Van Alstine

Has anybody heard Van Alstine amps and/or preamps? I'm just wondering how they compare with other brands.
Do a search on Audio Circle Forum
There's plenty of information regarding Van Alstine over there.
Frank Van Alstine's has been doing this since I think the 70's. Is deservedly highly respected. He's a no hype, no b.s. kind of engineer. His products are rarely for sale.
I have a Van Alstine OmegaStar 170EX, which is an upgrade for a Dynaco ST-120. It is beautiful. The mids and highs are smooth and clear and the soundstage is amazing. I got it last summer and liked it enough that I am in the process of getting an OmegaStar PAT-5 upgrade to go with it.
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I used to own one of Frank's Dyna 120s. What a little sleeper that was. I really enjoyed taking it over to "certain" audiophiles homes and asking them to hook it up to get their "opinion." Boy, did that little amp turn smirks into faces of disbelief in a big hurry. Here this little Dyna amp just KILLED their mega-buck Wizzer while I just sat there with an innocent look on my face and asked ... well, what do you think? *lol* It was kind of like beating their Corvette in a drag race with my little VW ... except they didn't know I had a Ferrari engine under the hood. I've always had a lot of respect for Frank's work and have heard a lot of his products. His tube preamp is a killer too.
When I wanted to upgrade from a Rotel RMB-1066 to a better 3-channel amp for my combo 2-channel/HT system, I tried VA's OmegaStar 240 (not sure if it was EX version or not, but this was Spring of 2005). My attitude towards gear in general is that I can accept that gear must be broken in, but I still feel that if a component sounds good out of the box, it will usually improve as it breaks in. Therefore, I do judge gear when first powered on. I tried this amp for about a week. Although it was well built, in my system, there was no synergy. I found it brighter than the Rotel in that brightness range (4-8kHz), and a bit thin sounding. I did not notice any improvement during the week I used it (it was powered on the whole time). I just did not feel it was any better than the Rotel, and this surprised me, since the Rotel lists for $700. Frank gratiously accepted its return. Subsequently, I went with an Odyssey Audio HT3 (about 1/3 more expensive). While not a perfect amp, it is much smoother in the upper-mids/lower treble region than either the Rotel or the VA. Perhaps Frank's pricier amps offer better balance, or perhaps it was just lack of synergy.

My system at the time (2-channel chain portion only): Rotel RCD-02 CDP, Sherwood/Newcastle P-965 pre-pro, Vandersteen 1C mains, VCC-1 center, Definitive Technology PF15 subwoofer, Behringer 1124P FBDP and Paradigm X30 subwoofer controller (both for the Def Tech only), Kimber entry level speaker cables, Monster, Blue Jeans and Signal Cable ICs.
9 out of 10 users of Franks products will be positive,hard to beat that ratio.He's a very interesting fellow.I like his take on cables also,YMMV,good luck,Bob