The Rogue is music and like all ARC AMP'S INCL VT100 MKII ARE "NOT" PLUS ARC IS A POOR VALUE. I have had in house VT100MK1/MKII/VT50/ Classic 30/ & MORE MY HCA-2 IS JUST BETTER. I did have a ROGUE 88 nice amp.
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Saying that all ARC amps are not musical is a statement that is untrue and one that thousands of ARC owners would refute. The HCA-2 is NOT better than a VT-100 Mk II. I had both & ended up keeping the VT-100. The VT-100 sounds more like music than the HCA-2. Haven't heard the Zeus, but most people who have praise it, and Rogue has done a pretty good job with their other products, such as the 99 preamp.
Mine arrived yesterday. I listened to it for about six hours. So far, amazing. Great highs (sparkling, actually) and palpable presence in the mids on vocals. Bass is all I need. I'll keep the first impressions to that, since I this is far from broken in and my listening session came after lugging this beast up the stairs.
It is driving Thiel CS 2.3s and I was worried tubes would not work. They have so far. I have the Magnum 99 preamp with NOS Sylvanias from Rogue. Source is the Arcam FMJ with all Cardas Golden Reference interconnects and Neutral Reference speaker cables.
$1699 verse $5500 HUMMMMM. Have you looked inside that $5500 AMP. My point is ARC is a poor value & I tried a lot of their amps 7 or 8 of them, and I wanted to like them but most of them were to analytical for me. (can you say Minn white)This is just my 2 cents on the ARC. The rogue was just more musical & that was the $1500 ROGUE 88.
I have had some extended listening time at my friends shop (some weeks worth of listening). The Zeus is a powerful-sounding amp with good (though not great) delicacy in the highs. It has a slightly dry but none-the-less emotional midrange. The Rogues does female voice and jazz very well; it also can rock out! Very easy to listen to. Gobs of impact on the bass. Nice image. I spent many a pleasant day listening to music through that amp.
The ARC amps, IMO, seem to concentrate on the highs and low-level details to the detriment of the low mids (for some peoples taste). The Rogue seems to pay more attention to the mids and below, while still being quite competent on the highs.
The Zeus uses 6 output tubes per channel meaning that, at 225 watts, the tubes are being run on the hot side. I don't know how this effects tube longevity on this amp, but all else being equal, this usually leads to shorter tube life. Check with the factory.
The bass on the Zeus, when being fed to the Von Schwiekirt VR4 was stunning. Large Chineese drums will make you wet yourself if you are not expecting it (then again, maybe its an age thing....). I know the sound of skin drums (my wife used to drag me to the Indian drumming sessions) and the Zeus captured it perfectly; the sound of the mallet striking the skin, the pressure wave building up, the explosion outward of the bass, and the decay into the room. Bass is a great mix of taut and resonant. Lots of presence in the mid-bass, giving excitement to music at a slight loss of transparency compared to things like ARC.
Soundstaging is very very good though it is short of that achieved by OTL amps (but...almost nothing matches OTL amps there).
This amp can convey the sheer MASS of an orchestra which, IMHO, ARC doesn't do as well.
Listening to Patricia Barber on this amp makes you want to order a brandy, like up a smoke and just kick back! (And I neither smoke nor drink!)