Reactions to HP's review of Antique Sound Lab amp?

He raved about the Hurricane in the latest TAS.
Anyone with long term experience care to comment?
There was a post already about this a week ago or so. Check the archives for instant replies. Arthur
I was always interested in a higher powered tube amp to drive my Infinity RS 1-B's mid's and tweeters. I was considering the ARC VT200, VTL 450 etc...but all were used and around 4-5K. I have read and followed HP's recommendations and, although I have not always agreed with him, I have appreciated his writings and recommendations. Therefore, site unseen....I ordered an ASL Hurricane this weekend. I t should be in in 4-5 weeks. I will keep my ARC VT 100 mkll as back-up and report to you all about this amp.

Rick-- I might just do the same thing, and keep my Bryston 7B-STs until...

Are the orders that backed up that there is a waiting list
of a month or so? We just missed a pair on the classifieds that went for $2950, but you probably already knew this.

If I buy the Hurricane, it'll be my first tube amp in about 40 years! People (including HP!) keep telling me that's what I need to take the annoying edge off of CDs. We'll see.

BTW---I found the previous threads and came away as confused as before. I guess, as the Brits say, you just have to "suck it and see"! Lots of wannabee experts around.
Hi 914nut......Yes the wait is at least one month. I ordered on set from Lyric Hi-Fi in NYC. They were recommended to me by the distributor in Canada. I happen to know the store (Lyric) and I believe that they would get one of the very first shipments since they are quite reputable. Let's see who else answers this thread?

could someone please summarize his comments upon the Hurricanes. thanks
Hi Mejames......I will do so tomorrow, however, I believe you have the Genesis 200 and from what I understand the 200 watts will work wonderful with Arnies drivers.
yes 200 watts is about enough the VTL 450 working in triode is enough power for the Genesis 201 speakers.
Harry says, in his article, that this is a very simple design (tube). However, it captures the realism of the live orchestra or sound better then anything else.. "The images just appear in space"...."you can hear the ""air"" on the soundstage opening up"....."the retrieval of elusive ambient cues is part of this amplifier's ability to reach well down into the softest part of the recorded range and extract information I didn't know was there"

Only some comments. I don't want to infringe on a copyright so I'll end there, however, Mejames, you should get a copy of the mag (issue 140) and read the review yourself.
As I said, the only reason I went out to order this is the review by HP (I agree with most of what he says) and the ridiculous price for the wattage!
by Rwd
Rwd, you are a braver man than me. I have no doubts you will be thrilled. Please write a review of these amps. It would be great to see you start from day one till fully broke in. Hope to hear more from you as I am sure many others are too.

Congratulations! I hope they are everything that HP said they are and more. Looking forward hearing back from you.
Does anyone know what is the percentage of equity in this company that HP owns?
I think Cwlondon is on to something - HP must own a part of all the companies that receive rave reviews. I just don't understand why he picks stock in such small companies rather than some of the very few Hi-End companies with substantial value like Krell ,Levinson, Wilson or Martin Logan. As ASL dealers last time we checked with our Antique Sound Lab distributor he was unaware of this connection. We heard the Hurricane monos at CES and promptly ordered 6 pairs-and and we have 3 pair of Hurricanes and two pair of ASL Tulip's arriving next week.The Hurricanes are a world class bargain.
I must say....I truly believe that HP has nothing to do with this (or any other) company. I have seen and read great reviews from him on products from companies like ARC or Infinity praising a product. Then he will come back later to give a less then stellar review on another product from the same company.
I believe that HP offers to us a candid and honest review of audio products in a most interesting manor. HP posses, IMHO, a great memory, good ears, and a great ability to communicate his thoughts and opinions to paper.

