What tube preamp is a step up from Rogue Magnum 99


Hi,

I wanted to try a tube preamp as I think my system sounds a little bit lean.

My local dealer let me take a Rogue Magnum 99 for an in home test.

In my system, the Rogue was an improvement because there was higher resolution and a more live presence (probably a lower noise floor with the separate power supply?) and better bass.

However, I am wondering what other preamps excel in providing a great "live" presence and bass.

I have read about the Cary SLP 98 and the BAT VK 51SE but I do not have access to try these out at home. The reviews seem to single these out as being a little bit warmer than, say, ARC equipment, and they are supposed to do bass well.

While I could purchase the Rogue now I want to avoid the upgrade in the future. I would rather spend more now and definitely move up.

I would appreciate any learned comments to help me out with this decision.

My system is:
Ric Schultz modified Oppo 105,
W4S STP SE Preamp
W4S ST1000 Amplifier
Cullen Cables
Maggie 3.6 Speakers

Thanks!
dsper
I have owned both the Cary SLP-98P and the BAT VK-51SE. I don't know what your price range is, but for me, I would try to find a VAC preamp in my price range. The BAT will do best in the bass department, I haven't heard anypreamp best a BAT in bass performace. However, if you are looking for a "live" presence, or natural sound, I would go with VAC.
I used to own the 99 Magnum. It was a nice pre. In the never ending pursuit of something better I sold it. I also sold its replacement and the next replacement after that one. I have been living happily with a Modwright SWL 9.0 SE for the last 3 years and love it. Best pre that I have owned,and they come up used from time to time at reasonable prices. Good luck with your quest.
Get the Rogue Athena. The 99 is nice, but the Athena is way better sounding and well worth the price difference (which Rogue hasn't ever raised, yet). I also prefer the Athena/Hera to the VAC Renaissance III line stage -- however the sonic signature is obviously different there.
Since you liked the Rogue as much as you did, you may want to check out their new pre's that are coming. The RP5 should be out very soon.
I 2nd the Modwright! Good call Winoguy. But, I find that I like the Manley Labs Jumbo Shrimp even better, (I loved my Modwright SWL 9.0, My dad has it now) or Manley Labs 300B! All of these preamps use a different tube set but they all sound warm detailed liquid with lots of rise and decay and proper TONE, and PRAT too! I do not like the BAT with 6H30's it sounds un- musical and Dry with no top end (at least in my system) to the point where I can't listen to it at all.
Try plugging your Oppo directly into your amp and see how it sounds. Better or not?
I'm a Rogue fan too, but frankly I'm uninterested in a new 3K+ preamp that uses a quad of 12AU7, as their RP5 does. Seems they haven't done any new flagship-level tube stuff since the Apollo.

The 6H30 based Hera (Athena too) works magic in my system -- no lack of musicality there. There was no question when I swapped a Hera I in for my 99 Magnum 5 years ago -- the 99 went up for sale immediately. The Renaissance III was a worthy challenger, and very musical, but in the end I felt the Hera was more detailed and tonally accurate. I still miss the MM stage in that Ren III though; that was a GREAT built-in phono stage.
Thank you for the responses!

My continuing saga.

I take the Rogue Magnum 99 back to my local dealer and ask him what he considers a step up from the Rogue that I could try as an in home audition. He suggests that I might try an ARC LS26 that has just come in on trade. He also points out an Asethetix Janus but the number of tubes (12) sort of scares me away.

We talk a while and he asks me if I want to consider an amplifier change in addition to, or rather than, a preamp change. He says that I will not know how it sounds until I try. He points out a pair of Classe CAM200 monoblocks that had come in on trade and said maybe I would like to try them.

So...I take home the Classe CAM 200's plus the ARC LS26 preamp.

I get home and ask myself where should I start? I decide to switch out my W4S ST1000 for the Classe monoblocks thinking it would be easier than switching out the preamp (it was not) plus I was interested to see what would happen with an amp change.

Well, my oh my - surprise!

The Classe CAM 200's completely changed the sound of my system. It was definitely warmer, there was better depth of field, and the bass had more texture but with less slam than what I hear with the W4S ST1000. There seemed to be more live presence/detail as well, which I suppose is due to the signal to noise of 135 dbl for the Classe monoblocks. I think that this also tells me that the W4S STP SE is very quiet as well.

In short, I think that the Classe monoblcoks could be an improvement and I ought to hang onto the W4S pre a while longer while I go down the amp rabbit hole.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?