- Written by Piero Gabucci
- Published on 08 November 2007
If I have my Greek mythology correct, Perseus was the slayer of Medusa, the serpent-haired Gorgon monster. Using his sword to view her reflection (because we all know a mere glance directly at her would turn you into stone instantly), he was able to slay her in her sleep.
Don't ask me why this is important to the review of the Rogue Audio Perseus; I just thought it would add some color.
There is nothing frivolous however about the latest preamplifier from Rogue Audio, and in fact it's quite easy to be seduced by the Perseus at $1,795, given their reputation for built quality.
Reviewing their website, I'm struck by the Rogue Audio Mission:
"At Rogue Audio we design and manufacture vacuum tube amplifiers. There is fierce competition in this market and we will only survive by delivering a superior product and superior service - we have the engineering and managerial talent to do so. Our core competencies are electrical, mechanical and production engineering, along with an overarching passion for excellence. These skills will be used to create products that offer outstanding value in the high-end marketplace.
Rogue Audio amplifiers will always be engineered to provide the four key elements of audio value:
◊ Superior Sonics
◊ High Quality and Reliability
◊ An Outstanding Appearance
◊ An Affordable Price
Our philosophy is simple - We will never design any amplifier that we would not purchase for ourselves."
- Solid State, Tube, or Hybrid: Mu-follower Tube Design
- MFR: 5 Hz - 50 kHz ± 1 dB
- THD: 0.1%
- Four Inputs, Three Outputs
- Output Impedance: 450 Ohms
- Maximum Output Voltage: 20
- Dimensions: 4.5" H x 18" W x
- Weight: 22 Pounds
- MSRP (USA): $1,795
Perseus offers an immediate visual impression - firstly how very thin or low profile the chassis is, and secondly, the elegantly arched protective cage covering the compliment of tubes. The unit stands deceptively 4 ½" high including the cage.
Under the removable cage are four line stage 12AU7 tubes peeking (and venting) through the top of the unit. The cage can be removed by first removing the cover and unscrewing the cage from below.
The faceplate is carved out of solid aluminum and is about 3/8" thick. The simply styled front is dominated by three larger knobs, including an input selection, volume, and balance controls. Each knob spins easily and feels solid in your fingers. Additionally, on the front are a power on/off button which also lights up a glowing blue light on one side, and a mute and bypass button which reside just above the etched logo on the other side, more on that later.
Perseus is a four input preamplifier, and the rear sports unbalanced heavy-duty gold plated RCAs labeled Phono (with ground), CD, Tuner, and Auxiliary. Three outputs are possible with two variable and one fixed - controlled by the front volume as you may connect both an amplifier or subwoofer and a fixed output (uncontrolled) for recording.
A detachable power cord completes the rear design, and Rogue Audio recommends that both the Perseus and your power amplifier are plugged into the same outlet to prevent ground loops.
The Perseus allows adjustments to phono cartridge loading (resistance and capacitance) and gain by removing the cover and setting your preference. You can select moving coil or moving magnet cartridges via switches on the circuit board.
The phono stage has a specified gain of 40 - 65 dB, yet I found it amazingly quiet, attributable to the mu-follower circuit design.
Further, the Perseus meets the RIAA equalization specification which is essentially a vinyl recording adjustment made during playback. Because low frequencies require a larger slot for the stylus possibly causing it to jump, recording engineers reduce the lower frequencies. During playback those lower frequencies are amplified to the correct volume.
Under the hood, what you will find is the engineering Rogue Audio puts into this sophisticated American made preamplifier. Perseus boasts a "massive power supply, ultra-high tolerance resistors, polypropylene capacitors, and gold/ceramic tube sockets".