Please help - Impotence problem

Okay, forget my impotence problem, I have a more important issue with an impedance problem. Or do I? The latest incarnation of my system sounds truly fantastic and live but only at very high volume. I�ve read somewhere in the past that this may be a sign there�s an impedance mismatch somewhere in the system.

Can someone tell me how to find such a mismatch? I have two Counterpoint NP220 stereo amps bi-amped to a pair of Waveform Mach 13�s with an external crossover. My preamp is a Counterpoint SA-11. I�m assuming the Counterpoints work together so what could the problem be? Currently I�m just running digital (Sony SCD-777es) so I�m not concerned (yet) with my analogue rig.

(the two Counterpoint amps were SA-220's fully upgraded by Elliot with 'low sensitivity' instead of 'high sensitivity' but this is supposed to be the way to go if your preamp can handle it and mike elliot specifically recommends 'low sensitivity' if using with the SA-11 preamp.)

Overall instruments seem unbalanced with too much treble in the forefront, even when adjusting the crossover.

Could it be that the system is simply too bright and that's why i'm feeling the need to turn the volume control up so i can enjoy the midrange? Perhaps the problem is more with cables or a need for power conditioning? oh, god, i'm getting that feeling again. little help?!

Maybe someone out there has a good link for me to read up on this if the answer is too complex.

Thanks in advance.
How did you set/adjust the external crossover?
Amps creating such problem for sure.
They simply have a high distortion levels at low volumes just like pro-gear.
The two Counterpoint amps had their input stage disconnected and directly fed onto the driving stage so there is nothing realy to mod in that case.

>>>Overall instruments seem unbalanced with too much treble in the forefront, even when adjusting the crossover<<< a product of bi-amplification with Counterpoint gear.

And finally, wait for you to say that Conterpoint sucks! Excuse my Friench.
Kublakhan, Not to worry! Called my Doctor new pill due out soon to fix your condition? Called VIAGRADO, will help get your analogue rig up right.
Read: Power Cords? Why!
Hello Marakentz- I have read many of your posts detailing your disdain for Counterpoint amplifiers. Could you please detail your experience in listening to them and the extent to which your opinions are based on first hand listening and hands on examination of these amplifiers?

Assuming that your new cables were installed less than 10 minutes ago, give them a hundred hours plus of playing time before going completely nuts.

The few cables that I have purchased "new" were congested/bright (quite a combo) and lacked bass fullness right out of the box.

Once the bass kicked in this was pretty much the way the system balanced out in the long run.

A friend of ours uses a Couterpoint amp (same era as yours, but stock) with an older Mod 3A and little 1.5 Thiels and his systems sounds quite good @ low/moderate listening levels.

If you are still not satisfied following this then I will be happy pull one of the BMI Whales for you to try on the Sony. This cord has plenty of bass/mid-bass when used with source gear (it makes low level listening quite pleasent).
Kubla. Which set of outputs are you using from the Counterpoint 11?

In spite of what you may have been told, the buffered outputs sound much worse. Even in very long runs (up to 40 feet) with those amps.

Use the direct out, I will try to remember which set of input jacks are the best sounding ones. They are all routed differently and one was clearly better.

Have you replaced the outboard jumpers with high quality wire and better connectors? Or if you're handy, solder across them internally with a piece of OFC copper wire.

If you have not replaced the output tubes with NOS 5692 tubes, you should. The Russian tubes typically found in these have terrible high frequencies.

Also, this uses a 6080 regulator. If it gets weak it severely damages the sound, long before it fails. NOS Mil grade may be purchased for about $10.00. If yours has not been replaced, I would do so.

You did not mention isolation. That particular preamp really responds well to Mod Squad Soft Shoes and Vibrapods.

You are welcome to call me if you need help.
1.Counterpoint is about to be broke.
2.Unstable DC offsetts make the amp oscillating. As far as I remember Mike used to give instructions how to bias an output stage(yes, transistors) and under the box it has a trim pots.
3.By bi-amping(horizontal) the stability is even more lost due to the added crosstalk and different load curve complexity -- would not recommend.
4.Built quality and reliability issues. Read out to find out more about reliability of these amplifiers. I guess they're complete mess in that case.
5.The high sencitivity input stage that was removed is probably inverting cascade with neg. feedback that helps to stabilize driving tubes and so the output stage as well. Bring it back while Counterpoint still exists and + use direct out of your preamp as Albert suggests.
Albert, Dekay...Marakanetz...

Dekay, first. I feel really stupid but you are right. all my cables are new and already i'm noticing a difference as they're breaking in. i might start becoming a believer in cables. the smearing is going away, instruments are balancing out and low level detail is coming into focus. still, the lush tube midrange bloom i crave so much isn't there but i'm hoping.

