Kuzma SAFIR 9

Solypsa

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Please use this link:
https://www.analogplanet.com/conten...tylus-rake-angle-using-digital-usb-microscope

Instead of 3 degrees I could have written 93 degrees, but the article with its video should be very informative on this topic.
Thank you for the clarification. I am quite familiar with VTA expressed as 9x degrees ;)

The manufacturer can certainly indicate what the correct number is for the stylus as it is mounted. (Not changing the reality of variation on how the lathe may have been setup on cutting of the master for any given release etc...)
 

Solypsa

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I think this approach is not wrong at all. The stiffer the material of the cantilever, the more resonances and distortions shift out of the audible range. When the phono stage is working properly, it sounds clean, but it can also seem lean. If the phono has a problem with high frequencies, this feeling can be exacerbated. I would reduce the resistance of the phono input slightly.

P.S
You can also connect a cap 1nf in parallel phonoinput to limit the bandwidth of the phono. how fm acoustics does it. with sut not
Makes sense.

Btw my 'joke' referred not to the stylus ( it is diamond on the Etsuro Gold ) but rather the use of sapphire for the top mounting surface on Etsuro carts. Anyway you made a good point.
 
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Wutang-401`

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i read somewhere that a starting point for VTA can be getting the cart to be basically parallel with the record surface. this was very helpful for me last night. i think previously i was well low of where i should have been. an oddity for me was that as i increased vta i was getting more bass. this seemed to because ill defined bass energy (at lower VTA settings) became more focussed. in future i can see that the most reliable method will be to go higher until bass has peaked or until treble becomes too much.

i am also going to add measuring VTF into the mix as i have not previously and as stands to reason (and as kuzma manual tells us), when we adjust vta we potentially adjust vtf.

i'm hoping to get to a point where there is less faffing about as i am in the middle of a relatively tight range.

i will say a scale or something on the Safir would help for repeatability as someone mentioned. but, the actual means of adjusting the VTA on the Safir, is really quite good i think. i'm getting quite good at the 5 steps involved (support tonearm with fine adjustment "foot", release collar, change vta using "foot", tighten collar, raise "foot" so no contact on support for better sound.
 

phoni

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Can you explain why? How did you end up with this conclusion?



Can you elaborate this a little bit more?
@ mtemur
please watch this video:


The record is not very wavy, but enough to make the Safir vibrate uncontrollably. The cartridge is a clearaudio Da Vinci, its complience is 15 µ/mN with a weight of 6.8 grams. Franc Kuzma recommends compliences of 25 µ/mN and lower for the Safir. In the next steps I setup a Lyra Atlas and a Dynavector DRT XV-1t. Both weigh 12 grams and have comparable compliances. These cartridges did not encourage the Safir to swing. This made clear to me that the weight is the only relevant difference between these three cartridges. As a result, I mounted the Da Vinci again with a mass loading of 6 grams and voilá in this setup, the Da Vinci let the Safir track flawlessly. So, this shows that the mounting distance between the counterweight and the bearing point is crucial and hence the cartridge's weight. Will you follow?
 
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mtemur

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@ mtemur
please watch this video:


The record is not very wavy, but enough to make the Safir vibrate uncontrollably. The cartridge is a clearaudio Da Vinci, its complience is 15 µ/mN with a weight of 6.8 grams. Franc Kuzma recommends compliences of 25 µ/mN and lower for the Safir. In the next steps I setup a Lyra Atlas and a Dynavector DRT XV-1t. Both weigh 12 grams and have comparable compliances. These cartridges did not encourage the Safir to swing. This made clear to me that the weight is the only relevant difference between these three cartridges. As a result, I mounted the Da Vinci again with a mass loading of 6 grams and voilá in this setup, the Da Vinci let the Safir track flawlessly. So, this shows that the mounting distance between the counterweight and the bearing point is crucial and hence the cartridge's weight. Will you follow?
I watched the video and read your reply. It’s hard to reach conclusions from the video as you do. Most probably the issue in the video is related with compliance. Compliance changes over time depending on the condition of suspension. It’s not easy to set compliance precisely and usually real compliance of a cartridge departs from the specs even when it’s new. Suspension deteriorates over time and compliance changes even more. I recommend you to send the cartridge you’re having problems for a detailed check.

