Rogue Audio RH-5 Impression Thread
Jan 26, 2018 at 4:10 PM Post #31 of 434

SteveM324

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Thanks FLTWS and MTMECraig,
Which ever headphone amp I end up buying (most likely one of the 3 I mentioned), it will only be used as a headphone amp (not a preamp). I already have a McIntosh C2600 preamp feeding a McIntosh MC452 power amp so I'm good for my speaker system power and front end. The sources that I will use are the Bricasti M1SE and a fully upgraded Linn LP12 (Radikal PS, Keel subchassis, Akiva MC cartridge and Ekos SE arm). The main headphone used in this system will be my Utopia in balanced mode. Thanks again.
 
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Feb 6, 2018 at 10:45 PM Post #32 of 434

JustRon

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I can't comment on this amp, but I used to own a Rogue Tempest 2 integrated amp and that thing was a monster. Build quality was impressive and their customer service was top notch (I was new to tubes at the time). So, I guess I'm giving a thumbs-up to Rogue Audio, and I would have to assume the RH-5 is a decent amp. (It's out of my price range, unfortunately.)
 
Sep 10, 2018 at 3:01 PM Post #33 of 434

crayons23

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currently enjoying some telefunkin 12au7 from vintage tube services. much more detail than i had before with some less expensive gold lions from upscale audio. brighter but using the roon eq to add a little bit of bass. i am using hd800S. was going to order some lcd x but when i saw the previous post i cancelled my order. the search goes on for a more bass heavy headphone that will work
well with the rh5. i am beginning to think such a headphone does not exist outside of utopia price range sadly.
 
Sep 10, 2018 at 4:51 PM Post #34 of 434

hotjava13

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I ran the Focal Clear and Sony Z1R on my RH5 with great results, bass on the focal was very precise,accurate and started and stopped on a dime. The Sony has much more in regards to sub bass, if I’m in a rock or metal mood I’ll pick up the Sony, classical and jazz the focal. I was running the lcdx via balanced out of the RH5 and got hi pitched feedback, changed back to the stock 1/4 and the feedback was reduced. Talked with Nick at Rogue he asked me to consider electrical in the house, I installed a 300$ isolation transformer and that took care of 90% of my noise issue.
The RH5 is a wonderful hp amp, but I wanted more in the preamp, so I recently traded up to a Rogue RP7 , the RP7 has a similar headphone out to the RH5 so I still get plenty of power with a bit of tube warmth.




currently enjoying some telefunkin 12au7 from vintage tube services. much more detail than i had before with some less expensive gold lions from upscale audio. brighter but using the roon eq to add a little bit of bass. i am using hd800S. was going to order some lcd x but when i saw the previous post i cancelled my order. the search goes on for a more bass heavy headphone that will work
well with the rh5. i am beginning to think such a headphone does not exist outside of utopia price range sadly.
 
Sep 21, 2018 at 1:49 AM Post #35 of 434

LifeOnMercury

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Listened to my RH5 for a few days. Here to share some simple impressions.
The sound is deep, smooth, well-controlled and yes, glorious (stealing a word). Its soundstage is very 3-dimensional but not as wide as some other amps.
Warmer, bassier and slower than schiit mjolnir but in a good way. Mjolnir sounds like a Knight while Rh5 sounds like a King. (Hope you know what I mean)
Makes all my headphones sound fabulous (hd800s, ether flow, k812, elear, t60rp etc.). Now hd800s don’t feel hollow and cold.
Its preamp is also really great.

A few not-so-good things:
1. The stock tubes are cheap JJs. Though they don’t sound bad but you will still want to spend a good amount of money on NOS tubes.
2. High-pitched noise - not very strong but still noticeable.
3. can’t work with final sonorous vi - huge noise. Don’t know why. Only sonorous vi has this problem.
4. low end distortion if the dac’s output level is very high. But with most dacs this issue won’t show up so maybe this is not really a con.
 
Sep 21, 2018 at 6:59 AM Post #36 of 434

BunnyNamedCraig

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Listened to my RH5 for a few days. Here to share some simple impressions.
The sound is deep, smooth, well-controlled and yes, glorious (stealing a word). Its soundstage is very 3-dimensional but not as wide as some other amps.
Warmer, bassier and slower than schiit mjolnir but in a good way. Mjolnir sounds like a Knight while Rh5 sounds like a King. (Hope you know what I mean)
Makes all my headphones sound fabulous (hd800s, ether flow, k812, elear, t60rp etc.). Now hd800s don’t feel hollow and cold.
Its preamp is also really great.

A few not-so-good things:
1. The stock tubes are cheap JJs. Though they don’t sound bad but you will still want to spend a good amount of money on NOS tubes.
2. High-pitched noise - not very strong but still noticeable.
3. can’t work with final sonorous vi - huge noise. Don’t know why. Only sonorous vi has this problem.
4. low end distortion if the dac’s output level is very high. But with most dacs this issue won’t show up so maybe this is not really a con.
What tubes have you liked to use with it?

I’m glad you’re able to take advantage of it as a pre amp btw!!

I think your description of its sound is spot on
 
Sep 21, 2018 at 9:44 AM Post #37 of 434

LifeOnMercury

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What tubes have you liked to use with it?

I’m glad you’re able to take advantage of it as a pre amp btw!!

I think your description of its sound is spot on
I ordered a pair of NOS Mullards yesterday and they are still on the way. I hope they could make rh5 a little brighter and less beefy. Will report the actual result after I receive and burn-in the mullards.
 
Feb 1, 2019 at 11:00 PM Post #38 of 434

finleyville

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I (usually) do not like the sound of the classic tube sound. Having said that, I love the sound from this amp. I have been using a matched pair of Psvane Mk II's as I feel they are the most solid state sounding tube out there. I love the detail retreaval, quickness, and accuracy of this combo. Not harsh at all. I also use the same tubes in my hybrid Odyssey Candella preamp for my stereo as well.

Some of the other NOS tubes I have tried were Mullards, Tele's, RCA's (navy), and a few notable others I cannot recall in my alcohol fueled state, lol.
 
Feb 4, 2019 at 1:00 PM Post #40 of 434

FLTWS

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Yes, and it sounds fine. I use 4 pin balanced out (and balanced inputs). 3 gain settings on the Rogue to suit your taste in volume setting.
 
Apr 2, 2019 at 5:58 PM Post #42 of 434

tholt

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Anyone compare the RH-5 to the Wells Audio Milo? Curious of any similarities, differences, shortcomings. They're on-par price-wise (esp the upgraded Milo with better volume and resistors) and both amps seem to be well-suited to the Abyss 1266, which is my current can. I'm looking for an amp in this price range and these two are on my list. Any feedback or insight would be very appreciated.
 
Apr 21, 2019 at 7:44 PM Post #43 of 434

CRITICALSHOT

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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
Do you get more power from the balanced or is it the same as the single?
 
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May 5, 2019 at 8:16 AM Post #45 of 434

CRITICALSHOT

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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.
What tubes did you finally settle on? In what way were the Gold Lion ECC82 / B749's colored? Did you try the Mullards?
 

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