Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 Preamplifiers

4.75/5 (16 Reviews) MSRP : $1495.00


Product Description

  • Hybrid tube pre-amplifier
  • Line stage only
  • Single 12AT7A tube
  • 4 inputs


Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eddie a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 15, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I purchased the unit in 2004 through audiogon and it has been reliably performing in my dedicated 2-channel ever since. It is very neutral and not imposing at all. It doesn't have the deep warmth you might find in other gear like AR, which isn't always a bad thing. I personally prefer the sound of the SFL, a signature sound I'm sure many of you have read about in other reviews. It's pleasingly neutral and definitely not dry or lacking in any way. It presents music in an honest way and can be quite revealing.

The build quality is extremely top notch. The construction is solid and is nothing less than being built like a tank. Even the tactile elements like the volume knob and switches feel incredibly well built. No short cuts were taken.

Recently I noticed a hum from the right speaker and realized it was the SFL-1. I sent it in to Parts Connexion and the day that they received the packaged, the called me up and let me know that it was the tube. They suggested to replace it with a Mullard and I saw this as an opportunity to upgrade a few caps and resistors. I gave them the go ahead and it was actually complete and shipped out that very day. I received it two days later. From sending my SFL-1 out, servicing/mods, to receiving it took a total of 4 days. Incredible! Chris Johnson and Mike (the tech that worked on it) provided amazing service and communication. Definitely surpassing all expectations.

At the price, you can't expect absolute reference, but it will surpass everything worth twice as much. Unless I upgrade to a higher model Sonic Frontiers Pre, this unit is not leaving my system. Absolutely fantastic!

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by keeratikul a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 25, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I have just have this until installed in my system recently. With the price offer and company reputation, I bought this without the second thought.

At first listen, I was very disappointed with the sound stage, and also its 'voice'. I almost returned or sell them again to the people on website. But I heard the sound from no where that I should tried to turn them up a bit with the suitable cable. All my system are connected with Furutech cable. Furutech is good cable with the gentle sound. This cable suited perfectly with my previous preamp; Forte F 40. I replaced the cable with Aerotec, the Japanese 6N cable which produce lively sound.

Woola..this combination give me the pleasant 'voice' and sound stage. I am sure this preamp will be with me for quite a number of years.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $650.00

Purchased At:   secondhand website



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by wessongroup a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 20, 2006

Bottom Line:   
This unit has given me a number of years of solid use... bought off eBay with one channel giving hiss... got it from Colorado UPS and by the time they got the unit to me it worked just fine...

I called SF and asked what they would charge to go through the unit... nothing but the shipping.

They had it a month, added in a Mullard, and sent in back stating the unit tested "emperically sound"

Now when is the last time you saw this on a invoice and/or recipt.....

Sonund is what I like, a little sharper edge to sounds..

Running through, Ah Tejob CD, source or Mac G5 through a Sony TA9000ES to bi amp 3.3 maggies (Odyssey HT3 plus mono's for the low end) rears are through the maggie's new wall mounts driven by an old Van Alenstine Dynaco 400.. with a Velodyne CT120 sub

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   eBay



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pangl a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 14, 2005

Bottom Line:   
No need to add more to the previous reviews by other fellow members.

I'd just like to add that it is very very very difficult to get a decent tube-based preamp below $1000 (or even $1500 for that matter). If you want champagne but has an beer budget, get this.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $475.00

Purchased At:   eBay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by HIFIVE a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 28, 2004

Bottom Line:   
The SFL-1 is an excellent preamp. Two of the things that strikes me about the the SFL-1 is its ability to throw a huge soundstage and the dynamics it produces which are in my opinion as good as solid state preamps. Beyond the dynamics is the level of transparency & depth no doubt contributed by its one tube. I have had tube ARC preamps that might slightly edge the SFL-1 in transparecy but the SFL-1 sure beat them in dynamics. This preamp is both musically satisfying & a joy to listen to. For its used price point I easily give it 5 stars.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1995




Reviews 1 - 5 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating



Axiom Audio:



Sennheiser: