SABA STEREO I SRI-16 – SRI 18
The translation for Steuergerät is Control Electronic Unity. It encloses the tuner and the speaker, both stereophonic and you can connect a record player as well as a CD/DVD player along with any other kind of acoustic source. What interested me of this device was the great SABA experience on Steuergerat. Before getting to the SRI-16 SABA produces the Freiburg Studio in 1962, the Freiburg Studio A in 1963 and the Stereo Studio 1 in 1964 to finally produce this new and wonderful device in 1965.
SABA quality is really visible and audible.
Its line is different from any other device of that time. a big single serigraphed glass screen with a big stylized indicator of the ferrite curve’s position on the right. Small knobs, all looking the same with different serigraphies according to their function, a single keyboard gathering all functions.
A design that puts functionality first. Elegant and not tiring.
Its musical features deserve a detailed description, which will be given further on.
I coupled this device with a pair of wonderful Celestion 120, the popular boxes built in the Ditton factory. The following boxes will be sold as Celestion Ditton. They represent the utmost expression of English musicality of that time among affordable devices.
These boxes’efficiency is enough to make the SABA sound out loud. Even in this case I tried to couple it with another pair of boxes among my favorites, some 600 Grundig boxes, but the result was not satisfactory. A bass sound excess was immediately noticeable. Acute sounds were precise but the Celestions give a clearer sound image.
6 AM电路，11 FM电路.
无线电波段: LW, MW, SW, FM
工作电压: 110; 125; 160; 220 Volts
尺寸（长高深）：645 x 235 x 220毫米
净重: 15 公斤
7 放大管: ECC85 ECH81 EAF801 ECC83 EMM803 ECLL800 ECLL800
This device is not equipped with speakers placed inside the cabinet as any modern tuner-amplifier
STEREO MPX DECODER
The radio is equipped with a tube Stereo-Decoder, that means it is a real stereo, not like most other vintage radio that used to be mono in the radio FM and stereo sections only because of the double final section. To be clear, the record player could be played in stereo, but the radio only in mono.
SEPARATE CONTROL TUNING BETWEEN AM AND FM
The FM section is built with a very reliable ECC85 amplifier / mixer-oscillator.
The FM and the MW sections are controlled by separate knobs.
The mechanical complexity of this solution is minimal, greatly increasing the reliability of the system.
At the top on the left we find the magic eye divided in two sections, the first indicated whether the station is in stereo, the second indicates the perfect tuning of each station. Next to it we find the Short, Medium and Long Wave AM bands scale.
The lower scale is the FM bands scale.
The buttons starting from the left:
On/Off- Long Wave – Medium Wave – Short Wave – FM – Phono – Mono/Stereo
The first knob on the left is the acute sounds control. Then the bass sounds control and the volume control (with incorporated loudness) knob.
On the same axis we find the knob of the balancing between the right and left channel.
There are then two separate knobs for the tuning control in the AM and FM bands. On the same axis of the tuning knob there is the rotating switch inserting the AFC (frequency automatic control- preventing the tuning slipping once the station is centered)
Note that on the tuning knobs there is a point of the same color of the index where the knob operates.
The last knob on the right is the one that allows the rotation of the ferrite curve for the AM bands. Above this one we find a big stylized indicator of the curve’s position with the automatic switch in the zero position.
Important disclaimer: I am not an expert audiophile and my impressions have the value of mere personal impressions.
The radio section is perfect, stable and with a perfect selectivity still today and with an easy tuning thanks to a long scale.
Other competitor devices (as far as the Graetz Stereo Unit 250 or the Grundig Stereomeister 3000 are concerned) had 5/6 pre-selectable and memorizable stations, but on this one, the Stereomeister, this gem became the source of many problems.
My testbeds have been Hosianna Mantra, the masterpiece of Popol Vuh and The 6 Unaccompanied Cello Suites by Bach played, or better, interpreted by Yo-Yo Ma.The CD player is a Grundig CD35, the best machine I ever had the pleasure to work with. Even on this device the roundness, the smoothness and the richness of bass sounds and the never worn out high sounds are its main features.
The listening struggle with the couple Saba/Celestion never comes.
Compared to other machines using the same counterphase you have the feeling to have more power, but this is only a feeling: power is around 9 W RMS per channel. Too loud and efficient loudspeakers could modify the features of the final stage.
I am trying to figure out whether I should include Allevilive by Giovanni Allevi among the reference CDs that I use to test the devices.
With the Saba/Celestion couple Allevi’s piano is always very lively and rich of harmonicas. It requires the volume to be high, the piano is a very difficult instrument to reproduce. I do not have the listening reference with other devices.