Moving counterweight close to bearing assembly as you do helps a more agile sound but there shouldn’t be any problem of tracking at either places of the counterweight. If there is a tracking problem when you move counterweight away from the bearing then;
- Most likely cartridge’s suspension is not in order.
- Tonearm and cartridge is not a good match
- Remote possibility of table and tonearm being exposed to much vibration.

IMHO draw conclusions like VTF and cartridge weight are the most important variables depending on the experiences you shared is a little bit premature. As well as the phenomenon with 12g cartridge weight you shared.

Regarding the high vertical mass of Safir it’s more sensible to choose a low compliant cartridge and measure VTF at record height due to it’s lower center of bearing assembly.
 
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ationg

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My dealer spoke to someone who has the Safir in kondo silver and the Safir in Cardas clear. Both wired straight to RCA plugs/no breaks. This person prefers the Cardas wiring feeling the Kondo can sound a bit forward (not bright as some silver is). I've adjusted my order to Cardas Clear to RCA Term Block. I like what I am hearing on my 4 Point so will get my Safir 9 wired the same way. Expect this to be about a month or so for special order delivery.
The kondo silver may well be a contributor. I didn’t know you could order Safir with other phono wires.
 

Wutang-401`

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ok so after about 50 hours the kondo cable seems to be well run in, despite the minimal output MC cart i am using. it sounds clear, open and lively and hasn't changed much if at all in last few days. it seems likely to me it is somewhat warm?

the presentation is quite forward/large for my pop records which is great. a classical record of german christmas carols was much more restrained.

very highly resolved. sort of mental really. not "cold" at all (except perhaps when absolutely new). tuning bass weight becomes important. you need to get it right (VTA i mean) as the safir generates lots of bass and the kondo cable is a bit of an exaggerator perhaps (that warmth). i have a record by "The Twerps" (Range Anxiety) which deliberately (perhaps) has a lot of fluffy bass. To temper the diffused nature of this sound I had to raise VTA. the next record i listened to (which was much cleaner re: bass) sounded better with the vta back down.

so the tonearm does seem sensitive to vta. alot of ability to dial sound; to even experience slightly different versions of same material depending on vta. i don't have a problem with this. it seems like an upshot of the high resolution and clarity. i have no trouble finding vta settings that create great sound, and during listening to which i stop thinking about vta.

bought some new records yesterday and very much enjoyed going thru them on the new system. Just shocking how transparent to the source (cartridge?) it seems, without being dull (and it is a fine line i think). broadly higher vta matches with left brain is my thinking. all i know is if it ever sounds dull i lower vta 0.5 mm and voila! suddenly there is music instead of a bloodless chimera of detail.

bass is astonishing. crazy even. i have a test record of bass sounds and transients. the safir/401 passes all tests with flying colours. vivid, dynamic, clean and if you like, very bassy.
 

Wutang-401`

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Marcus

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My dealer spoke to someone who has the Safir in kondo silver and the Safir in Cardas clear. Both wired straight to RCA plugs/no breaks. This person prefers the Cardas wiring feeling the Kondo can sound a bit forward (not bright as some silver is).
This is interesting. As is seen from my signature, I use Cardas cables exclusively in my system except in the Safir 9. In the development phase of Safir 9, I was lucky to be a part of the panel to compare Cardas Clear and Kondo wires, and we unanimously preferred Kondo. As good and natural as the Cardas was, Kondo was even better, more balanced (not forward at all), cleaner and more transparent. In my first 4Point11, I had Cardas Clear, same with the 4Point14 that came later, but this comparison made me make an exception with the Safir 9.
 

Kcin

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I use Cardas Clear Beyond interconnects everywhere for sources in my system. Prior to upgrading to the 4pt with Kondo wire direct I had a 4pt with Cardas.

