Rogue Magnum 99 question

I have just purchased a new Magnum 99 to replace a AES AE-3. With only 2 days out of the box I honestly dont know if I like its sound; given it is new and needs time to break in and the cheap NOS russians need to go. I was using a pair of Sylvania chrome dome in the AES and loved their sound.
Did anyone feel the same as I do? How long did it take for the 99 to break in? What tubes did you roll and find good results with? Are the russian 6sn7's a very poor link in this piece of equipment that they hinder the preformance? In what order do you start rolling.....front pair,rear, or left, right....instuctions really dont say. I also have a pair of KenRad VT231 blackglass that I really didnt quite care for in the AES.
Any helpful suggestions or comments would be appreciated.The 99 is mated to a Bryston 4Bst.

thanks, kek

I was pretty happy with my Rogue Magnum 99 right out of the box and it has only improved with use (~100 hrs now). I didn't perceive any significant sound change after ~25 hours of use. There was some tube break-in apparent over this time. My unit came with Electro Harmonix 6SN7s that many people claim to be one of the better currently manufactured tubes. I have not tried NOS 6SN7s yet in the main preamp but have rolled to Mullard 12AX7 and Amperex 12AU7 tubes for the phono stage and they made a significant difference. If you do some 6SN7 tube rolling, I would be very interested in the results.


P.S. The rest of my system is Magnaplanar 1.6 speakers, CJ MV50 amp, Audio Aero Mk 1 CDP, Nordost Quattro Fil interconnects, Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cable.
I wish I could help you more, but I loved the sound of the Magnum 99 out of the box. However, this may be due to this being my first piece of tube gear and the fact that it was such a gigantic step up from my Pioneer A/V reciever based system. I have yet to start tube rolling, but I would love to hear about whatever decision you ultimatly make.

As far as break in period, I thought I could really notice a change somewhere between the 50-100 hour mark. I must again however say that I am not sure it was just the preamp breaking in as I upgraded so many pieces at once. (M-120's and PS Audio Statement IC's)

Kek, just put some other NOS in it. You are used to the sound of the Sylvania 6SN7. It is different from the NOS Russians that Rogue includes.

I own a Magnum 99. I am similar to the other repliers, in that I noticed such an improvement over my former tube preamp, that I didn't notice the break in changes. However, I do believe there were improvements. The Rogue 99 is a great preamp.

Worse case scenario, it doesn't match your other equipment, but I wouldn't judge that yet. Play a CD on repeat, or FM station for 72 hours, then you should have it broken in. Let us know your findings.
Really difficult to predict if you will like the sound, even after break in. Unless you have had the preamp before, how to predict something one has never experienced? Eventhough I do not own a Rogue, I have own other pieces of tubed gear, especially preamps. When I first received the units, I could not clearly tell much differences from a former unit, but sometimes, because you are trying to listen for what you PAID for, you might become overly critical and expectant of the sound. It happened to me. The true sound, that you will either LOVE or DESPISE, will become clear way after the supposed to, break in. One day you will clearly notice that something has changed in your system and a song has acquired nuances that you have NEVER heard before, whether you will come to like it or not, that is a totally different question.
The 99 needs about 100 hours of break in time to really open up. When I tried any Sylvania tubes in the Rogue, they just came across as bright in my system. I finally settled on Ken Rad black glass in all 4 slots. I'd suggest using the pair of Ken Rad in the 2 right slots and sticking the Russian tubes in the 2 left slots. I talked to Mark O'brian and he mentioned the layout of tubes inside the 99. The 2 on the right are from top to bottom: right channel amp tube and left channel amp tube. He suggested using the best tubes in these 2 slots. The 2 on the left are from top to bottom: right channel mu follower and left channel mu follower. The two tubes on the right are about 70-80% of the sound while the two tubes on the left contribute 20-30% to the sound. You might want to also call Mark O'brian at Rogue and ask what he suggests for tubes as he also sells sets. Good luck and keep us posted!
I called and talked to Mark today at Rogue, to see what other tubes they have in a inventory. In so many words he areed that the 99 can be drastically improved with different tubes other than the russian NOS that were shipped with the unit. To be truthful, when I placed my order with the dealer I expected "NOS" to be a higher quality tube than russian. Mark also told me that I could have selected other NOS tubes at time of order. Had I known this I would have went with better sounding tubes.

Not a problem , this will give me a excuse to start purchasing different sets of tubes. I'll do what the Hunt brothers did in the early 80's when they started to buy and sell large amounts of gold and sent the price to over $800 an ounce....I will do this to the tube world......WAIT A MINUTE....someone beat me to the this already his name is Kevin Deal......aargh.

Back to the 99. Looking a my posting it would seem that I dislike the Rogue which is not the case. I dont care for the sound of its current tubes. Everyone of us that visit Audiogon want to improve the sound we hear, and surely dont want to take steps backwards, and this was my first initial impression with the Rogue, the backward steps.

I will keep you posted on my findings.

thanks, kek

p.s. please keep the suggestions coming....I'm all ears
I went from a Rogue Magnum 99 to a Blue Circle BC3 Despina to a AES AE-1. Now I am enjoying my music the way I dreamed about. For me the AES is a huge winner compared to either of the others listed that I had previously owned.
I found that my 99 reached it's potential at about 50 hours. My conversations with Mark & Mark of Rogue confirmed that the tubes which lead to the most improvement when rolled are the ones on the right (facing the unit). I've tried GE/NOS and found them too bright; Sylvania chrome dome red base WGTBs and they have a warm, rich sound. But by far my favorites are RCA WGTBs (blackbase and red lettering). Also I highly recommend adding the tube dampers from Herbies Audio Lab to all four tubes (about @ $12.00). Really clarifies the sound. Another significant improvement was the use of Black Diamond Racing cones (#3s) under the 99 with the cone tips pointing UP - again, another improvement in clarity and openness. The BDR Cones are on MDF which is on Vibrapods on top of a wooden cabinet. Finally, place something heavy on top of the 99 (about 5-10lbs will do - I use a small glass vase filled with lead shot and felt on the base to protect the 99)to dampen the cabinet vibrations (just try tapping on the cabinet top to hear the tinny ringing; after placing the weight on top the ringing stops and therefore cannot be transmitted to the tubes.

I know this sounds a bit obssesive but I'm a restless tweaker and these changes are relatively inexpensive. I have had all my perveived improvements verified by my wife in blind listening tests to try to remove as much tweaker's bias I might have introduced.

The 99 is a great prreamp, but the russian tubes really need to go.

Good luck