Kuzma SAFIR 9

SOS

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Jun 20, 2015
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But the biggest ? Is how does it sound compared to the 4POINT? I would guess the only thing to break-in is the tonearm cable.
Looking forward to your thoughts.
Enjoy
 

Kcin

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Congratulations!


I will have one here to trial with a CAR60 in August.

We can compare notes. I plan to have the 4point/Kondo along side it to gain comparisons.

My dealer has the first one to land NA set up now on a Stabi XL DC

Let us know your impressions.
 

Ultrafast69

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Assembly and set up. Only 3 parts. No damping pads, no damping fluids, no extra weights, non detachable headshell and no VTA tower. Stripped to essentials but don’t worry. It has all the usual and necessary set up possibilities. Can’t comment on the VTA system because I use one on the tonearm tower, but azimuth is more precise than on 4Point and consequently easier to
Hi there, thanks for sharing your setup experience. (I too have the Safir sitting here awaiting a new arm board that arrives today for the Helix 2 but may not be able to get this on until this time next week)
 

Marcus

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How is VTA adjusted, assuming you weren't using the tower?
This is from Safir 9 manual and should help. Unfortunately, as I said, can’t share any first hand experience with this adjustment because I didn’t try it.

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Ultrafast69

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Kuzma Safir - I installed the new Kuzma Safir on a Dohmann Helix 2.

Many thanks to Mark Dohmanm for creating a new armboard to fit the 9” Kuzma Safir.

And a shout out to Franc Kuzma for coming up with the design of this arm.

While setup IMO is a variable in of itself from one change to the next, it is still easy to tell what this arm is contributing in conjunction to the cartridge. Upon dropping the needle it was evident there was more control, definition and overall authority of playback. While I am biased to the Kuzma 4Point series of arms after much experience I was hesitant to go back to a 9”. That hesitation was self inflicted nonsense, the Safir is easily now the new leader of the Kuzma pack.

What makes this arm special is the use of lab grown Sapphire which tackles resonance that I did not know was there to this degree. This in combination with Dohmann incorporating Minus K suspension really gives new meaning to low noise playback.

The Kuzma Safir replaced the Reed 5A, a completely different design. Musically the Reed also is a very good arm, it is accurate, however accuracy that is light and airy if that makes sense. The Kuzma 4Point and now the Kuzma Safir have always been accurate, however, they have more weight and body, which I lean towards, it's all preference.

Prior to the Safir, I've been using Julie London Sings Latin in a Satin Mood special spinning as 45 rpm as a reference to hear how the CH Precision P1 with the X1 power supply tackles the phono stage and have been quite impressed - now after adding the Kuzma Safir to the Dohmann Helix 2, it really highlights the Ortofon Verismo cartridge even further than I thought possible.

The arms design reminds me of the newer Navy destroyers and frigates with their angled lines to help them appear ghostly on radar against foreign warships. Its almost like the Safir possess that same type of construction where there is no distraction, working together with the cartridge, remaining invisible allowing everything to get out of the way, it's spooky and we are not anywhere near Halloween.

Now back to some extended listening. 593AD7FC-9F16-47ED-BA2C-736A74193181.jpeg 973D809F-0B79-441E-9807-FC7F19F24A52.jpeg 15A8E632-8FEA-4CF9-8A5C-6CDF866009DF.jpeg 8066D6AD-0BD4-4A46-9C0C-9F0C762F5CBA.jpeg
 

Tango

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The Kuzma Safir replaced the Reed 5A, a completely different design. Musically the Reed also is a very good arm, it is accurate, however accuracy that is light and airy if that makes sense. The Kuzma 4Point and now the Kuzma Safir have always been accurate, however, they have more weight and body, which I lean towards, it's all preference.
Interesting comment. I find LT arm has that light and airy signature as well.
 

Marcus

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Oct 5, 2012
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I was a bit afraid and was delaying for a short time buying this tonearm even though I heard a prototype in Franc’s system many times. After all it’s very expensive, and I wasn’t 100% sure if it would work as good in my system as it did in his. My concerns proved to be unfounded the moment the needle dropped on the first LP.

There was no radical or fundamental change from the 4Point14, just a smooth but very obvious transition from its qualities a lot of us appreciate so much, to a higher level. That means, you’ll get everything you love so much with the 4 Point14 and so much more. Resolution for starters is phenomenal, but the exciting thing is it not pushed to you but so very obvious that you can not stop admiring how much information this old format caries. This “nature” of resolution reminds me of R2R. The presentation has stability and again, a tape like fluidity which, I would speculate, is due to reduction of distortions (improved bearings, increased pressure on them, much lower arm tube resonances, lower center of gravity, super compact construction…). I think all of this is extremely important and is a reason for a general lift in fidelity. This also manifests itself as a reduction of a very fine granular composition and other parasitic byproducts of reproduction (you don’t know they’re there until you eliminate them), that separates it from the original. Safir 9 portraits dynamic contrasts with the same authority as 4Point14 but it seems at the same time even faster, more agile, with even more body and weight when needed. If I want I can now listen to music at higher volumes and don’t get more anomalies, just more realism.

