Kuzma SAFIR 9

bazelio

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Sep 26, 2016
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The Safir is all about rigidity. The 4p has the VTA tower cantilevered to the side and this is avoided on the Safir. The 4p arm base design simply can not be as rigid as the Safir's.

There was a time when I believed I'd use the VTA tower to compensate for varying record thickness. I have played with it quite a bit ... Because it's easy to do so. I've settled on leaving it alone based on my own listening experimentation. Others may not. Horses for courses.

I'm interested in the Safir as a future upgrade. But I'm also very curious to hear more from @jfrech in terms of the loss of weight he described with the Safir. This is the first negative feedback I've heard on the Safir and it's good to have a counter balance in the impressions.
 
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SOS

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Jun 20, 2015
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@No Regrets In any case, I would love to hear from more owners on their thoughts regarding if they adjust VTA accordingly to the record thickness or simply leave it alone.
I've owned the 4Point arm with VTA tower and it's really a wonderful and easy to use mechanism however with that being said I rarely adjusted VTA, it was set and forget. Yes, when changing cartridges it was a joy to adjust and listen on the fly as those adjustments were made. Some cartridges VTA makes huge differences i.e., MSL and others while making a difference just wasn't as crucial. Now with my Safir it is a bit time consuming to adjust mainly b/c the arm must be back in its holding position before you can set VTA. Personally, I like adjusting VTA with the cartridge actually sitting on an album, if done carefully. So it's a back and forth method but again once set that's it. (Unless changing the cartridge again) Because the Safir sounds so amazing this is a small price to pay IMO. Hope this helps.
 

No Regrets

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Jan 24, 2012
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The Safir is all about rigidity. The 4p has the VTA tower cantilevered to the side and this is avoided on the Safir. The 4p arm base design simply can not be as rigid as the Safir's.

There was a time when I believed I'd use the VTA tower to compensate for varying record thickness. I have played with it quite a bit ... Because it's easy to do so. I've settled on leaving it alone based on my own listening experimentation. Others may not. Horses for courses.

I'm interested in the Safir as a future upgrade. But I'm also very curious to hear more from @jfrech in terms of the loss of weight he described with the Safir. This is the first negative feedback I've heard on the Safir and it's good to have a counter balance in the impressions.
Thank you for the added information... that does all make sense.
I too am curious if jfrech has solved his sense of "weight" issues yet. I agree, it's good to hear about the + and the - of any product. I don't think it's possible to make a perfect anything... otherwise we wouldn't ever have a need to upgrade ;)

Thanks again bazelio!
 

No Regrets

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Jan 24, 2012
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I've owned the 4Point arm with VTA tower and it's really a wonderful and easy to use mechanism however with that being said I rarely adjusted VTA, it was set and forget. Yes, when changing cartridges it was a joy to adjust and listen on the fly as those adjustments were made. Some cartridges VTA makes huge differences i.e., MSL and others while making a difference just wasn't as crucial. Now with my Safir it is a bit time consuming to adjust mainly b/c the arm must be back in its holding position before you can set VTA. Personally, I like adjusting VTA with the cartridge actually sitting on an album, if done carefully. So it's a back and forth method but again once set that's it. (Unless changing the cartridge again) Because the Safir sounds so amazing this is a small price to pay IMO. Hope this helps.
Yes, this is very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us all :)
Best wishes,
Don
 

thekong

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May 10, 2012
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I agree with bazelio, the VTA tower arrangement has to be slightly less rigid than without, but whether that is audible is another question.

Other than the rigidity issue, I think there is another practical reason, probably the main reason, why the Safir doesn’t have the VTA tower. That is the mounting distance! As a 9” arm, the Safir simply cannot be implemented with the current 4P style VTA tower, without risking the tower hitting the platter. That’s also why the 4P9” doesn’t have the VTA tower. I am sure it is possible if Kuzma redesign the VTA tower, but they probably don’t want to push the Safir’s already high price even higher.

Regarding setting VTA, I am also the set and forget kind of guy, not bothering with adjusting VTA for different records. I use the 180g LP as reference.

Best
 
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Birdwatcher

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May 29, 2018
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…you could have the VTA tower on the right (outer) side of the bearing, it could solve the problem. Maybe this will be introduced in 2025 with the new Super-SAFIR ;-) or with the 14“ SAFIR in 2027…..

