Rogue vs ARC

I wonder the Rogue M150 or M180 is on par with the VT100 or Ref 110 from Audio Research. They seems to be voiced as moden tube sound but I have not been able to listen to the Rogue.
>>04-07-10: Don_c55
The ARC is much superior to Rogue!
Rogue sounds SS<<


As a point of reference for us, please list all of the speakers along with the different ARC and Rogue amplifiers you've auditioned, to make this conclusion.

Also include the source components and linestage(s).

Thanks in advance.
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First of all I don't need to read any reviews. And you should do the same and start listening.

Once again, please list all of the information requested and stop generalizing.

Otherwise it's just an opinion based on conjecture and/or inexperience.

My bet is on inexperience.

Thank you
I value the Audiogon forum venue and most comments made by posters. But when some resort to personal attacks, it becomes tiresome for me and I suspect many others.

I respectfully suggest that posters refrain from such attacks in this forum. And for those times when the child ego state is dominant (and it happens to all of us), then simply continue the dialogue outside of this forum.

Again, this is only a suggestion, respectfully offered.
Sorry if you mistook my post as a personal attack.

However when a poster with obvious lack of experience trashes a company that makes high quality components it's important to understand the basis of his/her comments. That was the reason for my request. Any component can sound poor in the wrong system.

Many readers rely on these threads for accurate information and it's unfortunate that folks making accusations such as this can harm or damage a fine company's reputation based on limited experience or conjecture.

I have many hours of listening time with both ARC and Rogue; each of them offer good value and high reliability.

No financial interest with either company
It is good to have plenty of checks and balances here and I appreciate Audiofeil pointing things out or making people aware of certain things. Everything needs to be put forth in the right context. I think using clarifying statements like "in my system" or "my room" is an easy way of keeping things in context. So that leaves an out that maybe in your room or your system you will get a different sound with the same component rather than making absolute statements about on product being outright better than the other.
I don't think this is a fair comparison. The Rogues are monoblocks and the output power rating wpc is significantly higher than the ARC. Both of these companies offer fine products. Audiofeil has already provided the best answer.
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Any legitimacy to the statement that the Rogue is made cheaply? Not a question of sound here, but parts, fit, trim etc. Even if so does not mean they do not sound as good as ARC, but is it really a lower level of construction (something worth paying extra for, for some folks.)
I have been incredibly impressed with the quality of Rogue Audio. Donc55 is being quite unfair in his basic subjective opinion, and for him to make a statement "Rougue is cheaply built !" (Donc55's mispelling of Rogue, not mine) is totally misguided. My Rogue amp is built extremely well, and has been quite successful at making beautiful sounding music...... Furthermore, Mark and Nick at Rogue Audio have always been there for me, and are personally involved in telephone conversations, guidance, and support of their terrific products. Both Rogue Audio and ARC make high quality audio gear !

So, Donc55, my advice to you is simple.....please refrain from bashing any audio company, and rather, please post insightful information on these forums which may help us in our attempts to further learn about our quest for musical excellence and expand our appreciation of this wonderful hobby. If the audio industry is to flourish and survive, we all need to be supportive of the hard working companies who are striving to make great products for us to enjoy. Whether it's Rogue Audio, ARC, Rega, Conrad-Johnson, Quicksilver, Vandersteen, or whatever, let's be positive in our thinking and be open to the fact that there's a lot of great equipment out there. Let's all be cool, and enjoy the music. HAPPY LISTENING !!
Thanks for the excellent responds. When I put Rogue vs. ARC, I don’t meant to create a fight between the companies but hoping to find out if Rogue being less expensive, can produce the same level of sound quality as the more expensive ARC? It would also be interesting if someone can compare their house sounds. (I have never listened to the Rogue). My speakers are Harbeths HL-5. I knew I will not go wrong with the ARC but would be interested if the Rogue can do the job as well?
Don_c55 comments are completely off base. I have listened to a system comprised of the Martin Logan Summits, Rogue Zeus amp and Hera preamp and that is the best I have heard Logans ever. And that includes when I have heard them driven by ARC gear. Rouge gear is also very well made I am thinking about picking up a Ares phonostage when they become available.
both are great companies . I worked part time at a dealer that sold both and are very familiar with both. I bought and still use Rogue m150s with revel f32s and it sounds great. I have four of my audio buddies that bought Rogue amps after hearing mine. I love them. I think they offer fantastic value for the money, and they keep upping the build quality with each new generation. check out the pictures of Rogues new five grand pre-amp , outstanding build, all aluminum case, mundorf supreme caps ect. The one feature that the Rogues have is being able to bias each output tube individually, and having lived with this I dont know if I could do without. Tubes do drift, even if it is a small amount, It is a real ear opener just how much sonic difference this makes, It sounds WAY better when they are all biased to the same number MA . Everything snaps into focus, clearer from to to bottom, and the sound stage is much better also. And you can play with the bias number, 45ma sounds different from 40ma or even 35ma, all which you can use to tailor the sound to your liking . The rogues are also very good for tube rolling , if your into that sort of thing. Do they sound as good as a pair of Ref 210 monos ? No they dont, but they are not 20,000 a pair either. So its not apples to apples. But they come closer than you might think, for 15,000 less. good luck, Chris

Your response is the only sane one on this thread!

