have a couple options for you.  

To start, I have heard the Rogue RP5 and it is a good sounding preamp and in the beefy part of your price range.  Don't discount it because it hasn't made a list.  The reality is that your price range is tough for new gear.  The really amazing units are in the $4-$6K range.  

I have four units that could be of interest to you.  

A bit above your budget but the Art Audio Conductor Simply 2 is brilliant.  I am the importer and have paired it with another Rogue Amp I owned for years and they pair really well together.  It is $5500 but I can flex, especially if you have an item you can trade in or don't need a remote. 

The Musical Fidelity M8 was just reintroduced and it is a giant killer.  At $4999, it is a SS masterpiece.  

The Musical Fidelity M6 is a stupidly good value and at $1999 is below your budget and IMO, will rival the RP5 in terms of sound quality.  

Musical Fidelity is just a great value due to it being made in Taiwan.  Way better equipment than the price would indicate.  And the units are built like tanks.  

For my 3 new items I offer free shipping and a 30 Day No Questions Asked return policy.  

I am also going to be listing a used PS Audio BHK with the stock tubes and two pairs of Tunsgrams.  The Art Audio is a slightly nicer sounding unit IMO but I can't get down to $4K.  The BHK with tubes should be $4K.  No returns on used gear.  
@pani 

Rogue's own preamp is an option but they are not as well reputed as the power amps so I am considering other options too. Budget, $3-4k new/used

I don't think I'd say Rogue's preamps aren't as well reputed, particularly in the case of the RP-7 which I believe is a Stereophile 2019 Class A component and many other really solid reviews.  Fully balanced, it's on my short list of contenders for my next pre. With a list price new of $4995, I'm sure you could get one in your price range used or perhaps new if the dealer provides some typical range discount.
OP, please forgive me for hijacking your post, but I think my question is relevant and may assist us both.

Anyone have experience comparing the PSAudio BHK and Rogue RP-7 directly? Impressions? Which one would you / did you buy?

Thanks.
Having owned the Stereo 100 and a Rogue Cronus Magnum-II, I would opt for the new CM-III and request the factory resistor and capacitor upgrades. Total expenditure would be very near that of a new ST-100 and you'll simplify your setup.

While I liked both amps, I found the CM-II had superior musicality - for whatever reason, it was simply more involving. Both lean toward an accurate, SS-like sound rather than a lush tubey sound. The ST-100 is smoother, with better bass precision, but based on my examination of the circuits, that most likely results from the higher-grade caps and resistors, which can be custom ordered for the CM3. 
I have the ST100 paired with the RP7 (a bit out of your budget), but not surprising they are an excellent match.  The RP7 with its stock JJ 12AU7 tubes is "neutral" as least as far as tube setups go, but easily bests my previous Halo Int for treble extension and mid range smoothness.  I've recently replaced the JJs with Radiotechnique 12AU7s and couldn't be happier, as they are a big improvement over the JJs for both bass and treble extension, with a dose of warmth.  Yes, it now sounds more tubey.  : )   Perhaps a used RP5, with future tube rolling is an option for you?  The only other preamp of sorts I tried with the ST100 was my ADI-2 DAC driving the ST100 directly, and it sounded surprisingly good, though not at the level of the RP7.  

Along those lines, I have Amperex Bugle Boy type 12AX7 coming in soon, and will try those out in the ST100.  It's so much fun...    
A balanced preamp will do that nicely. Our MP-3 preamp can do that quite well. A bit out of your price range, but you can probably find a used one in budget.
Thanks everyone. The RP7 seems very promising, though expensive. But now my interest has also piqued for Cronus Magnum III with their SE upgrades (resistor and caps upgrade). If it is close to the sound of seperate ST-100 and RP7 then it would be a great deal. I will not have to worry about interconnects, power cords and their effects etc. 

Whats the feeling on this from existing Rogue users ?
I run Tannoy Canterbury GR with Rogue Apollo Darks, which are similar to your ST100, just bigger. It’s a good combination. I like how the amps give gobs of power for rock & metal, with a neutral tone.

For preamps I’ve tried a number, and I’m still a little confused lol. I think a good match is a very slightly sweet, warm tube pre that’s - if anything - just a touch relaxed on top to work well with the Tannoy’s horn. You also want an extremely low noise floor since the Tannoys are very sensitive.

I’m pretty happy running an ARC Ref 6 right now, which does everything well with just a *hint* of sweetness and a top end that’s not too aggressive. The VAC Renaissance V had the perfect warm, beautiful tone, but couldn’t rock as well as the other preamps - a deal breaker for me. The Rogue Hera II was too noisy. The RP-9 is great but I’d like it to be just a touch more relaxed on top, and it’s still not as quiet as the Ref 6 (none of the Rogue pres are that quiet). Still evaluating that one, though! An RP-5 with Mullard tubes (even the Russian reissues are good) might be a good option. A used RP-7 should eventually turn up in your price range, which should be better. I wouldn’t step down to the RP-1 with your level of gear. IIRC the Rogue Athena had a lower noise floor (they screwed the noise floor in the Hera I to II upgrade, which I now regret) and may be a good candidate if it pops up used. Also sometimes the old VAC preamps pop up for a good deal; not all of them share that circuit of the Ren V (e.g. the Renaissance III has less of the beautiful tone but could certainly rock).

And the Cronus III may be great, but I think the ST100 will be a better amp for your Tannoys. A long time ago I was running an Atlas (Cronus without the pre section) on Kensington SE when I got to try my friend’s Stereo 90 (both non-Magnum). It was a very notable upgrade in sound!
Thanks Mulveling. I wonder why not a good CJ Premier series preamp ? I once heard a CJ Premier 11a amp with PV12 preamp driving a Tannoy Monitor Gold. It was wonderful. It was fast, fluid and colorful. Tones were so believable. It was not analytical but neither was it soft or rolled off. It was vibrant and just the nice kind of warmth which doesn’t spoil the authenticity. I am still considering that combo if I could find it for a good price. Else a Premier series preamp with ST-100 could be interesting too
Thanks everyone. The RP7 seems very promising, though expensive. But now my interest has also piqued for Cronus Magnum III with their SE upgrades (resistor and caps upgrade). If it is close to the sound of seperate ST-100 and RP7 then it would be a great deal. I will not have to worry about interconnects, power cords and their effects etc.

Whats the feeling on this from existing Rogue users ?
To elaborate on my experience: the CM provided a more "euphoric" and 3-dimensional experience than the ST-100, however, that was with the latter being driven by a SS preamp. It might've been very different with a tube preamp I suppose.


A Shiit Freya preamp is balanced, and new versions just came out. I own an original version that sounds astonishingly good. USA made, more sophisticated features than nearly anything out there, and relative to other great preamps these things are a bargain.