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Old 04-15-2019, 09:05 PM
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ylee ylee is offline
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Default Rogue Audio RP-9 Preamp

Rogue Audio recently released the RP-9 preamp, which uses four 6H30P tubes from Russia. Apparently the basic architecture is similar to the RP-7 that contains four 12AU7 tubes, which I enjoyed very much over a year and a half period. In exchanging a couple emails with the firm's founder Mark O'Brien, I decided to do the RP-7 to RP-9 upgrade for $3k. I just got the upgraded unit back today after a 2 week turnaround from the day I dropped off the previous preamp at a UPS store.

Immediate impressions so far is that soundstaging is considerably more 3 dimensional with individual instruments easier to follow as a result. Given it's fresh from the factory with new board and tubes, it's going to take a while to burn in, so it hasn't assumed the full-blooded saturated tone the RP-7 had after that unit had burned in. If the RP-7 was any indication, the RP-9 will take better part of six months to burn in at the rate I listen to my system these days with international travel and family to spend time with. I'll post impressions in a few months once the preamp has settled in.
__________________
Primary System (Always in flux):
Analog Source: Rega RP10
Phono Preamp: Bryston BP2/PS3
Digital Software: Roon, Tidal Streaming
Digital Music Server: Melco N1A/2
Digital Sources: Totaldac d1-twelve SE MkII (factory upgraded from MKI) with "live power" 4 output power supply, Oppo UDP-205
Preamplifier: Rogue Audio RP-9 (factory upgraded from RP-7)
Amplifier: Vandersteen M5-HPA
Speakers: Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT w/IsoAcoustics Gaia 1 feet
Cabling: WW Platinum Starlight 7 digital wires, Totaldac Gigafilter USB filter, AQ Sky XLR, AQ Fire RCA
Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Oak spades ---> bi-wire spades
Power Cables: Esprit PC (for DAC), 2 WW Platinum Electra PC (Preamp/Phono Preamp), AQ NRG10 (Melco N1A/2), AQ Blizzard (Quatro Wood CT built-in subs)
Power Conditioning: 2 AQ Niagara 1000, 3 Oyaide R1 outlets
Sound Treatments: 23 ASC Tube Traps and 10 Panels
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2019, 07:11 AM
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Mikado463 Mikado463 is online now
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Congrats on the RP-9, the boys in Brodheadsville do build some nice stuff !
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2019, 07:50 AM
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Formerly YB-2 Formerly YB-2 is offline
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Congrats on your new preamp.
However, I wonder about the 6H30P tube.............. with it, one essentially can do little, if any, tube rolling (of which I'm a fan). BAT pretty much introduced the tube to the industry in the previous century and swears that the Soviet era ones are noticeably better sounding & higher quality then the current Russian tubes. However, finding NOS Soviet era 6H30P tubes costs as much as finding NOS Bugle Boys and similar tubes ($$$$). While it is easy to understand the marketing use of the 6H30P by BAT when they first come into the industry, I've never found a satisfactory answer as to why ARC, C-J, Rogue, etc., have moved to the 6H30P in recent years.
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2019, 11:05 PM
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ylee ylee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formerly YB-2 View Post
Congrats on your new preamp.
However, I wonder about the 6H30P tube.............. with it, one essentially can do little, if any, tube rolling (of which I'm a fan). BAT pretty much introduced the tube to the industry in the previous century and swears that the Soviet era ones are noticeably better sounding & higher quality then the current Russian tubes. However, finding NOS Soviet era 6H30P tubes costs as much as finding NOS Bugle Boys and similar tubes ($$$$). While it is easy to understand the marketing use of the 6H30P by BAT when they first come into the industry, I've never found a satisfactory answer as to why ARC, C-J, Rogue, etc., have moved to the 6H30P in recent years.
This is an interesting point. I estimated that its increasingly widespread implementation by many brands would result in an expanding field of choices - if not now, then in the future. We'll see I suppose.
__________________
Primary System (Always in flux):
Analog Source: Rega RP10
Phono Preamp: Bryston BP2/PS3
Digital Software: Roon, Tidal Streaming
Digital Music Server: Melco N1A/2