I am an Engineer and very experienced audiophile for several decades.

ARC has been designing World Class equipment since the 70's and has thousands of satisfied customers and many, many great reviews!

Rogue has little following compared to ARC!
Don_c55, no doubt ARC is a much more established company and long-lasting for good reason - it is unquestionably one of the great companies, with some of thebest products in the history of hifi, but that doesn't speak to your claims that the Rogue product does not compare, as a piece of equipment, to ARC gear. I guess the reaction is the sense you were denigrating a small company that has been growing and getting better year by year, some people seem to really like their equipment. It seems like the have been moving more upscale over the past few years.
All these threads on comparisons or what is best is a matter of opinion. I am only relating my experience.

Do not get "bent out of shape" over it like Audiofeil.

Don, I feel very much at peace. And true, it is a forum for opinion. But you stated that the Rogue is cheaply built, question is if that is true? It's important because statements like that can affect a companies reputation, and it ends up getting repeated. I have no idea if Rogue is cheaply built or not (it may be), I do know their gear sounds pretty darn good at the shows, and their latest stuff looks exceptionally well built in terms of casing. etc. I certainly would be the last to argue that ARC is not top flight in terms of build, service, and for some sound.
I own Rogue M150's,Magnum 99 pre and Zeus .I am very happy with the sound of the equipment the customer service provided by Rogue Audio and as far as build quality,well the Zeus is a monster amp weighting close to 220lbs, with heavy 3/4" aluminum faceplate and all 1/2" thick aluminum casework.Very well build amp.I also happen to own the ARC LS3B preamp on a second system and that too is good equipment.For those bashing Rogue I say that's very unfair.
only sane thread ? depends on what your idea of crazy is. at a friends we had a shootout between arc hd220 vs rogue apollo monos both at ten grand, the rogues KILLED the hd 220 it was not even close, and in every way , from top to bottom. there, I said it.
My Rogue amps aren't for sale, and I've owned them a few years now. The ARC gear could be better?...I don't know... (but when I'm happy with a components sound, I don't care.)

As far as sound:

I've found the the Rogue amps have the "best quality" of solid state, blended with the "best quality" of tubes, or as you put it "modern tube sound"

If I won the lotto , a ARC ref 5, ref phono, and a pair of ref 210s might be in my future, but alas, I dont have such deep pockets yet. so the Rogue m150s stay, and make great music at my place. check out the Rogue m180 review in stereophile, a total rave.
ARC builds nice equipment, but their house sound is also a love/hate relationship. I have owned their upper end pre amps and older VT series power amps, I don't miss them either.

Like Chrissain pointed out, what great built quality when you are forced to bias 4 or 8 tubes with 1 trim pot? in addition, when a tube goes it will take out some resistors. I know better sounding amp that has fuse in the circuit and does not require soldering resistor everytime a tube arcs.

not here to bash ARC, though I don't care for the sound, but Don should learn to respect other products and back up his assault with real words.

and yes, I am an engineer too with many years of audiophile experiences.

Compared to the ARC amplifiers about which you asked, the Rogue M180s are faster, have a more tightly controlled bass, and possess more air in the top frequencies. The M180 build quality if fine as far as I'm concerned, and I am happy with mine.

I would recommend that you consider what sonic qualities you want from your system and get a preamp/amplifier combination that provides that sonic foundation and go from there. I prefer fast amplifiers; fast, articulate, well controlled bass; and the mid-range and treble that tubes provide. So, for my taste and budget, the Rogue 99 Magnum preamplifier and M180 amplifiers were a good place to start. From there...

I was building my system around Merlin TSM-SE speakers but changed to Silverline SR-17.5s that someone brought into my local shop - that is, I made the change after auditioning the Silverlines at home in my system. I replaced the crossover capacitor in the 17.5 with Mundorf silver/gold/oil, and the resistor with Mundorf as well.

