Tube Amp for Magnepan 3.6 - Rogue Zeus/VTL-MB450

Hey Audiogoners,

First post to A-gon and I need your advice! I've researched this site extensively, read thousands of your threads, and purchased good product through you folks. So here goes.....

Bought a used pair of Maggie 3.6Rs -absolutely love them! [Chose over ML Odyssey, Ascent i (also liked), Maggie 1.6] They're accompanied w/Supernal tweeters and an AMC B1-20 sub. I'm upgrading my stack from ss to tubes. Caught the addiction! Having listened to tubes while auditioning e-stats/planars, I've concluded that they just make the sound more "real life" -at least for my taste (go to alot of live shows). I just love that sound!

Also picked up a used VTL 2.5 tube pre-amp along with the 3.6s. Had no prior knowledge of VTL. The 2.5 presents a beautiful large deep soundstage (3D), brings everything to life, sounds tubey -not overly tubey. I've heard some pre-amps I like better (Viva Linea), but at a much higher price point.

So, I want to upgrade two things -Amp and CD


Having had such good experience with VTL, I'm tempted to pick up a used pair of VTL-MB450s (at half list), never having heard them. Also considering Rogue Zeus (used)-listened through modest set of electronics/speakers. The Zeus is so powerful that it actually carried the entire system. Bass is tremendous -best I've heard in a tube amp so far. Could have been a tad more articulate in the mid/highs, and didn't present a deep soundstage, but I'm tending to attribute these limitations to the electronics/speakers that accompanied the setup. My sense is that the Zeus could power my 3.6s very well, and drive them to their potential. Zeus is also very well made. Liked the warm standby switchable mode as well as built-in tube biasing. Knocks -it's So friggin' heavy (even more of a monster in real life), & pumps out a ton of heat. Definitely an Uber-amp.

Is there anyone out there in Audiogondom who has listened to both the Rogue Zeus AND the VTL-MB450, and can give me a real life comparison???.....

Other products I've auditioned give a sense of my listening tastes (please DO NOT BE OFFENDED as I'm not trying to knock a brand of gear you may own; it's all good):

ASL Hurricanes - listened opposite Zeus, w/better electronics/speakers. Found them to be more articulate (tubey) in the mids (real nice), lean highs, definitely light bass (compared to Zeus).

Jolida 3000 monos - sounded decent w/3.6s. Tad syrupy. Definitely not the bass slam/quickness of Zeus. Good sound none the less.

Sim Audio Moon W-5 (I know it's ss, but comes highly recommended with the 3.6s) - listened while auditioning Metronome tube CD (w/Moon stack, Triangles). The whole setup disappointed me. The sound was flat, not dimensional. Maybe it was the setup. I'm still stumped.

Can't find Wolcotts in my area. Haven't auditioned VAC.

So, VTL-450 or Rogue Zeus? And why?

Second question, CD.


I really like the Shanling 200 sound, but have heard consistently horrible stories (from 3 of 4 dealers) about reliability. Heard they've addressed firmware issues, but still leary about dropping bucks on a unit with double digit failure rate.

Metronome CDv2 demo - just sounded flat an uninspiring (maybe it was the system).
Jolida 100 modified - sounded good; lively, crisp, warm but not too tubey.
AMC DB6 modified (with an AMC DAC9 modified) - decent, but not as articulate or sweet as Shanling, not as crisp as Jolida, and didn't seem all that well built. I do like the DAC9 by itself though.
Eastern Electric Mini Max -good for the money, well built, but simply can't compare to Shanling sound.
Audio Research top loader -didn't enjoy w/Krell stack
Musical Fidelity 308 -beautiful crisp highs; maybe should audition w/tube stack.
Wadia 861, McCormick ($3K) -just didn't enjoy them

So, I'm stuck. I like the Shanling sound, but not its Word Of Mouth reliability.

Any other suggestions? Next on my audition list is the Cary 308t. Remember, I'm looking for that warm, lively, beautifully finished sound -but not too analytical.

Sim Audio Moon Eclipe? Rega Jupiter? Other?

Thank you folks.
While I can't suggest a tube amp, the ss Innersound esl amp is quite a bargain, especially if you can find one on the used market. I use one with my 1.6's and couldn't be happier.
I am using the Shanling SCDT 200 CD player and I have had it for over a year without any incidents. It is a nice player that I upgraded from a Mac 7007. There are a number of reviews on this and a few demo versions out their for under 2K. I power my maggies with Aragon Palladium 1Ks and find the combination with the maggies to be very appealing. They are not tube amp, but have a lot of power, and handle the maggies with ease. Great bass in my opinion and a great value. They are well built and have provided me with lots of listening pleasure. You can get them for 3K. I use a Bat Vk 3i preamp with upgraded tubes and they sound great together. I have heard the VTL 2.5 and would also think they would be a great match for the Aragon Amps.
Hmmmm, reading all thse threads is facinating. So here goes...Zeus amp running stock Kt88's w Mullard cv4003's an 2 Tele Gold Pin 12ax7's....wonderful amp. Pre and CD are both Eastern electric w Mixture of those damn habit forming NOS tubes after months of experimentation, All cabling Kimber and speakers big Maggie 3.3's. Sound is so liquid compared to my old Krell gear it is not up some 3.6's. The combo drives the planars WONDERFULLY and a Logan sub fills any void in the low end. Thank God I think I am near the end....