Rogue Audio RH-5 Impression Thread
Nov 14, 2017 at 2:13 PM Post #16 of 434

BunnyNamedCraig

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How is the rh5 working out? Just got off the phone with a shop in pa that was pushing them hard. Do you think the rh5 is a better match for the sennheier 800s than a $2000 solid state amp? Very limited imfo about the amp.
Thx Luke
Totally depends on the $2000 solid state amp in question . I think that the Rogue easily holds its own in its price range and then some. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk about amps I don’t sell.

Were the people pushing it us? Ha or someone else from the Burgh?

Rogue is from PA, and also make fantastic gear. So no wonder it was being praised hard. I encourage everyone to listen to it though for their own impression!
 
Nov 14, 2017 at 7:33 PM Post #17 of 434

hotjava13

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I'm in the same boat, trying to decide between the Rogue RH-5 and the Schiit MJ2.. besides the huge cost difference im running blind. My current cans Fostex th900 and audeze lcd x out of an oppo uhd-205. the two Rogue dealers in MI dont have the RH-5 and dont have any plans to bring one in.. My listing habbits are across the board, rock, jazz,classical,metal...oh and the unit has to double as a preamp for my powered speakers...
 
Nov 14, 2017 at 8:47 PM Post #18 of 434

BunnyNamedCraig

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Rh5 doubles as a pre amp and you can order it to have a phone pre amp as well.

The Rogue RH5 is very neutral sounding so keep that in mind. It’s a little warm (stock tubes) and keep in mind it’s a tube hybrid, so so it’s not super tubey sounding but the power is really great.
 
Nov 20, 2017 at 12:15 PM Post #19 of 434

FLTWS

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Ah ha! We do have a dedicated Rogue RH-5 thread, and so,
My Impressions of the Rogue RH-5
My Impressions of the Rogue RH-5 by FLTWS 10/31/17

C:\Users\Frank\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image002.jpg
“I like that old time sturm und drang,…”


Pros: Glorious sound with my headphones especially HD800, great flexibility with inputs/outputs, nice styling. Other features are just about perfect; I like the 185 steps volume control, readouts, dim-able panel, remote, the build quality and 3 year warranty.

Cons: None that come to mind.

Price: Fair value from a sound and feature set standpoint for me.

Build: I lifted the hood to take a look inside as I’ll be tube rolling at some point. The layout is clean and tidy. It uses a toroidal transformer but it’s wrapped in a clear plastic (moisture barrier?) of some sort and no fancy ($) metal housing. This seems to simplify construction, just one substantial bolt and nut through the base plate with a couple of appropriately sized washers separating the upper and lower sections of windings. The tube sockets look pretty substantial, can’t tell if their a plastic or ceramic, but they grip the tubes in a death-lock. The whole assembly feels solid and heavy, and all metal work is first rate. The amp case stays relatively cool to the touch even after being on for 12 straight hours. (No prize for guessing I’m not an EE or production guy.)

I won't regurgitate the companies spec sheet, it's all on Rogue's website along with a pdf of the manual.

My Standard Disclaimer

I’ve made peace with the fact that headphones do not duplicate the in-room speaker experience, and vice-versa. Each is its own unique way of presenting and enjoying recorded music. And neither comes close to the sound of live music in the concert hall and I seriously doubt they ever will, so I don’t stress over it. And, YMWV, because, no two people hear exactly the same things in the exactly the same way.

And,

Some of what follows is excerpted from PM comments I exchanged with Dave Hansen (Hansotek) of “Enjoy the Music”, as well as my listening session notes after I acquired my unit).

(A lot of the descriptive terms I’m going to use could lead one think I’m implying huge differences in what follows. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are only so many words that I know of to make distinctions clear.

And so,

The dealer made me a trade-in offer I couldn't refuse.

I took delivery of the Rogue RH-5 headphone - preamp (sans phono section) on Oct. 06, 2017. I run balanced in/out all the way from my DAC on, and use 4 Pin XLR connectors on all my headphone cables.

I was familiar with the Rogue name but my interest in the RH-5 was sparked by Dave Hansen’s review of it in the September “Enjoy the Music”. I’ve corresponded with Dave several times since joining Head-Fi in May 2016. His listening takes and preferences on equipment have aligned with my own experiences enough times to peak my interest, again. Particularly as he found the RH-5 a very good match with the Sennheiser HD800, a phone that, even after many months of almost daily use with my Utopia, has a sirens song hold on me even in its stock form (but with DanaCable Lazuli HP cabling that really smooths and sweetens the highs and enriches the bass and mid-bass. I also use DanaCable Lazuli Ref. with my Utopia). The RH-5 circuitry is built around the 12AU7 instead of the 6DJ8 (as in my MJ2). To the extent to which different tube types sound different in varying circuit designs, the 12AU7 (along with the 12AX7) was a tube type used in much of the vintage gear I owned (some of it kit built) and loved the sound of back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. And in the RH-5's design it has taken me back to a rich, seductive sound quality as I remember it. As similar as the sound profiles are between my Jot, MJ2 (with GE5670’s currently), and Ragnarok, the RH-5 struck me as different flavor when listening. Dave indicated in his review that this was "the" amp to partner with the HD800 and I have to agree. I've now got well over 200 hours on my RH-5, and it's sound quality with the HD800 is big, spacious, dynamic and refined, no straining to deliver crescendos as long as I don’t push the volume too high (which is typically at a lower level with the HD800 than what I can drive my Utopia to before any congestion sets in).

