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Counterpoint SA-1000

Dual Channel Tube Preamplifier (1993)

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Counterpoint SA-1000

Specifications

Valve complement: 2 x 12AX7, 1 x 6DJ8

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Reviews

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rating
Reviewed Nov 15th, 2018 by theaudiohiffle

This is a preamp that punches well over it's weight class. It is a modern preamp in that it uses very transparent components, and leaves nothing on the table when it comes to depth and width of field as a result. It's configurable MC section yields a highly immersive very transparent reproduction. I expected its bass to be muddy, but it isn't. Through my Outlaw M200 monoblocks and Thiel 3.5 speakers, it is a highly refined preamplifier.

rating
Reviewed Dec 15th, 2017 by cs120412

This is an outstanding preamp. I got this used. It is the late 80's or early 90's and was the entry level preamp for Counterpoint at the time. It has one 6DJ8 /6922 tube for the line stage with some FET's for buffers. The phono stage has two 12AX7 tubes and can handle MC/MM cartridges. Due to age it had nasty hum and noise so I was somewhat disappointed but knew it had potential due to sound quality even with the bad caps. I replaced all the electrolytic power supply filter caps and checked all the other components which were fine. After that it is dead quiet and amazing resolution on phono and the line stage is nice too. The switching is quiet, muting perfect, soft turn on feature. Very nice circuit, clean layout on the PCB board, easy to work on, but some disassembly required to get to the solder connections on the bottom of the board. Substituting NOS Telefunken or Amperex 6922 and GE12AX7 WA tubes made some slight and subtle improvements in the sound stage and detail, but even with the off the shelf Sovtek 6922 and 12AX7 low noise tubes it was heaven and you can mod this preamp if you want to make it better, but why bother? I just kept it stock.

 

Comments

re: SA-1000

The above is right on. I received mine in 2015 through a reputable hi-end dealer who had sold it to the sole owner. The unit had been in use, so the capacitors remained formed and there is no hum or noise other than that the pots can use cleaning. I ab'd it with my rebuilt ARC 6A preamp and it was a very close call. The 1000 has better soundstaging (seems to be a winning characteristic of 6DJ8 circuits) and more depth ... the 6A had a slight edge in the phone circuit, especially in midrange harmonicss important to the human voice. However, I was using an outboard step up unit with the 6A (Marcof PPA-2 battery driven) and using the Counterpoint's internal MC loading for this purpose. At some point I will repeat the AB using the Marcof for both preamps .... I suspect the difference with go away almost completely. It didn't...the ARC won. Subsequently I have replaced the PPA-2 with a Brown Labs tube headamp. Now the counterpoint "wins". The Counterpoint I bought for $300 and the Brown Labs $475 .... the 6A cost me $1200 after refurbishing. Which would you say was the better value?

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