I have just received my ASL Hurricane monos and they are an unbelievable combination with the Pipedreams speakers I am using. The ASL's replace a much more expensive amplifier.
Go look at and look under the recommended amplifiers and you will see another view on these amps. Seems like even if Harry might have got a wee bit excited on this one, he has some justification.
Judesonic....Good show...ENJOY! I am waiting for mine....
Did you have a difficult time in biasing them?
I read the article and it seemed that it was somewhat tricky to bias and set up. Any comments on this?
Bias takes a little time as the 16 (8 per side) set screws are somewhat sensitive to slight movement to reach 485. Front meter makes it relatively easy to reach 485 RANGE. 10 minutes tops unless you are completely anal- then occasionally bias until unit breaks in and bias settles.
One comment in passing from that review was that the generic Chinese KT88 s were more than ok and swapping them out was unnecessary. My ASL MGSI 15DT uses these-- first thing I did when I got the amp was buy new JJ/Tesla KT88s, Tomorrow I'll put the Chinese tubes back in and see what they sound like, BTW just put in Kimber Hero I/C with this amp and what a difference!
Jkaway and Judesonis.....thanks for the update....keep us all posted! I am still waiting for mine (NYC) but will report back to all of you of my experience after I receive them. Thanks for the update on the biasing.
From the picture of the amp, it looks like the set screws are on the side....correct? It does look easy....even for a person (no tech) like me!!
Correct- The 8 set screws are on the side. Round knob is used to rotor through the digital meter readout for each of the 8 tubes.Enjoy it. A great amp.
In case I was not clear the round knob is turned as you bias each KT88 with the 8 set screws so as to allow the digital readout for each individual tube.
It's heartwarming to know that in this digital age, the power of the press is not dead yet...
I hope for some folks' sake that this amp is as good as Mr. Pearson says it is (this month). too!! But I think it will be (right..Judesonic)?
Will this thing drive Magneplanar Tympanis?

My Levinson is still being serviced and I am sick of waiting!
I would say "yes", but I have had no true experience with Maggies. However, I believe that Jim Winey, when he first started to design this great speaker....used ARC "tubed" equipment.
Zaikes, I loved the "(this month)"!!

All reviewers look for that component that they can splash on everyone. Mostly, this springs from a genuine desire to share your enthusiasm. Knowing Harry, limited as I do, I would honestly expect, in this particular instance, that this is the case. The manufacturer is certainly not ARC-level and the price is not stratospheric, so there seems to be no ulterior motive that is readily apparent. In fact, just the opposite.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no Harry cheerleader (at least not anymore....), but I do respect him (even though he doesn't think so...) and you have give him his due and concede that he is stepping out on a limb here. Is that dangling modifier on the cap issue at the end of the article a case of the all too familiar built-in deniability? (hey, what happened to those Wisdom speakers anyway...?) Is the amp just a foil for him to talk about his next idea on "continuous-ness" and he got carried away on that account? Who knows, but I do know that Harry did tell us about the ARC SP-9 Mk I way back when - and I know that certainly didn't help advert dollars!

Harry likes big sound (KT 88's)and has heard alot of gear. When you hear a lot of gear sometimes a little something in a component that gets something right that you have, just at that point in your listening evolution, been looking for, makes you jump for joy. If he has jumped too high too soon, time will tell.

I'm not a high-watt-KT88-kinda-guy, but I would be very interested what others who get this amp have to say.
Asa...some very good points and I will be more then happy to report back to you all as soon as I get my units in from the dealer. I hope Judesonics also chimes in with some more of his coments soon also. Seems I have a bit to loose....I'm buying this sight-unseen or should I say unheard!
Asa, my "this month" isn't meant so much in a calculated or cynical vein (regarding Pearson's motivations, not my own), as it was wistfully, or even groping blindly. I honestly don't know if he, or others in similar positions to his, even have the time, inclination, or recognition to ever step back from the fray once in a while, and meditate on how exactly it was that they traveled the path they have, and what that might mean for their future peregrinations. It's almost as if he or they don't see it coming yet again. JGH had the right idea, and went away to contemplate what might matter more - and hasn't been done or perfected yet. Not that amps have, of course, but I don't believe (do I ever?) in the quantumn leap (sorry, I know, but it's understood...) which leaves all previous loves gagging in the dust, unless you're a relative novice (like me). At the end of the rave, I'm more inclined to think it's simply another competent amplifier, maybe a pretty good one, maybe even an outstanding one (or especially for the money), but an amplifier nonetheless. How much more special could it be than all the other erstwhile excellent, special amplifiers? How much more independent of serendipitous synergy in his particular system of the moment - or ears of the advancing years, or memories of a lifetime - could this one be as opposed to those sequentially displaced ones which came before, only to be recalled as signposts along the path which led to our present surprise, intoxication, confusion, ennui? What about having a magazine to write? This is what we do, is it not? If I'm not this, who am I? And so the uncertainty must be either shut out, or toyed with in print, at least unitl the next thing comes along, lest the whole stunning damn house of cards come sliding down around us...(but you would know much better than I, no? ;^)