I replaced the tubes in the 99 Magnum preamp with NOS RCA 5692s. I tried NOS Sylvania GTAs in the preamp both alone and in combination with other tubes, but they gave too much sibilance whether they were in the amplification or driver position. For my system, the all RCA 5692 configuration was my preference. If one's system runs a bit dark, then I would not hesitate to recommend the Sylvanias, but in combination with everything else that is going on in my system, I preferred the 5692s.

For the M180s, I had them delivered with the Gold Lion KT-88s rather than the KT-90s. I replaced the 12AU7 tubes with NOS RCAs, and as of this writing am playing with NOS RCA 5751s and NOS Telefunkens in 12AX7 position. I run the amps in triode 99% of the time.

For system interconnects I ended up with Kimber Selects. I auditioned some Audio Magic, but ended up deciding that I wanted to stay mainly with copper. However, that decision was more instinctive than as a result of hearing something in the Audio Magic that I didn't like. Audio Magic is really fine stuff and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to recommend any of it.

For speaker cables I auditioned vintage Audio Magic Sorcerer, another Audio Magic model that I don't recall, Cardas Cross, Kimber 8VS, 8TC, 12TC, Monocle-X, Select 3033 and Select 3035. For my system I preferred the 3035s and that's what I got. But I have heard the Audio Magic on lots of systems at the shop and they sound great. It's just for my system, I preferred 3035. The 12TC is really nice too.

I put in an audio grade outlet - and yes, it does make a difference.

Every speaker cable, power cord, CD player (Rega Apollo and Saturn - and I got the Saturn), and interconnects, I got to bring home and audition in my system. I had eliminated other CD players from contention in the shop.

Thinking back about it, but not necessarily with the M180s, at one point or another along the way I auditioned probably 10 speakers in my home.

I hope from this you take away the following: if possible, find a good shop and listen to the equipment you are considering. And by "good shop," to me that means they know how to put together a good, matched system for your budget. Also, at the price point about which we are discussing, my shop let me audition IN MY HOME anything I wanted to hear. And if they didn't have a particular cable in the shop, they called the manufacturer and got demo pieces.

My system in still breaking in and keeps getting better and better, but the sound has already been described a few times as addictive. I sure love it! But I arrived at where I am with my system by knowing what I wanted, having a good shop that knew not only how to match components but which components would provide the sound qualities I wanted, and trusting my ears more than what I read on the internet or from responses from people like me!

Good luck and I hope you end up with a system that gives you a lot of listening pleasure.
Thanks for your in-depth description on your post. What you said about the Rogue M180s being faster, have a more tightly controlled bass, and possess more air in the top frequencies - is the exact information I am hoping to find out as this will be a perfect match with the slower sounding Harbeths. As with its reliability, I have owned Audio Research VT amps before and to be frank, mine have gone for minor repairs quite a few times. I am convinced by the other posters that Rogue make quality products on par with AR. I will surely follow their products and hope to audition one in the near future.

Thanks for your reply and I am glad you found it useful. In my post I wanted to make sure that I answered your question right away before I started rambling!

The guys at my local shop speak very highly of Harbeth speakers so I'm sure you are going to build a very nice system.

Also, regarding Rogue, my experience with them has been excellent. Mark O'Brien has been quick to respond to my questions about tubes whether I was asking them via my dealer or just emailing him directly. Also, when we ordered my preamp, we asked for a non-standard feature to be added and Mark was very accommodating for what I consider a very moderate up-charge. I am very happy with my system.
I used to sell both ARC and Rogue for several years. The Rogue gear is nice for the money and more round and tube colored sounding. Bass is not as extended or tight, highs are not as extended or open, nor is there as much detail. But the sound was always nice and musical.

Build quality, parts quality and design sophistication with the Rogue are not at the level of ARC, regardless of how you feel about their sound. Rogue uses more off-the-shelf and ordinary parts including transformers, where ARC uses more specialized parts (output coupling caps) and proprietary custom designed transformers, nicer circuit boards with double wide traces, etc... Fit and finish with ARC is better and more consistent including the chassis and even shipping cartons and packing methods. ARC gear is quieter and more immune to noise issues even with their non-balanced gear.

Rogue gear is more like a good home brew design where they ordered circuit boards and metal work to make it more professional. ARC sets a standard for build quality and sound quality that other companies have tried to equal for decades.

Again, none of this means you have to prefer one sound over the other. But to me it is no contest.
I imagine Rogue would acknowledge as much on the parts side to the extent that they offer the Magnum upgrades to most if not all their products, but value on their standard offerings would seem to me their driving mission. I can't imagine anyone would ever argue that ARC is not one of the finest manaufacturers in the audio business (and has been for a very long time - an American Luxman?), aside from issues of sound, they make execeptional quality products and provide first-rate support (Rogue may too, but I've never owned their gear...)
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I would say not needing repair is better than getting repairs, with needing them and not getting them being the worst.
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They are both good but different along the line Dave Mitchell outlined above I believe from what I have seen and heard.

