|Rogue RP-5 Preamplifier Review|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers Stereo Preamps|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Monday, 29 February 2016|
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Rogue Audio, based in Pennsylvania, deserves iconic status alongside other legendary American makers of tubed home audio products. They've made steady progress in product design, understand customer relations, dispense completely with any sense of exclusivity, and focus on sonics, rugged build quality, and ergonomics. Maybe this is the reason they continue to expand their customer base, while owner Mark O’Brien is one of the most well liked and respected individuals in the industry.
I have reviewed over a dozen Rogue products, and found very little I was not thrilled with. Rogue products are top performers within their given price points, and even beyond. For example, their Stereo 100 power amplifier, at $3500, is the deal of the decade, with 100 watts of tube power per channel. Their innovative Class D and tube hybrid integrated amp, the Sphinx, is entry level bliss at $1295. Rogue also has products at higher price points where no compromise is desired, and their preamps and mono block amps get you close to the state of the art for a fraction of the cost of other competitors.
As a reviewer, I have to be impartial, and it is important to not let positive feelings for a particular manufacturer color all future product reviews. That is why I do my best to evaluate each product as a clean slate. The product under review here is then appropriate, as it is also a clean slate design for Rogue. It is the $3495 RP-5 tubed preamplifier, based on their new RP-X platform, and the they also have brought to market $1695 entry level RP-1, and the soon-to-be released balanced RP-7.
According to Rogue, “The RP-5 is our first preamplifier based on the groundbreaking new RP-X platform. Utilizing four 12AU7 tubes in a mu-follower configuration, the computer optimized circuitry has been designed for optimal sonics and overall performance. The on-board MM/MC phono has user adjustable gain settings ranging from 40 to 60 dB. A wide variety of loading options means your favorite cartridge can be configured to sound its very best. A tube based headphone circuit is included, and other features include home theater inputs, a processor loop and mono button. The ten button remote allows you to conveniently access volume, balance, selector, mute, mono and on/off from your listening position.”
To summarize the feature set, we get a four tube mu-follower design, ten function remote control, VFD display, Home Theater bypass/Unity gain inputs, five pairs of inputs two pairs of variable outputs, one pair of fixed outputs, processor loop, gold plated RCA inputs, machined aluminum faceplate and knobs, tube based headphone amp, -40 - 60 dB gain phono stage, RIAA equalization within 0.1 DB, and user-adjustable cartridge loading.
As with every other Rogue product I have unpacked and reviewed, the build quality is beyond reproach, and off the charts for this price point. Rogue backs up their products with a three year warranty. My review sample featured a very attractive silver faceplate. Black is also an option. The connector quality is outstanding, the volume and selector knobs are solid, and the whole package exudes quiet confidence. The remote control is a pretty plain jane plastic unit, but fits nicely in the palm of the hand, the most important functions are all there.