After 7 straight 16 hour days of burn-in, with some casual listening intervals daily, I then settled in to start a more focused comparison of my amps with these two phones. In A/B'ing the RH-5 with Utopia and HD800 and going back and forth for several hours and during different listening sessions between the 2 phones on (just 2 of many examples) “Siegfried’s Funeral March” (Leinsdorf, LAP on Sheffield CD7/8 – 1977, a studio recording with a slightly dry acoustic) and then the first movement of “Scheherazade” (Ashkenazy, Philharmonia on London 417301- 1985, recorded in a slightly warm and reverberant acoustic hall space), I started to get a sense of why I found the pairing of amp and HD800 so right. While I can make a case for my enjoyment of both phones on the RH-5 I preferred the HD800 for its overall presentation with the Rogue. I tended to prefer my Utopia with my Ragnarok or MJ2, but that’s just my personal preference and not set in stone and likely tube brand dependent as well. Both phones tended to be brighter and more forward than I like with the Jotunheim – but then along comes Loki and changes that tune…but I didn’t really spend much time with that combo, mostly RH-5, MJ-2, and Ragnarok. With all that said the HD800 still sounds like an HD800 and the Utopia still sounds like a Utopia. And, the differences between the two phones are consistent over the amps I own. And, again, these differences are very small and are a preference rather than an absolute and it’s more than a probability that some others will hear things differently than I do.

The HD800 with Rogue is slightly more forgiving with a lot of my average recorded quality classical music. The Utopia or HD800 plus Schiit amps by comparison sometimes are more revealing of shortcomings in recording quality, particularly in the highs. As I’m performance oriented first, recorded quality second, the RH-5’s forgiveness allows me to enjoy a lot of my less than state of the art recordings. While EQ’ing can make a phone measure flat it can’t make it sound good let alone excellent with all recordings. And there is nothing you can do to the source recording. If an engineer decided to push up a spotlight mike on the opening solo horn triplets of Mahler’s 5th symphony to grab your attention out of the starting gate there’s not a dam thing you can do to correct it after the fact and bring it into balance with the rest of the orchestra. A trumpet shouldn’t sound as big as a tuba.

My 3 Schiit's are very neutral (to my ears), clean, with transient attack and decay that is razor sharp and tightly controlled. The RH-5 is “maybe” not so fast sounding on transients and “maybe” not as neutral overall (and I haven’t rolled any tubes yet), but on my favored music, large orchestral, the RH-5 presents the orchestra with a nice sense of uniformity across the board I like, while the Schiit amps may define the outlines of individual instruments or groups of instruments with a bit more intensity. While some may say this is better transparency it doesn’t necessarily lead me to a better listening experience all the time with all the variations in recording quality among my collection of CD’s. To be sure these differences are very small, but to my ears and with my music, high accuracy doesn’t always translate to more enjoyment “if” it exacerbates shortcomings in the recordings.

I could be wrong but the RH-5 fleshed out certain percussive sounds like bells, xylophones, tam-tam, etc. that I liked giving a bit more air around instruments. Midrange presence on the RH-5 is luscious (tube dependent as well most likely). This airiness extends to all instruments but was most noticeable to me with percussion. A great recording for listening to this effect is Rodion Shchedrin’s “Carmen Suite” on DG471136. It’s scored for a large string orchestra, tympani, and 4 groups of percussion, no horns or wind instruments.

I prefer the sound stage on the HD800 to the Utopia. Utopia's is a bit smaller in all dimensions along with the size of the instruments themselves. It’s not a big deal to me and has been noted by many others. But the RH-5 opens up both phones sound stages to the full extent of their capabilities in this area. Detail retrieval struck me as on a par between the two phones with minor differences probably associated with frequency response variations between the two phones.

The RH-5 plus HD800 is absolutely spectacular with many of my original instrument recordings. Listening to Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons on Archiv 400045-2 with the English Concert and Trevor Pinnock I was having a hard time convincing myself that I was listening to a recording and that I wasn’t actually there. I then listened to the same work on the Chesky label CD78 with Igor Kipnis and the Connecticut Early Music Festival Ensemble. The difference in the recording venue, layout, and mike placement was readily heard, but still, it sounded like I was there. The tonal flavors on both recordings are hypnotic.

I’m confident different associated equipment could give better or worse results or no difference results, but I can’t afford to buy it all and don’t have the access as I’m not a retailer or affiliated with any reviewing operation. I’m retired and do this for my own enjoyment.

