CES 2013: Rogue Audio and The Sphinx

Folks, just so you know, I don’t only write about expensive doodads. Okay, correction — all of these doodads are expensive, but that said, I don’t only write about the ones that cost more than a Porsche. So there. Case in point, one of my favorite US manufacturers has a brand new integrated that he introduced at CES: say hello to Rogue Audio‘s newest, The Sphinx.

Priced at a rather reasonable $1,295 (add $100 for the remote control system), The Sphinx is a full-function hybrid tube/solid-state amp. The amp section is Class D, fed by a big linear PSU (not a switching power supply), putting out 100wpc into 8ohms and 200wpc into 4ohms. There are four inputs, one of which is a phono input, and a three outputs, one of which is a headphone jack. Of the other two outputs, one is variable and one is fixed.

Also new is the Pharaoh ($3,495), an addition to the Medusa line. “The Pharaoh boasts a 175 WPC amplifier section based on the same tubeD™ technology used in our Medusa amplifier. Pharaoh has an MM/MC phono section with adjustable gain and loading as well as a home theater bypass and a host of other desireable features.

Shown at CES with loudspeakers from Eggleston Works.

The sound in this room was a bit hard to judge — it was quite popular, sitting directly off the main hub, directly adjacent to the elevator, and the foot traffic was boisterous and chatty. From what I was able to hear, the sound coming out of those big Egglestons was really quite good — the 150lb newly-rechambered Nine Signatures ($18,000/pair) are very capable loudspeakers, and The Sphinx was making them dance in a very convincing way. If that thought makes you go “hmmm …”, you’d not be the only one scratching their head. Rogue Audio does great work up there in Pennsylvania. And yes, the guts, sheet-metal and design are all done here at home. Honestly, that one is the fact that leaves me wondering at some of the general excuses I hear about US-based manufacturing and the “need” for outsourcing. O’Brien just gets it done — with his home team. “Hmm”, indeed.

Anyway, great room.

Rogue Audio Sphinx

Rogue Audio Sphinx

Rogue Audio Sphinx

Rogue Audio Sphinx

Rogue Audio Pharaoh integrated

Rogue Audio’s Mark O’Brien (right) with John Gatski of Everything Audio Network (left)

9 comments

  • I’ve been putting the sphinx throught its paces, driving PSB t-2 speakers, and feeding it with a Rega rp3, oppo 105, or sonos. It sounds really really good. Better sound stage and base than the Brio R I was using (and that unit is no slouch). The headphone amp sounds good driving some hifiman 400’s. What is intriguing to me is that, while it sounds very good with vinyl, the biggest improvements are from digital sources. Its probably the tubes, but even the sonos connect source sounds smoother coming through the sphinx.
    (I might market this as the tube amp for folks who are scared of tubes :). Given their projected life, you might not change them more frequently than the fuses…1x every five years or so. This is a really nice unit….

  • Own the Sphinx – it constantly amazes me with the quality (and dynamic power) of the sound it produces. Paired with an Oppo BDP-105; a PS Audio NuWave DAC and Dali Ikon 6 Mk2 towers. Match made in heaven…

    • Tony, What amplification were you using on the Ikons before the Sphinx? Have you compared the analog out from the 105 to the NuWave?

  • Sphinx, Oppo 103, newest Bifrost, Fritz Carbon 7s or new Maggie MMG/DWM combo, all mostl or all made in the USA.

  • What would be the almost perfect USA budget system built around the
    Sphinx? Schitt, Wyred Dac….. What about speakers?

  • Does the Sphinx not use modules from Hypex? (Netherlands?)

    • Part-Time Audiophile

      I asked, this is what they said: “Yes it does. The Sphinx uses a OEM version of the 180 modules.”

  • Touché, bravo, encore! This yummy post shall not go unnoticed nor unappreciated! Much success to the independent little guys from the U.S. I don’t know if market share for audio gear is reliably reported, but it sure feels that momentum is in the favor for shops like Rogue.

    • Part-Time Audiophile

      Their output is enviable — and that’s a very good thing. ;-)