Rogue Hera II

What do you think of it? I'm really thinking about one.
First off, I apologize if you've asked this question before and I've already answered it - there aren't many folks that have heard this unit and I've been feeling a need to spread the love.

Love it; best preamp I've owned by far. The original Hera was a significant, not subtle-at-all, humongous upgrade over the 99 Magnum it replaced. Recently had it upgraded to II status for some nice incremental improvements in sound quality (not night and day, but nice). One thing though - the gain of the II is MUCH higher; I'd estimate 25dB or so of max gain now? For some systems that will be a lot of gain to deal with, for others it will be a godsend. My system ended up with a bit of gain to spare (before, I had JUST enough gain). Oh, mine also has the original stepped attenuator. The new TKD pot is supposedly very good, but I always trust a stepper for sound quality.

Haven't owned anything else in that price range (I stretched a bit out of my range since a great deal came up), but I have owned a BAT Vk5i, PS Audio PCA-2, and Eddie Current Zana Deux in years past. Was not a fan of the first 2; the ZD was very very nice but not magic.

Sound is super clean and linear, not bright and not warm. Anyways, I've been rolling vintage 12AX7 and 12BH7 into amp & phono stage to dial in the desired system balance - don't need to mess with the preamp when it sounds like this. Awesome dynamics, soundstage, and imaging. I've auditioned the Athena and sonically it reminds me a lot of the Hera, but I'd have to hear it in my own system to make a call as to which might be the better buy.

I run all Rogue electronics by now (Ares, Hera II, Apollo), so it's no surprise they work well together. I've definitely benefitted a lot from tube-rolling the Ares & Apollos, though...and still playing around with that.
Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully some more will chime in.
You may have seen this, but there is a great review for it here:
I heard it at the Axpona NYC Show on 6/24 and it was part of a GREAT sounding system with the Rogue Apollo monoblocks and Eggleston Works Andra 3's.
Ir you plan on running it balanced the noise floor might be a bit high.
Yes, the gain in balanced mode is especially high, and that can contribute to a discernable noise floor. It's the white-noise kind of noise (i.e. "ssshhh"), which I find far less offensive than any kind of hum or buzz.

It just depends on your downstream gear - it will show up to varying degrees on sensitive amps and efficient speakers. For reference, my Apollos are 250 Watts @ 1 Volt (very sensitive) and speakers are 93dB @ 1 Watt (fairly efficient). Run the same high line-gain into 250 Watts @ 2V and 87dB/ Watt speakers (a -12dB net swing); I'd bet it will be dead quiet even at very close distances. No 1 line gain is optimal for all systems.

I do run balanced mode. Still, as quiet as my vinyl source is with a Koetsu Platinum (the quietest cart I've had), the vinyl is still the sole determinant of noise floor in my system - so the bit of noise from the Hera's high gain is a non-factor to me. On a CD, it would just depend on the recording's noise floor and your sensitivity to this sort of thing. On a related note, running 5751 instead of 12AX7 in the Apollos helps this by about 1-2dB.

The gain factor is absolutely worth keeping in mind if you've got super efficient speakers >= 97dB; 25+dB of line gain is just not a good match for that, unless you're trying to make up for a very low output source (e.g. a low MC running through an MM stage).

The noise floor doesn't affect the imaging and resolution to my ears (again, the II is a sonic improvement over the I in these areas, despite the much higher gain); but then I've never been a believer that prodigious noise floor specs were necessary for these attributes, once you've got it down to a reasonable level.
My amp input impedance is 100K and speakers are 95dB @ 1W / 1M
Your amp's input impedance is not as relevant as its sensitivity, here. Look for a number that's power yielded for a given RMS input voltage, OR a gain factor. The Hera has a very low output impedance, so a 100K amp input is a very easy job for it, in that sense. My current monoblocks give 250 Watts @ 1V, but a previous amp gave only 25 Watts @ 1V - those needed a TON of line gain!

One thing to consider - I believe Athena has a much lower gain than the Hera II. Call up Mark @ Rogue (he designs the gear); he's incredibly helpful and will help figure out exactly what's right for your system. I'm just an armchair quarterback here; he's the real expert.
Anywone else? No Hera II owners here?