Sonic Frontiers Preamps - Cold & thin?


In reading reviews on SF preamps, there seem to be two camps: those who think they are among the best tube units out there, & those who think they sound analytical, & thin in the midrange & treble. Would like to hear other's experiences & how they would rate them against AR & CJ. Also, how does the SFL-2 compare to the newer Line models?
kevziek
Yes, to keep it short, amazing (given the parts qualtiy involved) that my frequent auditions (dealer friend who carries line) have consistently found these--and not ony MY ears here--to be exactly as claimed: cold, clinical and not "tubey" sweet at all....but cold and clinical, and as you mention...thin. Of course, system matching can undoubtedly emeliorate this negative aspect of the sf equipment...but is it really worth it at this price point to be building "tone control" components to make these better in your system? Is it any wonder, given their advertising, product line, etc. that they haven't sold more? In last audition, even solid state gear (but not Classe, which sounds similar in many of their components in their product line @ same price point) sound not unlike the SF gear. Worst tube equipment I've auditioned...but as I mentioned above, system dependent. Caution: no matter how many ancillary items we used with the SF amps, preamps, andCd players, they tended to retain the same signature. Found they worked OK...not spectacular, with the dark Sonus Faber Extremas only...brightening (in the best sense of the word) this particular speaker system. Sorry
I had a similar experience with the SF Anthem line. I think system matching is the answer. In my case at the time I was looking to upgrade my preamp, so the Anthem was not a match. I have heard them (SF and Anthem) in systems where they sounded great!
Just purchased a Anthem pre 2L and don't have the same conclusions as above. This pre has a bold non tubey sound. I am using a Aragon 4004 and Krestral spkrs. I think the anthem is a lot of bang for the buck and with the Marsh(just auditioned)amp this pre really did stut it's stuff.
Cold and sterile!!! What a joke - I own the Line-3 and it's superb! The fact is: it doesn't sound like solid state OR tube. It's not supposed to - it's supposed to sound like a wire with gain and it does just that perfectly. SF nay-sayers are just die hard hard cj/arc fans who like tube warmth (ie: harmonic distortion).
I have been in high-end audio for the past 25 years and tried most high-end preamps out there in the 2k-4k bracket. If anyone finds the SF preamps thin or could, look elsewhere in your system. Most people finding thin sound had thin sounding cd players and other gear. Sonic Frontiers is serious equipment but above all very neutral, meaning it will bring out the best and worst one has from gear and cd's. The older SFL=2 preamp was more euphonic and tubey, while the current line 1-2-3 are less so but VERY accurate. I beleive that for the money nothing else touches it. I am tired of preamps that sound ok but lack modern conveniences like remote (a beautifull piece in itself), phase inversion, a mono switch, gradual fade-in, and so much more. The build quality is also unheard of at the price of the entry-level Line-1, with the exact same casing, faceplate and controls of the most expensive line-3, which is amazing. For you information, I am not a dealer but an ordinary audiophile, and there is no way a beautifull preamp such as the sonic Frontiers Line series should not be considered as a terrific purchase in audioland!