But to your question, Don, I had the Airline and 11“ 4Point both for long years, but used the VTA adjustment just for the initial setup. It was nice, but after that I just had the pleasure to listen to music, but without adjusting VTA regularly. So I think, I could live very well with the solution of the design of the SAFIR.
 
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Bonesy Jonesy

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Jan 3, 2017
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Hi 'No Regrets',
My 2 pennies worth on my current experineces and knowledge to date regarding setting the VTA on a Kuzma 4Point 11" tonearm;

Like other WBF members here, once I had initially set and locked into position the VTA on my 4Point 11" (connected to my Kuzma XL DC TT) using a 180gram LP as the middle ground reference I have not altered it since.

However, the re-setting up (last few months) of my tonearm and cartridge parameters including of course the VTA (and SRA) has been quite rigorous once I had purchased all of the latest versions of the Wally Tools (Wally Reference, Wally Skater, Wally Scope & Wally Universal Tractor) and the AnalogMagik V1 software and discs a few months back.

The use of the Wally Tools in setting up my tonearm and cartridge (all parameters for both) and the AnalogMagik V1 in setting up my TT (checking for speed and wow & flutter etc.) and cartridge (all parameters) has made a huge impact and big improvement to the sound I am now hearing from my LP collection.

Once I had set the tonearm to be perfectly horizontal to the platter using the Wally Reference, I set both the VTA on my 4Point 11" tonearm and my XL DC TT tonearm tower to zero with this being the set reference to start from.

Then with using the Wally Scope I determined the cartridges static and dynamic (platter moving) SRA and VTA. From these values, I then adjusted the VTA on my XL DC tonearm tower using the installed Kuzma VTA digital gauge (i.e. I didn't have to use the VTA adjustment on the 4Point 11" with having a fine adjustable height tonearm tower with a very precise digital VTA gauge). After the tonearm tower height adjustment I then rechecked my cartridges static SRA and VTA (first) and then the dynamic SRA and VTA using my Wally Scope to make sure it was within the audio industry recommended values.

Regarding the changing of the VTA for different records, I read online that Wally Tools has analysed and assessed differences in cartridge dynamic VTA and dynamic SRA with different record thicknesses being played for a multitude of different cartridges, and found that making very minor adjustments to changing the VTA for different record thicknesses is not clearly audible and therefore suggest not making minor adjustments to the VTA for different record thicknesses on the risk of changing / upsetting other set cartridge parameters.

Hope the above info helps you.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 3, 2014
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Hi 'No Regrets',
My 2 pennies worth on my current experineces and knowledge to date regarding setting the VTA on a Kuzma 4Point 11" tonearm;

Like other WBF members here, once I had initially set and locked into position the VTA on my 4Point 11" (connected to my Kuzma XL DC TT) using a 180gram LP as the middle ground reference I have not altered it since.

However, the re-setting up (last few months) of my tonearm and cartridge parameters including of course the VTA (and SRA) has been quite rigorous once I had purchased all of the latest versions of the Wally Tools (Wally Reference, Wally Skater, Wally Scope & Wally Universal Tractor) and the AnalogMagik V1 software and discs a few months back.

The use of the Wally Tools in setting up my tonearm and cartridge (all parameters for both) and the AnalogMagik V1 in setting up my TT (checking for speed and wow & flutter etc.) and cartridge (all parameters) has made a huge impact and big improvement to the sound I am now hearing from my LP collection.

Once I had set the tonearm to be perfectly horizontal to the platter using the Wally Reference, I set both the VTA on my 4Point 11" tonearm and my XL DC TT tonearm tower to zero with this being the set reference to start from.

Then with using the Wally Scope I determined the cartridges static and dynamic (platter moving) SRA and VTA. From these values, I then adjusted the VTA on my XL DC tonearm tower using the installed Kuzma VTA digital gauge (i.e. I didn't have to use the VTA adjustment on the 4Point 11" with having a fine adjustable height tonearm tower with a very precise digital VTA gauge). After the tonearm tower height adjustment I then rechecked my cartridges static SRA and VTA (first) and then the dynamic SRA and VTA using my Wally Scope to make sure it was within the audio industry recommended values.

Regarding the changing of the VTA for different records, I read online that Wally Tools has analysed and assessed differences in cartridge dynamic VTA and dynamic SRA with different record thicknesses being played for a multitude of different cartridges, and found that making very minor adjustments to changing the VTA for different record thicknesses is not clearly audible and therefore suggest not making minor adjustments to the VTA for different record thicknesses on the risk of changing / upsetting other set cartridge parameters.

