Upgrading the "original " Rogue Sphinx integrated amp to the new version 2 (v-2)??


I have the original Rogue "Sphinx" integrated amp which was introduced approx. 4 years ago. There are upgrades now available for $400.00 plus round trip shipping. The upgrades focus on headphone output level;  increasing output level of phono stage, and general noise floor reduction,  Has any original  Rogue. Sphinx owner had these upgrades done?? and is it WORTH IT, THAT IS, demonstrates a noticeable improvement in sound quality. especially noise floor

I ask because the upgrades with  shipping will cost $600 from Rogue's factory in Pennsylvania to the West Coast ( they will not pay for return shipping).  It is a nice integrated amp, but no classic. I have considered taking that $600 and adding maybe $1100, and buying something new or used mint that is superior in sound quality for around $1800-$2000. Must have a excellent phono stage that can do both MM/MC, and be 100-150 RMS.   All suggestions and recommendation are welcomed.   Thank you

sunnyjim
You can always sell the one you have for a minimum of $600 or more and buy the new model that lists for $1295. If you do that it will only cost you $700 or less for the V2. Just an option of course ! 
 This place has free shipping.
http://hifiheaven.net/shop/Rogue-Audio/Rogue-Audio-Sphinx-V2-Integrated-Amplifier-Display-Model

YB,  Thank you for the suggestions. I have carefully considered both options. I am vaguely familiar with the Hi-Fi Heaven outlet, but they do seem to have a large selection of products. At this point, I need just some honest opinion if the Rogue V.2 offers better sound quality than the original,... beside the other convenience upgrades to the headphone out put and phono stage. 

If not, then I will look for something (used and) much better than even the Rogue V.2 on Audiogon to stretch my dollars. However, finding.... "the better to much better sound".... could  come at a very high premium.     

Another option is keep what you have and get a better power amp using the preamp out on the Rogue.
I think your limiting factor here is probably the phono stage.  The number of integrateds at the 2k or below price with even a decent MC/MM phono stage is fairly small.  The best I have heard is the Unison Research Unico.  Other brands with a phono stage that get good reviews in your price range are Rega and Croft, although the Croft has only an MM stage (not sure about the Rega).  My thoughts would be to look for a good integrated without worrying about the phono stage and add a solid, inexpensive outboard stage like the Vincent PHO8 (I LOVED mine), iFi Phono, etc.  I also like Yogiboy's suggestion.  The Rogue Sphinx apparently has an excellent preamp stage.  Upgrading the power amp may be all you need.  Best, Scott

Guys, unless I missed something( and I will check)  the original  Rogue Sphinx which I have DOES NOT have a pre-amp out to accommodate a separate power amp.  I am sure THE new version of the Sphinx just called v.2 has a pre-out. 

I am not sure I totally agree with smrex13 about the Rogue pre-amp stage.  Early reviews of the v.2 by Steve Guttenberg claimed that Mark O'Brien head design of the Rogue products, redsigned the entire PC board to reduce the noise floor,.... and also increase the gain for the headphone amp, and also the phono stage.  So even if I am wrong about the pre-amp out on my Sphinx and there is one, I don't see what benefits I gain from buying a better power amp.

Well if you like your Sphinx and want the additional upgrades than I would do as yogiboy suggested and buy the new version and sell the older one.

Though I have listened to several Rouge products and think Rouge a great company to deal with, I have no experience with the Sphinx.  I therefore can't offer insight as to the 'value' of the upgrades. Much might depend on system and need for the extra headphone gain.

I was referring to a review that I had read of the Sphinx V1 in which the reviewer raved about the preamp section of the Rogue.  So I assume there is a preamp out.  He claimed that the preamp was the strength of the amp and that the power section was grainy compared to the amp he hooked it up to.  I'll see if I can find the specific review.

Best, Scott
From dagogo.com:  

"Still, if you only use the Sphinx as an integrated amp you will have no idea how good the preamp and phono stage are. The preamp and phono stage of the Sphinx are the reason to buy it, it really is that good. When I came out of its variable outputs into my Wavac EC-300B, I was genuinely shocked. No, it wasn’t in the same league with the Shindo preamps or the Allnic phono stages and line stages. Still, it was darn good."

image: http://cdn.stereophile.com/images/814rogue.bac.jpg


It has two ,one is fixed and one is variable !
@yogiboy @sunnyjim stumbled upon this thread...I have bought several items from HiFi Heaven. They are top notch for sure. I typically work with Jim. Never had a negative or even average experience. All have been great. Just my two cents.
Speaking with Rogue direct, the phono preamp in the Cronus Magnum (KT120) which I am currently as an amp/linestage is on par with external phono preamps that cost $300-$400. I am not sure of preamp used in the Sphinx.

If you are looking for an upgrade, typically you can have a Cronus Magnum used for a few hundred more than a new Sphinx 2.
If one uses the Sphinx as a preamp, does it serve as an all tube unit? If so I might be inclined to try that approach,driving a SS amp and keeping the Sphinx a while longer with little additional depreciation. 

That said, regarding the original question as to the value of the version 2 over the original, I believe one would have to compare within their own system, given that the sonic signature of both units would likely be similar. Still think a lot of the perceived value in the V2 would depend on the need for the addition gain in the headphone amp and the phonostage.


