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  • Counterpoint

    Ok I admit it, I have a soft spot ( in my head) for Counterpoint.

    I used to own an SA 2 and SA 5,1 back in the day and when I saw the SA 1 I was totally entranced by the form factor. They were notoriously unreliable

    I picked the SA 3.1 for a good price - in working order- well not really- power supply was flaky and only one channel in phono..... traced that out and repaired it.

    The 3.1 is essentially a 5.1 with a solid state supply.

    I am going to change all that. I will built a outboard shunt tube rectified PS with a tube error amp and voltage reference and fully regulated high current filament supply- why-- well I because I can and I must of fallen off something and landed on my head at some point.

    This should end up being much better than any 5.1

    The PS will out weigh the pre by orders of magnitude.. This will be a fun project.


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    Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
    Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
    Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
    Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
    Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
    Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

  • #2
    Sounds like a cool project, keep us posted. I owned both pres and thought the 5.1 was considerably better sonically. They made well-constructed and great sounding gear and Mike Elliot had some terrific out-of-the-box designs but their circuits also ran tubes hard. By then I was good friends with all of the Counterpoint dealers and everyone loved the sound but detested the lack of reliability. they referred to them as "boomerangs" it was almost guaranteed the customer would be back in a few weeks (a month tops) with blown tubes or worse...I dont recall my units being that unreliable but the tubes seem to go microphonic just staring at them.
    Linn Kilmax LP12 | Channel D | Jadis | Denafrips | Innuos | Klipsch Cornwall IV | Falcon LS3/5a | McCollum ESL 57

    Comment


    • kcin
      kcin commented
      Editing a comment
      My SA 2 was reliable but prone to RF I kept it for 30 years or so along with my ARC SP8. I eventually solved the RF problem. The 5.1 sounded very good but its power supply was run on a ragged edge and HV would migrate and spark around the rectifier tube. I eventually got rid of it and replaced it with the SP8

      The 5.1 is the same circuit for phono and line stage as the 3.1 but with an output buffer for long leads. The major difference is the power supply in the 5.1 was tube based vs. SS in 3.1. I will see how this turns out this makes no sense to do economically and I don't need another preamp ... but it keeps me out of the bars........

  • #3
    As a young man, NAD was as high end as I would go. I had heard a lot of higher end amplifiers/pre's etc., but nothing moved me to spend more money. Than one day I made a fatal error, I listened to the Counterpoint SA-12 amp (which I still own). Done!!! That one listening session resulted in a lifelong obsession, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today I enjoy audio nirvana, and am forever thankful for Mike Elliot. We miss you Mike.

    One thing I will never forget. After many talks/emails, Mike finally convinced me; Every high end amplifier is fabulous. The difference between a reasonably priced one, and an ultra expensive one, is the quality of parts inside. Stop buying new he said. Start upgrading parts inside. I know, I know, I know, resale value is diminished.

    Today my Atma-Sphere MP-1 and MA-1's are fully modded. They will be buried with me.

    Comment


    • kcin
      kcin commented
      Editing a comment
      Counterpoint was pretty innovative for the time. However, their designs were often not fully developed or run really hard. Nevertheless, I loved the product as a young man.

      You can't get much better than an MP1 for a tube based pre today so you are all set.

  • #4
    The realities of the world economy

    I dropped 4 files for a power supply design board for the Counterpoint project and got everything back within 3 weeks with free shipping. I could not hope to get this done in Canada for the price .

    Additionally I ordered a 1/4" thick anodized finished chassis from China for $100 It is really crazy what you can done today and the price via online suppliers

    I stuffed the boards this week the best sounding will go in after some experimenting - hopefully a finished product by the new year.


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    Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
    Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
    Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
    Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
    Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
    Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

    Comment


    • Rob
      Rob commented
      Editing a comment
      whoa, this is a serious project. I'm tired just thinking about the effort and you did this on your spare time! looking forward to the next installment.