Albert...thanks so much for detailing possible issues. i removed the buffered outs myself and yes, you're right, the direct outs sounded much better. however, mike recently installed XLR outs i needed to connect my crossover so i'm using those now. maybe they have to breakin also?

regarding tubes, i was told a while back that with the sa-11 first level mod (the mu circuit) the only audio critical tubes were the 4 outputs tubes that dont need to be biased anymore with the mod. i better check that i did in fact replace all of those. I know i have at least two RCA 5692 brown base nos tubes there. but regardless, the old system sounded better with the sa-11 as it is currently than the system sounds now so i'm thinking the problem is the amps, speakers or the cable breakin.

i'll check the regulator. as far as isolation the sa-11 is in a rack mount.

what do you think of marakanetz comments especially regarding biamping with these amps?

thanks guys...the sound is getting better every day and is sounding much better at around 3am. a power conditioner is on its way to help me extend the system to connect with my dedicated lines so that should help too. for now i'm just playing REALLY loud coltrane over and over late at night and it's actually very nice.

we;ll see. i'll keep you posted.
You're right commenting power! You must have enough current capabilities inside the wall for two amps + power conditioner.
Hence you feel sound improvement at arround 3am when everybody sleeps and using substantially less power devices!
Never mind interconnects or their break-in time! Power is where it gets critical I guess in your case.
sorry sorry sorry - i'm bush league, i'm a novice at best...

... i spoke too soon. my entire system had all new cables and speaker wires and they just weren't broken in yet. at this point, this is by far the best system i've ever owned. it's too good because i'm hearing how badly so many of my recordings are. a friend (a hardcore audiophile for about 20 years now) came over with his reference cds and said he never realized how crappy they were until listening on my new setup. when we put in some primo stuff we sat listening with our mouths open like morons. (i turned him into a coltrane fanatic in one session.) every day things are getting better; smearing has gone, the treble has eased up (although not fully) the bass is unlike anytihng i've ever had, solo instruments like coltrane's sax (on the right recording) sound like they're in the room when turned up at live levels and i never thought a home system could play so loudly w/o distortion.

i might finally be happy. not satisfied, but happy.

i never had a full replacement of cables before so i never really understood burn-in but i gotta say, new cables sound like shit and can scare the living hell out of you when you first hear them. i thought at first i had connected my crossover incorrectly the system sounded so poorly. and the cleaner power in LA at 3am makes all the difference in the world.

i'm glad i didn't call the guy who sold me these waveforms and tell him what i was all geared up for...phew. a guy could get shot for much less in los angeles.

thanks to all for the help.
Jeez, about time Dennis.


Does it sound good?

It does sound good.

Are we convinced?

We are convinced.


Also what's up with your TT, no phono preamp?
Dekay, dont be convinced too quickly. i keep speaking too soon. i guess the break-in is still happening because every day one thing gets better but another aspect gets worse. so far, overall the system is doing more things right than other systems i've owned but it's not doing everything better. it's a total trip getting up each day and listening to the changes.

the big issue i have right now is that the system is laid back and i think that's not going to prove a funtion of the cables. i'm not crazy about laid back systems. i like the music more upfront and i guess that's why i was an acoustat junkie for so long. time to start playing with tube rolling. this is about preference now, not a problem in the system. i had a friend over who flipped out and said this was the best my gear ever sounded and another one who said he MUCH preferred my old Acoustat 4 setup. what can you do?

i also have figured out that coincidentally most of the recordings i listened to first with this new setup were recorded out of phase and since i had the sa-11 modified there's no way to switch the phase back. this, combined with the fresh cabling, is what really had me panicking originally.

my tt should arrive soon, then i'll get down to business.

happy listening!
Hi Dennis:

You mentioned RCA 5692's (which are said to be mellow/laid back. I found a pair of Tung-Sol 6SN7GT's (rectangular plates) that might bring things up a bit (use them in combination with the RCA's). I will take them to Armetron first and have them tested to make certain that they are OK.

I noticed that Ed Sawyer has been cleaning out his 6SN7 collection (you might ask him for some suggestions as I assume that he has tried most types).

Oh, and I overheard your two friend's (@ Starbucks), detailing/planning how they were going to "F" with your mind. Now their conversation makes perfect sense.
david, you're too generous. before you bring them to amatron i should make sure that i can get away with two 6sn7's and not 4. the circut has changed in my sa-11 and i can't remember if it's two or four in the output.

and nobody needs to f* with my mind about my system, i've proved an expert at doing it all by myself!
i hope this is my last post here and i have to apologize once again for my ...dumbassness and thank those who took the time to offer all the good advice.

kr4 seems to have hit the nail into my head: the crossover was not connected properly and so only certain recordings were sounding right: live jazz only. most singing sounded constrained and out of phase. add that to the fact that things were getting better with the cable breakin and i was lost as to the problem.

now that i fixed the connection all i have to say is ...holy crap! YEEEHA! (still need to tame the high frequency but ...WHOOOHOOOO!)

when my table arrives i don't know what i'm going to do with myself.

any day i'm probably moving back to nyc. i'm going to do whatever i can to stuff these waveforms into whatever hole i can afford over there...even if i have to do without a bed...and a kitchen...and a bathroom. it's just too good and after soooo long i'm not letting go.

happy listening.
Yes, It sounds cool! It breaks in! OOPS wrong crossover connection or setup!