Equipment Blog

The record “Emporium” as the name suggests is more than just records. We carry a great selection of equipment and accessories associated to vinyl, as well as personal audio stuff, such as record cleaning machines, new stylus or cartridges, tonearms, turntables, & vinyl “tweeks.” Also, personal listening gear such as ear buds/phones, DAC’s, amps, and a nice seclection of home Hi-Fi stereo equipment and speakers.

For those with older turntables, “See our website/Facebook page’ to get into one of our monthly “turntable” clinics to rejuvenate or tune-up that old vinyl spinner!

So this blog will serve to accomplish many things from record reviews (and CD reviews) for those who wish to own the genuine article, to equipment reviews to keep you up-to-date on all the latest stuff.

Click here to check out our blogspot blog

See more articles listed below the most current article.

Equipment Review, Amplifier, Tubed Integrated, Rogue Cronus

Published 2015-11-12
Two thumbs up for our Rouge Cronus Integrated Amplifier
Rich's Record Emporium; Cronus Magnum Tube Integrated AmplifierA few months ago Mark, Wayne and myself took a trip to the Rogue Audio manufacturing facility in Broadheadsville Pa, we had a wonderful time visiting with the owner and chief designer of Rogue Audio, Mark O’Brien. We met him and his dedicated employees and toured his manufacturing facility.  We left with a couple pieces of gear to test audition and review, my task was the Cronus Magnum Integrated amplifier with remote, after what was an appropriate break in period (approx. 50 hours) I began serious listening evaluation.

I'm going to side step here for a moment to tell you a bit about my Hi-Fi history, and my gear, to put all in proper context. I am 57 and my history with high end audio dates to the late 70's and early 80's. I got my practical industry experience hands on at two different audio dealerships. One was “The Audio Den” which was a complete audio store “within a record store” called, The Record Barn the other, and where I considered it to be my more “educational journey” came later at a more serious dedicated High End store called “House of HiFi”. It was at the House of Hi-Fi that I considered myself on the path to enlightenment.

The Record Barn carried such brands as Pioneer, Technics, Kenwood, BIC, Sherwood, Empire, Shure, Grado, EPI, Avid and Audio Technica. Most of this gear would be considered mid-fi not Hi-Fi in audiophile snob terms, not great to be sure, but not awful either. So in a nut shell, the Audio Den gave me some great experience with real world priced entry level Hi-Fi gear, and quite frankly, the level of gear often found as still part of many peoples “higher-end” systems, perhaps as somewhat of a weak link, but still providing respectable performance.  It wasn’t until later when I moved on to work at the House of HiFi, which I was able to grow in appreciation of the difference in what’s considered “Hi-Fi” (High Fidelity). It was here that I became acquainted with some of the finer brands at that time, which were Harman Kardon, Toshiba, Sony, Polk Audio, DCM, Kef, Grafyx, Audio Technica Signet, GAS, Hafler, Audionics, APT, Hegeman, Nakamichi, AKG, Conrad Johnson, Aiwa, and ESS. The owner of House of Hi-fi was a former Harvey Radio salesman, and an accomplished horn player. He helped me get my introduction to high end home audio. Back then, in part due to my inundation in the mid-fi gear, I was one of those spec geeks. Paying more attention to a couple of points negative or positive and believing that would equate to an “audible” difference. However, after getting my feet wet there, I quickly learned the error of my ways.

It took several A/B listening tests and an open mind set, but I came to appreciate that specs only give you an “idea of how” something “might” sound, not a cut and dry appraisal of how it “actually sounds”. Though I have always maintained a great interest in the technical aspect of this industry, I’ve found which specs are truly meaningful and meaningless.

And now to my personal set, I presently am using a H/K receiver (modern), a Sony PS-X55S turntable (80's), an Audio Technica Signet TK5E cartridge (80's), a pair of Grafyx SP-10’s (80's). One of the things I learned way back then, and still love today, is how much of the overall integrity of a great sound system, can depend on a well-designed “efficient” pair of loud speakers, like my Grafyx SP-10’s (the company’s flagship model). So although my speakers never required a super high integrity amp to get top performance out of them, I immediately noticed after inserting the Cronus into this system, an impressive improvement in high end extension, “even on TV audio” I used for the initial break-in period. This difference was at once (both pleasing and surprising) considering the general nature of “typical” tube gear). After about a week of this I started listening to music (NOTE: after one or two days the bias on the tubes became VERY stable and required little further adjusting). (NOTE2: This is a very simple procedure on this very user friendly/obviously well thought out design). It was here that I discovered just what a delightfully open and musical piece that this amplifier is, totally fatigueless and so musical that I quickly stopped listening to the recording and was listening to the performance instead (very rare for me the “tech-spec” guy). Higher praise I cannot give as this is the essence of why we peruse this hobby. It had a very open sound with wonderful depth and focus of the image, with excellent bass and treble extension, and a sound stage full of instruments which just seemed to hang there in midair. One could almost identify the brand of cymbal by its timber, and really take notice of the definitive sound of “plastic drumstick tips” on the cymbals.  Having previously only experienced this level of performance with much more costly designs, this amp was giving me a rare window into the depth of the music. A real treat at this price point.