(Sorry, Rwd. For a palliative while you wait, try rereading "The Emperor's New Clothes", followed close by "The Wizard Of Oz"...and remember, this could easily be the best amp you've ever owned, but if not, someone reading will buy it from you and thus help nurture the cycle, so cheer up - in Audioland there is *always* tomorrow...just ask Harry...)
There's an interesting consideration of the Hurricane at from a gentleman who is opinionated, but seems to make sense in his criticisms of reviewers and the industry in general. I found those comments interesting and informative. Both HP and AS can't be right.
BTW guys, I should mention that I've said what I've said about this topic (on two threads) without ever having actually read or seen the review in question. And it was easy, for whatever that's worth...maybe Twl was right; maybe I don't need to read the 'zines anymore after all... ;^)
Zaikesman.....Hi, read your comments.....wasn't that Scarlet who said that??? I'm here at work and will comments back to you all.......thanks!
Zaikes, loved your response!! Thank you, especially "...surprise, intoxication, confusion, ennui." Very funny and good writing BTW. I think you said it all there, not just accurately, but with..."communion", if you know what I mean. :0)

Yes, I knew you meant wistfully, not so volitionally. What followed were my views. I should have been clearer to avoid the implication. Oh, and you are hardly a novice, although I appreciate the gesture of feigned humility, really. You wouldn't "feel" this if that was so. As I said somewhere, can't remember where, this all becomes less of an accumulation of accuracy after awhile, and more of, for lack of a better word (mystic-haters can go back into the closet now, although, if it makes them feel better, they can yell "Stone the Witch!! a few times before they go back in). When that happens, when your means of percieving what is happening becomes more than a sum of its collected parts, becoming integrative of the parts, then you start "feeling" these things. It happens in every area of knowledge, but it is difficult to explain to those still caught in the accumulated web of ideas, in this case coming from a King, or, er, Audio Guru. Its like you can sense some underlying current to what's going on, right, like about these amps? We all know the end-point truth is in the pudding, but reading the mags, at some level, becomes more of an art of seeing between the words, through them. It still has value, relatively speaking, but you are more on your own (as you always were...). We all want someone to tell us what is what or who to be - we want the King as father - but sometimes, to go farther on the quest, as opposed to rotely following each word in conformism, you have to look ahead yourself.

On these amps? I know what Zaikes is saying, and he has said it compellingly, but the "convergence thing" is happening with TAS and he is getting older. If he finds a nice amp for a nice price in a world of greed, and he now favors to an even greater degree full bass structure as a bias, that's OK with me. As for whether just another KT88-based amp has suddenly hit the levels of "continuousness" that Harry has been looking for, is another matter [I mean, if he didn't appreciate it in SE's - saying that he considered their popularity attributable to a harmonic band-aid to the digitally bound (an accurate statement in some places, but certainly not exclusive), then how could he suddenly see it now in some KT88's, and not even NOS Lions at that?].

I think ASL makes some nice stuff and I appreciate their effort to bring their nearly-kit-like amps (remember, SF started out with kits, and McCormack was a mod guy at first)to a higher level, allowing those who have harder to drive speakers, or need more power to assure a more wall-of-sound foundation for more energized works (rock and classical), yet can not afford the behemoth, exorbitantly priced tube amps to power them, to go to the next level. In that context, and considering all the other really bad bull that is passed on in mags, its a "good" thing.

