$4500 amp beat out the Tenor OTL in the latest TAS

You read that right! In the Feb/March edition of TAS, HP declares that the ASL (antique sound lab)Hurricanes at $4500 are the best amps he has EVER heard at any price. In another section of the same issue, the hurricane won tube amp of the year while the Tenor 75 watter was the runner-up.
HP has again given notice that his listening skills are waning. I have heard the ASL amp and the Tenors on two different sytems and the ASL amps do not belong in the same room as the Tenors nor should they be expected to although they are good amps for the money. On the right system the Tenors are magic and unfortunately in this hobby you very rarely will get SOTA unless you pay for it although much of what is out their is grossly overpriced. What he has done is probably help sell a lot of ASL amps. Keep in mind this is the same HP that told us that a certain Phillips SACD player was more musical that a $20,000 DCS setup. A lot of people got to hear that unit when it was blown out and sold at big discounts by Tweeter for $399. Read the user comments on the sound and then try and figure where he was coming from. Their are other inconsistencies out there but my point has been made.
Zaike, I meant that what they percieve, and whether they even know that they percieve well enough, becomes less a concern after one learns how to write in that system. Your ability to discern quality becomes much less important than you would assume when you first get there, as a reviewer, because you realize that it is a game that can be learned, and learned to hide that inability.

There are MANY reviewers who I know for a fact that can't hear as good as their reviews would lead you to believe. Like I said, its a game that you become adept at. Since I was there, I can see this much easier - it nearly jumps out when I read a mag - but there are certain patterns to watch for, as SRouse alludes (and he has heard alot of great equipment), although I will refrain comment on the specifics of what he says.

Suffice it to say that many reviewers have lousy ears and realize that they can get by best by: learning the lingo, constructing it with built in deniabilty, canvass the underground to conform observations to potential critics and reduce likelihood of being found out, adopt an aristocratic attitude laced with psuedo-erudite references to feign sophistication and, if a problem arises in any of those regards, do a follow up retracing and/or correcting prior observations. Of course, towing the mag line as far as politics - and it is a fawning cat fight - enables you to be in favor to get your stuff published in order to gain "credibilty" and enact this strategy effectively. There are, actually, too many devices to go into here.

On HP, and the above is not in reference to him in particular - he had decent ears when I knew him, excepting the bias towards bass. We had our run arounds - he was going through a rough time and I had little patience then - but I will say that he was a good Editor on the writing. And, a good writer himself. I have chosen to remember that.
Just to pick up a bit on Warrenh's earlier post: Has anyone here ever noticed in both Stereophile and TAS that it's not uncommon for one of the pieces to quit during the test? I have never seen any other brand fail as often. Yet Stereophile and TAS never seem to point out that there may be a QC problem. Can't help but agree with Warren that there are too many advertising $s involved and the mags don't want to tick off Sir Antony of MF. (Have no axe to grind with MF, but why has no one zoomed in on obvious QC problems with that company?)
Srouse is partially correct-HP did say that the $1000.00 list price Phillips SACD player was better than the megabuck ACCUPHASE SACD combo - not the dCS gear. Hey lets crucify him for that. If all we can say about a reviewer is that they have questionable hearing ( although as to HP I disagree) that isn't too bad. At least his opinions do not appear to be advertiser driven like so many others. Accuphase does not seem to have responded kindly to HP's opinion about their SACD gear vs. the inexpensive Phillips. Accuphase used to take out two full pages in TAS-now taken by Transrotor( see ad index at page 151 Issue 140 of TAS still listing Accuphase in Cover II and page 1). No wonder TAS is trying to reduce his role. They are on their way to becoming the defunct Fi magazine and Stereophile with mass listings of non-offending Recommended components.The most interesting thing about his review of the $4,400.00 ASL amp was that he said it was the best amp he has ever heard.I can't imagine Krell, Halcro,VTL,Tenor and others are going to be too happy.Whether the ASL amps are best or not-HP I salute you.You are the corporate advertising departments nightmare.
"I never see myself as aspiring to state-of-the-art system status, but I've already spent more time and money on the darn thing than I ever used to think I could be lured into, or am proud of, to be truthful. I bought most of the stuff used though, and stay away from high-end stereo shops like the plague, in addition to having no audio buddies and not attending the shows. So there!" Zaikesman,Sterophile Subscriber and Fremer Fan