I recently ordered some amps from a guy out my way here in Australia called Weston Accoustics:http://www.westonacoustics.com/
I posted the link because while the guy is well known out here in Aus it probably is not that well known where you are.
They arrived down at the speaker maker I know out my way (Mike Lenehan) to check out on his reference system prior to me lugging them back to my place. I had planned to go down there with a friend Friday then take them back to my place.
Anyway they turned up Monday and I had a phone call from an excited Mike Lenehan saying this was one beautiful amp, a very very beautiful amp and said I must come down the next day to hear the amp on the ML2 Limited Editions before they are sent off. I was surprised because this is not like Mike - he has been around a while, heard all sorts of stuff and is a bit hardened and hard to impress. So I knew something was afoot. Anyway here is the write-up about what I heard as well as the link to the forum here in Aus where I posted it:http://www.stereo.net.au/forums/index.php?/topic/48390-earle-weston-topaz-kt120-monoblocks/page__pid__810933#entry810933
They are simply the best valve amps I have heard and possibly the best amp I have ever heard. I was down at Mikes on the Gold Coast listening to them through the ML2 LE's. The first thing I noticed was just how live and real the midrange was - a cut above any other amp I have heard - even my Trafomatic. To verify this I did a direct comparison and the Traf had a haze compared to this amp. This was totally unexpected - previously nothing had been able to even touch little alone best the mid-range divineness of the Traf - but this did - and by a wide margin I had thought this simply was not possible but through Earls amp voices are just so clear, real, live and present. Peggy Lee Fever sounded like I had never heard before - it was as if Peggy Lee was right in front of you - simply amazing. All vocals we heard with this amp was the same - a palpable immediacy as if the performer was there.
Now for a tougher test - how did they compare to the Arions that also really impressed me. Well obviously they had greater power and they are just so smooth with dynamics that jump out at you. They constantly entice you to wind them up and before you know it you have reached frightening levels. They don't sound SS or valve they have a distinct non hi fi sound that sounds real. They have extremely good bass grip and the bass has a strong full character I don't hear on other amps - even the Mac 501's. The Topazes, while having good bass for a valve amp, were not in the hunt. If you wind the Topaz's up there comes a point where it starts to sound brittle and you have to pull back - not so with the Arions. Superb on highly dynamic material like Christina Aguilera's Ain't No Other Man and a headbangers delight Great for home theatre. But for vocals they do not have the immediacy of the Topaz's - it does not sound as live and present.
When I heard the amps I thought maybe overall the Arion had a slight edge but after mulling it over I have to say I really can't decide. They are two different sounding amps. On the right material, namely vocals like Peggy Lee and Sinatra, the Topaz's are better, on highly dynamic material and home theatre the Arions. I intend on keeping both amps.