Bottom line for me; the RH-5 reminds me of how music sounded in Philadelphia’s old Academy of Music (originally built for Opera) with a rich, glowing, powerful way of delivering sound into the hall. Sonic nostalgia for my ears. The Schiit amps remind me of the sound in the new Kimmel Center; ever so slightly dry, revealing clean inner detail and clarity and with tighter deep bass quality. Conversely I guess one could call the bass in the Academy over-bloomed. But again these impressions are very small differences between my amps.

I do like having different sound options at hand depending on my whimsy of the moment. I like comparing recordings of the same work for both differences of interpretation and also recording quality variations in conjunction with my different amp and phone combinations. By way of example regarding recording differences; the previously mentioned Sheffield (a movie sound stage recording) benefits from some of the richness the RH-5 can impart. Many of my Chandos recordings generally have a much more reverberant sound field attached to them and the Schiit amps are a nice match. These are not rules; they are spontaneous impulses, as in “let’s try this” sort of thing.

I'm confident that choice of tubes can change the sound from rich, airy, more tube-like to clean and tight, more solid state like.

The Rogue doesn’t replace any of my Schiit, it complements it and gives me a good variety of listening options to satisfy my tastes.

I’m a believer in synergies between various parts of the electronic chain to get to where it sounds best to me with the widest variety of my recordings and that’s how I choose my equipment. Above all I’m out to enjoy what I hear and I don’t get involved with chasing zeros or trying to draw conclusions based exclusively on what I read.

This audio reproduction hobby has never struck me as a best of “one” pursuit, more of a best “compromise” pursuit. Sometimes that entails having more than just “one” of this or that.

I’m still running with the stock tubes provided in the Rogue. As an inveterate tube roller I've got 2 pair of NOS 12AU7's lined up to buy and try (in house at 11/13), because, I can’t help myself, LOL. But I like my shakedown listening sessions of new gear to be with the manufacturer supplied options. I’ll also most likely be trying a dual 3 pin HD800 Dana Cable at some point as well with the RH-5. I don’t expect any cosmic revelations with any of this add-on bling but part of the enjoyment of this hobby for me is the fun of trying new things (at a price level I’m comfortable with) and making my own mind up about what differences, if any, they make and how much it matters to me.

If you’re shopping for a new HP amp, or one to pull double duty in 2 channels with the option “to phono or not to phono”, (and especially if the HD800 is you phone of choice), I recommend a listen to the Rogue. The RH-5 also sounds superb with the Utopia and I have no issues with how my HD600 and Oppo PM-1 sounds with the Rogue. But the RH-5 synergizes so beautifully with my HD800. Between the Rogue and my Schiit I can listen with great enjoyment to both phones and to almost all CD’s. (Some recordings just can’t be helped; the old lipstick on a pig scenario).

I plan to revisit the Abyss (now Phi’d). It’s been a year since my last audition and I do want to hear it with my RH-5, and Schiit amps (again).

For me, this Rogue’s a keeper and now a member of the clan of my metal boxes.

Bonus Coverage

10/31/17: Today I picked up a demo Abyss Phi that I’ll have at home with me for 2 weeks. I evaluated its predecessor November of last year but spent too much of my time fussing and fidgeting with the fit, and I never got comfortable with it’s very different wearing characteristics as well as thinking it was too dark sounding for my tastes. But once more, into the breach… And just after I’ve finished up with my formal break-in listening sessions with the RH-5, life is good.

11/13/17: I returned the Abyss Phi today. As I hang my head and contemplate my navel I tell myself “Two TOTL phones is as far as I dare tread, nothing good can come from my going any further”…

But, I ordered one anyway!

Just when I thought I was out...


Associated Owned Gear Used to Evaluate:

Balanced FTW: ERC-3 (AES/EBU or Coax) to YGG to RAG or JOT or MJ2 (tubes) or Rogue RH-5 > HD800 with DanaCable Lazuli / Utopia with DanaCable Lazuli Ref. > Sapphire Reference Balanced and SE IC's. > DHLabs AES/EBU and Coax > Monster AVS 2000 & 5100MKII. (I’m CD only & 90% Classical listening.)

A complete listing of the classical, jazz and rock recordings I used to do my impressions from can be found at the end of my post on my Abyss Phi impressions over on the Abyss thread here:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the...ressions-thread.666765/page-407#post-13851940
 
Last edited:
Nov 20, 2017 at 1:05 PM Post #20 of 434

BunnyNamedCraig

Formerly known as MTMECraig/bunnynamedfrank
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Posts
2,094
Likes
1,319
Ah ha! We do have a dedicated Rogue RH-5 thread, and so,
My Impressions of the Rogue RH-5
My Impressions of the Rogue RH-5 by FLTWS 10/31/17

C:\Users\Frank\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image002.jpg
“I like that old time sturm und drang,…”


Pros: Glorious sound with my headphones especially HD800, great flexibility with inputs/outputs, nice styling. Other features are just about perfect; I like the 185 steps volume control, readouts, dim-able panel, remote, the build quality and 3 year warranty.

