Antique Sound Lab Hurricane Problem

I just picked up a used pair of these and was as happy as a clam, because these sound really fabulous.

Until the amp blew a tube (V3) and that socket is now dead. Has anyone experienced this very upsetting behavior from this amp ? Is this a common problem and does it have an easy fix ? Or is the amp just really temperamental and needs lots of tips to the factory ?

The filament lights up, but there is no blue halo and the tube doesn't get hot. Meter reads "1" for that socket irrespective of what tube I use there.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I love these amps but can't afford to own an amp that is not reliable.
Welcome to the "love - hate" relationship that many experience with the Hurricanes! Actually sounds like you have a blown resistor at that tube socket (this happened to me as well...)

Should be a fairly easy fix by a reputable tech. You should have him check as many solder joints as possible for bad "cold solder" connections.

Yep, the early production runs of the "canes" were problamatic and forced many (myself included) to sell off & move on -- despite the outstanding sonics.

Here's hoping you have better luck after this fix.
Thanks. I am taking the amp back to the hifi shop where it was on consignment to hopefully fix the blown resistors, if that's all it is. The other amp is fine, and I am falling in love with the sound. This pair has caps modified to Multicaps with silver wiring. It does indeed sound fabulous. I offered $2.5K for them, which seems like a good price for healthy units. I will mention the "cold solder" issue to them.

Regards, correct. Lots of problems with early models. I have an early model also (the HP version)..LUCKLY mine are working GREAT!!! Keep the fingers crossed.

P.S. They sound fabulous!
Apparently, the preferred version has eight .22uf white circular multicap capacitors and the other version has rectangular gray boxy caps labeled "illusion". "My" amp is a mongrel, which started its life with the "illusion" caps and the previous owner had them changed to the top of the line multicaps with silver wiring, blowing over a grand in upgrade costs. I hope that the fix is an easy one.
>>How can you distinguish old and new versions of the Hurricane?<<
That's a great question. The older units fail after 3 months and the new units fail after 6.
==That's a great question. The older units fail after 3 months and the new units fail after 6.==

Ha-ha-ha !!! But seriously, folks, I am about to drop 2.5K on these monsters. Should I do it ? Is there something else there that sounds like it ? Large VTL stuff ? Anything ? This is a lot of money on an amp with a drifting bias and blowing resistors.
What kind of failures are common ? My apparently had a blown resistor and tube. That's not too problematic. Serious failures requireing trips to the dealer are. How do people who own them cope with them ?
Well, it was the burnt-out 10 ohm resistor. Clearly a regular occurance in the life of this amp as other sockets had these resistors changed as well. The amps are running fine now...I think. One more question for the fellow sufferers - what bias do you run them at? I don't think I hear a difference between 440 mV and 490 mV. What has been your experience with tube life in these units ? Should one expect longer life at 400 mV than 490 mV ?

Thanks for your comments !
>>Clearly a regular occurance in the life of this amp<<
In that case you have a flawed design. Burned out resistors or caps should not be a regular occurrence in any amplifier. All of course IMO
==In that case you have a flawed design. Burned out resistors==

Probably. I don't know if it is unusual for high power tube amplifiers to use sacrificial resistors to protect itself against failed tubes, but I certanily never had it happened in other tube amps I owned.

On the other hand it is a simple fix and the rest of the amplifier is intact.

If this doesn't happen too often, than this is not so bad. I suspect the wide bias range allowed owners to set the bias too high, resulting in a tube smoking. In my case, I suspect that I replaced the tubes in the wrong sockets, resulting in inadvertant high bias at that socket.
MANY tubed poweramps consume a resistor when a tube shorts, and I've replaced a few. That's why conrad-johnson and other manufacturers of tubed poweramps place fuses on the high-Voltage rail. You might consider having someone add those to your amps.
==You might consider having someone add those to your amps.==

Sounds like a good idea. Since I am spending considerable amount of time inside the amps, I can probably add them myself soon.

I have found that I had a blown resistor in another socket, mascarading as a healthy one, because the meter wire was broken on that socket ! Without a signal, ASL meter just drifts down slowly from the previous value !

OK, so now all is working and they sound devine. Do other Hurricane owners have the same amount of trouble? Or do these guys stay stable after being fixed and carefully biased?

Any feedback from other owners is greatly appreciated. I am trying to decide if these amps are worth 2.5K. These are definitely the best amps I had ever heard and by a considerable margin. On the other hand I never had to do this much work, not even on my old Citation.
One should take note, however, that the latest version (beveled front sides, extruded case) have extensive reworking of the protection circuitry and the resistor issue seems to have been resolved.

Just like a first year car (& the associated bugs & recalls), ASL seems to be learning from earlier production errors and taking corrections accordingly.

Keep in mind that there just isn't anything else out there that can offer even CLOSE to the overall performance for anywhere near the price. Priced a pair of ARC VTM-200's lately? You'll see what I mean.

Despite my earlier statement, and admitting that I sold off my "2nd generation" version of the amps, they were overall, the best sounding amplification that I ever experienced in my system.

I would be open to purchasing the latest edition (with the updated revisions) despite the minor repair issues I had with the earlier version.

BTW -- rumor has it that they are coming out with a balanced/XLR input version (something I personally wanted to always see with this amp...)
I agree with Denf. It makes no sense to spend 15K on a pair of VTM-200's when you can get the same dry, sterile sonics found in the Hurricanes for 6K. Good point.
I would respectfully disagree. The hurricane's sound is anything but dry and sterile. It has replaced a single ended amp in my system and delivers a very palpable, warm and liquid sound through Magnepans 1.6s. It has a tremendous presence and a spooky reality on voice, especially. I don't know why it sounds they way it does, as it seems a very straightforward design, but I would love someone to measure it well. I suspect, for example, that it may not have a straight frequency response - the differency between it and the previous amp were dramatic - like a 1-2 db drop in the irritation part of the spectrum - upper midrange, I guess. Usually that means less presence, but in this case it sounds like a lot more. Weird.
I certainly wouldn't judge any amplifier based on the sonics of Magnepan 1.6.
My my, rather critical today, aren't we, Judy? Looks as if you're attitide is negative enough for some of the Audio Asylums.
Judy, you haven't heard them with the right tubes, especially the 6SN7s. The stock tubes are marginal at best. When I owned the 'canes, I was using EH KT88s and various NOS 6SN7s, as well as EH 6SN7s. Anything but dry and sterile, like Dimitri says. Tubes make them, or can break them.
>>Tubes make them, or can break them.<<
They break by themselves; changing tubes only prolongs the inevitable.

Criticism is often confused with the truth don't you think?
"Criticism is often confused with the truth don't you think?"

Oh yes, and sometimes it's the same, and sometimes it's opposite.
It sounds like an old argument over here that I had inadvertantly re-started. Sorry.

==I certainly wouldn't judge any amplifier based on the sonics of Magnepan 1.6.==

That makes sense, as you probably don't own these speakers. I do and that's the only speaker sound that matters to me when evaluating amplifiers. In my small experience, these panels have been rather easy to live with, and reveal upstream differences readily.

===They break by themselves; changing tubes only prolongs the inevitable===

That's what I am trying to ascertain - the frequency of the breakdowns in these amps. Your experience with them has been negative then ? How often was your pair out of commission ?

So far, after fixing the two burnt resistors and carefully adjusting the bias (on the low side - 450 mv) on a matched set of 4 quads of KT88EHs, so far they have been stable. But they do run hot and perhaps my fun is all in the future...