Sonic Frontiers Power 3 Amplifiers

4.33/5 (9 Reviews) MSRP : $9995.00


Product Description

220 Watt Tube Power Amplifier


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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ross Evans a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I have been bite by this "stupid" and "devilish" audiophile buy for the last 30 years. Most of the so-called audiophile brand name such as Audio Research, Conrad-Johnson, BAT, Pass, Krell, etc. have been listened fore disregarded. Finally settle down to an AudioNote 9 watts Singel Ended Triode yet fall in love with panel speakers. Magnepan especially. While, Martin Logan, Soundlab and Sanders are in the same group. Once you have listened to the panels and you will never go back to the boxes.
This Sonic Frontiers Power 3 is a SSE+ version with AudioNote capacitors installed as well as all other possible passive parts upgraded.
Comparing to some very expensive equipments, for example, Wilson, McIntosh, B&W 801 which with a price tag of over $200,000 and to my ears, there is absolutely no comparison.
For reference purpose, I attain concert regularly and play violin too. My ear can certainly distinguish a "real" violin and piano sound like.
My system is currently as: Linn LP12, Sony CD, Meridian DAC, Canary CA-901 preamplifier, SF Power 3 and Magnepan 3.6

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian Trhlin a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 14, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I originally had Infinity Betas which I always ran with quality solid state amps. Everyone kept telling me as good as they sounded I really had never heard them if I hadn't heard them with tubes. My dealer talked me into auditioning the Pwr 3s. I used them on the panels, driving the woofer cols with SS monos. What a startling difference. The Betas went from competently impressive to Ohmygod stunning! Everyone commented on how incredible they sounded. I bought the Pwr 3s and before I had a chance to listen more that a few weeks, I got a job and they went into storage. When I finally got resettled in NM more than a yr later, I had sold the Betas and purchased Revel Salon Ultimas. Once again the Pwr 3's made them come alive. I had heard the Salons on the ML 33's, so I was expecting a step down, but it didn't happen. The presentation was more forward but the delicate detail, deep soundstage, inky blackness and goosebump inducing vocals were all still present. I was estatic. Even when driving the Salons full-range, the base was solid and tight. Overall I've been truly impressed with the ability of these amps. I'm a belivever of the viture of high-power, neutrally-voiced tube amps. A solid 5 in sound and satisfaction.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $8000.00

Purchased At:   Audio Etc., Fairborn



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steven a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 7, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Simple and sweet, this is why you buy big tube amps. I have this amp playing with my SF Line 3 and the soundstage is as big as any I have heard.

How anyone could rate this amp 1 star is ridiculous. Frustration is one thing, but be fair. Huge monoblock tube amps just don't sound better than this.

I think the best part of listening to these amp is that they do not add anything to the sound, they just provide sweet tube amplification of the signal it receives. And isn't that what amplification should do?

If you have the money, these are great. I don't know about and hum or hiss that other's talk about...mine are just quiet. you don't hear them or anything at all....just music. I have found audio nirvana in the SF Power 3 monoblocks.

Good luck in your search.....

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $4100.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Joseph Seminetta a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 10, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Let me start out by saying a am a newly converted Tube Amp fan.........atic :-) I love the warm sounds of Tubes. Sure I miss some of the bass but the smooth sound more than makes up for it.

I first listened to the Sonic Frontiers Power 1 (55W per channel). I loved the sound. It had some coloration but I liked it (I know, this is not the idea of high end audio). I needed a bit more power than the Power 1s and found a great deal on the Power 3s.

The Power 3s do not sound like the Power 1s. They have no coloration at all. They reproduce music so realistically that I have had to relearn how music should really sound.
Listen to a live orchestra. You do not hear booming bass. There is no doubt you are in a large hall. You can hear the seperate and distinct instruments and their placements without trying. The Power 3 does this very well (even for my untrained ears). They make almost no noise or hum at all. After some time with these amps, SS amps make my ears hurt. They are wonderful instruments that are very sturdy (140 lbs per monoblock - the UPS guy was not happy).

Now my complaints. They are not as warm at low volumes as I would have hoped. I think this is because they dialed all of the color out of the sound. They are so accurate you might not always like what you hear. When you really open these up, you can really hear who has a good voice and who does not (i.e. Kathleen Battle does...Jewel does not...sorry). The amps easily get out of bias. Sometimes lights go on or off when they should not. At 220W per monoblock, they are not as loud as you might imagine. I believe part of this is because they are so distortion free (and your ears often mistake distortion for loudness).

All in all, I am very happy with the amps and would recommend them. When it comes time to replace tubes I may experiment with different setups to offer more warmth and bass.

jts

Other equiptment used: Proceed CDP CD player (also used as a digital preamp),Thiel CS 2.3s loudspeakers, D.H. Labs Silver Sonic Q-10 4 foot speaker cables, 1 meter RCA interconnects.

I am going to try using speaker spikes and balanced inputs at some time and will let you know if this makes a difference.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   used off of audiogon.com



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by R Tan a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 15, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I use the Power 3 to drive THiel 3.6, and the match is great. THis amp replaced the BAT VK60 I use to have because the bass was a little 'muddy' as many who us the THiel 3.6 will know. No problem with the Power 3. My pre-amp is the ARC Ref 1, which drives the Power 3 really well. Recently added the Sony 777 SCD player, and I am really enjoying my music.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998




Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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