Cons: None that come to mind.

Price: Fair value from a sound and feature set standpoint for me.

Build: I lifted the hood to take a look inside as I’ll be tube rolling at some point. The layout is clean and tidy. It uses a toroidal transformer but it’s wrapped in a clear plastic (moisture barrier?) of some sort and no fancy ($) metal housing. This seems to simplify construction, just one substantial bolt and nut through the base plate with a couple of appropriately sized washers separating the upper and lower sections of winding's. The tube sockets look pretty substantial, can’t tell if their a plastic or ceramic, but they grip the tubes in a death-lock. The whole assembly feels solid and heavy, and all metal work is first rate. The amp case stays relatively cool to the touch even after being on for 12 straight hours. (No prize for guessing I’m not an EE or production guy.)

I won't regurgitated the companies spec sheet, it's all on Rogue's website along with a pdf of the manual.

My Standard Disclaimer

I’ve made peace with the fact that headphones do not duplicate the in-room speaker experience, and vice-versa. Each is its own unique way of presenting and enjoying recorded music. And neither comes close to the sound of live music in the concert hall and I seriously doubt they ever will, so I don’t stress over it. And, YMWV, because, no two people hear exactly the same things in the exactly the same way.

And,

Some of what follows is excerpted from PM comments I exchanged with Dave Hansen (Hansotek) of “Enjoy the Music”, as well as my listening session notes after I acquired my unit).

(A lot of the descriptive terms I’m going to use could lead one think I’m implying huge differences in what follows. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are only so many words that I know of to make distinctions clear.

And so,

The dealer made me a trade-in offer I couldn't refuse.

I took delivery of the Rogue RH-5 headphone - preamp (sans phono section) on Oct. 06, 2017. I run balanced in/out all the way from my DAC on, and use 4 Pin XLR connectors on all my headphone cables.

I was familiar with the Rogue name but my interest in the RH-5 was sparked by Dave Hansen’s review of it in the September “Enjoy the Music”. I’ve corresponded with Dave several times since joining Head-Fi in May 2016. His listening takes and preferences on equipment have aligned with my own experiences enough times to peak my interest, again. Particularly as he found the RH-5 a very good match with the Sennheiser HD800, a phone that, even after many months of almost daily use with my Utopia, has a sirens song hold on me even in its stock form (but with DanaCable Lazuli HP cabling that really smooths and sweetens the highs and enriches the bass and mid-bass. I also use DanaCable Lazuli Ref. with my Utopia). The RH-5 circuitry is built around the 12AU7 instead of the 6DJ8 (as in my MJ2). To the extent to which different tube types sound different in varying circuit designs, the 12AU7 (along with the 12AX7) was a tube type used in much of the vintage gear I owned (some of it kit built) and loved the sound of back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. And in the RH-5's design it has taken me back to a rich, seductive sound quality as I remember it. As similar as the sound profiles are between my Jot, MJ2 (with GE5670’s currently), and Ragnarok, the RH-5 struck me as different flavor when listening. Dave indicated in his review that this was "the" amp to partner with the HD800 and I have to agree. I've now got well over 200 hours on my RH-5, and it's sound quality with the HD800 is big, spacious, dynamic and refined, no straining to deliver crescendos as long as I don’t push the volume too high (which is typically at a lower level with the HD800 than what I can drive my Utopia to before any congestion sets in).

After 7 straight 16 hour days of burn-in, with some casual listening intervals daily, I then settled in to start a more focused comparison of my amps with these two phones. In A/B'ing the RH-5 with Utopia and HD800 and going back and forth for several hours and during different listening sessions between the 2 phones on (just 2 of many examples) “Siegfried’s Funeral March” (Leinsdorf, LAP on Sheffield CD7/8 – 1977, a studio recording with a slightly dry acoustic) and then the first movement of “Scheherazade” (Ashkenazy, Philharmonia on London 417301- 1985, recorded in a slightly warm and reverberant acoustic hall space), I started to get a sense of why I found the pairing of amp and HD800 so right. While I can make a case for my enjoyment of both phones on the RH-5 I preferred the HD800 for its overall presentation with the Rogue. I tended to prefer my Utopia with my Ragnarok or MJ2, but that’s just my personal preference and not set in stone and likely tube brand dependent as well. Both phones tended to be brighter and more forward than I like with the Jotunheim – but then along comes Loki and changes that tune…but I didn’t really spend much time with that combo, mostly RH-5, MJ-2, and Ragnarok. With all that said the HD800 still sounds like an HD800 and the Utopia still sounds like a Utopia. And, the differences between the two phones are consistent over the amps I own. And, again, these differences are very small and are a preference rather than an absolute and it’s more than a probability that some others will hear things differently than I do.

