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Counterpoint SA-220
10 Reviews
rating  4.4 of 5
MSRP 
Description: SS/Tube hybrid, 220wpc into 8ohms


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Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by pangl a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2006

Bottom Line:   
People who had read my (sad) stories on my Counterpoint 5000 would be surprised to see that I made another leap of faith to try another Counterpoint product.

And what a sad story this will be.

The sound is typical SS/Tube Hybrid. Very dynamic, with pinpoint imaging and yet has a hint of air, smoothness that tube amps provide. But my enjoyment of this amp last about 2 weeks.

The seller told me this amp was fully checked and optimized. But some kind of hiss starts to appear on the left channel. Soon after that, it became as buzz. As I tried to swap the interconnects at the back, I smelled something funny, and the left channel was gone.

What a disaster. The broken amp will be in eBay auction soon sell as-is.

Now, some people claimed they got superior improvements over stock unit once upgraded by AltaVista. It doesn't sound right to me. So I have to buy a piece of junk product and then spent double the money to get the sound and reliability right? That will not affect my ratings toward the sound (which I think is in the league of Class A rated Sonic Frontiers Power 2), but the value rating will be low, and ditto affecting overall.

VALUE RATING: 2. You paid $$$ for an stock unit to find out what kind of crap it is, then paid $$$ to AltaVistaAudio to get it right.

OVERALL: Sound is definitely a 4 or even 4.5. But due to the value rating.....

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by xyjames a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have a good but mixed review of the SA 220. First, the reason for the mixed review. Some of the reviewers characterized this amp as tank-built tough and it's great to hear that. But it's also had some reliability issues for others. I was given the SA 220 for free from an overseas relative who bought it new for $2400. For some reason, a 1 inch hole melted thru one side of the circuit board; he never relayed how that happened. After the amp came back state side, I drove the 100 miles down to the then counterpoint facilities and got a new board and tubes for $550. With essentially a new amp, it sounds great now. It's paired w/ a SA-3000 preamp and to my ears the bass is a little mellow. The treble is natural. I own a a denon 3802 and I completely prefer the rounder treble of the SA 220 to the Denon. I suppose that's a trait of the tube signal path. Though some audio purists might disagree with adding an eq, I wonder if those who desire more bass would do just that. For me, it has made up any for any differences and though the eq is inexpensive, the bass is low, solid and clear even at high volume (audiophile bass anyone?). The overall low to high freq fidelity is very good, it could probably hold it's own against amps costing much more, especially in the mids like vocals. I haven't had any problems with it now and I do recommend getting one at these prices.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $2950.00

Purchased At:   Carlsbad, CA



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2002

Bottom Line:   
The SA-220 is an exceptional amp. To get performance equal to it from an amplifier made today, be prepared to spend over $5000. It is built to last 100 years.

The entire audio spectrum is reproduced effortlessly, even at high volumes through inefficient speakers (I own new Magnepans). Bass is extended and solid, although not as tight and controlled as some of the better solid-state amps. This amp is your answer if you have speakers that could use a little more bloom in the lower octaves. Different bass instruments are clearly audible in the soundstage and there is no one-note bass here.

The midrange is pure heaven. Female vocals sound so real that it is unsettling. Percussion sounds like it is in the room with you. Listen to Jennifer Warnes, Diana Krall, or Patricia Barber through this amp and you'll be hooked.

There is no listener fatigue with the SA-220. The upper mids and top end are very natural and unforced. There is a sense of air, space, and delicacy in the upper registers equalled by few amps. Strings are natural and full of life.

Complex and dense music passages are revealed with the full soundstage intact. Every instrument is heard individually within it's own space.

If you find one of these amps on the used market, I heartily recommend giving it a try. At 220 wpc 8 ohms/420 wpc 4 ohms and over 600 watts bridged, it is a powerful and flexible amp that sounds darned amazing.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   eBay



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by stig jespersen a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 20, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Actually this is the SA20, but only minor changes was made to the Sa220.
First time I turned this thing on, I was amazed by the soundstage, which totally made my speakers disappear.
I bought this amp secondhand based on my experience with the SA12, which I loved.
I've got what I hoped for: Better dynamics, bigger soundstage, more tight and deeper bass, same or better highs.
this amplifier is very competent and live sounding.
Even very complex music is reproduced clean, competent and with great musicality.
It will deliver hard dynamic punches when asked to and never loose its sweet articulate highs or the grip on the music.
This amplifier will never sound cold or grainy.
Especially voices and acoustic instruments are lifelike.


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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $800.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 10, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This amp is the cross between solid and tube, so does the sound. The sound is more of solid state because only the input stage is tubes. It use 5 6DJ8 type and a retifier tube. I give it a 4.5 star because the sound resolution is not clear as Krell or Levinson. But it has good value and has some tube flavor. the components is 1st rate, the case is undestructable. The amp should last for 100 years, quality like that (70lbs) will cost over $10000 nowaday. I don't think it has punch (ok bass) as other reviewer stated, but it's definitely a classic.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $900.00




Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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