Sonic Frontiers SFT-1

1 9 9 3 1993
1 9 9 6 1996

Now a brand absorbed into Anthem AV, Sonic Frontiers started as a high-end parts distributor in 1987 : Wima, Vishay, WBT, Gold Aero, Cardas, ALPS et al.
The transition from parts supplier to manufacturer happened in the 1987, first as kits (SFM-75) then as factory built - with much success ahead.

The SFT-1 was SF's first CD player, built to exacting standards for stable readout and very low jitter replay : 16.9344MHz clock placed right next to the Philips CDM-12.4 drive and over-beefy and regulated power-supplies with two potted toroidal transformers.
The top cover is damped with a sorbothane sheet ; three silicone rings soften vibrations of the mechanism.

Outputs comprise S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) in s-e coaxial and BNC, balanced AES/EBU and Hewlett Packard glass optical ST.
UltraAnalog chips work on the servos alongwith an Intel 8082. Laser control is done by two Philips TDA-7073 and a Philips SAA-7345.
As measured by UnltraAnalog's jitter analyzer, the internal jitter of the SFT-1 is of only 2 picoseconds between 100Hz and 40Khz, increasing to 10 picoseconds once at the digital outputs.

The only problem (today) is the center of the SFT-1 : the CDM-12.4 mechanism. If greatly integrated and very cheap to produce, this drive proved however far less reliable than the "old" CDM-0, -1 and -4... and was recently even difficult to find.

The SFT-1 was later-on also available in anodized black panel (front) and natural silver (mainframe).


I for one will nevertheless always be amazed at such decisions : a 50$ plasticky drive as center of a 2000$ component... And while the warranty was of five years for the parts and labor on the unit, said warranty was shrunk to a mere ONE year for the Philips drive itself !
Case in point.


A thread on audiogon and a stereophile review of the later but bigger Sonic Frontiers CD replay machines (SFCD-1 and SFD-2mkII) which were based on the SFT-1 (for the drive part).

Sonic Frontiers SFT-1, image 1 Sonic Frontiers SFT-1, image 2 Sonic Frontiers SFT-1, image 3
Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 specifications
Title Value
Outputs : AES/EBU
(110 Ohm ±5% ; 3V p-p @ 110 Ohm load)
S/PDIF coaxial
(75 Ohm ±5% ; 0,5V p-p @ 75 Ohm load)
S/PDIF BNC
(75 Ohm ±5% ; 0,5V p-p @ 75 Ohm load)
Glass ST optical
(60µw > 62µm fibre ; HP HFBR-1414)
Jitter : < 2ps
(RMS, 40Khz at the clock)
10ps typical
(RMS, at the outputs)
Dimensions : 43 x 9 x 28cm ;
Weight : 7,7kg
Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 : 0 topic
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page online since : april 2009
page updated : september 2010
page type : LGT / KNB
page weight : 172.52 Kb / 0 b

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