The Kondo wire is not bright- I concur with @Marcus on his assessment. When I had the Safir here it did not exhibit this "forwardness" on my rig. YMMV and preferences apply of course.
 
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jfrech

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This is interesting. As is seen from my signature, I use Cardas cables exclusively in my system except in the Safir 9. In the development phase of Safir 9, I was lucky to be a part of the panel to compare Cardas Clear and Kondo wires, and we unanimously preferred Kondo. As good and natural as the Cardas was, Kondo was even better, more balanced (not forward at all), cleaner and more transparent. In my first 4Point11, I had Cardas Clear, same with the 4Point14 that came later, but this comparison made me make an exception with the Safir 9.

I use Cardas Clear Beyond interconnects everywhere for sources in my system. Prior to upgrading to the 4pt with Kondo wire direct I had a 4pt with Cardas.

The Kondo wire is not bright- I concur with @Marcus on his assessment. When I had the Safir here it did not exhibit this "forwardness" on my rig. YMMV and preferences apply of course.

I like many of the aspects of the Kondo wiring. The transparency, the directness, I did find it more forward (agree this isn't bright) and ultimately I thought to much of a good thing for me. I did add in my Transparent Magnum Opus Phono to the end of the ~1.2m Kondo wire and preferred it, even with the extra connection and another .75m of wire. I do think the Transparent Magnum Opus phono is an incredibly great phono cable, especially when it is properly calibrated to your cartridge (as mine is for my Nagra MC-4). My Safir should be here in 4-6 weeks so soon I'l know.

Love the differing points of view, it's why we're here. We all do seem to agree the Safir is beyond great !
 
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No Regrets

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Transparent Magnum Opus Phono
I'm curious, did you ever inquire if you would be able to purchase another Transparent Magnum Opus Phono cable to send to Kuzma and have them gut that cable and use it's wire inside the Saphir as an option? I would think that would be "your" holy grail :)

Best wishes,
Don
 

jfrech

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I'm curious, did you ever inquire if you would be able to purchase another Transparent Magnum Opus Phono cable to send to Kuzma and have them gut that cable and use it's wire inside the Saphir as an option? I would think that would be "your" holy grail :)

Best wishes,
Don

Oh yes I did. Transparent says their wire is too thick for inside the tonearm. I also thought about sending the arm/RCA Termination block and Transparent Magnum Opus to Transparent and have them remove the RCA'S at one end and solder to the Cardas Clear. This they can do, but if I ever change cartridges the whole thing has to go back to Transparent for tuning/calibration. I am still considering this option...
 
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No Regrets

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Oh yes I did. Transparent says their wire is too thick for inside the tonearm. I also thought about sending the arm/RCA Termination block and Transparent Magnum Opus to Transparent and have them remove the RCA'S at one end and solder to the Cardas Clear. This they can do, but if I ever change cartridges the whole thing has to go back to Transparent for tuning/calibration. I am still considering this option...
I'm excited for you to receive your new arm and pray that it is everything you want it to be :)
Looking forward to hearing how you feel it all works out for you and your system!
Best wishes to you this holiday season,
Don
 
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phoni

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IMHO draw conclusions like VTF and cartridge weight are the most important variables depending on the experiences you shared is a little bit premature. As well as the phenomenon with 12g cartridge weight you shared.

Regarding the high vertical mass of Safir it’s more sensible to choose a low compliant cartridge and measure VTF at record height due to it’s lower center of bearing assembly.
I think my strongest argument is the fact that Franc Kuzma's own cartridges weigh 17 grams. Otherwise there is no reason to choose this weight.

The Safir's gravity center is above its bearing point. If you measure VTF higher than the record height you will set VTF too high.
 

mtemur

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The Safir's gravity center is above its bearing point. If you measure VTF higher than the record height you will set VTF too high.
Yes I know that. That's why I said "center of bearing assembly". I didn't say "center of gravity" but anyway we both agree on measuring VTF at record height.