Digital Sources: Totaldac d1-twelve SE MkII (factory upgraded from MKI) with "live power" 4 output power supply, Oppo UDP-205
Preamplifier: Rogue Audio RP-9 (factory upgraded from RP-7)
Amplifier: Vandersteen M5-HPA
Speakers: Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT w/IsoAcoustics Gaia 1 feet
Cabling: WW Platinum Starlight 7 digital wires, Totaldac Gigafilter USB filter, AQ Sky XLR, AQ Fire RCA
Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Oak spades ---> bi-wire spades
Power Cables: Esprit PC (for DAC), 2 WW Platinum Electra PC (Preamp/Phono Preamp), AQ NRG10 (Melco N1A/2), AQ Blizzard (Quatro Wood CT built-in subs)
Power Conditioning: 2 AQ Niagara 1000, 3 Oyaide R1 outlets
Sound Treatments: 23 ASC Tube Traps and 10 Panels
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2019, 11:07 PM
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ylee ylee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
Congrats on the RP-9, the boys in Brodheadsville do build some nice stuff !
Oh yes. Terrific bang for the buck. Great sound quality and made in the US. Their products seem to be consistently musical and enjoyable.
__________________
Primary System (Always in flux):
Analog Source: Rega RP10
Phono Preamp: Bryston BP2/PS3
Digital Software: Roon, Tidal Streaming
Digital Music Server: Melco N1A/2
Digital Sources: Totaldac d1-twelve SE MkII (factory upgraded from MKI) with "live power" 4 output power supply, Oppo UDP-205
Preamplifier: Rogue Audio RP-9 (factory upgraded from RP-7)
Amplifier: Vandersteen M5-HPA
Speakers: Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT w/IsoAcoustics Gaia 1 feet
Cabling: WW Platinum Starlight 7 digital wires, Totaldac Gigafilter USB filter, AQ Sky XLR, AQ Fire RCA
Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Oak spades ---> bi-wire spades
Power Cables: Esprit PC (for DAC), 2 WW Platinum Electra PC (Preamp/Phono Preamp), AQ NRG10 (Melco N1A/2), AQ Blizzard (Quatro Wood CT built-in subs)
Power Conditioning: 2 AQ Niagara 1000, 3 Oyaide R1 outlets
Sound Treatments: 23 ASC Tube Traps and 10 Panels
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2019, 07:33 AM
Curio Curio is offline
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Hello Ylee,
Any news about progress in sound of the new Rogue Audio RP-9?
I just asked availability and price to our Italian Rogue Audio Dealer ;-)
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  #7  
Old 04-30-2019, 12:01 AM
ylee's Avatar
ylee ylee is offline
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I've been in Europe since last Thursday. That said, up to the day I left it was sounding fuller. Bass took on a heft after about 10 hours of listening. Transparency across the frequency range was there from the get go. I discover more of what's in the music I listen to. To my ears the 9 is a distinct improvement over the 7, which I was quite happy with. The 9 sounds more refined.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curio View Post
Hello Ylee,
Any news about progress in sound of the new Rogue Audio RP-9?
I just asked availability and price to our Italian Rogue Audio Dealer ;-)
__________________
Primary System (Always in flux):
Analog Source: Rega RP10
Phono Preamp: Bryston BP2/PS3
Digital Software: Roon, Tidal Streaming
Digital Music Server: Melco N1A/2
Digital Sources: Totaldac d1-twelve SE MkII (factory upgraded from MKI) with "live power" 4 output power supply, Oppo UDP-205
Preamplifier: Rogue Audio RP-9 (factory upgraded from RP-7)
Amplifier: Vandersteen M5-HPA
Speakers: Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT w/IsoAcoustics Gaia 1 feet
Cabling: WW Platinum Starlight 7 digital wires, Totaldac Gigafilter USB filter, AQ Sky XLR, AQ Fire RCA
Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Oak spades ---> bi-wire spades
Power Cables: Esprit PC (for DAC), 2 WW Platinum Electra PC (Preamp/Phono Preamp), AQ NRG10 (Melco N1A/2), AQ Blizzard (Quatro Wood CT built-in subs)
Power Conditioning: 2 AQ Niagara 1000, 3 Oyaide R1 outlets
Sound Treatments: 23 ASC Tube Traps and 10 Panels
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2019, 05:43 PM
mulveling mulveling is online now
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I got an RP-9 as well - actually I think the 1st one by serial #. It's definitely benefited from the first 100 hours burn-in. I've been a bit lackadaisical with the listening and burn-in of this unit, because I already have an ARC Reference 6 fully burned in (around 2,000 hours) that is wonderful. However I've loved Rogue gear for a long time - including their past Hera II preamp, and currently Apollo Dark monoblocks - so I wanted to give their new flagship preamp a chance.

