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 III...HiFi World has just given it a 5 Globe review.
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". "...at its best"
No gut thumping, leaden behemoth of a performer.
We wouldn't have asked for a better descriptive recommendation.
Saffire III 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.
Funk's new ultra-stiff FXR II arm transmits more energy than any other arm we know.
The only way to handle this is and prevent reflections back to the cartridge, which would be heard, is to dissipate it at the turntable interface.
Saffire II's elegant arm-plate hides a complex construction:
Carbon fibre with a constrained damping layer of specific compliance harmlessly loses energy as heat.
Enterprise-esque, Saffire's new platter perfectly complements the plinth's smooth lines.
This shape, unique to Funk, has never been used in the history of turntables.
Solus: Extrapolating from Saffire II's lines and finish, Solus is a refinement of the system first seen in Anniversary.
The output operates as a single ended, class A stage - again unique to Funk in turntable drive.
Sophistication extends to monitoring of both current and voltage feedback.
The principle of operation automatically provides for a high level of mains isolation.
Large, weighty, tactile, Solus' control knob has a smooth, easy feel.
The Power Source and Belt Drive: On the face of it, Direct Drive might seem the ideal when turning a platter, outperforming all other systems.
Further investigation, however, yields a surprising alternative conclusion: that the humble Belt drive holds advantages over Direct Drive!
The faster rotor speed of a belt driven motor generates more error pulses for the servo to act on. With more pulses, any correction necessary can be applied more delicately and hence less invasively.
With just a single pulley, all other decks yank the platter round and audibly smear delicate signals.
Funk's 3-pulley Vector Drive system is arguably one of the best ways to rotate a platter via a belt and blurs the boundary between DD and belt drive.
Saffire III is thus Direct Drive in all but name and certainly enjoys the best advantages of both belt and DD.
No one else can lay similar claim.
The Bearing: Anniversary's bearing design not only returned absolute state of the art rumble measurement, it has stood the test of time.
Refined for Saffire II, it was the natural choice.
Precision ground surgical stainless steel holds the sapphire thrust plate.
This supports a very hard, very small precision ball which atop the bearing housing.
The bearing housing itself has to maintain no less than five centres of concentricity.
A complex design worthy of its role here.
Lubrication: For Saffire III, a new thixotropic lubricant has been developed. Its very low coefficient of friction stays in place upside down permitting longer intervals between maintenance. The Record ...Support: A solid balanced acrylic main platter provides the inertial load for the motor.
Achromat, inset and bonded provides the best in impedance matching termination for your records.
...and Record Care: Achromat's surface is smooth and easy to clean. With no foreign matter getting into your precious grooves, either to cause damage or intrude into your listening pleasure, your music is sweeter and your records last longer.
So there you have it:
A work of art
Above all, a state of the art, consummate, musical performer