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Rogue Audio Sphinx V3 Review (Tube Amplifier)

aslan7

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When people argue about the validity of technical measurements versus subjectivity I always think of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. Visually it looks like a perfectly symmetrical structure. But when one starts measuring it turns out that the columns aren’t evenly spaced, the plinth isn’t parallel to the ground, and there is much asymmetry. The architects with great deliberation and ingenuity accounted for the site’s irregularities and corrected them so the design appears perfectly proportional. I don’t think it wise to conclude the Parthenon is a bad building. Now making spurious claims and charging one 2k for a cable that doesn’t do anything different than a $2 one is another matter.
 

gsp1971

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Gramophone is a wonderful publication and very useful in providing guidance for buying and rating classical performances. But they are really biased toward all things British, at least when I subscribed from 1990 to 2005. Delius and Finzi, ugh.

All British Hi-Fi Magazines are biased towards all things British, including What Hi-Fi, Hi-Fi World, Hi-Fi News, and Hi-Fi+. I was reading all of them at one point and I could tell there we biased towards British Hi-Fi. Not surprised since this where the bulk of their advertising revenue was coming from.
 

egellings

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The pricy cable doesn't need to do what a cable does better than a cheapie can. The buyer just has to be led to believe that it does, and then you have a done deal. If there are differences, they will be microscopic.
 

Wes

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medicine is a clinical practice, much of it based science
 

raif71

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Gramophone is a wonderful publication and very useful in providing guidance for buying and rating classical performances. But they are really biased toward all things British, at least when I subscribed from 1990 to 2005. Delius and Finzi, ugh.
I see. I haven't read any of their reviews but I've seen some what hi-fi reviews and I get a feeling that they too are biased towards British manufacturers though I could be wrong :)
 

Frank Dernie

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All British Hi-Fi Magazines are biased towards all things British, including What Hi-Fi, Hi-Fi World, Hi-Fi News, and Hi-Fi+. I was reading all of them at one point and I could tell there we biased towards British Hi-Fi. Not surprised since this where the bulk of their advertising revenue was coming from.
Well no real surprise there!
American HiFi magazines are mainly biased towards American brands, French HiFi magazines are mainly biased towards French brands and so forth.
There are a few brands which are widely distributed and heavily promoted worldwide but mostly the magazines concentrate on brands readily available to their readers locally.
Even in countries without many HiFi brands the local importers will make review items of what they distribute available.
The "image" of a brand in a country is heavily influenced by this. When I went to work in France 30 years ago the high end amplifier well reviewed in UK magazines here was Krell, it was heavily pushed by the most influential importer. We never read about Mark Levinson.
In French magazines Krell had a somewhat "meh" image but Mark Levinson was the dream choice, yet again an influential distributor.

The magazines are servicing local readership.

This site is US based and so it inevitably has a strong US supply bias. Probably a bit less than ideal for international internet subscribers.
 
OP
amirm

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American HiFi magazines are mainly biased towards American brands, French HiFi magazines are mainly biased towards French brands and so forth.
I have not seen this bias in American rags. They tend to think foreign gear is exotic so doesn't come with a penalty. Definitely not in the high-end audio.
 

Frank Dernie

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I have not seen this bias in American rags. They tend to think foreign gear is exotic so doesn't come with a penalty. Definitely not in the high-end audio.
Really?
I haven't been in the USA for over 10 years but used to visit several times a year and with the exception of Stereophile and Absolute Sound all the magazines had brands I had frequently never heard of but widely available in the US.
 

aslan7

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In the case of Gramophone they have a strong preference for British performances of classical music also. Often they have a good point but one has to keep that in mind. They also give the reader a good evaluation of the recording characteristics and quality. Anyone presented with the problem of having to choose one of the many recordings of a famous classical piece does well to consult Gramophone.
 

jaykay77

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This is a great thread for subjective vs. objective.
Thanks to Amir, I've learned that I prefer subjectivism when it comes to audio equipment.
I like the "house sound"...for speakers, anyway.

For legitimacy - I bought both F208 revels and also M106. They sounded great. I tried to fall in love them and failed I could only like them a lot - after numerous amps, preamps, dacs, audyssey, dirac...They were good! But not bringing out the emotion I've loved in my equpment...So I went back to Dynaudio - got dynaudio special 40's and now i'm never going back.
 
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terfenol-D

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If the sonic difference is not audible, what does 'like better' refer to? aesthetics? connectivity? Common economic sense would argue that if A and B sound the same, and connectivity is not an issue, buy the cheaper one.

Behavioral Economics has basically proven common economic sense is rarely, if ever, followed.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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I do see what you’re saying, but I think it is important to review some of these types of products. Not because we expect to uncover SOTA measurements, but to highlight what type of performance you are actually paying for with some of these types of products.
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I think it's important to show how unrelated numbers mean to sound. My tube amp sounds better than my non-tube amp, and it measures the worse (I can hear the hum).
 

jaykay77

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I think it's important to show how unrelated numbers mean to sound. My tube amp sounds better than my non-tube amp, and it measures the worse (I can hear the hum).

I hear ya! Dean and Frank, Norah and all my favorite singers sound absolutely incredible on my 1962 fisher tubes.
 

egellings

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I have home brew tube power amps and preamp, and they know the words and don't hum along with the music at all. Tube equipment (line level & power amp) can be made to be silent with no signal. Granted, they will not be as silent as good S.S. designs, but once my ear is a foot away from the speakers, the slight hiss (no audible hum present) is inaudible. It's a bit trickier with phono stages, however, and I use low noise JFETs as the 'first violin' in my phono stage, bootstrapped and then further amplified & EQ'ed with additional op amps, in my case the sonically incomparable AD797. That op amp just isn't there, sonically. It does nothing to sound signals but enlarge them. I'm tickled pink with what they do to my nun handles.
 

Mikey33_1

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Great. Thanks for the measurements.

how does it sound? Despite (or because) of the measurements


So, I just want to throw out a non-professional opinion. I have the V3 with upgraded tubes (Brimars) paired with a REL T7 and some repurposed (found for free and wired for stereo) Artison Portrait Speakers the whole setup is in a small room Frankenstein setup, with a "workhorse" amp. It sounds absolutely fantastic! I LOVE listening to it...

Sounded a little "flat/thin" (I imagine that's the class D) but that disappeared with the addition of the sub. And I imagine if you have bass-y speakers you wouldn't notice either. This amp is not for the purist. It's for the intermediate audiophile that wants everything in one box.

My biggest complaint is sometimes when switching back and forth between channels it doesn't quite switch and you have to jiggle the knob (probably because that long rod inside) but that's an engineering issue, not an audible one.

What I like about Rogue is the option to upgrade to new versions for $500. looking forward to v4!

PS. It runs very cool, which I love, because I don't worry about leaving it on...


unnamed.jpg
 
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NTK

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I'd imagine, by the conventional ASR understanding of speaker designs and the effect on directivity, placing these Artisan Portrait on its side is, I'd say, rather suboptimal.

artisan portrait.PNG
 

helom

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I owned the V2 version once upon a time and can tell you that poor bandwidth is more audible than one would expect even with these measurements.
 
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