My system is a torture test for preamp noise-floor, with high-power & high-gain Apollo Dark monos and 96 dB/Watt Tannoy Canterbury GR - the ARC is a clear winner here - absolutely dead quiet at any distance from the speakers. VERY impressive! The RP-9, as the Hera II, yields some audible tube rush noise from my seating. It's generally obscured by vinyl groove noise (this is a vinyl-only system), but it's there. I felt the noise floor was much worse before burn-in, but then I'm not sure how burn-in could affect it. Whatever the cause, fortunately it's not a deal breaker anymore, and it now seems a bit quieter than my memory of the Hera II. More importantly, the RP-9 does not act like an antenna for exciting tube microphony - that was a big issue with the Hera II!

The RP-9's soundstage is excellent; I feel roughly on par with the REF6. The detail retrieval is truly excellent; in fact in certain ways I feel details leap out of the speakers a bit MORE than the REF6. Bass in particular is a bit cleaner and punchier than the REF6, with a little more impact too. The overall clarity is stunning, and very impressive. I have to say these aspects have now developed to a level where I'm getting a little addicted to re-listening to my vinyl library with the RP-9.

The RP-9's midrange is very good, but a touch drier and missing the slight kiss of warmth of the very natural sounding REF6. On the other end of the spectrum, I've borrowed a VAC Renaissance V which takes its midrange fully into "romantic" warmth territory, which is simply amazingly beautiful for some music - but this degree & flavor of romanticism worked to the detriment of hard rock and heavy metal music, which I listen to frequently (an aberration fortunately NOT replicated by VAC's phenomenal phono stages, which is why I happily own the Renaissance SE phono). Both the RP-9 and REF6 (and the VAC phono) can rock the hell out!

The RP-9's treble is also very good, but with just a touch more treble energy than I'd like for my current system balance - keep in mind though, my system has been voiced around the REF6 for 1.5 years, and I've grappled with an excess of treble energy on and off through this time. So I do prefer the REF6 in this aspect. The Renaissance V was even a bit more relaxed up top, and even more to my liking here (but the lack of rock-ability was a deal-breaker). If anything kicks me back to the REF6, it will be this. But who knows, maybe a NOS RCA or Mullard tube sub in the phono can kick things back to level with the RP-9?

I don't have any strong external motivation - financial or otherwise - to choose one preamp or the other (that includes the Renaissance V). I simply want to choose the best pre for my listening enjoyment given my system and listening habits, up to 15K MSRP. Hopefully I can narrow back down to one preamp in the next couple months. The REF6 has been a proven winner in its 1.5 years here, and I can't discount that.

Last edited by mulveling; 05-30-2019 at 05:56 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-12-2019, 03:08 PM
ylee's Avatar
ylee ylee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
I got an RP-9 as well - actually I think the 1st one by serial #. It's definitely benefited from the first 100 hours burn-in. I've been a bit lackadaisical with the listening and burn-in of this unit, because I already have an ARC Reference 6 fully burned in (around 2,000 hours) that is wonderful. However I've loved Rogue gear for a long time - including their past Hera II preamp, and currently Apollo Dark monoblocks - so I wanted to give their new flagship preamp a chance.