I've heard top notch results from a system using ARC sp17 pre-amp, a larger Rogue power amp (can't recall exact model) and PSB Synchrony speakers. Same system using Usher and Magnepan speakers was still OK but not as good to my ears.
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An Audio Research D350 came into my local shop recently to be sent out for repair. The owner had called ARC to arrange for them to repair it but they said that it was never a very good amp to begin with and recommended that he just buy something new. The owner was quite angered by the hassle he encountered and was not impressed that they said it was never a very good amp to begin with.

The amp was sent somewhere else and was repaired.
Tvad, I agree. I think circuits are much more important than parts in many, many cases. At least, they are more fundamental to the sound of a piece.
Reynolds853, Could it be that ARC's comment was more about the high cost of shipping & repairs for this heavy early SS model, relative to moving up to something newer? AFAIK, ARC still likes to promote its support for every product they ever made.

Also ARC's relatively brief flirtation with SS may account for their dismissive attitude about D350. IMO it is a shame that ARC pretty much abandoned SS after some promising early efforts. For example I have held on to a PH-2 MM phono stage that I purchased in the mid-'90s and have been experimentally updating with many better piece parts. The parts mods take the piece close to current reference standards, and IMO only serve to validate the strength of the original circuit design.
>>05-07-10: Pubul57
I think circuits are much more important than parts in many, many cases. At least, they are more fundamental to the sound of a piece.<<

That's very interesting.

I have a friend who is a real Jadis aficionado. Owns them, repairs them, and is intimately familiar with the products.

He loves the "house sound" despite the parts being very ordinary in his opinion.
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I think Nelson Pass might agree as well. Roger Modjeski too. Now, when marquis pricing is connected to those "high-end" passive parts with the promise of taking you yet one step closer to the absolute sound (without actually getting you there) it makes sense to sell with "Intel Inside". I'm no totally cynical on this, but I would take a great design over a box full of audio jewelry by a lesser designer any day of the week. So, I do agree, looking at parts is no way to tell if a design is good (to the ears).
No_Money, I have not yet heard ARC 450. Of the several Class D amps that I have heard the Veloce battery/tube/hybrid sounds best.

It may be that some tube amps can be satisfying even with middling piece parts, because tube circuits are generally simpler than SS(i.e. fewer total parts). Improving SS PH-2 entailed replacing three dozen filtering and coupling capacitors, among other changes.

Thank you for your reply, and you raise some very good points. I don't know why he had the experience he did, but it may indeed just have been an outcome of ARS' brief foray into SS. And to support your comment about good circuit designs being timeless, he had been happy with that amp for over thirty years and didn't want anything else.
Agree with better design over parts.
Not to run amuck, but the new digital integrated by ARC is quite a departure for them, the DSi200. Quite an interesting sound, and much better than their earlier SS. I've not heard the 450, I didn't know it was out yet.
Just want to throw in some positives for Rogue. I own a Cronus. It's built like a tank. I'm very impressed with the build quality of this piece in every way that I have seen. I cannot compare it to ARC, but on its own, my Cronus is highly impressive and I have no complaints.
First of all I do not have any extensive experience comparing Rogue and ARC amps. I switched from the Pass labs Aleph 5 to the Rogue M-150's several years ago and liked the change it brought to my system. I recently upgraded my M150 to M-180 very nice improvement. I just want to add support to what other Rogue owners have said, the sound is good, the service is good, the price is reasonable and another feature that has been touched upon is their flexibility, i.e you can use 6550, kt88, kt90 and EL34 output tubes, each output tube is individually biased so matched sets are not required, they can be switched from ultra linear to triode on the fly and they handle the very difficult load my Martin Logan Summits beautifully. Clearly I am a satisfied Rogue customer.
When rogue first started its true, they were good budget amps,but they were not built anywhere near arc standards. Rogue today however is a better company than it was then. Mark has learned a thing or two and now makes some of the best made gear in the industry. Look at the pictures on there web sight for the new five grand pre amp. outstanding build, all aluminum casework, mundorf supreme caps ect, check it out for your self. ARCs reference gear is better still, but for twice the price.

Sorry to chime in a different light. To some degree ARC's predicament is kind of they're prisoners of their own success, they have a large installed base of products out there. Their products never die and owners keep sending them back to be restored, refurbished, and go back to be used in their systems. So now they have a couple of units that are 20 yrs old and perhaps a newer piece which of course they want to at least visually look like it all goes together.

Under new ownership ARC's challenge going forward is to move on make changes and continue creating classics without upsetting a lot of owners.