SF Owners - worthwhile to upgrade a Line 1 to SE?

Hi all. I have a Sonic Frontiers Line 1 mated with a Power 2 amp. I've been considering sending it to SF to have it upgraded to the Line 1SE status but the cost seems a bit high considering the resale value of the preamps (which is incredibly low considering how good the pre really is!). Any owners out there who have done the upgrade and if so, is it worth the money. Thanks for all replies.

Hi Michaela; I just had my Line 2, which I've owned for nearly 4 years, up-graded to the SE level. The up-grade was $999., and was worth it to me. I've had it back less than a week now, so it's still breaking in, but my sense is that that it is smoother warmer, richer, and according to Frank P. the SF Rep., it will still "open up" some more.

SF no longer has any Seimens tubes and mine came back with all Brimar 6922s which is a warmer tube than the stock Sovteks. The Brimars are a 1970s NOS British tube that is distinctly softer/warmer tube than the more neutral and dynamic Sovteks. I strongly suspect that the main sonic change is as a result of the different tubes, but how do you tell? My Line 2 was gone 5 weeks and I used a Line 1 in the interim.

I like excellent PRaT as well as excellent vocal timbre, and with 6 Brimars, hard driving rock was just too soft/slow, so I put 4 new Sovteks in the follower positions and left 2 Brimars in the gain positions (V1 and LV1 positions)-- well, that did it for me-- sort of the best of both worlds. The Brimars provided some warmth and body and the Sovteks dynamics and a more "liveness". Now the Line 2 has excellent vocal timbre as well as PRaT.

I also own a line 1 (I use it as a back-up, but also in HT) and I consider the Line 1 and 2 to be sonically very similar. I like the Line 2 SE very much and I'm glad I had the up-grade done, but it's a small (and worthwhile, IMO) improvement over an already a very good pre-amp. But only you can decide if it's worth it to you. As I noted before, I think it is the different tubes that are responsible for much of the difference, so if you want to take the least expensive route, try some tube rolling-- especially in the gain positions. Or as I did, do both;>) Good Luck. Craig
I haven't personally tried the upgrade but my local sonic frontiers dealer says for the price you get a nice new special edition face plate. He recommended changing the stock tubes to the siemens E88cc's that they use in some of the special editions for a better value. Just a thought, made a big difference with mine.
I agree with Garfish that different tubes will make the most difference. I own a stock Line 3 and it works great. I have no current plans to upgrade it. If something fails requiring the unit to be sent in for repair then I will consider getting it upgraded at that time. Any improvements should be in the reliability area. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
I don't suspect that the changes in the internal wiring (which are VERY short paths) makes much of a difference re: 1 vs. 1 SE. But the tubes will make an extrodinary difference. Look for some Seimens 7308's or Brimars as suggested above. Put them in two most rear positions, burn them in continuously for 100 hrs. and pop in from time to time for a listen. You'll be amazed.

Lots of good tubes on this site. Try this for starters: http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.pl?preatube&1023319046

I plan on buying a pair from Fletchj in the next couple of days. I understand from others that have bought tubes from him here, that he's an awesome dude to deal with.

Best of luck!