Antique Sound Lab Hurricane MK1 vs MK2

Hello, I'm planning to buy a pair of Antique Sound Lab Hurricane. There is a lot of positive reviews and comments about the MK1 version, but I don't find nothing about the MKII, that is very different. Could someone tell me if the sound of the MKII version is much better than the renowned MKI?
Best Regards
The Hurricanes were, at one point(around 2003), "updated" by replacing the(eight per channel) .22uF/400V MIT(Reliable) MultiCaps with a paper in oil capacitor made by Illusion. Seems they lost their magic at that point. The builder has since seen the error of his ways, and gone back to the original caps. If you should happen to get one of the oil/paper iterations: They can be fairly easily upgraded. ( personally- I'd replace either with the Reliable Exotica Prime capacitors.
Around the begining of August I will have them to live Audition. I would not represent them if they were not going to live up to there reputation or reviews.These will be The MKIIs.Keep in touch.
Carlsdg- Keep in mind everyone's tastes and systems are different. It would behoove you to try a pair, connected to the equipment you own, to determine your satisfaction with them. Further: The people that raved about them did so based on the design's faithfulness to the original signal, and ability to recreate the live experience. Those are not everyone's criteria when judging a component or system. The driver and power tubes can also be rolled(to NOS's) to enhance the pair's accuracy and your pleasure. Were it not for the number of tubes, I'd own a pair myself. My Cary monoblocks' 6 tubes each(added to everything else in the system), heat up my listening room within the first 2 hours of music. Great in the winter, but the summer is a bummer. I don't run the AC when the system is turned on, to keep the voltage up and line noise down. If they are available to you- Hop on them! I seriously doubt you'll be disappointed.
>>I would not represent them if they were not going to live up to there reputation or reviews.<<

How do you know this ahead of time?

Based on their history, Greg Norman is a better wager.
Hi Rodman, I know about the different capacitors mounted in the Hurricanes. HP from TAS say that the first were the best, although other people preferred the newest versions. I have a pair of Lumley Reference monoblocks (120W) with 4 kt88 per channel, and I know that this equipment can heat up the room!
I cannot try a pair of Hurricanes before to try, but I can buy the MKI or MKII version (with the tubes on top of the trafos), for that I want to know if they have different sound.

Justsound, i will keep in touch about your experience with the MKII
Hello Carlesdg
I have listened to about 30 pairs of Hurricane amplifiers and spent a lot of time with every version manufactured.

To try to answer your original question, the latest MKII is not that different sonically than the later MKI versions (horizontal aluminum chassis). The circuitry is still the same and they both use the green Illusion oil capacitors.

The MKII now has balanced inputs standard which is why you see a different input tube arrangement. Transformers are slightly improved as is the bias circuit.

