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  1. #1

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    Default Question For The Tube Guys....

    How does Sonic Frontiers Tube Amps rank in the tube amp category?

    Is it good, bad, consider OK? Anyone have owned one or experienced one?

    Surely, it should be better than most ChiFi Tube Amps on eBay.
    Last edited by megasat16; 09-06-2013 at 02:30 PM.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  2. #2

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    Former owner, many moons ago. Solid, well built, great sounding. But like every other piece of tubed gear, the tubes you use play a very important role in whats heard out the other end. Many of their decades old pre's still command a good price, and that's for a reason.

    That said, if your a bass head, the stock SF pre's are a tad rounded in the lower bass notes. I said stock form, with a tad bit of upgrading, as most will need anyway, they become world class able to compete with many high dollar pre's. SF had 3 different versions. Obviously the first not being the best of the 3. An upgraded 2 or 3rd version however is in another ballpark over the first.
    Many claim they had too much inherit noise, meaning the noise floor was more than expected. I never had that issue myself.
    If I came across a 2nd or 3rd version at a decent price, I wouldn't hesitate to snag one. For the prices I've seen however, you can get a used Joule.

    OOPS, my bad. Thought you ment pre's, obviously your talking amps. Sorry man, no experience with their amps.

  3. #3

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    Tony,

    Very nice info on the SF Pre. I think SF Tube pre has a cult followings and it seems their prices hold some water for used tube gears.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  4. #4

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    Sonic Frontiers made very, very good stuff. I'm a big fan of they're amps and pres. They are in the same league as BAT, Conrad Johnson, AR, and the likes imho. One of the great things about them is you can still find parts and support for them through Parts Connection who is owned by Chris Johnson. Chris used to own Sonic Frontiers.
    Last edited by Dawgfish; 09-06-2013 at 09:24 PM.

  5. #5

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    ^This^
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    Sonic Frontiers made very, very good stuff. I'm a big fan of they're amps and pres. They are in the same league as BAT, Conrad Johnson, AR, and the likes imho.
    Thanks! Glad to know that because I am thinking about dipping toes in their tube amp (SFS-50). I will post pic when it gets to me.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  7. #7

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    Nice choice, darn nice 50 watts of class A go-go juice. I'm guessing your picking it up for around 6-700 hundies ? Let us know how she sounds. I'm also guessing your going to crap your shorts if it comes with good tubes.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasat16 View Post
    Thanks! Glad to know that because I am thinking about dipping toes in their tube amp (SFS-50). I will post pic when it gets to me.
    Hell really did freeze over! Ha

    Never thought I'd see the day! Mega and tubes!

    Enjoy, it's about time

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    One of the great things about them is you can still find parts and support for them through Parts Connection who is owned by Chris Johnson. Chris used to own Sonic Frontiers.
    FYI Parts Connexion is having a sale on some Sonic Frontiers stuff at the moment.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR binding posts, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheets (3" strips) installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA transformer

  10. #10

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    Thanks Drumminman, I always forget exactly how they spell their name. I got an e-mail alert about that from them. Unfortunately my audio budget is blown.

    Megastat, hope you get that amp. Like Tony says, I think you are going to crap your pants if you get it!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasat16 View Post
    ...I am thinking about dipping toes in their tube amp (SFS-50).
    Your officially on the ignore list now pal.

    j/k enjoy the amp James.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Nice choice, darn nice 50 watts of class A go-go juice. I'm guessing your picking it up for around 6-700 hundies ? Let us know how she sounds. I'm also guessing your going to crap your shorts if it comes with good tubes.
    Yes! You are right on the money. I was looking some luxman monobloc tube amps but too much coins. I hope the SF serves the purpose of crapping my undies. I got a few dozens on order from Amazon just in case you are right. I was told it came with some fairly new EH KT88 in it. I hope it sounds good because good is a very relative terms. I am playing with tubes because I am building high efficiency speakers and I want to know how they sounds with the tube equipments.

    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Hell really did freeze over! Ha

    Never thought I'd see the day! Mega and tubes!

    Enjoy, it's about time

    H9
    Thanks H9! Just imagine Sumo wrestler wearing the assless chaps. It could be a very sensational view. :D


    Quote Originally Posted by drumminman View Post
    FYI Parts Connexion is having a sale on some Sonic Frontiers stuff at the moment.
    Thanks for the info!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    Megastat, hope you get that amp. Like Tony says, I think you are going to crap your pants if you get it!
    Well, I think I got that amp. Paid for. So, just waiting to get it and ready to constipate myself for a few days.

    Seriously, I hope you and Tony are right on that crapping stuff because I want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    Your officially on the ignore list now pal.

    j/k enjoy the amp James.
    Pal, don't put me in the sand box pls. I only buy it because it was made in Canada! :)
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  13. #13

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    Tubes and horns were made for each other. Hey man, just want to emphasize something. Your getting 50 watts of class A juice bro, she's going to run hot so don't even think about putting it in a cabinet. Give it lots of room to breath and if you have kids, inform not to touch.