My system is a torture test for preamp noise-floor, with high-power & high-gain Apollo Dark monos and 96 dB/Watt Tannoy Canterbury GR - the ARC is a clear winner here - absolutely dead quiet at any distance from the speakers. VERY impressive! The RP-9, as the Hera II, yields some audible tube rush noise from my seating. It's generally obscured by vinyl groove noise (this is a vinyl-only system), but it's there. I felt the noise floor was much worse before burn-in, but then I'm not sure how burn-in could affect it. Whatever the cause, fortunately it's not a deal breaker anymore, and it now seems a bit quieter than my memory of the Hera II. More importantly, the RP-9 does not act like an antenna for exciting tube microphony - that was a big issue with the Hera II!

The RP-9's soundstage is excellent; I feel roughly on par with the REF6. The detail retrieval is truly excellent; in fact in certain ways I feel details leap out of the speakers a bit MORE than the REF6. Bass in particular is a bit cleaner and punchier than the REF6, with a little more impact too. The overall clarity is stunning, and very impressive. I have to say these aspects have now developed to a level where I'm getting a little addicted to re-listening to my vinyl library with the RP-9.

The RP-9's midrange is very good, but a touch drier and missing the slight kiss of warmth of the very natural sounding REF6. On the other end of the spectrum, I've borrowed a VAC Renaissance V which takes its midrange fully into "romantic" warmth territory, which is simply amazingly beautiful for some music - but this degree & flavor of romanticism worked to the detriment of hard rock and heavy metal music, which I listen to frequently (an aberration fortunately NOT replicated by VAC's phenomenal phono stages, which is why I happily own the Renaissance SE phono). Both the RP-9 and REF6 (and the VAC phono) can rock the hell out!

The RP-9's treble is also very good, but with just a touch more treble energy than I'd like for my current system balance - keep in mind though, my system has been voiced around the REF6 for 1.5 years, and I've grappled with an excess of treble energy on and off through this time. So I do prefer the REF6 in this aspect. The Renaissance V was even a bit more relaxed up top, and even more to my liking here (but the lack of rock-ability was a deal-breaker). If anything kicks me back to the REF6, it will be this. But who knows, maybe a NOS RCA or Mullard tube sub in the phono can kick things back to level with the RP-9?

I don't have any strong external motivation - financial or otherwise - to choose one preamp or the other (that includes the Renaissance V). I simply want to choose the best pre for my listening enjoyment given my system and listening habits, up to 15K MSRP. Hopefully I can narrow back down to one preamp in the next couple months. The REF6 has been a proven winner in its 1.5 years here, and I can't discount that.
Thanks for posting a nice review and comparison. I considered getting the Ref6, but I suspected the RP-9 would be competitive in certain areas. It seems Rogue components punch above their price class and given how much I enjoyed the RP-7 I knew I'd be happy with the more expensive preamp. So far I'm finding it highly resolving and weighty at the same time. Mine is still burning in, but so far so good.
__________________
Primary System (Always in flux):
Analog Source: Rega RP10
Phono Preamp: Bryston BP2/PS3
Digital Software: Roon, Tidal Streaming
Digital Music Server: Melco N1A/2
Digital Sources: Totaldac d1-twelve SE MkII (factory upgraded from MKI) with "live power" 4 output power supply, Oppo UDP-205
Preamplifier: Rogue Audio RP-9 (factory upgraded from RP-7)
Amplifier: Vandersteen M5-HPA
Speakers: Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT w/IsoAcoustics Gaia 1 feet
Cabling: WW Platinum Starlight 7 digital wires, Totaldac Gigafilter USB filter, AQ Sky XLR, AQ Fire RCA
Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Oak spades ---> bi-wire spades
Power Cables: Esprit PC (for DAC), 2 WW Platinum Electra PC (Preamp/Phono Preamp), AQ NRG10 (Melco N1A/2), AQ Blizzard (Quatro Wood CT built-in subs)
Power Conditioning: 2 AQ Niagara 1000, 3 Oyaide R1 outlets
Sound Treatments: 23 ASC Tube Traps and 10 Panels
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  #10  
Old 08-23-2019, 06:11 PM
ggcaudio ggcaudio is offline
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How would you compare the Rouge RP 9 to the Hera 2 - aside from the fact that it is quieter. I found that the Hera 2 had an outstanding sound stage. Holographic with detailed imagining which kept getting better as more power was introduced into the system. Have you kept your RP 9's, how is it integrating into your systems?
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