i wondered about this also - perhaps a blunt email to sonic-frontiers asking *them* about it? regards, doug
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I suspect that it is a case of the equiptment not being a good match for some peoples systems. Their new line of tube amps and preamps has a somewhat lean sound, not lush or romantic. They may be very neutral and acurate but may not be musicly pleasing especially in systems with bright forward sounding speakers and cables, not to mention 16 bit digital sources. I have been tempted to try a Line 2, it seems like a great buy at the prices they are going for. It would probably not be a good match also because it is heavily dedicated to balanced in/out which my associated equiptment is not set up for. Essentially half of the circuitry would not be used. I also read in a review (Stereo Times) that the SE inputs tend to overload easilly. Anyone out there have experience with these Line stages operated SE?
Doug, You know I once talked to SFI and they said that everything is fine, they working on their 5 channel amp, and will be offering an upgrade to their Processor 3 to support the 24/96. You see I purchased the Transport 3/Processor 3/ Line 3. I also purchased their Assembly upsampler, I was thinking of purchasing the Power 3 but some what worried.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, I bought my Power 3 from audiogon.com., brand new, in the box, from a dealer whose store closed and had overstock.. I've had the power3 for about 4 months now, have spoken to SFI on the phone for some technical questions. I don't why you feel the company is having problem.. The power 3 is one of the best tube amp out there for the money. They are also built beautifully...If you have any question, you are welcomed to email me. Good luck. I think the Stereophile review on the power3 has a lot to do with why there are many overstock amps out there.
TO: Calvinhu, Thank you for the vote of confidance, I currently use the Bryston 7B mono blocks (which also are rated A) to drive Martin Logan ReQuest. I was wondering if going with the Power 3 would be up/side/down grade? you see I can't compare them at home, cause I currently live overseas. So I would have to go with some recommendations. Mohamed
I agree with Calvin's response above-- good assessment. Since SF was purchased by Paradiegm (sp?) Audio over a year ago, it is financially stable. I verified this with their Technical Rep. several months ago. In the two Stereophile reviews of the SF Power 2 and 3, RJR called the Power 2 "boring", a very unprofessional choice of words (IMO) for an amp that was then put in their Class A Recommended components-- it seems to me that there is a big contradiction involved here, ie how could a "boring" amp be Class A. As to the Power 3, the reviewer said "these amps don't rock"-- in other words they lacked pace, rhythm, and timing. Yet the Power 3 was also put into STPH. Class A-- another significant contradiction IMO. Please note that other reviewers of thes amps said they were excellent. Look up the reviews on SF's web site; also the reviews on Audio Review. No, I don't own either of these amps but am seriously considering the Power 2. Dbear; I have used the Line 2 for over two years-- SE with no problem-- sources have been a Muse 2 DAC, and a Levinson 360S DAC. And I don't know what you mean by "overloading". Also, when used SE, it does not mean that 1/2 the circuitry is not used-- it doesn't work that way, but different parts of the circuitry are used SE versus balanced. I also use the Line 1 SE and have had no problems-- source is an Adcom DAC. They are both excellent pre-amps. Myoussif if you would prefer to pay MORE for this amp, I can give you some references (hey dude, just joking). Over the weekend, a Power 2 (demo, MSRP $5000.) was sold for $2000. because the business was both moving and changing focus-- wish I could have afforded it at the time. Cheers. Craig.
I think this all relates to SF's financial difficulties about a year ago, when they had to sell off a lot of product to raise cash. (I think those problems are behind them) They sort of flooded the market with half price goods and that stuff floats around and is re-sold over and over. I bought a SF Power 2 very cheap about a year ago (and liked it a lot) but then sold it a few months ago for about 80% of what I bought it for. There's nothing wrong with their products, but I think they're still feeling the effets of their dumping of product a while back.
I think Schacter may figured out what is up with SF. Hopefully they have their problems worked out as their gear is first rate. I bought a Line 3 about six months ago and really like it. You will have to spend north of 5K to get something close to it in performance from another vendor. One concern with the power 3's is that they run hot. If you live in an apartment with inadequate air conditioning like I do then the heat disipation may be a problem. Personally I lean towards solid state amps to advoid the cost of power tube replacement (much more expensive than pre-amp tubes). One final comment, positive endorsements from experts like Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio sure doesn't hurt my confidence level with SF gear.
I've purchased an Anthem Amp1 and Pre1L this year, both are made by Sonic Frontiers. I just love them. The Amp1 came with a silver faceplate, and I wanted a black faceplate. I contacted SF a few months back about getting a black faceplate. I was told I had to wait until they did a new run in June. I called back in June, and and finally ordered the new faceplate. Customer service was very helpful, and as far as I can see SF is going strong.
I see them as a strong outfit.They are working on their 5 Channel amps and had flooded the market with some of the tube gear when they where in a cash crunch.it has kept the price down and anyone thinking of buying one should take advantage of this chance to get such a good deal on it.i live 5 minutes from the planr and am in there weekly getting things from the Parts Connection.This side of the bussiness is very very strong and so is SF.Grab the gear at these prices before they run out.I think once the market has absorbed them all they will fetch close to or more than this bargn price on the used market.
To all of you guys who responded, thank you very much for your input. However, just one last comment, when I talked to one of these dealers -whom by the way work from his home- I asked him that I want a 220 volt version can you convert it from 110 volt. He said - and I quote "I can ORDER you a set" now that means he will order it from the factory? I would think or so he made me believe. So the idea of SFI has flooded the market sometimes back does not apply here, or does it? In any case, I have heard enough and I think I just go get them. Thank you all once again Mohamed
I just purchased a new Anthem Amp-1 through Audiogon for maybe 60% of retail. I also picked up a returned Pre 2L that had been exchanged for a new Line-2 for around 50%. The dealer was able to transfer the Pre's warranty into my name with SFI. My amp was ordered. It would appear that there is definitely some discounting going on either directly from the factory or via distibutor(s) very close to it. While this doesn't concern me as a consumer, it probably causes some strife between Sonic and their "full-price" retailers. Last year a dealer I visited referred to some dumping by Sonic in order to raise cash in a hurry. While this might have been temporary, the fact that we are having new equipment ordered for us for 60% of retail indicates that either SFI is still dumping product or there is top-level distributor with a BIG warehouse full of it. I'm not worried as a consumer, but I would be leery of dealing with them if I were a 'bricks and mortar' HiFi shop. One more thing to consider is the difficulty that Canadian SFI encounters trying to maintain stable prices in US dollars due to the (currently) VERY favorable exchange rate for Americans. It's very easy for Canadians to sell goods to Americans right now, but hard to get top US dollar for them.
i was considering purchasing a sonic frontier line-3 recently (went w/something else), and all "bricks-n-mortar" dealers were willing to meet the *sell-from-home* dealer's price except one. *that* dealer actually got very nasty w/me - one more dealer scratched from my list of potential vendors. doug
As a dealer, I can tell you they are doing real well. Since they were bought by Paradigm they have more resouces than most anybody. Their new AVM2 surround piece is selling at a rate much higher than I would ever guess a product in that price range could. . . . . . Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. At $4995 full retail the 73 lb (packed) Line 3 makes most competitors look cheap inside. At the prices they are available at, it's a no-brainer. And though they have been out for a while the whole line is competetive with anything.
I think it must be very difficult for companies to continue building product when so much of us deal strictly in the used market (us includes me). Although I occasionally will purchase new, prices of high end products keep the "middle class"folk out of the game, unless we are willing to finance a lot of cash.