Rogue Audio Medusa tubed/class-D hybrid

Mark O’Brien’s Rogue Audio is notable for building high-quality products right here in the United States and offering them at real-world prices. How does Rogue do it? In my brief conversation with him, O’Brien emphasized supply-line management and strong relationships with manufacturing partners. Efficiency in supply and manufacturing procedures allows more resources to be dedicated to design and development. In addition, O’Brien noted his own enthusiasm for developing products that exceed expectations: Building a product like the Cronus, a 55Wpc tubed integrated amplifier (with phono stage) that sells for a seemingly impossible $1800, is a fun challenge for O’Brien.

At CES, Rogue Audio introduced the Medusa, a 200Wpc tubed/class-D hybrid amplifier ($3995) that combines a triode front-end with a class-D MOSFET output section. O’Brien’s goal was to create an energy-efficient, “green” design that would circumvent the need for regular maintenance and tube biasing. Also available now is a 100Wpc version, the Hydra ($2995). O’Brien is also working on an integrated amplifier using the same hybrid technology. “We hope this will satisfy a lot of people’s needs,” he said.

Along with the Medusa amplifier, the system on hand included Rogue’s Hera preamplifier, Tel Wire cables, EgglestonWorks Andra 3 loudspeakers, and a Spiral Groove turntable. Even while standing behind a partition on an upper level of the suite, the music sounded detailed and nuanced, relaxed and involving.

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deckeda's picture
You were right to question how they do it.

O’Brien emphasized supply-line management and strong relationships with manufacturing partners. Efficiency in supply and manufacturing procedures allows more resources to be dedicated to design and development.

I can believe it --- those aspects of design matter to the bottom line just as much as the parts list and R&D time. And it's also my belief some companies who outsource labor would rather only do design and sales. Consequently, they have to outsource labor and supplies or they'd go under.

But what's ironic is that foreign-made equipment often retails for about what locally-built stuff does. Or I should say, could cost similarly perhaps.

Unrelated example? I was in Home Depot today. They sell Decore Grates designer air registers for the home. And then I checked out what Lowe's has across the street. They sell the allen+roth brand.

The Decore Grates were made in Canada and the allen+roth's in China. The former cost about $1-$2 less and looked every bit as nice as the imports. What does Decore Grates know that allen+roth doesn't?

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