COUNTERPOINT: Whatever Happened to them?

First published in Stereophile in 1998

For the last few months, random postings kept appearing on internet newsgroups and in my e-mail box: "Anybody know what happened to Counterpoint?" At last count there were 10,000 Counterpoint preamps, power amps, and loudspeakers fanned out across the planet, some dating back to 1977, when the company launched its first product: the SA-1 tube preamp, designed by Ed Semanko.

Michael Elliott joined Counterpoint in 1979 to design a vacuum-tube moving-coil head amp; this became the SA-2, the company's second product. In 1980 he and his now ex-wife, Laura Hendershot, purchased the company and moved it to San Diego from Beverly Hills and began manufacturing more SA-1s and the new SA-2s. While at Counterpoint, Elliott went on to design nearly 40 more products--- the most popular "by far" being the legendary SA-5000 preamp, with its all-tube power supply and internal suspension.

But as with many high-end audio enterprises, the past couple of years have not been sympathetic to Counterpoint. In September 1996 the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in part to stave off a commercial bank that sought to place the company in receivership. (Keep in mind that Chapter 11 is designed to help companies through tight times, not put them out of business.)

While all that was going on, Elliott states: "I had .....

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