    • kcin
      kcin commented
      Editing a comment
      It helps when you sleep 4-5 hrs/ night. Much of it is done after hours in the basement

  • #5
    Big Counterpoint fan here! I have 2 Platinum tube hybrid NP220 amplifiers that use casework from the SA-20/ SA-220, but are totally different circuits than the originals. Every internal part was hand-selected in counsultation with Mike Elliott before he closed shop. The retail value of the parts and labor for 1 amp was about $12K with the 16 big Black Gates electrolytics, Plitron trafo & chokes and 50+ TX2575 resistors contributing a big part of the bill not to mention the tube front end which uses a pair of very rare Mullard ECC-35 CV569s (6SL7 variant). The power supplies are huge having 1- 1/2x's the capacitance of the original design.

    The circuit design is complex. The main boards are very difficult to service. The biasing is complicated. Some of the early redesigned circuit boards were defective. The tubes are not run hard. Fortunately, I've got schematics. I'ts been a long journey, but worth it. The sound is heavenly. Equal to anything available today.

    Comment


    • kcin
      kcin commented
      Editing a comment
      How old would ME be?... I don't know where I read it but I understand that he was involved with Harold Beveridge back in the days before Counterpoint. As a Beveridge fan... I love this sort of insight.

    • Rob
      Rob commented
      Editing a comment
      Who doesn't know Harold, sit with Roger Modjeski for a few hours, he designed his first preamp among other wonders. Here's an assignment for the erstwhile "AUDIO REVIEWER" interview these guys before they're dead!! So much history (read: wisdom) about our crazy hobby is embedded in their brains...they won't regurgitate their life story unless prodded. I'm not yet retired, if I was, i'd do it!!

    • Barry
      Barry commented
      Editing a comment
      Not sure what controversy you're referring to Rob. My issue with Alta Vista was with one of the defective circuit boards on the rebuilds and Mike (aka Jack) was very fair about fixing it. Alta Vista closed because he had moved from California to Oregon and wasn't able to provide modifications and continuing product technical support due to some unfortunate health circumstances of the two people who worked for him.

      Oh, Roger M. designed the SA-4 OTL amplifier for Counterpoint.

  • #6
    Love the old Counterpoint gear. I was involved in the Hi-Fi Heretic review of the SA20 power amp and fell in love with its sound. Didn't need one then, as my Acoustats had their own dedicated amps, but the SA20 and the Moscode 300 were amps that started making me think I should start looking for new speakers.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    --------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

    Comment


    • #7
      My "high end" audio journey started with Counterpoint when I moved from a SUMO Athena II to a Counterpoint SA 3000. But the Krell KRC HR that followed trumped the Counterpoint with flying colors.

      Comment


      • mep
        mep commented
        Editing a comment
        The SA-3000 and SA-5000 never sounded as good as the SA-3.1 and SA-5.1. I also owned the KRC HR line stage which was and is very good sounding.

    • #8
      Just doing this for fun. Of course there are different and for sure better flavours out there. From understanding the schematics difference between the 5.1 which I had and this 3.1 I will make the power supply several orders of magnitude more robust than the 5.1.

      Even though Chinese chassis are cheap.. I have "invested" a lot on collecting parts and transformers. Reflecting now, the mods that Elliot did look excessively expensive. In today's world the same mods would be cheap. I'm not even counting labour. I probably spent close to $800 in boutique caps and volume controls at Parts Connexion - boutique parts are expensive.

      This makes no sense --- but I am seduced by nostalgia and I love the low slung look of the Counterpoint gear. Reminds me of the JC2! You can see the ps chassis is much larger than the pre-amp.. It will be full of iron and regulation.



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      Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
      Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
      Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
      Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
      Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
      Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

      Comment


      • Rob
        Rob commented
        Editing a comment
        Stil, its an endeavour. For someone that has built numerous 'kits' and other related audio stuff it's not as easy peasy as you make it...for that you earn extra brownie points in my book

    • #9
      Nostalgia can be a powerful thing. I'm constantly on the lookout for a cheap pair of EPI 180 cabinets that I can restore. I used a pair of those all through college and the first couple years after graduation, and I still have the Kenwood KA-3500 integrated amp that I used with them. I can get replacement parts and even new updated drivers from Human Speakers for them. All because I have very fond, nostalgic memories of listening to them for hours on end.
      Steve Lefkowicz
      Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
      --------------------------------------------------------
      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

      Comment


      • #10
        Ok,

        Further along after testing the boards. Stupid error on my part for the board layout that caused a bit of an eruption - but hey this is like a one-off prototype.