The HD800 with Rogue is slightly more forgiving with a lot of my average recorded quality classical music. The Utopia or HD800 plus Schiit amps by comparison sometimes are more revealing of shortcomings in recording quality, particularly in the highs. As I’m performance oriented first, recorded quality second, the RH-5’s forgiveness allows me to enjoy a lot of my less than state of the art recordings. While EQ’ing can make a phone measure flat it can’t make it sound good let alone excellent with all recordings. And there is nothing you can do to the source recording. If an engineer decided to push up a spotlight mike on the opening solo horn triplets of Mahler’s 5th symphony to grab your attention out of the starting gate there’s not a dam thing you can do to correct it after the fact and bring it into balance with the rest of the orchestra. A trumpet shouldn’t sound as big as a tuba.

My 3 Schiit's are very neutral (to my ears), clean, with transient attack and decay that is razor sharp and tightly controlled. The RH-5 is “maybe” not so fast sounding on transients and “maybe” not as neutral overall (and I haven’t rolled any tubes yet), but on my favored music, large orchestral, the RH-5 presents the orchestra with a nice sense of uniformity across the board I like, while the Schiit amps may define the outlines of individual instruments or groups of instruments with a bit more intensity. While some may say this is better transparency it doesn’t necessarily lead me to a better listening experience all the time with all the variations in recording quality among my collection of CD’s. To be sure these differences are very small, but to my ears and with my music, high accuracy doesn’t always translate to more enjoyment “if” it exacerbates shortcomings in the recordings.

I could be wrong but the RH-5 fleshed out certain percussive sounds like bells, xylophones, tam-tam, etc. that I liked giving a bit more air around instruments. Midrange presence on the RH-5 is luscious (tube dependent as well most likely). This airiness extends to all instruments but was most noticeable to me with percussion. A great recording for listening to this effect is Rodion Shchedrin’s “Carmen Suite” on DG471136. It’s scored for a large string orchestra, tympani, and 4 groups of percussion, no horns or wind instruments.

I prefer the sound stage on the HD800 to the Utopia. Utopia's is a bit smaller in all dimensions along with the size of the instruments themselves. It’s not a big deal to me and has been noted by many others. But the RH-5 opens up both phones sound stages to the full extent of their capabilities in this area. Detail retrieval struck me as on a par between the two phones with minor differences probably associated with frequency response variations between the two phones.

The RH-5 plus HD800 is absolutely spectacular with many of my original instrument recordings. Listening to Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons on Archiv 400045-2 with the English Concert and Trevor Pinnock I was having a hard time convincing myself that I was listening to a recording and that I wasn’t actually there. I then listened to the same work on the Chesky label CD78 with Igor Kipnis and the Connecticut Early Music Festival Ensemble. The difference in the recording venue, layout, and mike placement was readily heard, but still, it sounded like I was there. The tonal flavors on both recordings are hypnotic.

I’m confident different associated equipment could give better or worse results or no difference results, but I can’t afford to buy it all and don’t have the access as I’m not a retailer or affiliated with any reviewing operation. I’m retired and do this for my own enjoyment.

Bottom line for me; the RH-5 reminds me of how music sounded in Philadelphia’s old Academy of Music (originally built for Opera) with a rich, glowing, powerful way of delivering sound into the hall. Sonic nostalgia for my ears. The Schiit amps remind me of the sound in the new Kimmel Center; ever so slightly dry, revealing clean inner detail and clarity and with tighter deep bass quality. Conversely I guess one could call the bass in the Academy over-bloomed. But again these impressions are very small differences between my amps.

I do like having different sound options at hand depending on my whimsy of the moment. I like comparing recordings of the same work for both differences of interpretation and also recording quality variations in conjunction with my different amp and phone combinations. By way of example regarding recording differences; the previously mentioned Sheffield (a movie sound stage recording) benefits from some of the richness the RH-5 can impart. Many of my Chandos recordings generally have a much more reverberant sound field attached to them and the Schiit amps are a nice match. These are not rules; they are spontaneous impulses, as in “let’s try this” sort of thing.

I'm confident that choice of tubes can change the sound from rich, airy, more tube-like to clean and tight, more solid state like.

The Rogue doesn’t replace any of my Schiit, it complements it and gives me a good variety of listening options to satisfy my tastes.

I’m a believer in synergies between various parts of the electronic chain to get to where it sounds best to me with the widest variety of my recordings and that’s how I choose my equipment. Above all I’m out to enjoy what I hear and I don’t get involved with chasing zeros or trying to draw conclusions based exclusively on what I read.

This audio reproduction hobby has never struck me as a best of “one” pursuit, more of a best “compromise” pursuit. Sometimes that entails having more than just “one” of this or that.