    What will you initially hook this amp up to ? Pre ? Speaks ? If all your used to is SS amps, then your in for a treat. Tubes have a very addicting sound and once your hooked you'll be breaking bad on that wallet for a tubed pre.

  14. #14

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    I was told it came with some fairly new EH KT88 in it.
    I yet to hear an EH tube that sounded good. Therefore, if you don't like the sound it's not the amp, it's the tubes.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  15. #15

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    Maybe, as Jessie eludes to, you should shop around for other tubes to have on hand so when you get it you have something to roll in off the bat.

  16. #16

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    Good rule of thumb...remember to take tube amp rms and multiply by three to get ss rms watts output

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    I yet to hear an EH tube that sounded good. Therefore, if you don't like the sound it's not the amp, it's the tubes.
    Very true

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  18. #18

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    If you don't find the tubes to your liking some recommendations I would suggest for it would be Treasure or Gold Lion KT88s for power tubes and Amperex, National Japan (also labeled Toshiba or Matsu****a), Siemens, or Mullard 6DJ8s(or equivalent variants 6922s, 7308s, etc.) for signal tubes. The National Japan's are a sleeper tube. The plants were set up in Japan by Mullard and used Mullard tooling. As such they have a similar sound to the Mullards for a fraction of the price.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Msabot1 View Post
    Good rule of thumb...remember to take tube amp rms and multiply by three to get ss rms watts output
    New math?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    New math?
    That's the new "Common Core" math........

  21. #21

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    IIRC the older Winged C's play very well with the Sonic Frontiers line.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasat16 View Post
    I only buy it because it was made in Canada! :)
    Well I can't fault you for that can I.It's a solid unit from SF's early days.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    Well I can't fault you for that can I.It's a solid unit from SF's early days.
    Guess not! But how about some old transistors muscles to appease you? I am still a transistor guy at heart.
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    Last edited by megasat16; 09-08-2013 at 03:37 PM.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Tubes and horns were made for each other. Hey man, just want to emphasize something. Your getting 50 watts of class A juice bro, she's going to run hot so don't even think about putting it in a cabinet. Give it lots of room to breath and if you have kids, inform not to touch.

    What will you initially hook this amp up to ? Pre ? Speaks ? If all your used to is SS amps, then your in for a treat. Tubes have a very addicting sound and once your hooked you'll be breaking bad on that wallet for a tubed pre.
    Tony, it's a bit too much change for going to both tubes and horns for a sumo wrestler at one go. The speakers are just open baffled type line arrays. Nothing with horns in the mix.

    I know this will be bad if I hooked on tubes. Another money sucking rabbit hole that is.

    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    I yet to hear an EH tube that sounded good. Therefore, if you don't like the sound it's not the amp, it's the tubes.
    Why do I have a feeling I stepped on a banana peel on a slippery slope? I am all ears to what is a good KT88. I am a newb in this toob business and all I got to do is learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Maybe, as Jessie eludes to, you should shop around for other tubes to have on hand so when you get it you have something to roll in off the bat.
    I can see what you say will come true and I can also sense a good tube tester in my future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Msabot1 View Post
    Good rule of thumb...remember to take tube amp rms and multiply by three to get ss rms watts output
    This is a really strange formula for power output. I thought SS usually puts out more watts when the speaker impedance goes down. But tubes on the other hands don't seem to put more Watts regardless for the lower speaker load.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    If you don't find the tubes to your liking some recommendations I would suggest for it would be Treasure or Gold Lion KT88s for power tubes and Amperex, National Japan (also labeled Toshiba or Matsu****a), Siemens, or Mullard 6DJ8s(or equivalent variants 6922s, 7308s, etc.) for signal tubes. The National Japan's are a sleeper tube. The plants were set up in Japan by Mullard and used Mullard tooling. As such they have a similar sound to the Mullards for a fraction of the price.
    Thanks Dawg! I am all in for the cheap tubes and very good to know!

    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    New math?
    Nope, only tube guy math.

    Quote Originally Posted by george daniel View Post
    IIRC the older Winged C's play very well with the Sonic Frontiers line.
    Thanks George, I will keep my eyes out for the quad set of winged C's in the horizon.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Guyz, I need some advise on the driver tubes also. Guess these little toobs are as important as the outputs.

    It uses 4 x 6DJ8 for the drivers.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasat16 View Post
    Guess not! But how about some old transistors muscles to appease you? I am still a transistor guy at heart.
    Kewl,vintage Sansui's?What is the purdy preamp/amp pairing below the Pioneer player?

  26. #26

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    Don't worry, you'll be hooked.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    Kewl,vintage Sansui's?What is the purdy preamp/amp pairing below the Pioneer player?
    Yep, those are BA-5000s. One has started developing issues now so need to look inside. These babies are not a joy to lift up to check at 100lbs. Well, such is life playing with the Vintage amps.

    The amp is Pioneer Exclusive M8 and the pre is Exclusive C7a. Two pieces I am taking to the grave with me.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  28. #28

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    It's been some time since I got the SFS-50. I also rolled KT88 Treasures Tubes and KT120 in it. The Treasures are very nice. I feel the KT-120 has a bit more control in bass department. But all in all, both are very nice output tubes.

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