Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 MKII

1 9 9 5 1995
1 9 9 7 1997

Updated SFD-2 with, mainly, a change of digital filter (digital side) and a fair overhaul of the analogue output stages (analogue side).

The UltraAnalog D20400A dual d/a modules stayed untouched but out went the NPC SM5803 8fs digital filter, in came the PMD100 HDCD-compatible from Pacific Microsonics to allow full 20-bit replay of the 16-bit PCM flow.

The AES20 input receiver was replaced by the (surprise !) AES21 for even lower jitter values but details are not given and the related specs there remain identical...

Analogue-wise, the output stage has bigger output coupling caps with Teflon caps bypassing said output coupling caps and some Holco > Vishay resistors upgrades.
The overall layout is entirely different there but some of these changes were already present in later runs of the original SFD-2.

Digital inputs were augmented to five with the addition of optical TOS and coaxial BNC.

Visually, toggle switches were replaced by soft-push buttons, a thicker front plate (the gold one, sans visible screws, too), an equally thicker and damped 14awg steel top cover and the addition of an HDCD LED.

Some prefer the original SFD-2, some prefer the MKII version, while some, like me, say "give me one of each and I'll take at least a decade and a half to make up my mind".


Btw, the HDCD system was developed throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s and patented by Pacific Microsonics but entirely bought by Microsoft in 2000... by which time SACD was up :)

Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 MKII, image 1 Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 MKII, image 2 Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 MKII, image 3
Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 MKII specifications
Title Value
Input receiver : 1x UltraAnalog AES21 AES/EBU
Digital filter / decoder : 1x Pacific Microsonics PMD100 HDCD
D/A converters : 2x dual UltraAnalog D20400A
Low pass analog filter : proprietary passive configuration
Frequency response : 50Hz...20Khz (+ 0,5dB)
20Khz (- 0,25dB)
Intrinsic jitter : < 40 picoseconds
Jitter rejection : 6dB/octave above 1Khz
S/N ratio : > 120dB (IHF-A)
Crosstalk : > 110dB (1Khz)
> 95dB (10Khz)
THD : < 0,05%
Output voltage : 3.5V (HDCD single-ended)
7.0V (HDCD balanced)
1.75V (normal single-ended)
3,5V (normal balanced)
Output stage : fully balanced for AC and DC parameters
high speed tube buffer
Digital inputs : 1x coaxial (RCA)
1x coaxial (BNC)
1x optical (AT&T ST glass)
1x optical (TOS plastic)
1x AES/EBU (XLR)
Digital output : 1x coaxial (RCA)
Tubes : 2x Sovtek 6922 (E88CC)
PC : 75VA max.
Dimensions : 48 x 10 x 33cm
Weight : 13kg.
List price : 5295$ (1995)
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