On the other hand, when those KT88's start going in two years or so, and guys don't want to retube the set, and the cache of Harry's most recent incarnation has faded from memory once more, and the amps start hitting the market, I hope that the people who chose to take a chance - and it may very well be a good chance if they know what is - then I hope they are still happy with the music, regardless of who said what, or even what I say right now...
RWD all I can say is I do not think you will be disappointed. I have tried many other far more expensive highly regarded SS and Tubed designs , including OTL's, SET's and I find the ASL's superior. Could be my 50 year old ears, except that the ASL shines in the areas where other amps failed by commission, in other words- where other amps failed the ASL's sail through rough sonic seas.They seem far more powerful than their rating . Faults previously attributed to recordings disappear or are ameliorated to an extent that I no longer have the anticipation of a particularly difficult passage that will test my system and force me to shut down my ears or reduce the listening level in the imminent face of the unpleasantness caused by too stern a test.Coherent, great soundstaging, powerful and detailed among other attributes.
Asa: No gesture, no feigning - I did not say total neophyte, I said relative novice, as in relative to many other A'gon regulars, for instance. And that's alright - it's actually the way I want it, and it's the way it will still be 30 years from now too. My attitude will never be one of a true believer (concerning...anything!).

Anyway, it's not that I can sense anything about *these* amps, it's just that I will never buy into the concept of *the* amp (or whatever else). As a worthless example of what I'm saying, imagine sitting Harry down in front of all the amps he's loved over just the last ten years, for in-depth auditions at his leisure, with the only handicap being that all the amps are cloaked in identical plain-jane chassis. What do you think the chances would be that he would come to the same conclusions right down the line? Yet the fact that such a stunt can't or won't ever be pulled on any writer, eventually, inexorably leads to at least a little unchecked hubris (which eventually, inexorably leads to at least a little self-delusion), in that several years on they often feel perfectly comfortable in extrapolating conclusions about the ranking of phantoms. And this despite the context having changed practically beyond recognition, which all by itself should invalidate the already invalid idea of absolute rankings. It's clearly a false construct, but one which is probably better than trying to be more philosophical (not to mention intellectually honest) if you want to sell magazines (or maybe even more to the point, have audiophiles listen to the things you say). So what I understand, if anything, is that one must proclaim in order to be heard above the fray.

(As for accumulations of accuracy, I'll address that in the other thread we're involved in right now... :-)
Judesonic....thanks for your reply. I am anxious to get these into my system Currently I am using the ARC VT 100 mkll to drive my mid/tweeter (EMIM-EMIT) on the RS 1-B's.
When I go to the concert and hear a symphony orchestra in action (both ppp and FFF) I realize the effortless of the actual (or should I say...absolute) sound. It is this effortless or freedom of mechanical sonic's that I wish to eliminate. Anyway, I felt that a more powerful tubes amp could bring me closer to this realistic experience. I looked for the VT200 or VTL 450's etc. When I read Harry's comments and saw the ridiculous price (for NEW) I decided to go for it. I hope my reaction will be similar to your!!!

Anyway, I am keeping my ARC 100 for a bit to see what happens.
Judesonics: lucid reply, compelling. It makes me want to hear these amps. Thank you.

Zaikes: what I say to you is not "philosophy".

also, an "anarchist" is defined by what he is against, not what he is going towards.
What's not to like about the TAS review. It's an outright, unequivocal rave. Furthermore the product seems to be an "honest" product. No bold innovations, fancy CNC cases, no silly acronyms -- it's just a simple circuit executed right. Furthermore, while the price is not real world, at least by audiophile standards it's relatively cheap. 200 watts of tube power for under $5k. That's something to get excited about! Whether the ASL is the world's best amp (whatever that phrase means), or whether it's simply a very fine sounding amp is really beside the point. Last month Stereophile raved about the Parasound monoblocks and now TAS is triumphing the ASL. It's seems that it's a good moment in history to be into high powered amps.
Onhwy61, you may be quite right, but you also may have been able to find similar evidence for your conclusion 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years's a wide market, and full of 'moments'...

Asa: Huh? I hope you're not confusing comments made about Harry or made in general with thinking they were made about you...(and wouldn't your definition be of a nihilist? Anarchists are utopians, and I admit identifying more closely with the former as a skeptic...)
A "nihil-ist" is a label in reference to the emotive reaction to what is being reacted against, in this case, reaction of alienation to perception that reality has no ground, ie if reality has no ground, then all is without meaning. In this case, the "I" becomes its own God because, without ground, it is its only ground.

