Introduced in 1992, the Natural Progression Mono amps exemplify the best of Counterpoint engineering. Reliable and solidly-built, these amplifiers have copper-plated steel chassis, heavy custommade heatsinks and massive transformers. Front panel meters indicate output current and power. Do they sound good? You bet! With a triode front-end and an IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) output stage, these amplifiers are capable of delivering 250 amperes of current and over 300 watts of power into four ohms.
be improved? Certainly. Like all Counterpoint (and all sub-$10,000 gear)
the components in the signal path and in the power supplies use above-average
sounding parts, all right, but not the best by a great margin. And the
circuit itself benefits from a lot of cleanup. The original circuit uses
two stages of tube amplification, followed by a solid-state buffer to
drive the output stage. Then 26dB of feedback is used to improve the measured
specifications. I've come to realize that, despite what other companies
might claim, NO feedback always sounds better than some.
modification, I also upgrade the components in the signal path and in
the power supplies to use Mills wire-wound, Caddock Tetrinox, and Vishay
"Naked" resistors; and replace average-sounding $2.00 film and
$0.50 aluminum electrolytic capacitors with TRT Dynamicaps
and Continental Capacitor Type A oil-filled
capacitors (New! Was Black Gate WKZ capacitors,
but the CC-A capacitors KICK THEIR BUTTS!). Power supply components, like
regulator parts, are upgraded to sweet-sounding Zetex transistors, the
rectifier tube is upgraded to a "AAA"
type ("AAAA" available for $10 upcharge (per amplifier); tube
sockets are upgraded to ceramic-gold, and a lot of circuit complexity
is removed for a faster, more detailed, tube sound.
improvements, taken together with the upgraded signal path and power supply
components result in a far less hi-fi-sounding amplifier. You get an faster-sounding
amp with far more natural-sounding midrange and treble, and more detailed
bass. Imaging improves, too, becoming wider, deeper and more focused.
It sounds more like music, has more dynamic "snap," a quieter
background -- it's just more fun to listen to. In short, the Basic upgrade
this already fine-sounding amplifier into a great-sounding one.
for NPM Basic Upgrade: $1089/amplifier
Premium Upgrade. If the Basic Upgrade isn't enough and you're looking for even better sound, then ADD this cost-effective upgrade to the Basic upgrade. You'll get weightier bass, a deeper soundstage and quieter background with less "fuzz" around the musical notes. With this upgrade I replace the four big filter capacitors (the big beer-can sized black units) with 22,000uF/80V Nichicon KG Super-Through capacitors. Somehow, Nichicon has figured out how to make electrolytic capacitors that sound 1,000% better than standard computer-grade aluminum electrolytic parts (like the original parts). These parts are very important because they are used to provide the energy used to drive the speakers. The wiring to these capacitors is replaced with Sound Connections OFC wire. The rectifiers are upgraded to FRED (Fast Recovery Epitaxial Diodes). This modification results is significantly tighter, deeper and more powerful bass, with no rectifier-induced harshness, glare or ringing. Some chassis modification is required, but it's invisible.
GOLD Upgrade. This upgrade is for serious audiophiles and music lovers only. Before getting this upgrade, you must get the Basic and the Premium Upgrades, which take care of a lot of easy-to-fix problems. This upgrade, which uses the really good, expensive parts, transforms the amp into a sonic masterpiece. The purity of the tubes high-voltage power supply is dramatically improved by upgrading the rectifier tubes, upgrading all the aluminum electrolytic capacitors used in the the tubes plate and cathode supplies to Continental Capacitors' exceptional oil-filled caps. More of the signal-carrying components are upgraded, including replacing the tube input resistors with Caddock Tetrinox, and Vishay "Naked" parts, and replacing the amplifier's output (emitter) resistors with Mills non-inductive wirewound resistors. The transformer is upgraded to a Plitron toroidal, custom-designed for the NPM amplifiers. I also remove the old RCA jacks and speaker terminals and mount Sound Connections's excellent CM1F-OFC direct gold plating over oxygen-free copper RCA jacks and BP-HEX/OFC speaker terminals. Finally, the internal power supply and speaker wiring is re-done with Van Den Hul "The Wind" Hybrid II wire.
Price for NPM GOLD Upgrade: $2,169/amplifier
If I can
be of any further assistance, do not hesitate to contact me.