I’m still running with the stock tubes provided in the Rogue. As an inveterate tube roller I've got 2 pair of NOS 12AU7's lined up to buy and try (in house at 11/13), because, I can’t help myself, LOL. But I like my shakedown listening sessions of new gear to be with the manufacturer supplied options. I’ll also most likely be trying a dual 3 pin HD800 Dana Cable at some point as well with the RH-5. I don’t expect any cosmic revelations with any of this add-on bling but part of the enjoyment of this hobby for me is the fun of trying new things (at a price level I’m comfortable with) and making my own mind up about what differences, if any, they make and how much it matters to me.

If you’re shopping for a new HP amp, or one to pull double duty in 2 channels with the option “to phono or not to phono”, (and especially if the HD800 is you phone of choice), I recommend a listen to the Rogue. The RH-5 also sounds superb with the Utopia and I have no issues with how my HD600 and Oppo PM-1 sounds with the Rogue. But the RH-5 synergizes so beautifully with my HD800. Between the Rogue and my Schiit I can listen with great enjoyment to both phones and to almost all CD’s. (Some recordings just can’t be helped; the old lipstick on a pig scenario).

I plan to revisit the Abyss (now Phi’d). It’s been a year since my last audition and I do want to hear it with my RH-5, and Schiit amps (again).

For me, this Rogue’s a keeper and now a member of the clan of my metal boxes.

Bonus Coverage

10/31/17: Today I picked up a demo Abyss Phi that I’ll have at home with me for 2 weeks. I evaluated its predecessor November of last year but spent too much of my time fussing and fidgeting with the fit, and I never got comfortable with it’s very different wearing characteristics as well as thinking it was too dark sounding for my tastes. But once more, into the breach… And just after I’ve finished up with my formal break-in listening sessions with the RH-5, life is good.

11/13/17: I returned the Abyss Phi today. As I hang my head and contemplate my navel I tell myself “Two TOTL phones is as far as I dare tread, nothing good can come from my going any further”…

But, I ordered one anyway!

Just when I thought I was out...


Associated Owned Gear Used to Evaluate:

Balanced FTW: ERC-3 (AES/EBU or Coax) to YGG to RAG or JOT or MJ2 (tubes) or Rogue RH-5 > HD800 with DanaCable Lazuli / Utopia with DanaCable Lazuli Ref. > Sapphire Reference Balanced and SE IC's. > DHLabs AES/EBU and Coax > Monster AVS 2000 & 5100MKII. (I’m CD only & 90% Classical listening.)

A complete listing of the classical, jazz and rock recordings I used to do my impressions from can be found at the end of my post on my Abyss Phi impressions over on the Abyss thread here:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the...ressions-thread.666765/page-407#post-13851940
"Just when I thought i was out, they pull me back in...." I know the feeling buddy! Have fun with your new cans, and I agree completely with the synergy between HD800 and Rogue RH5. Happy Listening!!
 
Nov 23, 2017 at 9:42 PM Post #21 of 434

hotjava13

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Location
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So I have my new black RH-5, sounds pretty dang good thus far... with one caveat.. if I plug in the LCD-X single ended or XLR I get high pitched noise that is audible when listening to jazz or classical. I spoke with Nick at Rogue and he stated it may be due to the 20ohm sensitivity of the LCD-X.
Other cans I have currently do not have this nasty whine as they are above 32 ohms..
 
Nov 24, 2017 at 5:56 AM Post #22 of 434

BunnyNamedCraig

Formerly known as MTMECraig/bunnynamedfrank
Joined
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Posts
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So I have my new black RH-5, sounds pretty dang good thus far... with one caveat.. if I plug in the LCD-X single ended or XLR I get high pitched noise that is audible when listening to jazz or classical. I spoke with Nick at Rogue and he stated it may be due to the 20ohm sensitivity of the LCD-X.
Other cans I have currently do not have this nasty whine as they are above 32 ohms..
Interesting... I wish we still had the LCD-X for me to compare. The RH-5 is beast of an amp! I’m guessing the LCD-X is just too sensitive for it? I didn’t realize Audeze got it that easy to drive
 
Nov 25, 2017 at 7:25 PM Post #23 of 434

hotjava13

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I've had the LCD-X for around 14 days, I sent an email to Drew Barid at Moon audio to see if he will exchange them for the LCD-3 or the LCD-4 other wise the amp will have to go back to Acoustic sounds. Listening to some Ray Brown right now and I can detect the noise in the background. I really hope Drew will come through, I am really liking this Rogue piece!
 
Jan 25, 2018 at 2:49 PM Post #26 of 434

SteveM324

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Can anyone provide feedback regarding tube rolling this amp?
 
