Followup: Martin's Sonic Frontiers SFP-1SE+ & Our Mods & Listening Results

Some of you have expressed interest in what we did with Martin’s Sonic Frontiers SFP-1SE+

1) Replaced that ugly plastic grounding post with Cardas Rhodium plated Silver post;

2) Replaced both of the knock-off cheap Cu Mute & Power switches with the best – CK silver with short throw toggles;

3) Replaced the “whatever” 6922 tubes with Gold Lion 6922; The Gold Lion 12AT7’s will be in next week – that will complete a full tube roll-over;

4) Used marine grade 4-40 SS Allen-head screws for the chassis;

5) Applied a 4-step DeoxIt process to WBT Ag RCA females;

6) Reattached a loose wire to one WBT RCA using WBT Ag solder;

7) Thoroughly cleaned an amazing about of dirt, dust, & grime from above & below the circuit boards;

8) Cleaned & polished the SS & black anodized 2-part front panels while removed from chassis;

9) Applied a 2-part DeoxIt process to IEC male tabs;

One of our biggest surprises was that Parts Connextion used cheap knock-off Chinese switches for Mute & Power. We tested to see that all worked but did not get the opportunity to listen

What remains to be done: We want to replace the green LED with an nice indigo-blue one we have in stock and have the removable chassis (the big part that takes the 18 screws) sent to the powder-coat shop for an glossy piano black coating. That would not be until the next time we send the SUT boxes to the powder coat shop in January.

Listening Results:

We finally had time to sit down and listen to the SFP-1SE+. We compared to the Jasmine 2.5 and the Liberty B2B-1 - these 2 phono stages would be in the approximate price range as a fully modified SFP-1. Keep in mind, the Gold Lion 12AT7’s will not be here until today or Tuesday. So, our listening is with the 2 Gold Lion 6922 (we keep those in stock) & the “whatever” 12AT7’s.

All tests were done running the Blue Series 1131 SUT into the 47K MM inputs using a $13,000.00 Koetsu Azule Cartridge mounted on the VPI Classic 4 3-D arm.

As compared to both of the above phono stages the SFP-1 lacked punch and authority. The highs in our ss setup were quite good. In our tube system they were tame or romantic. In all cases, the bass of the SFP-1 presented little punch.

So, we removed the 2 100ohm resisters in the SFP-1 and the unit really opened up.

Even with this improvement, the SPF-1 could not stand up to the other 2 units. We will do all this again when the GL 12AT7’s arrive later this week.

Update: We will also be adding in the LKV Phono section into the test mix. We have heard a great deal of positive listening responses to this unit. It was used in the VPI room at RMAF this year. Bill is a great guy…we are going to enjoy knowing him.