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 was in the same position. I wanted to try a tube integrated for starters. The preamp and amp separates seemed more complicated and hence expensive. There are slot of choices but I wanted auto bias so I could overcome my fears of new stuff. The reviews pointed to Raven Audio. Plus it is super simple design but incorporated a sub output which I needed. My experience has been life changing. Never have I owned a system so crazy enjoyable. At $2999 the entry level isn’t cheap but the quality and customer support is a game changer in the audio industry 

End Game - Leben CS-600 Integrated Amplifier (32 wpc all tube)

Starting Point - Rogue Sphinx V3 (tube pre w/100 wpc Class D amp; upgrade the tubes to NOS Mullards from the 60's)


Person writes a post asking for thoughts on a Rogue vs. a Cary. I like maybe three people actually answer the question and everyone else weighs in with their own junk. If you were in a classroom and answered the teacher's question like this, you'd get a lousy grade.

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The Rogue Cronus III would be my choice for too many reasons ro list. In the end, go with your ears and heart. Do it for the sake of the music you love.