An anarchist is someone focused on societal structures, in this case an assumption that an absense of strucuture is "good", itself based upon an assumption that all hierachies, pathological or not, are "bad" and inherently coersive. In this sense, the "I" of the anarchist is defined by the authority he is against, rather than being predominantly orientated towards formulating a solution beyond structure. But this is not what the anarchist does - look for solutions - because his recoil is directed towards authority rather than its transcending; he defines himself by what he against, and that action of thge mind prevents him, in its operation, from looking to what we all could be. Do you know any anarchists who pose evolutionary solutions that lead towards the world of other-to-other that they say they want to go towards, or is it just bitching? It is not utopian if a movement towards a utopia is not made.

On reaction, I think you are responding to what I said on the other thread where we are talking. Please refer there.
Of course it's just bitching (and so too all is without meaning or ground), but I'm afraid that's what this is becoming as well. I'm keeping my threads separate except where so referenced (I don't change dead horses mid-stream :-), and I'm done on that other one, maybe here too. Depends on what if anything is said subsequently, since I was only dropping by to begin with and probably overstayed...
Zaikes, a pattern: every time you and I get to the point of discussing the nature of the silence of the mind as ground to perception, even in the context of musical perception (the concept that not all knowledge is your thinking, which, in turn, constitutes your "I"), as on the other thread, or begin addressing a solution past bitching, as here, you recoil and quit, and each time you leave in a way that seeks to characterize the discussion at that point - and, hence, the ideas approached - in a negative light, ie bitching.

You assert that you are, effectively, an anarchist, then concede that all anarchy may be bitching, but then, rather than look beyond that bitching, instead characterize the conversation that might lead you there as itself bitching - which is, of course, a convenient way of never discussing anything on ground itself, which itself is a logically strained means of trying to stay with the assumptions that you maintain, your "core values". Turning away from a discussion of ground, which, in your mind, operates as a denial of ground (remember, nihilism?) - tell me, how can that ever be "utopian"?

I know, I know, everything you said before was relevant to the thread, but now, I'm just getting toooo abstract and off the topic, and you are too busy being the one who listens to the music to really bother and you just now have to get back to that, and for the sake of everyone else, my.
I apologize for having started this thread.
It's become a diarrhea of polysyllabic words and a constipation of ideas.
I'm sorry 914nut, that's not what I intended, and I basically swore to Asa once before that I wouldn't play this again. Asa, this what we do: I chat on Audiogon for enjoyment and occasionally relevance, and I regret to have to say (again) that past a fairly lighthearted point with the kind of stuff you like to get into, I receive neither. To me, you take me much too seriously. To you, I'm sure I don't take you seriously enough. I have a tough time following you anyway, when you revert to your shorthand about objects and subjects and whatnot, but when I try - and respond - I get hit with non-sequitors that I understand even less, and seem as if what (you apparently think) I say makes you testy. You know that things you like to say made me testy in the past, but honestly, I really do think I'm over that - it's not worth it. However, I reserve my right to pick up my ball and go home whenever my expiration date on having fun has been exceeded, whether it's with you or anybody else. I'm sorry if we're not ideal playmates, but I think we can still get along fine if we are judicious in our engagement. You know perfectly well what sort of conversation I don't prefer to engage in, so you should also know that it will be a losing proposition for you in the end to try and take things too far in that direction with me. Just the way it is. For the record, I find that this sort of mental masturbation, enjoyable under many circumstances as it may be, ain't particularly pertinent to the audio pursuit, and it's tiring to type. It hijacks threads by default, and makes them harder for others to peruse profitably. Please don't take what I'm putting down here too personally, I'm sure we could engage in a more durable fashion under different circumstances - or maybe not, but why care? We're strangers to each other here, so there's no reason to take the chat of others to heart too much. My attitude towards you will remain magnanimous no matter how you insist on misundertaking me, but just so there's no question, I actually do respect you as a contributing member, and truly appreciate it if you feel the same about me, because I do try, and I think you do too. (And oh, I never said I was an anarchist, and in fact people who fancy that they are annoy me greatly.) I don't want to discourage you from responding to this in any way you see fit, but would suggest that you do so offline, and am stating publicly now that any further response, in this particular conversation, from me to you will certainly be offline.