Hope the above info helps you.

Hi BJ,

I thought you wrote an interesting post here. To avoid swerving the Safir thread and to consolidate information on the topic of Wally Tools, I created a thread 'Using Wally Tools' in the Calibration Devices vinyl subforum.

I'd like to suggest folks with interest in Wally Tools share their experiences in that thread. To kick things off I copied your post to that new thread.
 

Bonesy Jonesy

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Jan 3, 2017
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508
230
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Hi BJ,

I thought you wrote an interesting post here. To avoid swerving the Safir thread and to consolidate information on the topic of Wally Tools, I created a thread 'Using Wally Tools' in the Calibration Devices vinyl subforum.

I'd like to suggest folks with interest in Wally Tools share their experiences in that thread. To kick things off I copied your post to that new thread.
Hi 'tima', Thank you for the kind words. Very much appreciated.

Yes, that would be great thank you very much.

I will add my other current experiences and knowledge and learning curves with using the Wally Tools to set up my TT set-up in the coming weeks to the dedicated thread 'Using Wally Tools' you have kindly set up and started today.
 
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jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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Hello jfrech.

I remember from years ago with the airline I had a similar experience with wishing for more “ meat on the bones “.
As I owned a Hagerman frybaby I went ahead and made up cables with RCA on one end and croc clips on the other, disconnecting the tonearm cable clips from the cartridge, I connected all four croc clips appropriately to the tonearm cable clips and the RCA connectors to the frybaby, at the phono stage end connected to the MM input, switched to MM ON frybaby and left for a day or two With all powered up.
This did the trick ! and more!!!
you could also put line level output through of course but you would need to connect to your preamp instead of phono stage.
Just a thought. Andmy 2 cents.
Hi, this is possible, as I have heard cable break in many times and particularly hard on silver cables with a low voltage such as a cartridge. The arm is a demo, been in use several places, but I don't know if it has 50 or 500 hours on it...Thanks
 

jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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How about cartridge loading? Try bringing the load value down a bit as well as the vta. Let us know the results.
Hi, I did bring the VTA down just a touch 1/8 turn counter clock wise. It helping, but not solving. I had the loading very dialed in before, so I am unsure why I should change it...if so, then I am back to an issue with preferring a different cable. Which is easy, this is a loaner arm and I just order mine with a RCA block termination so I continue to use my Transparent Magnum Opus phono cables, which are precisely set for this cartridge.

The next question is do I get the Cardas Clear (which I have on my 4p), The Crystal cable or the Kondo before the RCA block...I need to listen to @tima samples files he posted above...
 
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jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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I agree with bazelio, the VTA tower arrangement has to be slightly less rigid than without, but whether that is audible is another question.

Other than the rigidity issue, I think there is another practical reason, probably the main reason, why the Safir doesn’t have the VTA tower. That is the mounting distance! As a 9” arm, the Safir simply cannot be implemented with the current 4P style VTA tower, without risking the tower hitting the platter. That’s also why the 4P9” doesn’t have the VTA tower. I am sure it is possible if Kuzma redesign the VTA tower, but they probably don’t want to push the Safir’s already high price even higher.

Regarding setting VTA, I am also the set and forget kind of guy, not bothering with adjusting VTA for different records. I use the 180g LP as reference.

Best

I agree with your points above. But I do think Kuzma could have make VTA adjusting a little easier on the Safir. Instead of set screw on the collar, put a lever like the 4p. Then maybe still use an Allen key into the top of the arm, or a little knob with some markings. The markings in the 4p are excellent. There are no VTA markings on the Safir, which I think is a key omission.
 
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No Regrets

Well-Known Member
Jan 24, 2012
439
489
970
Midwest USA
Hi 'No Regrets',
My 2 pennies worth on my current experineces and knowledge to date regarding setting the VTA on a Kuzma 4Point 11" tonearm;

Like other WBF members here, once I had initially set and locked into position the VTA on my 4Point 11" (connected to my Kuzma XL DC TT) using a 180gram LP as the middle ground reference I have not altered it since.

However, the re-setting up (last few months) of my tonearm and cartridge parameters including of course the VTA (and SRA) has been quite rigorous once I had purchased all of the latest versions of the Wally Tools (Wally Reference, Wally Skater, Wally Scope & Wally Universal Tractor) and the AnalogMagik V1 software and discs a few months back.

