I've been wondering about the unit as well. I've hav eheard that it is superior in many ways to the SFD-2 MkII. I currently have an SFD-2 MkII and have been considering an upgrade. I've recently compared my SFD-2 MkII to a new Camelot Arthur 24/192 (Swiss Anagram chip) and felt (at least in my system) that the SFD-2 (only 16/48) sounded superior. This is probably due in part to a superior analog section and execution, as well as system compatibility, rather than a disappointing performance for the 24/192 Anangram technolgy.
My worry is that the 24/96 MkIII upgrade is already obsolete. The state-of-art has moved on to 24/192 and beyond. Reports consistently suggest that 24/192 is a noticable step up from 24/96. Given the upgrade is $1300, and the value of a SFD-2 MkII is about $1300-1400 in the market. Is there a better way to spend $2600 - $3000? Or perhaps $4000? Has anyone heard the Chord 64 (for example) and directly compared it to anything? Does it continue to make sense to sit tight and wait for further refinements and potential DVD-A (or even SACD) compatibility before jumping to a new DAC?
Given the unfortunate state of play at Sonic Frontiers and Anthem. Is the 24/96 MkIII the end of the line for the SF brand and product line? Will we get a 24/192 MkIV for the SFD-2? How about a 24/192 for the Processor 3? My understanding is that before the takeover, an upgrade for the Processor 3 was in the works. Is that dead now?
Lotusm50 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I have a MKIII upgrade with the D2D-1 upsampler and the difference will floor you! It was so much better that I had to nearly play my entire CD collection to marvel at the sound. I am using a Levinson 31.5 transport, and was considering upgrading to the 30.6 unitl I heard the MKIII upgrade, which immediately quelled my desire to upgrade to the 30.6. (and saved me a ton of money). As a matter of fact, the MKIII upgrade now rivals my TNT IV in musicality.
Sigmund (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Well, I will be the proud owner of the MkIII and D2D-1 here when UPS hands it over. I am excited. As for obsolete - my only concern is that SF is no longer making SF tube gear.. only anthem HT stuff. Upsamping is upsampling - and if you can hear a difference between 24/96 and 24/192 your ears are much better than mine. I really believe SF put real thought into their designs and the fully balanced configuration is rare in the world of 24/96 - not to mention SF's reputation for sonic excellence. BTW: I paid what I think is an astoundingly low amount for the MKIII, D2D, and cable.. $1750 shipped. Is this a good deal?
Akimball (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I recently upgraded to the MkIII and at the same time purchased an output mod which replaced the capacitors with a DC coupling circut (designed and installed by a former SF designer). The improvement in sound is quite amazing, especially on acoustic instruments where timbre, tonal balance, dynamics, etc. are so important. The upgrade significantly increased the amount of information passing through to the speakers -- bringing along the room acoustics of the recording studio, better preserving the harmonic structure of each instrument, and overall making the sound seem more analog than digital (e.g., fuller and less etched). The sound also seems clearer and more detailed. I'm finding I appreciate the upgrade more and more with time.
Jcass (Answers | This Thread)
In the last 2 weeks I had the chance to listen to my MK III for the first time after going through a series of repairs, right after my upgrade to MK III. Let me explain:
After I got the SDF-2 back from the upgrade, I plugged it in, but found it to be grayish and less detailed than my Levinson 390S, but there are things this DAC does so right for my taste that I forged on to find a Assemblage D2D. While the Levinson upsamples internally to 192 kHz, it does not put out an upsampled signal.
By the time I found an Assemblage, the SFD was broken (it took me a year to find an Assemblage) and I called Anthem / SF and they were ulrta nice to me and said they would fix it free of charge. Excellent service!!!!!!
Anyway, I just got it back 2 weeks ago and I've listened to more CD's than I have in years. It is that good indeed.
I'm feeding the signal from the Levinson through a balanced Nordost cable to the Assemblage to the SF SFD-2 MK III via the Is2 interface cable and to me, it is sonic heaven. While the Levinson alone might be a little more detailed in the highs, together with my Magnepan 3.6, it just never made music. Too bright. While Levinson might be slightly more accurate in some ways, the SF gear makes me feel like I'm hearing music with all it's warmth, impact and emotional involvement. It sings and I love it.
Based on this, I just bought a SF 3 Transport, which I hooked up tonight.
I'm listening to it as I write. If there is a difference between the Levinson and this, it will take me a while to figure it out.
Bottomline is this. The MK III gives me goosebumps and that's my ultimate measure in musicallity as I've gone to many concerts of my dads brassband.
I don't often change equipment andf I feel sorry for the people who are in a constant chase of the "equipment of the day" and never get to actually appreciate what they have. Assemble someting that works for you and stick with it for a while. It might just grow on you and that's a beautiful thing.
Ultimately, if you are considering a SFD-2 MK III, it's a awesome piece of equipment!
PS: The Buena Vista Social Club CD's really are that good.
Peter10512 (Answers | This Thread)
I am using the SFD2, MK-2 and I use Stealth Audio silver balance cable connecting Theta Basic transport for few years. This balance cable has an analytical sounds. I just recently make SE digital cable using John Risch schematic. This SE digital cable brings more details and musicality that I never hear from the balance cable.
Nghiep (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Wadia...NBS Balanced...D2D....I2se...SFD2 MK3...UNBELIEVABLE
Dannyandelyse (Threads | Answers | This Thread)