        Regardless, one cut of a trace and 2 new capacitors and I am back in business. Working well.

        Laying it out in the chassis- did I mention how inexpensive and good these Chinese chassis are? - incredible value that can't be duplicated in NA. I hate drilling and punching holes. Doing things one-off is all file and fit.

        More time and more money than expected. I hope to get it running by the new year in the preamp. Will be making the umbilical this week and solder up and punch the hole for the 10 pin military connector to the SA 3.1 for the power supply -- this model does not have one the factory supply is hard wired.

        Tough to get started on things like this for me - once I get going I become obsessed. It will be an interesting experiment.


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ID:	128902
        Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
        Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
        Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
        Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
        Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
        Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

        Comment


        • #11
          You're making great progress. Did you come up with your own artwork and etch the PCB yourself?
          Linn Kilmax LP12 | Channel D | Jadis | Denafrips | Innuos | Klipsch Cornwall IV | Falcon LS3/5a | McCollum ESL 57

          Comment


          • kcin
            kcin commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes I produced a gerber file and sent it out to be manufactured. Nothing too exotic but a good tube rectified shunt regulated supply with a voltage reference. I do some fancy switching with a relay and another dc supply inorder to keep the front panel switch on the Counterpoint work like stock and fire the mute circuit as original.

            Similar to the SA5.1 type but more robust and less sag way more iron-- total overkill. I will stick a choke in there as well to see the effect when its up and running... but my real estate is limited
            Last edited by kcin; 12-30-2019, 11:24 PM.

        • #12
          My brother still has a pair of the original NPM mono amps. They are the ones with the meter on the front panel and the wooden side panels. He’s looking for s new home for them.
          SP-10 MKII table with custom power supply designed and built by Peter Noerbaek with an SME 3012R with Dyna XV-1S cartridge, VPI Avenger table with rim drive and JMW -12-3D arrm with Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers with a pair of Def Tech Ref subs.

          Comment


          • #13
            Kcin. Will these be in your Toronto home? Please invite me.

            I've invited you to my home, a couple of times. Please come to Brampton, I'm now begging.

            Comment


            • kcin
              kcin commented
              Editing a comment
              No Problem Billy, its listening season for a few months here in the great white north. It'll be Jan- Feb b4 I get this tuned and settled. I have to rebuild the original circuitry in the main chassis as well as keep my day job. we'll keep in touch.

          • #14
            Frankenstein lives. All switching,relay, lighting up, all 3 regulated voltages good.... umbilicals and mods to preamp next. Running out of time before 2020...

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            Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
            Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
            Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
            Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
            Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
            Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

            Comment


            • mep
              mep commented
              Editing a comment
              Your work is beautiful! I hope this sounds as good as it looks.

            • kcin
              kcin commented
              Editing a comment
              Good point, on how it might sound. I've done something like this before on a custom preamp and it sounded great. No presumptions here though. If it doesn't work out then it will go to my custom tape repro design thats on the shelf waiting its turn.

            • Barry
              Barry commented
              Editing a comment
              Very nice!!!!

          • #15
            Continuing saga,

            The external and internal umbilicals are done. All mil spec silver teflon wire.

            Lots of work here. No wonder retail prices are high. The labour component on these is big factor. So when you have a big piece of gear with an outboard supply I can appreciate the work.

            This doesn't look like it will be done before the new year. I just spend a couple of hours every few days down in the shop on this.
            Next is installation of wiring and testing. I will mod the preamp after I get it running with the new supply - new caps and resistors etc.

            Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3128.jpg
Views:	69
Size:	146.4 KB
ID:	129454
            Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
            Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
            Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
            Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
            Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
            Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

            Comment

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