|Solid-1, Solid-1A and Solid-1M|
for the Counterpoint Solid-1 Series of Power Amplifiers (and Solid-2's,
Designed in 1990, the Solid-1 was intended for people who wanted to own Counterpoint equipment, but didn't feel comfortable with tube gear. The Solid-1A (and E), which had more advanced circuitry, replaced the Solid-1 a year or so later. And for home theater center-channel use, the monobloc Solid-1M as added shortly after that. THX versions of the 1A (and 1E) and M amplifiers were also made available. They proved to be solid, dependable performers, and sold fairly well.
These amplifiers sounded, well, okay, in my estimation, but never really excited me. My skill and experience was with tube equipment, and my taste in sound quality favors tube gear. So I never could work up much enthusiasm for them.
Since I started offering upgrades for my tube Counterpoint designs in 1997, owners of Solid equipment have asked me to do upgrades for their units. At first I declined the offers, wanting to develop a full range of upgrades for the tube gear. However, I did try various ideas out on units that were in my shop for repair, and did do some minor upgrades at the behest of their owners. After doing this "background tweaking," I realized that the Solid amplifiers ware capable of truly brilliant performance.
In March 2000, I agreed to do my first Solid upgrade -- a Solid-1, pictured at the top of this page. Belonging to Mr B. Majeska, it was manufactured around 1991 and is an original, basic Solid-1. Prior to upgrade it sounded like a Solid-1: a bit edgy, a bit flat, a bit transistory. After receiving the Basic upgrade (below) it was transformed into a different class of amplifier altogether. This "typical-sounding transistor amplifier" is now a rich, detailed and very listenable amplifier without any discernable transistor colorations. I was impressed! Not only was the sound extremely musical and involoving, but the upgraded Solid-1 not only sounds every bit as good as the well-regarded Aragon 8008BB, in terms of bass quantity and quality, slam, pacing, tonal balance and imaging, the upgraded amp easily outperforms it in an area that I am very sensitive to: female vocals. The Aragon, like most all solid-state amplifiers, tends to brighten and harden female voices. I hate that. The same recordings, when listened to on the Solid-1, are warm where the Aragon is cool, liquid where the Aragon is hard, and inviting where the Aragon is off-putting. (These faults I am ascribing to the Aragon are not just something the Aragon does, they are something that transistor amps, including the original Solid amps, do as a general rule -- but hey, think about it: for less than $1,000, your Solid-1 can outperform a $2,700 amplifier!)
As with all upgrades, please allow two weeks for me to receive parts, and two weeks for the actual work, including listening tests.
Is your amplifier worth it? You bet. In your Solid-1, you have the basis of a powerful, dynamic and sonically exciting amplifier. You'd have to spend three or four times the upgrade money to purchase a new amplifier that would outperforman upgraded Solid amp. This rebuild comes with a 3-year warranty.
In North America, I am performing the rebuild through Alta Vista Audio, my wholly-owned custom audio shop.
At first glance, the inside of the amplifier doesn't look much different. But this upgrade is a parts upgrade and circuit topology upgrade. Several transistors are eliminated from the design. The ubiquitous DC servo -- a surprising source of transistory coloration -- is eliminated and the unit's DC offset is hand-adjusted to less than 20mV. Other parts that seemed like a good idea but actually color the sound are eliminated. The amplifier works quite fine without them. Parts are upgraded extensively: all small-signal transistors are upgraded to Zetex transistors. The critical resistors are upgraded to Caddock Tetrinox and Mills noninductive 0.1% wirewounds; the metallic-sounding emitter resistors are upgraded to FirstOhm metal-plate resistors, and warm-sounding carbon-composition resistors are used on transistor inputs. The rectifiers are upgraded to FRED rectifiers, and the the main and low-voltage main storage capacitors are upgraded to Nichicon KG type caps.
for the Solid-1 "Basic" Rebuild: $1350
for Option 1. Add $120 to upgrade the input RCA jacks.
for Option 2. Add $300 to upgrade the input RCA jacks.
3. Circuit Board Damping
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Pricing Updated: 1 February 2001