What's the third choice?
I’ve owned the Cronus, not the Magnum, and now have a Raven Blackhawk LE. For me, there was no comparison. The Cronus was a perfectly acceptable amp but has nowhere near the refinement and presence of the Raven. Whether or not the difference in power is important would depend on the sensitivity of your speakers, the kind of music you play and your listening space but I'm sure I would take the quality of the Raven over the Cronus in any typical audio setup.
In reality I chose The Blackhawk, and a fine choice it was.
So between those two I would choose the Nighthawk. Like sfar said, Raven has refinement and presence in spades. Just a superb little amp.
In terms of power, I've measured 102+dB at the sweet spot with Moab, and that is damn loud. We had some power hog monitors in here, only 87dB sensitivity, and while we didn't measure how loud they went everyone thought it was plenty loud to be satisfied with. Very impressive sweet little amp.
I owned the Nighthawk and Blackhawk. These were with the now extinct Svetlana Winged C power tubes and NOS .Amperex / Mullard from the factory.
I then moved on to a Rogue Cronus Magnum II.
The Ravens sounded excellent, transparent and with a huge sound stage but ultimately they were not powerful enough for my room and speakers. I wanted more impact and scale.
The Rogue sounded good out of the box but with a few 12AX7/ AU7 tube changes the sound became magical. Best of both worlds- transparent refinement and 3D sound stage with near solid state power and scale.
hi sure. tried lots of combinations of the best NOS available and the center preamp tube is most important but they all matter. Amperex 12AU7 sounded best by a mile, off label made by Amerex are available at more reasonable prices.
front 12AX7 I also liked Amperex but the stock JJs are a good substitute once well burned in (many weeks).
back row 12AU7 I settled on RCA 5814.
I don’t doubt Raven amps are good but how can you compare it with the Rogue with its standard stock tubes. I agree with the statements above concerning tube rolling on the Rogue. I’m using NOS tubes in all 5 preamp locations and it’s a big improvement over the stock JJ tubes. I was able to refine the sound to my tastes and now it’s much more musical along with a larger soundstage. I also ordered my Rogue with KT77s instead of the stock KT120s which are also more musical.
The main advantage is the Rogue can be switched between ultra-linear and triode mode instantaneous with a switch located in the rear. This way you can compare and decide which sounds best in your system.
Lastly the customer service at Rogue is fantastic. They answer the phone immediately and either Mark the owner or Nick are available to answer all your questions.
For example, I purchased the Primaluna Dialogue Premium integrated amp several years ago and replaced their stock preamp tubes. At the time I preferred using NOS Cifte preamp tubes but when I purchased the Rogue, the Cifte tubes sounded a bit too bright for my tastes. Each piece of equipment is designed differently so there is no one size fits all.
@tsushima1 My statement concerning the Raven had nothing to do with preferring the Rogue even with stock tubes. The Raven amps comes with choices of premium NOS tubes and some with additional costs. This may give the Raven an advantage but given those choices there is no way to know how it would sound in your system. As I stated above it’s a matter of taste and system synergy.