I close with only one niggle, one night I wanted to listen in the dark and just enjoy the music and the wonderful warm glow of the tubes, but the BRIGHT blue power indicator lamp interfered with this.

On another note this unit comes with a remote the only function of which is to change volume, it appeared to be machined out of billet aluminum, felt great and worked beautifully, one word Mark, the addition of a mute button would be nice.

Thanks again to Mark O’Brien and Rogue Audio for the tour and the awesome product, great job indeed.

--Quack (Tim O’Hare)

The new version of this amplifier, (version II) is equiped with a more functional remote control. Unfortunetly however, if you find yourself often listening in pitch black to enjoy the warm glow of the tubes you may want to place a small piece of black electrical tape as a “flap” to lock down that intrusive blue becon.



Equipment Review, Pro-ject 6 Perspex VS. Marantz TT15S1 Turntables 2016-08-08

Equipment Review, Record Cleaning Machine, Okki Nokki 2016-07-07

Vinyl Record Review, Sophia Pfister, 2016-04-06

Speaker Review, Phase Tech PC60 CA, Monitor, Two Way, 2015-12-08

Equipment Review, Amplifier, Tubed Integrated, Rogue Cronus 2015-11-12

Vinyl Record Review, Foghat Last Train Home, Classic Rock, Blues Rock, colored vinyl, new release 2015-07-13

Record Review, Jazz, Ornette Coleman, Shape of Jazz to come. 180gram Audiophile vinyl 2015-06-29

Equipment Review, Golden Ear Triton 7. Another great U.S. Product 2015-06-25

Vinyl Record Review, Heavy Metal, Saxon, Into the Labyrinth 2015-03-20

Equipment Review, Music Hall mmf2.2le Turntable another great U.S. Product 2015-02-25

Vinyl Record Review, Delbert McClinton, 'Live 2015-01-29

Equipment Review, Golden Ear Triton II Follow-Up Review & cheapo suggestions too 2014-11-29

Equipment Review, Marantz Stereo Equipment Company... 2014-11-28

Equipment Review, Marantz M-CR610 Network Stereo Receiver 2014-11-21

Vinyl Record Review, Joe Walsh (Our Feature Record this month) Analog Man 2014-11-20

Equipment Review, Golden Ear Triton II Speaker System 2014-11-12

Equipment Review, Phono Stage, Rolls VP-29 Preamplifier, RIAA Equalizer, Made in U.S.A 2014-10-18

Vinyl Record Review, Jazz, Sonny Rollins 2014-10-17

Vinyl Record Review, Punk Rock, The Clash, Audiophile 180 gram Vinyl 2014-10-09

Music Review: Singer/Songwriter, Chuck Prophet, CD/DL Night Surfer, 2014-10-03

Vinyl Record Review, Blues, Blues-Rock, Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale 2014-10-02

Music Review, Blues, Blues-Rock, Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers - Wide Open 2014-10-01

Music Review, Blues, Nick Moss Band, Time Ain't Free 2014-09-26

Equipment Review, Amplifier, Tubed Integrated Amplifier, Mini Amp, Jolida Corp 2014-09-25

Vinyl Record Review, Blues, Various Artists, Direct to disk, Label APO Records 2014-09-25

Music Review, Jazz, Bassist Stanely Clarke, CD Mack Avenue Records 2014-09-21

Music Review, Singer/Songwriter, Hannah Aldridge, CD/DL Razor Wire 2014-09-20

Vinyl Record Review, Country, Johnny Cash, The Legend of, 2014-09-16

Music Review, Classical, Mercury Living Presence, Vinyl or CD Box Set 2014-09-15

Vinyl Record Review, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, John Fogerty: Wrote a Song for Everyone 2014-09-10

Equip Review, Accessory, SpinClean Record Cleaning Machine 2014-09-09

Vinyl Record Review, Jazz, Paul Desmond, Desmond Blue 2014-09-05

    131 W. Main Street
    Collinsville, IL 62234

    Phone: 618-795-1333
    Visit Our All New Audio Emporium:
    Tues: 11:00am - 6:00pm
    Wed - Fri: 11:00am - 8:00pm
    Sat: 10:00am - 5:00pm
    Sun: 12:00pm - 4:00pm
    Closed Mondays

Copyright © 2018 · All Rights Reserved · Rich's Record Emporium
Web Site Development & Hosting by Moonlight Computing LLC