Jan 25, 2018 at 3:45 PM Post #27 of 434

FLTWS

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Can anyone provide feedback regarding tube rolling this amp?
First, I feel the stock Tesla’s that came with my unit are quite good.
I’m currently using the Amperex "Medical" 12AU7 / ECC82 Made in Holland for several weeks – they could be my first choice, very quiet and linear top to bottom. I also like the Radiotechnique 12AU7(H) / 6189 and the Brimar CV4003.
I did not care for the current production Gold Lion ECC82 / B749 too forward and colored for my tastes. I may yet try one of the Mullards at some point. Other than that I have not and probably will not try any others with the possible exception of a Mullard; my top 3 plus the stock give me plenty of variety to listen to.
I use mine as a headphone amp only, no longer have 2 channel so can't comment on which tubes for 2 channel.
The selection of 12AU7’s seems to be a smaller group to choose from than the 6DJ8 types available.
Check out Upscale Audio for sound descriptions of their various available choices that I found helpful and reliable. There are other dealers that carry them but I’ve been happy with the selection, performance, and service on purchases from Upscale.

Also, personally, I think most tubes don’t deliver their best sound until they get between 50 and 100 hours of use.


YMMV and opinions will always vary.


But have fun anyway.
 
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Jan 26, 2018 at 6:38 AM Post #28 of 434

SteveM324

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Thanks FLTWS. I have 2 main stereo speaker based systems that I integrate my headphone amps into for headphone listening. I have a Luxman P700u
in my basement system that I like for my HEK v2 and LCD X. I'm looking for an amp for my other system that would match well with my Utopia and HD800 (hardwired and SDR mod).
I read your impressions of the RH-5 and HD800 matching well, but I'm concerned about the match with the Utopia. Before tube rolling the RH-5, you preferred the Rag and MJ2 for the Utopia. Do you still preferred the Schiit amps after tube rolling the RH-5 for the Utopia? My preference is for a slightly dark and warm full body sound. I've had tube equipment in my stereo systems for the last 25 years and I've done plenty of tube rolling in that time. I've had very good experiences buying tubes from Upscale and Tube Depot. Along with the RH-5, I'm also considering the 430HA and the V281.
 
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Jan 26, 2018 at 10:22 AM Post #29 of 434

FLTWS

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Thanks FLTWS. I have 2 main stereo speaker based systems that I integrate my headphone amps into for headphone listening. I have a Luxman P700u
in my basement system that I like for my HEK v2 and LCD X. I'm looking for an amp for my other system that would match well with my Utopia and HD800 (hardwired and SDR mod).
I read your impressions of the RH-5 and HD800 matching well, but I'm concerned about the match with the Utopia. Before tube rolling the RH-5, you preferred the Rag and MJ2 for the Utopia. Do you still preferred the Schiit amps after tube rolling the RH-5 for the Utopia? My preference is for a slightly dark and warm full body sound. I've had tube equipment in my stereo systems for the last 25 years and I've done plenty of tube rolling in that time. I've had very good experiences buying tubes from Upscale and Tube Depot. Along with the RH-5, I'm also considering the 430HA and the V281.

First, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the stock tubes that come with the RH-5. It's not like they sound great with the HD800 and not so great with Utopia. There's no need for concern and I would give them plenty of time in use before rolling on. The subtleties we make decisions on in this hobby are more often a razor's edge and not a baseball bat. I also think Rogue goes to extra lengths to select and match the tubes they install. The important thing in your case is how well will it integrate and sound driving your speaker amps and speakers and not just headphones. The RH-5 is also a splendid match to my Abyss Phi, a headphone that is neither bright nor bass-lite, more in line with Utopia than the HD800.

I have no experience with the other equipment you mention above so I wouldn't venture a guess although the V281 and HA430 do have a following.

Two things I will suggest;
1. Call the folks at Rogue when you have some free time, I spoke with Bill there (I'm pretty sure it was Bill) and had a great conversation about tubes among other things.
2. Contact Upscale or any of your other tube suppliers (e-mail probably the best way) and explain your situation with tube choices and the phones and the power amps and speakers you have and your preferences just like you did above, see what they have to say. Try and whittle down the list of possible candidates.

After tubes get some burn time on them, and when it comes to tube rolling, I usually listen for at least a week to a month before swapping. Quick swapping especially with tubes that don't have some hours on them is not the way I like to evaluate tubes for sound.

My thinking on what HP amp(s) I needed in conjunction with my preferences and headphones boiled down to this; my stock HD800 needed some added richness and heft at the bottom end and some softness on top, my Utopia does not. These two phones strike me as about as about as opposite in overall sound presentation as it gets and that's actually why I have both. Buying two similar sounding phones serves me no purpose, I appreciate them as much for their differences as any similarities they may have. Finding one tube that mates well with both shouldn't be that difficult especially as you have the SDR mod installed you have already mitigated one of the possible issues in listening to the HD800's high end. So you might want a tube that gives you a good compromise between the two on the bottom end.