Mesch, And as you noted, the need for upgrade would be based on the addition in the headphone and phono stage.   That is convenient plus the lower noise floor, but not exactly an improvement in sound. Unless, we want to argue that a lower noise will make a "big difference" in the overall sound. However, I don't believe the upgrades are worth  $500 which includes  shipping


BTW, for those who asked before or confirmed the feature, the output on the Rogue v1 is solely for a subwoofer and has NO application as a pre-amp out.  

I had the original and didn’t care for the sound. Plus, it malfunctioned badly. I may have had a lemon, who knows.
If I were you, for the money you’re talking, I’d try the Job INTegrated.
It replaced $10,000 worth of stuff in my system and sounds just as good and in some ways, better.
Another thing, the Clones 25i I had smoked the sphinx in truthful tone and natural sound. I would take that over the sphinx in a heartbeat.
But that’s me. And that's half the price of the Job, and a fraction of the price of the sphinx.
To  Devilboy:  God bless, but I have never heard of either of these companies. Do you think they will still be in business in 5 years??   But, I will check them out on AG's directory.
Devilboy, Can't find a reference to the so-called Clones 25i.  Please don't pull my chain about the topic.
Sunnyjim, I've been a member for 10 years. You really think I'm "pulling your chain"?
Google 6moons review clones 25i.
And even without the 6moons search, I found clones audio easily.
Gimme a break.
Also, if you only ever read the mainstream audio publications, all you'll ever know of are the overpriced mainstream crap out there.
Put those rags down and expose yourself to companies that don't pay for full page advertising to get a good review.
Exactly devilboy.

Ok, Devil boy, chill.  I did not intend to offend you or Clones Inc,. but you have to admit that a  company called Clones, or product called Clones 25i  seems a big comical.  However, I will google or gargle up the Clones review on Six Moons. etc. 

As I noted before will these companies be in business in the next 5 years regardless of whether they made the review pages of the major audio rags or not. I am thinking of switching my subscriptions to "Muscle Cars"  and the scouting magazine" Boy's Life"       

To Devil boy. Checked out Clones Audio, and the price is reasonable for separates of AP2 pre-amp and 55PM mono power blocks. However, regardless of their great sound which seems to have impressed everyone at 6 Moons publication, the AP2 pre-amp has no phono or headphone amp. I could always buy an almost equivalent phono stage to much touted  PA1 and PS, like the Vincent two piece set usually on sale. However, the Rogue has a good to very good tube  head phone amp. I only use phones at night to listen to classical, but if I search for  the phono stage and head phone amp to accommodate AP-2, I would easily spend $600-800 for used items.  Worst case scenario, the pre-amp at $1120  plus 700.00 more for the other accessories, and the ticket is nearly $2000, and still no amp.

It  seems much more reasonable  if I was to buy separates instead of 25i integrated which also offers no phono or head phone amp, I would be better served finding an excellent pre-amp with at least a good headphone.  or a pre-amp with both good  phono and  headphone stages.  Unfortunately, the amps may not  match well with the output impedance of other pre-amps.

In some of the reviews, the name "Furjoe" is often referred to, who I assume is the design engineer who have designed  the 55PM  mono amps to work optimally. with ONLY his mono blocks.  Despite the reasonable pricing, this company's products are becoming less and less interesting to me because of their lack of utility functions. 

Therefore, DB, considering what you may feel is the ripoff of the big ticket items recommended by so-called major "ragazines"  , I am not convinced these products serve my sonic and/ or simple functional needs. however,  I don't need or want an inboard DAC,  HT loop, multiple inputs for several subs that many of the big ticket components feel is needed by consumers....  BS, they are just ratching up the retail price. and misdirecting manufacturing costs that could be used for better parts,  mil spec transformers, etc.  

I can appreciate Clones Audio desire to strive for the best sound without the bells and whistle, but a few are necessary.  BTW, there is also no guarantee the mono amp will sound good,  or have enough power with either the Maggie .7 or the 1.7i    I think I will pass at this moment, unless I hear them at some audio store in SoCal, and am convinced of their superior sound quality to Rogue, PASS. ARC. etc..

Sunnyjim, I have been away for several days traveling. I like your thinking regarding making a significant upgrade. Given that you seem happy with your Sphinx and have owned it 4 years you could keep it a couple more without it losing much value to depreciation. I would start a 'piggybank' for this purpose and continue research towards an upgrade that will make a greater impact. 
Thank you the response. What you said makes good sense. There is an upgrade path which cost about $500, but all that merely get me more out put on phono stage and more on the head stage (I don't need more there because i have a pair of AKG 240 Reference phones which are very good.)  Rogue HQ claims that improvements to the phono circuit  provides a 3.5mV range for highout coils. That will work with Dynavector 10X5, but with the Denon 101R which has a ..035.mV  output or the  Ortofon Quintet Red which is at.. 03.mV. I need to see some definitive proof that this amp upgrades provide a lower noise floor.  Rogue screwed up by not providing a simple pre-amp out on this integrated. I guess they want customers to buy their new line of pre-amps. Therefore, I  believe the upgrades will only  be marginally helpful..