Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 Transport?

Is this a good transport? Is the now discontinued Phillips 12-4 transport used in it a durable, long-lasting mechanism? Although Robert Harley of Stereophile praised it, he also said it was upfront, somewhat bright in the treble, & had some grain. Any opinions?
Hi Kevziek. A couple months ago when I was shopping for a used, DC'd transport, the SFT-1 was on my short list along with the Theta Data Basic II and Theta Pearl. Most SFT-1s were selling for around $1100, and the Thetas were going for $500-700 depending on model. I eventually got the Pearl, but only because I found a good deal, and a cool person to buy it from.

Although I never had the chance to audition any of these transports, I strongly considered the Sonic Frontiers even with its higher price because of what I had read here and elsewhere on the net. It's interesting that you found a review that characterizes the SFT-1 as being bright, because that is contrary to most of what I had read. Many people described it as being refined and sometimes TOO polite, especially in comparison with the Theta units. I suppose system matching is everything.

Just about all I read about the SFT-1 remarked about its superior build quality. I never figured out which mechanism it used, but it seems you have. I should also mention that Ed Deitemeier with Theta Digital informed me that the Theta Data used the discontinued Phillips mechanism, and replacement parts were very hard to come by. However, and this is one of the points that swayed me, he said the Pearl, Jade, and Miles all used the Pioneer Stable Platter mechanism which is still being manufactured. I don't know if the discontinued Phillips mechanism the Thetas used and the one you mention are the same. There have been some posts in here about the failure of a few Theta/Phillips transports and the difficulty in repairing them.

I'm sorry I don't have any first hand experience with the Sonic Frontiers unit, or was able to to do any comparisons with it. But I think you could make many more worse choices than the SFT-1. Plus it looks super cool in gold and silver. Have fun.
I have been using an SFT-1 for about 3 years and I have not had any problems with it at all. The build quality is outstanding. I too have not experienced bright or harsh sounding qualities from the unit. It is very neutral, maybe even a little laid back. Keep in mind that the DAC which you choose to couple with it may affect the final outcome of the sound (as might the digital cable). Overall, I don't think that you can go wrong with the SFT-1, especially at pre-owned prices.
If the SFT-1 sounds polite, that's because Theta's have a forceful sound which is why Cory Greenburg liked them so much. Robert Harley rated the Theta as Class "B". The SFT-1 Class "A".
Thetas are forceful? After two months of constant play, I can say that the Pearl is definitely smoother and more refined than my previous player. Much more relaxed and enjoyable. But I suppose it's all relative, because the unit it replaced was a $500 Musical Fidelity E60 player being used as a transport.
I have a friend who has a ARC CD-1 which uses an earlier version of the Philips transport and has been having severe tracking problems with it. Acording to ARC, the grease in the mechanism hardens with age. The only remedy is to replace the transport mechanism which would cost nearly as much as the player is worth. Hopefully these problems are not as severe with the newer transport as many of the top High End designs use this mechanism. I owned the EAD T-1000 for many years which uses the Pioneer transport and was very happy with it.