I would stick with Rogue. You have a nice system so what is $600 difference? I have not heard that particular CJ preamp but the older ones tend to be really tubey sounding or syrupy. Not my cup of tea unless its yours. Also the Rogue is a tube rollers dream as my Rogue Tempest II is. As far as BAT I can recommend them. The VK3i is a bit darker sounding than the VK5i but the 5i is a wonderful preamp at used prices. The 3ix should be in your price range or maybe a VK40 solid state. THere is a VK20 on Agon right now that has a capacitor upgrade that I would consider for sure. Goodluck :)
How do you like the synergy between your Cronus and your Silverline speakers ? Do they work well together ? If you're happy with the music now, what are you looking for by upgrading to a new amp/pre-amp combination ?
Thank you Sam and Adam. The Cronus is a great integrated amp, and works very well with the SR-17.5s. When I bought the speakers, the impedance on the amp was set to 4 Ohms to work with the old speakers. The Silverlines have a nominal impedance of 8 Ohms, but it's an absolute nightmare to switch impedance on the amp as it has to be done internally, and there is virtually no clearance between the back wall and the screws. So I've kept the impedance setting unchanged, but wonder if it might sound even better on the 8 Ohm setting. The upgrade is dictated by a few factors: the Cronus was purchased as a temporary amp until I could upgrade to separates; I'm hoping for even more refinement, greater dynamics and better control of the bottom end, which I expect with more power and a separate preamp; I'd like to have ease of adjusting impedance which the monoblocks offer. Another big factor is my dealer's trade-in system where you can trade-in equipment for full purchase value within a year. I'm slowly coming up on that year, and it would make it much harder for me to upgrade later.
Sounds like a great idea, and taking advantage of your dealer's trade-in program makes a lot of sense. I am a big Rogue Audio fan, and I'm sure the M-180 amps will sound terrific with your speakers. I like the idea of keeping amplification within the same brand, since the designers have intended those products to work well together. I'm sure that Mark O'Brien has created some good synergy between the M-180's and the Stereo 99. Good Luck, and Happy Listening.
I can't comment about the Conrad-Johnson as I have no experience with them, but I am very happy with my M-180 amp / 99-Magnum preamp combination.
Reynolds, I wasn't aware of the Magnum version of the 99 preamp. Is it an upgrade from an earlier version? Either way, it sounds like CJ is out.
Anyone own the Supratek Chardonnay? The price is compatible and it has amazing reviews, but buying directly from Australia is a concern for me.
The "magnum" moniker indeed designates as an upgraded model. The Rogue website currently lists the Ninety-Nine Preamp as "99 Magnum."
I believe too that enhancements that bring the "magnum" moniker eventually become standard on later prodcts, so the moniker is not always carried forward even though the enhancements are still used. That might be a little of what's going on for the 99 at this point. It's called the "Ninety-Nine Preamp" in the headline, but the "99 Magnum" in the line where the price is given. But all current 99 preamps are "magnum" versions.
Regarding the Silverline SR-17.5 speakers, I have a pair in my listening room and have listened to them on both Tempest-II and M-180 systems. To me they sound better on the 8 ohm taps.
This is an aside, but I upgraded the capacitor in the crossover in the SR-17.5 to Duelund VSF. I used Mundorf for the resistor. The improvement is phenomenal.
I actually sold my SR-17.5's to a friend but he won't be able to pick them up until the first of the year. I sold them to help fund my acquisition of Silverline Boleros and when I have the spare funds, without a doubt I'll upgrade the crossover in them to Duelund as well.
This is great info; thank you! I set the impedance back to 8 Ohms and so far I like what I'm hearing.
Regarding the crossover; did you do it yourself or did you have the dealer do it for you? Also, where did you get the parts from and how much did it cost?
You are quite welcome.
I did the crossover myself. If you are reasonably handy with a hot glue gun and a soldering iron, it's not difficult. In order to fit the larger capacitors on the board I made a little bridge. Please send me an email and I'll send you a picture of what I did. I'll be happy to make the bridge for you and send it to you. In this case the pictures I send you will be worth a thousand words.
Also, the pictures I have will show the Mundorf silver/gold/oil capacitors that I put in the speaker. However, I ended up not liking the sound and changed them out for Duelund capacitors and they sound great.
Again, please send me an email and I'll send you links and pictures.
The 3.3 micF Duelund VSF copper caps are about $200 each at partsconnexion.com, and you'll need two.
With the Mundorf s/g/o caps I used two 1-ohm resistors in series to give the required 2-ohm total. When I switched to Duelund I was also going to switch to Duelund resistors but broke one of the Duelund resistor leads when I was putting the crossover board back in the speaker. So, I just reinstalled the Mundorf resistors. The Mundorf resistors are $15 each, and you'll need four of them, 1-ohm each.
So, the project will cost about $460. I got the Duelund caps when they were on sale - I don't recall exactly, but I may have paid $170 each for them.
Oh, and you'll need some solder. I used WBT. If partsconnexion doesn't have any, I'm sure Madisound.com would. That'll take the cost of the project up to about $500 I guess.
Since you're open to other brands, consider either Musical Design or Modwright. Simple, customizable, affordable. I recently replaced my Musical Design SP2-B preamp with a new (and higher level of modification) SP2-B. I auditioned the older one in a friends system who was running a Rogue 99 Magnum. He only had to listen for a couple of minutes to hear the difference. He bought my preamp, sold his 99 on Agon, put $500.00 in his pocket, and has a better sounding system. It doesn't look as fancy as it did, but it does sound significantly better.