Review: Rogue Audio Cronus Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

Wow. Only two hours into this after setting it up, firing it up and listening to this amp. Compared to the Jolida 302B, everything is greatly improved in every way. But especially jazz piano (Lisa Ekdahl and trio, Back to Earth, BMG/RCA Victor), there's so much harmonic content in there. The extension has the equivalent of the best solid state amps I've heard (Krell 400cx in my main system) and the imaging is very wide and outside the speakers. Front to back depth is huge. Emotional connection is unavoidable. I will write a follow-up to this review as the amp hasn't even broken in yet, but siffice it to say that Vandersteen and Rogue are truly compatible and together are greater than the sum of the componenents.

Before installing the tubes and firing it up I opened up the unit to change the impedance taps over to 4 Ohms. The build quality in there is stunning. High quality ceramic tube sockets, huge power and output trannies, heavy solder masked circuit board with quality components.

After warming it up for the required thirty minutes, I checked the bias on the pre-position specified Svetlana EL34s and they were right on the 35mV setting. The pre tubes are Sovtek LPS 12AX7 (2), EH 12AU7 (2) and one special low noise german made 12AU7 (Siemens?).

This amp just oozes quality though and through. It's comforting to know that Made In The USA still means something.

The only weakness so far that I can see is the speaker binding posts could be the better all metal type, but these are much better than the usual plastic KEF type that I can't stand, stay tuned for more...

Wow. I'm a Rogue Audio fan big time. And that piano...

Associated gear
Music Hall MMF7
Jolida JD100 CDP
Jolida JD9 Phono Pre
Jolida Tuner
Vandersteen 2Ce Signature
Tara and Synergistic ICs and Speaker Cables

Similar products
Jolida JD302B
Rotel RA 921
I bought Rogue M-120 Magnums around 2 months of my best buys ever in the bank for buck department.

"This amp just oozes quality though and through. It's comforting to know that Made In The USA still means something"

I agree....someone at Rogue Audio is in tune with the music, great product at good prices.

Steve, I'll bet rolling some Amperex, or Mullard 12AU7 and 12AX7 would make a surprising change in the sound...fuller, sweeter and more organic. Just a thought.
Thanks Tvad, I will try your suggestion. Matched and balanced-triode Ei Elite Gold 12AU7s on the way. And I have a set of Tung Sol matched-balanced 12AX7s that I haven't tried yet, just going to enjoy the sound the way it is for now. Stay tuned.
After I posted the Mullard/Amperex suggestion, I did a search for the Cronus and noticed one had recently been sold with Mullard tubes.

I am quite certain you will be amazed at what the NOS stuff will do versus current production, but I understand that's a whole different ball 'o wax.

Happy tube rolling.
Is this the same as the Rogue Atlas amp or is it a different model?
Jayt the Atlas is the stand alone amp from the same product line as the Cronus. The Cronus is the integrated amp from this line. The Metis is partnering pre amp to the Atlas.
Have you guys experienced the hum noise from the amp? i have owned a few tube amps and this one i would say is louder than others that i had, even my old original Dynaco st70 is much quieter, i have talked to mr O'brien, he said the amp i own might have been one of the early version that was produced and now the noise problem has been fixed.
I have sent the cronus back to the factory for upgrade. i hope the hum noise will be gone and the bass will be tighter with extended high. So far i really like the amp, the way it looks. the build quality, also it has a fantastic midrange and soundstage that i couldnt get from my ARC LS22 and CL 60 paired together.I hope to hear any feedbacks or experiences from you guys.
I posted earlier to a different thread, I think. The local dealer let me borrow his Cronos and I have been surprised at what it does. I have trouble finding amps to drive my Aerial 6's, but the Cronos has no trouble at all. It seems to put out a lot more than the rated 55 watts, or at least has a lot more headroom. This is not your average EL34 amp.

I did some reading and found a couple things. One is that the Cronos uses the same transformer that the 90w Rogue does. SoundStage measured the Atlas amp (same amp in the Cronos) at 78 and 89 watts at 1 and 10% distortion respectively. Given that tube distortion is friendlier, what you have is, yes a 55 watt amp, but one with nearly 3 db headroom left at 50 watts.

This explains a few things. Add to that the detail and image this thing is capable of throwing up, and it is an impressive amplifier. And it is the kind of tube amp i like, one that doesn't sound "toooby". It just sounds like a good amplifier.

I have been using it this week side by side with my Sim Audio i-3 SE. If i can learn to stand the heat this cronos puts off, the Moon may be on the block soon. Fact is they sound an awful lot alike. Clean high end, very fast, and bass that makes you think you don't need that REL after all. I like tube amps though, even though the cronos isn't the prettiest one I've ever seen.
hi is there anyway I can connect sub with this amp?
02-18-08: Bambambam123
hi is there anyway I can connect sub with this amp?

Yes. Use ACI Speaker Level Converters found at the bottom of this link.
Would this integrated be a contender to drive Dynaudio Contour S1.4's with 86db efficiency and 4ohm nominal?
rogue audio makes sweet, sweet music ! happy listening, chrissain
Are you still happy with your Cronus? I'm looking at one right now in the "magnum" package, for use driving a pair of Salk Songtowers (4ohm, 91db). Slightly underpowered given Mr. Salk's recommended 125wpc rating, but have driven them with low power already and not noticed any significant problems, plus these are tube-watts. Anyway, let me know what you think now that you've had it a while!
Steve....Glad to hear you are pleased with the Cronus.I heard a Magnum Cronus with Vandys awhile back and was amazed how much better it sounded than the stock unit.Look into this conversion,it's definitly worth it.Definitly do some tube rolling.Try out some NOS Amperex or RCA 7025 in place of the 12ax7's,sweet as sugar!!!I own the Rogue TempestII Magnum and absolutely love it.Again,glad you're pleased. can connect a sub with the preamp outs.

Dog....I heard the Cronus Magnum,I mentioned above,driving a pair of Magnapan 1.6's.Maggies are notorious for being,shall we say.."fussy", in regards to power.The Cronus was making them sing a wonderful tune.I'm not familiar with the Salks,but I think if the Cronus can handle the Maggies,it should handle the Salks.

To all....I agree,Rogue Audio makes "Made In The U.S.A." a proud statement.
I changed the three 12AU7 tubes to NOS GE's and the 12AX7 to a pair of NOS Telefunken (marked Sonotone). The sound further flatened out, retaining the frequency extremes and letting more midrange harmonic structure come through. The soundstage is wide and rock solid. Buying the Rogue was a very good choice. I truly hope many of the out of print tube designs (GE, Telefunken, RCA) come back.
Nice write up.

if you want for more bass and transparency install some Amperex Bugle boy tubes in the AX spots.
Hi, I'm thinking of buying the Dynaudio Confidence C1 speakers, pairing them with Naim separates but also buying the Rogue Cronus Magnum if I wanted to hear a lusher sound. Did you buy the Rogue Cronus and the Dynaudio Contours? How did they sound together?