My first tube integrated: which one to get?

Hello Audiogoners. I have had only Solid State equipment for my entire life. Recently, I have been considering a purchase of an integrated tube unit. My budget is around $4.000 USD. I have been looking at two units in particular: Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III and the Cary Audio SLI-100. I’m having trouble deciding on which one to purchase. I was hoping the Audiogon community could advise me as to which one to get.

My current system consist of a pair of Emotiva XPA-100 mono blocks, Parasound P6 and a Music Hall 9.3 TT with an Goldring Erotica LX cart. My speakers are Focal Aria 926. I have a smallish room, 11’7” (3.56m) x 15’7” (4.78m). I should also note that I’m planning on getting a DAC after my integrated amp purchase.

Both tube units I’m considering provide 100 watts/channel in Ultralinear but the Rogue Audio is switchable to triode mode at 60watts/channel. The Rogue unit is of a KT120 configuration whereas the Cary unit is a KT150 design. The Rogue has an onboard MM/MC phono stage albeit solid state. The Cary has no phone stage therefore I’ll need to get some sort of step-up phono stage from my MC cart. The Cary unit, normally a $6,000 plus system is on sale for $3700. The Rogue unit is $3400. I listen to manly rock from the 60s to current and some classical. However, I have been enjoying my friends jazz collection he gave me, inspiring my to seek out more contemporary jazz recordings.

My question are:

Should I even consider this purchase?

Will I experience the upgraded tube-quality sound I’m hoping for?

Should I consider instead a tube-based preamp to go with my 250watts into 8 ohms mono blocks?

If you recommend the pre-amp path, what sorts of things should I be paying attention to?

How important is it to have the ability to switch to triode mode? I understand that acoustic jazz sounds much better in triode mode?

Is there anything else that I should be considering with this possible purchase?

I should also say that I don’t mind used if I can achieve a bigger bang for my buck. Buying either the Rogue or the Cary new provides me with a generous 3-year warranty.

There you have it. I look forward to your input. Thank you all in advance for your help.


I agree a tube pre is a great starting point. In my experience, I get better sound when pairing tube amplifiers with tube preamp’s, but many like to mix tube and SS. I have a preference for vintage - Marantz 8B, Citation II, etc. Whichever route you go, explore tube equipment because it’s magical. 

Tsakiridis Aoelos Ultra

i love mine to power my Nola Boxer 2s. 
Uses k150s, mundolf caps. 



I have an SLI-100 and have been very happy.  I do have a large room, but I can't imagine that amp not playing as well as possible given the room acoustics.  I have driven 3 different sets of speakers with them and they were great with all of them.  Currently driving Monitor Audio Silver 500 7G.


I was just on the Decware site and i was impressed, simple yet beautiful and reasonably priced tube amps, (some mods available). Then you have the Willsenton R8 AND the Willsenton R800.. I have the R8 and have changed the tubes to Mullard EL34’s, Sylvanias 6SL7’s and 6SN7’s all on a comment from a gal who noted she had purchased both amps and further commented the R8 beat out her Uniti Atom. And, she went on to say, "if the tubes were changed as noted above it could be an end game amp for some." That was a bold statement. I purchased the R8 soon after and changed the tubes, i now can safely say that amp is not going anywhere. Although i recently went out and snatched up a Kinky Studio and changed the op amps to Staccato. This is no joke, I actually forget i am listening to a solid state amp, I s--t you not. So now i have "two" loves....

Latest iteration of a Decware Amp..


Your speakers will work fine with a tube amp, especially the Cronus. I have M-180 monoblocks from Rogue paired with a set of Focal Kanta No.2s and when in triode mode I am only pumping 75wpc into them and they sound sublime. I can't speak to the Cary but I am familiar with the Cronus and it is a fine integrated.