Sonic Frontiers Line 2, Heaven or Hell?

Looking for recommendations here concerning a pre amp swap. I am currently using a Linn Kolecktor but wanting to go the tube route with a preamp. The Linn has a MM phono section and not a perfect match for my 2.5 mv MC cart.
Should I look for a tube preamp that has a MC phono stage or go with 2 separate pieces?
I am currently auditioning a Sonic Frontiers Line 2 that has no phono stage. I like the warmth of tubes and with some rolling should be able to get it dialed in to a sound I like.
If I keep it, then I will just probably pickup a Phonomena pre for the phono. If the Sonic goes away then I am back to looking for a tube preamp with a phono section that is flexible to accept a variety of carts.
As always I like to get a lot of bang for the buck.
The SL Line 2 is a solid performer, but if you are looking for the warm sound of tubes, I would look elsewhere. No one has every described the SF Line series as warm sounding. I am a former Line 3 owner.
So are you saying that with the right tubes the SF will not sound warm? What did you change to? Recommendations?
Yes, tube rolling with the SF Line series will change the sound but you will never get the Line 2 to sound warm. My favorite tube combination was the Holland made Amperex 7308 white label....very neutral sounding.
your linn pre should be a good solid match for any high output mc or quality mm. this lack of warmth may be your cartridge. even a solid mm like goldring will warm the place up.
certainly not heaven for me...if you're looking for a change that wouldn't be my answer, and I agree, it will never sound warm, or I haven't heard it like that. It just doesn't play music to me, no matter what you pair it with.
I think my cart is fine and to me the digital end would benefit from a tune preamp to counter the ss amps. This Sonic needs to back to to Canada for a $300 volume control fix. so I can't decide to keep it or not.
I think the Sonic Frontiers Line 2 is a good choice. Buy a used ARC PH3 on audigon to run with it. You will be very happy. I think it will be a perfect match. I used a ARC PH3 with a Sonic Frontiers SLF-2 for years and then moved up to my current Line 3 four years ago. They both were a great combo with the PH3. You can get a PH3 for about $750.00 on audiogon.
Didn't like the SFL2 at first. Swapped the stock Sovteks to ECC88's and it improved but still a little rolled off on cymbals. Went to XLR cables, both out "direct" in, sacrificing balance control, ... much better. Tried balanced AC, through a centre-tapped, step-down industrial transformer and "Holy $#%@", it's a different animal. It loved balanced AC, more than any component I've tried. Not quite as transparent as TVC and just a little bloated in the bass. Didn't require the gain it provided with a high voltage source along with sensitive amps and speakers.
Ngjockey, could you elaborate on balanced AC? What is that?
My first foray into a Sonic Frontiers Line 2 began alittle less than stellar as well, which i briefly described in a previous posting. recent discovery in how I accidentally connected it to the two pairs of inputs on my Parasound A21 amp with BOTH RCA (Syn. Res.) and XLR (Audio Metallurgy) cables have yield such an open, airy and deep soundstage, it was the moment I decided to keep this preamp as opposed to sell it. It might not have the comparative wamrth of a CJ or Audio Research, but for the type of music I listen to (technical metal/prog rock), its a small trade-off for the amount of detail and instrument placement/depth that this preamp extracs from the music (thanks to its black background). And I haven't done the Parts ConneXion upgrade to this yet. I will be trying that later this year, just to see what more this can do. I am curious to hear what tubes people have had luck with on their SF preamps.

My favorite 6922 tube for SF is the Amperex Holland SQ E88CC.

I've own 3 different SF preamps and 1 amp. I find stock SF sound is a little thin, lean, mechanical and dry. The PCX SE+ mod addresses all the weaknesses and much more. IMHO, PCX SE+ mod is a no brainer for all SF owners.

What tubes are in the middle and back row of the Line 2 now?
I am listening but not hearing what I must in order to keep this preamp. It sounds as though it plays best when fed a diet of heavy metal not bluegrass. I have uncovered a volume attentuator problem that PCX can fix for $300, then if you add the upgrades and shipping I would have maybe almost $3000 in a machine over 10 years old. I want a tube amp that doesnt sound like SS. Any ideas?
How about a CAT SL-1 series pre-amp with phono? Awesome phono section plus a bit of the tube warmth that you are looking for.
the cat sounds like a great device...but no remote?? No can do. In the old days when I had a preamp without a remote I had a AR device that was an external device. I wonder if that is an option?

For $3000 I probably expand my search especially you want a warmer sounding preamp. Check out CJ CT5. It has the warmer sound and remote that you want but it only has single ended I/O.
Evergrey, Google not workin' for you?

This is more like what I did, before I found this link (notice the 240V supply). More links inside. You have to be a masochist to play with transformers but that's not an issue for the plug-in boxes. I wouldn't compare this to Equitech/BPT/Furman but haven't spent more than $100 for a transformer up to 5 KVA. Shipping has been more expensive than the units and expect the mounts to get bent along the way.
Volume problem with SF Line series is easy to fix, just order the optical encoder from Chris or other online vendor and replace it yourself. Took me an hour or two to fix, save the shipping hassle and cost.
Problem with the volume or are you referring to the volume chip plus rail voltage upgrade???
I would not quite label it hell. I did own one, and my general reaction was it made a better dynamic range compresser than a preamp. No wait, make that a dynamic range limiter. lol ...Think doctor's office waiting room sound system.
Rig is currently loaded with those Russians, you know those Solvteks. I am trying to decide if I should order 2 recommended replacements for the center row ie. Gain circuit.
I need to know where this can make the difference so that I could actually keep this beast. Several tubes have been mentioned and I would like to order a pair that will meet my tastes.
Of course I want great midrange detail, air on the top and a deep bass. the list I have amassed to date is:

Amperex Holland SQ E88cc, Siemens 7308 s, Amprex JAN 7308 white letter, Siemens ECC88/6dJ8 NOS German

These puppies are expensive so I don't want to misstep here.
Rig is currently loaded with those Russians, you know those Solvteks. I am trying to decide if I should order 2 recommended replacements for the center row ie. Gain circuit.
02-22-10: Blueskiespbd
First off the Sovtek as well as EH Russian tubes in the Sonic Frontiers Line series One and Two preamps will make the preamp sound like a SS preamp. Not warm sounding at all.....

Pick up 2 pair of good used USA made Amperex white label PQ 6922 tubes. Great sounding tube and they won't break the bank..... Front row the sovtek are ok for now. If you like what you hear with the Line 2 / PQ tubes you can upgrade the Sovtek later .

As for the volume control issue have you asked the seller to pay to have it fixed? If money has not exchanged hands I would not pay for the fix if I were you. If you watch the ads here on Agon occasionally a Line Two comes up for sale at a reasonable price.
So I have ordered 4 NOS Amperex tubes and will see what they can do. I will post back late next week with an update.
Hi All,

Can someone compile into a list all that that makes the line 2 dark, liquid and detailed?  I am hoping this sucker is gonna play the hell out of King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and Genesis.

I await all of your genius and experience. Please advise.  
Hi All,

I have an SF Line 2 on the way. I will be using it with a ModWright Oppo and primarily listen to digital media. I also recently purchased a Conrad-Johnson MF2275, so there's that....

I am looking for a 'dark liquid' sound. Not 'warm' or 'bloomy', certainly no glare or blare. A hint 'woody' would be alright. Tightly radiant and/or illuminating would be good.

So what tubes can you all recommend?

Thanks so much for for all of your shared experience.