One of the problems with this hobby is we would like all comparisons to be good/bad and yes/no so we can stay out of the gray areas in between and avoid decision making based on compromises. Unfortunately that usually never happens. And one person's good is another person's bad, etc.As much as we desire the "One" it's just never gonna' happen, at least that's not my experience. That's why I have 3 (5 in all) primary phones and 3 (5 in all) HP amps to play with. And my idea of how much warmth will most likely not be the same as your preference in warmth. Another one of the problems of being a dedicated audiophile is that we tend to (and want to) hear mountains and not the molehills these things usually are in the bigger picture, further complicating the decisions we have to make. Writing about differences we hear often come off making those differences seem bigger than they actually are for the sake of clarity in a world of subtleties. If budget concerns limit someone to one of each component type it does become more challenging and will require more input and effort to find a satisfactory solution, but always keep in mind that even taking personal preferences into account, accept the fact that there are always many satisfactory solutions to this listening equation that a person could be happy with.

When I was making a decision on a third headphone amp it also boiled down to feature set. 24 months ago when I started up my HP project I decided initially I wanted at least one good sounding SS HP amp and one good sounding tube HP amp. The Mjolnir 2 and Ragnarok fit the bill all the way around from a price and sound standpoint for me and was also my introduction (along with the Oppo HA-1) to balanced amplifier circuits (and the 15 day return policy made me fearless, LOL). When I decided to go for a 3rd HP amp I decided I didn't want another 6DJ8 based amp or another SS amp. My past 2 channel experiences back in the 70's and 80's had me preferring the 6DJ8's and 12AU7's in my preamps over 12AX7's as I got farther along in the hobby. I also wanted to continue with the option of balanced input and 4 pin output. As I sold all my vinyl years ago I didn't want to pay for a phono circuit I wasn't going to use. Then I was thinking about what my Schiit gear lacked that I would have liked. Remote? Not really in my case but the Rogue comes with one. I did want more steps in my volume control for finer control, 64 for the Rag, 3 times as many in the Rogue. A readout of some sort so I know precisely where the volume is set to and so I can repeat a setting easily ( instead of spending more time matching levels with my sound level meter than listening) when playing my A versus B versus C game comparing different phones, amps, and tubes, and I was willing to pay more to get exactly what I wanted feature wise.

2018 was to be the year I had no more phone or amp wants to juggle and I was going to focus on sound comparisons of my existing phones, amps,and tubes and really zero in on those sonic qualities and subtleties for the shear fun of it.The more you listen, the more you hear. The final piece of my project finally came in earlier this month, a 1 in 4 out switcher for balanced XLR connections. I had spent 2 years putting my headphone station all together and now I was really going to enjoy the fruits of my efforts. But life is funny sometimes. I'm contacted by a manufacturer to see if I would be interested in listening to a new product for a week that was going to be introduced to the public in the near future and giving some feedback on a specific aspect. Really! So I'm back in the locker room with my 2018 game plan but looks like I'm now clear to move out.

Again,don't get hung up on my preferences, focus on yours, investigate a variety of opinions as best you can and follow through.
 
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Jan 26, 2018 at 2:07 PM Post #30 of 434

BunnyNamedCraig

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Thanks FLTWS. I have 2 main stereo speaker based systems that I integrate my headphone amps into for headphone listening. I have a Luxman P700u
in my basement system that I like for my HEK v2 and LCD X. I'm looking for an amp for my other system that would match well with my Utopia and HD800 (hardwired and SDR mod).
I read your impressions of the RH-5 and HD800 matching well, but I'm concerned about the match with the Utopia. Before tube rolling the RH-5, you preferred the Rag and MJ2 for the Utopia. Do you still preferred the Schiit amps after tube rolling the RH-5 for the Utopia? My preference is for a slightly dark and warm full body sound. I've had tube equipment in my stereo systems for the last 25 years and I've done plenty of tube rolling in that time. I've had very good experiences buying tubes from Upscale and Tube Depot. Along with the RH-5, I'm also considering the 430HA and the V281.
I think something (not the only thing) that @FLTWS said that is a great idea is to call Rogue and ask questions about what sound you are looking for. The guys at Rogue are SUPER down to Earth and truly care about what the customer wants.

The first time I emailed Rogue was to try and get more info on the RH5 when it first came out. I told them I worked for a Rogue dealer and I would like to learn more about it to help our customers. I got an email back from Mark O'Brien. He said that he had free time to talk that night if I had the time. He called later that night and after talking a while and him answering my questions about the RH5 I asked him what he did at Rogue. He told me "i'm the owner". I didn't know he was the owner, and developer of the RH5! It is few and far between that you can talk directly to the owner of a successful business such as Rogue. We spoke for probably 45 min and he was a joy to talk to.

NOW I am not saying that if you contact them you will speak directly with Brian ( he obviously is busy....) but their rep has been to the store occasionally to do demos and he is very nice as well.

In regards to the RH5 versus the 430 HA, I really liked the 430 HA but for my preferences I am a sucker for well executed tube amps. The RH5 is not a syrupy sound. It has a little bit of warmth but its not enough to gloss over details. I have not rolled the RH5 (all impressions are on stock tubes) so I am curious my self how much you could change the sound to preference which you said was "slightly dark and warm full body".

I hope more people comment on here! The RH5 is an excellent piece of kit with plenty of power on tap.
 

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