The whole upper side of the spectrum is similar in nature to resolution. It’s always there, but not grabbing attention all the time. The best analogy I can give is like you would be comparing Avalon Eidolon with ceramic tweeters and Eidolon Diamond with diamond tweeters. With the Diamond you simply hear less of high frequencies as such and more clearly what produces them. As in a live concert, you are never occupied with questions like, do instruments have more or less extension, are they illuminated and defined enough, is there enough air or similar. It’s all simply there, part of the performance and not a separate entity to analyze. But if you insist on analyzing, Safir 9 will certainly not stop you. I did this and realized that some “difficult records” (like Vivaldi Four Seasons with Neville Marriner on Argo ZRG 654), can and do sound so much better than I previously thought. This LP is one of my “torture pieces”. It can sound quite sharp, thin, sometimes even annoying if everything is not dialed in. It didn’t become a “sonic masterpiece” overnight because of Safir 9 but now, it has a proper balance, weight, finesse and richness of strings to be totally enjoyable. BTW, I use this record also because I like the performance though in this regard I still prefer Trevor Pinnock’s interpretation (with phenomenal Simon Standage) on Archiv (2534 003 - digitalo_O). You can get both LP’s for a few bucks on Discogs or eBay.

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This short report is a result of only a few listening sessions, so I’m quite sure I will be commenting more in the future. VTA (and other parameters) need to be optimized and more records need to be played, but that will have to wait until I get back from vacations.
 
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Marcus

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First “official” review of Safir 9 in Hi-Fi+ is out.

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tima

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some “difficult records” (like Vivaldi Four Seasons with Neville Marriner on Argo ZRG 654), can and do sound so much better than I previously thought. This LP is one of my “torture pieces”. It can sound quite sharp, thin, sometimes even annoying if everything is not dialed in. It didn’t become a “sonic masterpiece” overnight because of Safir 9 but now, it has a proper balance, weight, finesse and richness of strings to be totally enjoyable.

The opening of Winter is fantastical -- what an amazing imagination from Vivaldi. Marriner's use of an organ in that movement is brilliant!

Thanks Marcus for keeping on top of the Safir.
 
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Loheswaran

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Dec 20, 2014
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Joking aside - I am intrigued as to:
1. Why no simple quick VTA adjustment - this is very Regaesque - is rigidity of greater value?
2. What about cartridge compliance and matching given the heavy weight - are buyers limited to Kuzma cartridges
 

bazelio

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Sep 27, 2016
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Joking aside - I am intrigued as to:
1. Why no simple quick VTA adjustment - this is very Regaesque - is rigidity of greater value?
2. What about cartridge compliance and matching given the heavy weight - are buyers limited to Kuzma cartridges
Number two is addressed already. See Franc's white paper on the topic on the Kuzma site. TL;DR, the compliance issue doesn't matter to the extent we might have believed. I for one don't worry much about cartridge resonance calculators. Empirical evidence tells me it doesn't matter in my system.

I think there is a simple VTA adjustment mechanism but it isn't "on the fly".
 

tima

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This is from Safir 9 manual and should help. Unfortunately, as I said, can’t share any first hand experience with this adjustment because I didn’t try it.

16D1187C-3553-4FAD-8ED7-EC2094CB2E9F.jpeg

Marcus, would you please clarify how the VTA adjustment works.

Does the arm ride up and down on the VTA screw?

Or is it like the SME V where the arm rides up its adjusting screw but requires the locking be released to let's the arm slide down to the bottom of the adjusting screw? Tia
 

Marcus

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It’s the same as with the 4Point 9:

VTA screw holds the arm in position above the armbase. When you release the locking screw in the armbase, the arm will not drop down, being hold in position with the VTA screw. Then you rotate screw and one turn will give you VTA change for 0.5 mm or 0,12 deg or about 8 rotations gives you 1 deg of VTA change.

Here’s the manual:
https://www.kuzma.si/media/uploads/files/IM SAFIR 9 220422.pdf
 

Marcus

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Bonesy Jonesy

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Assembly and set up. Only 3 parts. No damping pads, no damping fluids, no extra weights, non detachable headshell and no VTA tower. Stripped to essentials but don’t worry. It has all the usual and necessary set up possibilities. Can’t comment on the VTA system because I use one on the tonearm tower, but azimuth is more precise than on 4Point and consequently easier to set up right.

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The SAFIR 9 looks fantastic with the matt black XL DC !
 
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tima

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Marcus, thanks for that. The SAFIR 9 deserves a review that accords with its quality and innovation, though hifi+ did have good pictures.

"Granted, the high-mass turntable and an immovable object of an equipment stand are mandatory requirements for this tonearm, and those conditions alone will prove a turn-off for many high-enders." Sircom

Does he tell us why a high-mass turntable is mandatory? Maybe I missed that.

I speculate the sapphire arm tube is grown or constructed in a lab or facility that does that. Hearing something about that process would be interesting.

I realize the emphasis is on the arm tube. It would be interesting to learn if the bearings are different, at least the vertical bearings absent a bearing tower. The arm is the Safir 9, not the 4Point Safir 9.
 

SOS

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Jun 20, 2015
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Would also like to know which tangential curve was used? I use the AS SmarTracker which gives you 5 choices. On my Stabi R / 4POINT and MSL cartridge I've tried all and find the Loefgren B IEC sounds the best.
 

mtemur

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Mar 26, 2019
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Does he tell us why a high-mass turntable is mandatory? Maybe I missed that.
You’re right he doesn’t say. IMHO the idea behind that depends on better reading of lower bass information in the grooves by safir 9 (that’s the claim of writer not mine).
Since safir 9 has higher mass than almost all tonearms existed, resonance frequency drops to approximately 5Hz for possible candidate cartridges. IMHO writer tries to say that better bass performance and lower resonant frequency of safir 9 requires a high mass turntable because a high mass turntable has a lower resonance frequency, lower rumble, noise etc compared to a lower mass turntable. That’s not always true and mostly depends on implementation and design of the turntable. Writer also recommends immovable object of an equipment stand. IMHO again it is recommended for the same reason, better lower bass reproduction by eliminating air borne and structure borne vibrations. I think a turntable with vacuum hold down option should be considered with safir 9 because high mass tonearm would load suspension of the cartridge more and sometimes very hard on warped records compared to a low mass one.
 
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