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Test Driving a new preamp


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Today marks the first full day I've been able to audition a new preamp. The local store took back a nearly new Rogue 99 Magnum on trade and are looking to sell it for $1,000 less than a new unit. It's new enough the tubes are still under warranty!

In any event, my opinion so far is this excellent tube preamp shows my 25+ year old Heathkit AP-1800 is far from a slouch, but also proves it's far from the best preamp that exists. My wife loves Il Divo's rendition of Silent Night, but hearing it thru the Rogue, she sat there and cried she was so moved.

And as I type this, my darling wife, who claims to have bad hearing, is trying out more CDs, something she's never done before.

So far, the most stunning difference is the phono section. Absolutely stunning compared to what I've been listening to.

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After listening to the Rogue for a bit over a day, I decided to switch back to my old preamp and see if my ears could hear a change. My wife had an honest desire to claim the Rogue the equal to our existing unit and listened with serious bias. After no more than 90 seconds of Il Divo's Silent Night being played thru the old preamp, she became upset, and finaly told me to switch back to the Rogue. Saddly, she had to point out what she wasn't hearing.

Specific examples; with the Rogue preamp, not only did you hear the percussion, but you knew it was the rumble of a kettle drum. Very light bells, or triangles barely audible with the Rogue weren't even audible with my old preamp.

Overall, there was a massive increase in detail, in harmonics and the sound stage became incredibly well defined compared to my old unit. Interestingly, I found myself listening at a lower volumn because I could hear literally everything at very low to moderate levels.

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