- Funk’s flagship Turntable
(Saffire: Wikipedia: musical ensemble)
Pink Triangle’s Anniversary heralded a milestone in turntable development.
20 years on, its legendary performance has people regularly fighting over it on Ebay, willing to pay double its original retail price, thereby underlining a real demand for a replacement.
That is some pedigree to live up to.
Funk’s answer is Saffire V...
Denver's Audiofest 2012 has fast established itself as one of the world's premier shows. There, the most prestigious companies from round the world show off and where the rooms get evaluated in their ability to perform.
These rooms house the most exotic of systems, some costing in excess of $400,000.
It was against this backdrop that Funk arrived in2012 and demonstrated the more than comparatively modest combination of Saffire and F.X technology.
The sonic results we achieved are a testament to our commitment, to our art:
"This was the first (and only) room that actually sounded lifelike on my (very lifelike) Melody Gardot LP)"
"All in all, another best of show contender"
HiFi World gave it 5 Globes.
Starting with a very kind and unexpected editorial, David Price continues, complimenting and describing it as"...so fleet of foot, supple and subtle"
And from Adam Smith who carried out the review: "An organic sense of purity is Saffire's trademark. It really shows vinyl at its best".
No gut thumping, leaden behemoth of a performer.
We wouldn't have asked for a better descriptive recommendation.
France's "Revue Nouvelle du Son" have been equally impressed and awarding it its prize.
Saffire is precision sculpted from solid acrylic and meticulously finished by hand.
Inert and stable this provides an ideal platform to hold arm and record in precise relationship.
For the metal parts, chrome, so often used, would be hard on the eye.
Instead, the softness of nickel is visually more luxurious and sympathetic.
A platter's job: To passively support the record. It must neither flex nor ring.
Yet, by their very design, platters tend to be bell-like and ringing is something they want to do.
...To overcome this, we can add mass but that loads the bearing...inevitably, that introduces noise (rumble).
...To overcome the rumble we can lift that heavy mass magnetically...but that loses stability which in turn introduces wow
...To overcome the wow, how about we use a bigger motor?...but we are now ramping up the inertia and motor vibration, this vibration has to go somewhere.
This really is an example of using a sledge hammer to crack a nut and following this route, in the end it is the music that suffers...always.
All this effort and all the while the tiny, sensitive stylus remains the same.
Clearly, loading on mass, per se, is not a panacea for a turntable.
To solve this, Funk's R&D has produced a new platter material called "Strata" and with it Saffire is able to return some of "the" lowest Wow and rumble figures ever recorded.
Saffire's platter shape perfectly complements the plinth's smooth lines and has never been used in the history of turntables.
New Bearing: "Spin"
Strata is supported by a new bearing, called "Spin".
The business end is an optically polished sapphire* thrust plate that runs against a laboratory grade ceramic surface to create a true low noise bearing.
The Drive: A direct-drive in all but name.
Supporting and driving a platter very evenly is the next challenge.
Doing this using Vector drive is Funk's forte.
The belt: It transmits power round a platter when the motor is not at the centre of the platter bearing. An added advantage is that if a motor cogs, a soft belt decouples motor vibration. The down side is that the softer the belt, the more it allows the platter to "bounce". You don't get an even drive.
In Saffire, the platter is driven via a tightly coupled belt. The DC motor's minute measuring points, an order of magnitude greater than a Direct Drive from which to apply any correction. This job is performed by Solus**
Completing the loop, rotational platter stability is achieved via two slave pulleys.
March 2015: The German magazine Audio, supported our contention that a Vector Driven belt drive produces extraordinary results - exceeding virtually every turntable in history.
What you hear:
A quiet, Wow & Flutter free, essentially imperceptible constant drive, feeding the platter under all loads.
* All Funk's high end bearing designs are all based on sapphire. Why?
In terms of harness, Sapphire is second only to diamond. Hardness permits a higher level of polish = less rumble. A coefficient of friction 50% less than steel or tungsten = less self-noise and less wear.
**Solus - The Power Source and Belt Drive:
Flick a switch at the rear. Lights fire up from within Saffire.
Refracting about the flowing curves, they create the jewel of the turntable world.
(Quartz is the standard colour. Other colours are available to order.)
That is what you see..
Solus' task is to correct the platter's frictional slow down and keep speed constant.
It all starts with an ultra low noise power supply with a very high degree of mains isolation. Monitoring both current and voltage, it process any speed errors detected from the motor via a complex multi-layered servo and delivers back correction that is all but imperceptible, ensuring the platter is caressed to keep speed.
You cannot hear it in action.
Blurring the boundary between DD and belt drive, Saffire V enjoys the best advantages of both belt and DD and is thus Direct-Drive.
Launched in 2016, was Bo!ng. Funk's universal Isolation feet for many different turntables. This principle was applied to create Kinetik Kradle: An isolation platform and a stylish dust cover for Saffire and Vector.
Saffire V - FX3 - Kinetik Kradle: Technology + Artistry = A superb, complete disc transcription system.
• Saffire - The turntable •
Ultra Stiff, Funk's ultra-stiff FX3 arm transmits energy linearly down the arm and away from the cartridge. This is its secret. Linearly means that it avoids packets of energy at resonant points from bouncing back as compared to other arms. That's what causes arms to have a signature.
From the diagrams below, you can see that left unchecked this would lead to reflection back to the cartridge and it is this reflection is something which we hear and it colours the sound.
The only way to handle this is to dissipate it at the arm-turntable interface.
(The well-behaved nature of FX3 and lack of spikes would make seeing this effect far more difficult)