Obviously they have gone to a new chassis which weighs in at about 80+ lbs. each.
Response34, you are a specialist in the Hurricanes , really. I like more the look of the MK1, but I was not sure if both versions sounded similar. I think that the latest versions of the MK1 have the triode/pentode switch, but I wasn't sure what capacitors that mounted.
Do you think that this amps have a bad reliability?
This is a response a little late to the party about reliability, but very simialar to many other owners' experiences.
One of my amps did not work out of the box, but was repaired locally. After that, it functioned fine for several years, but then developed something that sounded like a bad tube. It took some time for the repair person to fix it, but remember: it DOES have a 5 year warranty, and 3 of those cover parts and labor. Given the exceedingly good pricing on this level of performance, I wouldn't worry about the reliability now. It it was 5 years ago, I'd say "maybe, maybe not..." But in present time, I think not. And the amps are STILL dazzling, period. They have a staggering dynamic range, from ultra soft (pppp) to ultra loud (ffff). They have enormous ambience retrieval capabilities, which means, in soundstaging, it will not be the amp that compresses the rows of players. Ambience retrieval is crucial to reproducing the sense of space between players (as Conrad Johson is famous for, and all their components reproduce ambience retrieval equal to the very best)to the nth degree.
The midbass is drop-dead killer, whether on acoustic instruments or electronica. The low bass is terrific on its own, surpassed by, maybe the big VTLs I hear(at, kee this in mind, $40,0000). As long as it's tight, I can live with it having the "ultimate tightness." upper bass/lower midrange/upper midrange/lower highs are great. Maybe a slight rolling off of the highest stuff, but on a pair of Genesis 6.1s, with a ribbon tweeter, it was still mesmerizing. Whatever rolled off, I didn't care about, and I once had a Goldmund Mimesis 9 stereo amp, which had THE most airy, extended highs I've ever heard.With the Mim 9, you heard reflections off side walls as easily as Michael Phelps swims. The Hurricanes willdo back and side walls jsut fine, just not as completely fine as the Mim 9. HOW-ever, they will image so perfectly that they made my ex-boyfriend, no audiophile, sit up in his chair and point out that he could "see" the drummer in the Bill Evans Trio playing right next to my dryer and he could easily "see" which direction he was hitting his drum kit.
Whatever these amps are not the "best" at (and the best, these days, still isn't the best at everything, and yet it STILL can cost $90,000 [HP's General Electrics}, the Hurricanes are exquisite amps, and that sense of continuousness, a la the Jadis Defy 7 and the Avalon speakers (a breath-holding as well as breath-taking combination)is what makes music seem real. There's no vacuum in the layers between players in a concert hall (at least, none I've ever been in), but very few amps, even the high-prices spread, can manage to avoid that vacuum-in-space effect. The Hurricanes do it as easily as a good butler (if I had one) would pass me a a glass of water: invisibly, as though the water just appeared on the table next to me without me even noticing.
If you don't like the Hurricanes, forgive me: you either just don't want it to sound like the live experience, or you are unfamiliar with the live experience to any degree. Comparisons are not needed, nor required. They are, succinctly put, fabulous (I HATE that word, but it's the only one that fits) amplifiers. FAB-U-LOUS. And I say that as someone who was depressed at how much time they spent in repairs around 2005 and '06. They're repaired now, they work perfectly, and what bothers me most is that I keep asking myself, did they sound THIS good before, because I could swear they sound better, which shouldn't be possible.

Now, that could be how good I've become at figuring out room acoustics, which took year. For example put absorbing materials at the ceiling/wall juncture: use ASC sound panels (or fiberglass or whatever) and try this experiment: put them halfway between the wall and the floor. Then, move up up so that they are right near the ceiling/wall interface. You eyes should now look like Joan Rivers face: Lifted To The Top Of Your Hairline. Take care of the room, move your equipment around fractions of inches -- you'll hear the sound improve or degrade -- and you'll be able to trust your ears. You'll also be able to assess equipment for how IT sounds, and not how your room MAKES it sound.
uh... typos galore.


"The low bass is terrific on its own, surpassed by, I hear [I haven't actually heard them myself] the big VTL Sigfrieds (at, KEEP this in mind, $40,0000). So, now it takes $40,000 to have low bass that VTL once could produce for $5000?!? (I had the VTL 300s back in the late 80s thru mid 90s, and they also had bass similar to the Hurricanes: stomp you into the dirt), but could differentiate between cellos and doublebass [real hard to do!].

I meant to say, "As long as it's tight, I can live WITHOUT it having the "ultimate tightness." "
I hate typos, but I jes' kain't see as well closin' in on 60 as I could when I wuz only 57...the Good Lord is jes' passin' on me (translation: playing wit' me).
GBMcleod: I love your writing! typos and all.I too am late to the dance of this string but after reading your post I couldn't resist.
I am very interested in the Hurricanes for use with my Acoustats. I have had solid state for years but just got my first tube preamp and to say I have been converted to the tube sound is a understatement. If you read this could you elaborate on the differences in sound from pentode to triode?
I would love to try these monsters with my Acoustats in Triode. The write ups have been nothing short of fabulous(I too hate that word,second only to "musical")!

I have to mention that it is always refreshing to hear from female audiophiles because they tend to have a more tempered expression.Keep up the great writing.