Rogue Audio ST 90
I’m not an audio reviewer nor do I want to be one, however I felt compelled to write about the Rogue ST 90. Most of us who have bought and sold a plethora of gear on audiogon know when a magical component comes along that changes your passion for music. The Rogue ST 90 did just that for me. I have always tried to build my system around the Apogee Stage ribbon speakers because of their imaging and beautiful midrange. As my audio system “improved” over the years I was able to hear more and more detail. What I did not realize was that as my system became more revealing there were fewer and fewer albums and CD’s that I could enjoy without listener fatigue setting in. Over the past ten years I have tried over a dozen amplifiers including Pass Labs, Sim Audio, Sonic Frontiers, Audio Research, and Bryston to name a few. I recently tried the combination of bi-amping my Apogee’s with the Sim Audio W3 driving the bass panel and the Rogue ST-90 driving the midrange / tweeter ribbon. It was this combination that produced the magic I have been looking for all these years. The Rogue ST 90 provided a gorgeous midrange and highs with all the details of a solid state amplifier but without that ultra detailed high frequency that causes listener fatigue. In the words of my wife “now the music sounds live.” I find myself listening to the other 70 percent of my music collection that I stopped listening to before, because it tended to fatigue the ears. I have tried bi-amping the Apogees with other amplifiers before but I always had the problem of one amplifier overpowering the other. It seems that by dumb luck the Rogue Audio ST 90 and Sim Audio W3 are a perfect match. The Sim Audio provides the deep tight solid state bass while the Rogue ST 90 provides the magic I have been looking for. After listening to the Rogue ST 90, I don’t think I could ever go back to a solid state amplifier driving my midrange / tweeter ribbon.
I listen to a wide range of music including rock, classical, new age space music and jazz. All these types of music now sound more authentic and natural through the Rogue ST 90. The rest of my system consists of a Linn Sondek with Ekos and Koetsu Rosewood, Raysonic 128 CD player, Ayre P5 phono pre-amp, Naim 202 pre-amp, homemade sub woofers with 13” Focal Audium woofers powered by an Adcom 555, and as mentioned above the Sim Audio W3 and Rogue ST 90 powering Apogee Stages. It may be the synergy of the detailed solid state Ayre and Naim pre-amps combined with the tubes in the Rogue ST 90 that strikes the perfect balance between warmth and detail. Whatever it is I now find myself listening to all of my music until the wee hours of the night.