John Kuker



I was crushed when my great friend John Kuker died on Tuesday.  I met John when he had just rented the space in Minneapolis to build the Seedy Underbelly recording studio, the rest is history.  We have been friends ever since.  The last I heard from him was in June of 2014 when he texted and we had a short exchange, said he would get in touch with me when he got back in the country.  I was excited to hear about the new studio, and had planned to visit in the summer.  The last thing he said was “love you Cappy” the nickname he gave me short for “Evil Cappy”, which was born out of a joke rap song he would sing every time I would see him “He’s the evil Cappy and he’s got money on his mind” (I won’t repeat the one I would sing back).  Which was funny because it was pretty much exactly the opposite of how I am.  I have so many fond memories that have filled my head over the past few days I find it impossible to think of anything else, or how to begin to let go of him being here.  John burned really bright, and unfortunately way too short, I will miss you deeply my friend.

Scott Hampton

Web updates

We are excited about the new 2nd page that will be going up shortly on our site, it will include: downloads (new manuals, sound samples), music, Hamptone history, EQ development, videos, and a “Garage Sale” where I am going to begin unloading decades of gear hoarding.   We want to give a window into what goes on here, because we do more than make equipment. SH

HOC1: will we offer them as kits?

The HOC1 will not be offered as a kit.  The main reason is its simply too complicated, and my fear was it would be a nightmare for all involved.  I’ve spent months developing automated test software/fixtures to facilitate in the test/calibration, but even with that each unit spends between 4-6 hours on the bench, most of which is just allowing the unit to cycle through a compression sweep (0 -> -10dB -> -20dB, each step for 1sec) several thousand times to “exercise” the opto cells, allowing them to stabilize before adjusting the SOG filter (symmetry/offset/gain) which optimizes linearity and range of the dB/volt pad.  There are 14 calibration points, 3 ICs with firmware, 5 power supply rails….  In comparison to our preamps which we do offer as kits, it takes us 10-12x the time to build/test/cal one, which is why the price ended up where it did.

HOC1 update

We expect to have the first run of HOC1 compressors complete by the end of this week, and fully programmed / final tested by the end of next week.  I am now accepting orders.  We are also already beginning the next run in preparation for the upcoming Tape Op article.  Larry Crane is buying the first pair, and plans on reviewing it in his mag.

Operators manual in *.pdf is coming soon.

Introductory price = $1999, $3849 for a pair.

If you are ready to purchase, please send an email via our online form with your complete shipping address, I’ll reply with an invoice and payment options.  We anticipate going through the first run quickly, and are refining our build/test procedures to decrease the future lead time to avoid waiting lists, we will do our best.  At the same time, I won’t produce them faster to get them out the door, they will all be given the same amount of care we spent on the first run, we are just going to try to be more efficient doing it.

Thank you to all who have been sending emails, and have been patient with me getting these ready for the real world.  I realize its not cheap, but these are made in small runs, with an immense amount of care, testing, and inspection here in the USA.  They are very time consuming to build, we spent much of the summer making a small run, while continuing to Beta test here in the Portland OR area.  We’ve had nothing but positive response, and I am excited to say after a decade of effort, the HOC1 is here!

Scott Hampton

HOC1 (Hamptone Opto Compressor) History / update

We are at the end of our first small production run of the HOC1.  I started designing the compressor in 2003, and began prototyping in 2006.  Over the course of 7 years, I built 12 prototypes, each one was loaned out, and used in the Portland area.  Both from personal ideas, and user feedback, each rev added new features, and refined those already in place.  I’ll be posting an operator’s manual soon, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

The last phase which I am working on now is the opto cell matching (2 cells are used, one for audio, the other in a feedback loop for temp stability, linearity, …).  Cell matching / calibration is complicated, and involved designing automated test hardware/software to aid in the process.  After spending a couple weeks refining the test procedures, the idea of adding a calibration routine to existing firmware came up.  This would make field calibration (with a sine wave generator and an RMS voltmeter) possible without the need for the racks of test equipment and software that we use here.  Using internal pcb jumpers read only at power up, the detector will become a  function generator, with various waveforms required for calibration.  I don’t expect this will be needed to be done regularly if ever (and we will always re-calibrate them if needed for free), but I’m trying to future proof these in every way I can.

Special thanks

Hello, welcome to our new website, and to my first blog ever.  I would like to thank the following people for bringing my website out of the “dial up” age, and into the 21st century: Mark Robertson (web design), Kim Smith-Miller (photos and design), Catherine Odell (Director of Media), and Matt Morgan (Director of Marketing).  Your help was immense, and I thank you all very much.   Aside from your collective (amazing) talents, you have been the best friends a person could ask for.  I’d also like to thank Mark and Chris Miller for your great work, and positive vibes here at Hamptone, I look forward to working with you both in the future, and to see where we can take this.