I think my strongest argument is the fact that Franc Kuzma's own cartridges weigh 17 grams. Otherwise there is no reason to choose this weight.
There is other more important reason. Cartridge weight is directly related with compliance. If all Kuzma cartridges weigh 17g then it's a high possibility for all of them using same suspension. Those Kuzma cartridges existed before Safir and should be suitable to other tonearms together with other Kuzma tonearms. Other Kuzma tonearms have very different vertical effective mass compared to Safir. Cartridge weight alone doesn't mean anything but together with compliance it becomes meaningful. It is more reasonable to say Safir is a good match for low compliance cartridges because of it's high effective mass and low compliance cartridges are usually heavy.
 

Wutang-401`

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just in case anyone is following along - i thought it best to come back here and provide an update.

so i had the vta all wrong. i was too low. so i was adjusting up and down continuously but in a range that was all too low.

i have now got the vta as high as i think it can be. great energy. great sound!

i have now been using the tonearm for 22 days. so around the 50-60 hours of use i dare say. the cable has relaxed again. it seems to be well out of the way these days. an unforced and dynamic presentation with great clarity. one notices it most around other activity. so for example a guitar line near some frenetic drum activity. both elements wholly represented. my previous TT would have given me the drum but been too "excited" to pick up the fine detail along side it.

last night i struck on "Bryan Ferry - Let's Stick Together". what i had previously considered a bit of a throw away record with some cleanish takes of some classics. boring for some except i think bryan ferry is genius and an entertainer. i put it on expecting very little and with a general feeling of dissatisfaction about the system. the running in period and the vta being too low had all added up to make me feel like things weren't going too well. i was actively looking for a new table wondering if the 401 was really up to it.

well blow me down. it was if suddenly i was hearing a system designed to make bryan ferry sound as impressive as he possibly could. suddenly the production and my system aligned and i had the best seat in the house. it was one of those moments where you wonder how many people have actually heard how good this record can sound? how hard did Mr Ferry toil to achieve this standard of production and for whom? the sound stage was huge. sounds beautifully balanced and integrated over a large landscape. well beyond "tight" the production was flawless. it was pop but with an orchestra. made for an audiophile audience.

one of those astonishing moments in the hobby that i wanted to share. a 40 year old $5 covers record that blows you away and turns your lounge room into the location of a sophisticated and rewarding modern art display for 40 odd minutes.
 
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thekong

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I am interested to know why did you get the VTA so low all this time! What I do when setting up the VTA initially is to adjust the height so the top of the cartridge is parallel to the LP surface, then adjust the VTA up or down by ear accordingly.

So what is your process of adjusting VTA ?
 
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Wutang-401`

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right. @thekong you've just provided a starting point i did not have (top of cart parallel to surface). what i did have was the idea that the arm should be horizontal, or bottom of cartridge? i think the tonearm being flat is hard to perceive with a Safir since the tonearm is not a constant thickness. this has led me astray. also i was looking at bottom of cartridge and also being a newbie i wasn't "committed" to any specific approach. i was flailing about really albeit with the help of the expert who installed the tonearm getting it right first time. i now realise i have the vta pretty much where they kicked off.

it is hard to explain how one gets things so very wrong. alot of faffing about with mats and needing to adjust tonearm height, when i didn't have the skills to do this in a measured repeatable way, plus it sounded quite good at all sorts of VTA, so it sort of fooled me?

one thing that didn't help was my erroneous perception that higher VTA for more treble and lower VTA for more bass. well as i read somewhere and i concur, this is not so much the case. often higher VTA might resolve bass and give you more apparent bass and less muddiness. so i think a better rule of thumb might be "top of cart flat, go higher in 0.5 mm increments until it's too much and then come back 0.25 mm."

last night i did not find myself adjusting for record thickness even though i seem to go back and forth between bloated 180g stuff and paper thin 70s records. so that certainly is a more liveable world for me.
 

Solypsa

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one thing that didn't help was my erroneous perception that higher VTA for more treble and lower VTA for more bass.
I feel this generalization has some value in rough terms, but when you actually get the VTA right, whichever direction it took, things snap into a better focus and become altogether better. It's an 'ah ha' moment :)
 

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