Again, my apologies to all still reading, please continue on-topic discussion without me.

OK. Thank you for you well thought out response.

Yes, I know that I pushed you pretty hard this week. But I've always thought you could take it, know that you can, and we both know cognitive agility is not the issue.

As you know, Zaikes, there are always minds that you can find in ally, like 914Nut, who will say all kind of things to keep from taking just that extra step, the one that looks at the source of the music, or Music. Their "I" will cite irelevancy, impatience, disrespect to others reading, obfuscation (non-sequitor), lawyer reference, moi reference, magnanimous posture, retreat but not retreat, misunderstanding, ideas not worth effort, why care, you ruin life-fun and its only fun (is that really true?), and on and on, all negative energy directed back as you leave.

All that I asked you - Socratically moving you to where you could find none of the above excuses not to answer - was what is the nature of the silence in the mind where we hear deep musical meaning from?

What could be more relevant?

I know you are not quitting, you have a ferocious heart, but I will tell you as you go (back to where?) that I never considered you a "losing proposition". That's why I stay with you so long. It was always "communion"...

Take care,

I looked back through HP's Hurricane review last night - admittedly I only skimmed it last week - and I am beginning to see what you all are saying as to the unbridled conviction. Stronger than I thought in toto, and particularly up front in the text. Did anyone notice that the review started out, almost starting out too much, with the "philosophy" angle, as if it was what was being talked about and not the amp?

A theory too much in search of an empiric result?

I told HP about these ideas ten years ago concerning envelopes of dimensional space carrying varying energies, and, hence, experienced by the listener differently in a dynamic sense (and, in conjunction with discontinuousness - lack of "symmetry" as I put it at the time, in print for galley, but strangely not published...), so I know what he is try-ing to get at ten years later. I just wonder whether the observation has more to do with the mind's try-ing rather than what that mind is able to perceive...

So, boys, is that "entertaining" enough?
Talking about the last issue of TAS, what I actually found even more interesting is Valin's comment towards the start of the Kharma speaker review. He talks about how his recent review of the Rockport Hyperion and addresses why he is not using it as his personal reference. One of his reasons is costs, but then he comes right out and says he could do it if the manufacturer sells him a "demo" pair. Big name reviewer in big name audio magazine will tout component as his reference if manufacturer gives reviewer pair at favorable price. I think this is outrageous. I know that reviewer pricing is common place, but the audacity of putting it in print is astonishing.
Ohn: Yea, you got it.
I agree. JV was once the bright, shining hope of TAS, the clear heir-apparent to HP in the days before the lame-o Fi experiment. I loved reading his reviews. But since his return, he's been almost a parody of a high-end reviewer and has lost a ton of credibility in my mind.
I agree. Aren't JV and JS - Jonathan Scull- really the same person.Every expensive piece is great.
On second thought, if we're back on-topic, why should I recuse myself? :-)

JV is a much better writer (and possibly listener) than J-10. I liked Fi well enough - found it mostly non-infuriating and congenial for an afternoon's read. That, and getting you enthusiastic about the stuff of audio every month, is the primary purpose of the rags as I see it anyway - entertainment, topped off with a bit of info. This is what Stereophile fails to deliver way too much of the time these days. I wasn't reading Valin back in his previous TAS days, but what I notice and fault him most on now is his terminal predeliction for ever-escalating paradigm-smashing raphsodics, combined with a worse-than-usual case of the typical voice-of-God uber-authoritativeness, a specialty of the guys who disdain to review any affordable gear. Although Scull could be maddening in his requiring you to read waaay between the lines to figure out what he actually though of a piece, both in his characteristic over-the-top reviewer's voice and the fact that a casual persusal could convince you that it was all equally great to him, I'd probably rather go on a boat fishing with an armchair playboy like him than a self-important priss like Valin, whom I ultimately don't trust. But then, I'd rather fish with the down-to-earth J. Gordon than either of those guys.