The use of the Wally Tools in setting up my tonearm and cartridge (all parameters for both) and the AnalogMagik V1 in setting up my TT (checking for speed and wow & flutter etc.) and cartridge (all parameters) has made a huge impact and big improvement to the sound I am now hearing from my LP collection.

Once I had set the tonearm to be perfectly horizontal to the platter using the Wally Reference, I set both the VTA on my 4Point 11" tonearm and my XL DC TT tonearm tower to zero with this being the set reference to start from.

Then with using the Wally Scope I determined the cartridges static and dynamic (platter moving) SRA and VTA. From these values, I then adjusted the VTA on my XL DC tonearm tower using the installed Kuzma VTA digital gauge (i.e. I didn't have to use the VTA adjustment on the 4Point 11" with having a fine adjustable height tonearm tower with a very precise digital VTA gauge). After the tonearm tower height adjustment I then rechecked my cartridges static SRA and VTA (first) and then the dynamic SRA and VTA using my Wally Scope to make sure it was within the audio industry recommended values.

Regarding the changing of the VTA for different records, I read online that Wally Tools has analysed and assessed differences in cartridge dynamic VTA and dynamic SRA with different record thicknesses being played for a multitude of different cartridges, and found that making very minor adjustments to changing the VTA for different record thicknesses is not clearly audible and therefore suggest not making minor adjustments to the VTA for different record thicknesses on the risk of changing / upsetting other set cartridge parameters.

Hope the above info helps you.
Thank you, Bonesy for such a wonderful and detailed post. I did indeed, find it to be very helpful!
Best wishes,
Don
 

Bonesy Jonesy

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Jan 3, 2017
682
508
230
UK & Spain
The Safir 9 mounted on the Kuzma XL DC TT is a match made in heaven regarding eliminating any VTA adjustment issues with the Safir 9 as you can have the XL DC tonearm tower fitted with a very accurate Digital Gauge to adjust and set very accurately the tonearm tower height to adjust and set the cartridge's VTA (as long as you know how much height adjustment you require to vary the VTA to give you your required VTA setting (ideally the dynamic not static VTA)).
 

mtemur

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Mar 26, 2019
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…you could have the VTA tower on the right (outer) side of the bearing, it could solve the problem.
No, you can’t. Armtube will hit the platter or there would be a need for longer, non-standard arm boards.

The next question is do I get the Cardas Clear (which I have on my 4p), The Crystal cable or the Kondo before the RCA block...I need to listen to @tima samples files he posted above...
I don’t recommend that cause Kondo is the best inner cable, especially for bass. Lack of bass can be related to increased compliance due to deterioration of suspension.
 
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mtemur

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If I recall correctly, when Mr Kuzma introduced the VTA tower on the 4 point, 4 point 14, and the reference 313 VTA arms that many found that to be an excellent addition, being able to adjust the VTA while playing or not with very easily and repeatably adjustments. All this, of course, without any loss of rigidity and with 0.01mm accuracy of adjustment and zero-play.
IMHO 4P VTA tower is never as rigid as Safir’s direct mounting to arm board. On the other hand VTA tower is never precise either. When you change VTA you change azimuth too. This is also true for Safir even though it doesn’t have a VTA tower. Actually those are true for all tonearms having VTA tower or not.
- VTA should be carefully set during setup process and never be touched.
- VTA tower is simply reducing rigidity without solving anything.
 
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jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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I don’t recommend that cause Kondo is the best inner cable, especially for bass. Lack of bass can be related increased compliance due to deterioration of suspension.
Hi, lost me on the suspension part? My TT doesn't have a suspension...
 

mtemur

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Mar 26, 2019
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Hi, lost me on the suspension part? My TT doesn't have a suspension...
Cartridge’s suspension.

For this purpose you can use AM test record or any test record with a highly modulated test track from 7.5-20Hz. If your cartridge mistracks or can not finish the track it’s a great possibility of an indication of deteriorated suspension. There can be many other reasons.
 
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jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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Cartridge’s suspension.

For this purpose you can use AM test record or any test record with a highly modulated test track from 7.5-20Hz. If your cartridge mistracks or can not finish the track it’s a great possibility of an indication of deteriorated suspension. There can be many other reasons.
Ah I see your point. This cartridge only has about 3-400 hours, so pretty sure it's ok. But won't hurt to try your test...Thanks
 

phoni

Member
Dec 26, 2022
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Different tracking forces could cause the sound difference between the two tonearms too.
 

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