SAT CF1-09 Tonearm Review

Why is the tonearm so often neglected, even though it is of paramount importance in vinyl reproduction? It is not easy to find a consensus, but perhaps the crux of the matter is the overabundance of tone arms, which are not exactly based on profound science but are all too often a product of the imagination and the sum of questionable exotic materials, theories, and ideas.  

The SAT CF1 - 09 tonearm is not only a pleasant change but also based on actual technology. 

During our correspondence, Marc Gomez explained his particular fondness for CF1-09 synergy with Lyra Atlas cartridges. Stig Bjorge of Lyra kindly provided a test sample, and on the advice of Maier Shadi of The Audio Salon, Gomez personally mounted the Lyra Atlas on the CF1-09 tonearm.

This is a bit more lengthy review than usual, but it reflects my fascination not only with the SAT CF1-09 tonearm but also with effective mechanical devices that, in this particular case and in the context of analog audio playback, reveal so much more information, which translates into more music through all the technology and engineering.


Marc Gomez was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1972. From an early age, he knew that wanted to design things and become an engineer, so he did a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. 

Since 1996, Gomez has dedicated his entire professional career to the design and development of various products in a range of industries. Gomez has been involved in projects ranging from the Ariane rocket engine, Porsche Carrera GT, Hewlett Packard plotters, Rolls-Royce waterjet engines, to medical devices for Astra Zeneca, components for Saab and Volvo, and a number of other smaller but no less exciting companies.

Gomez has extensive experience in the design and manufacture of composite parts, which is critical to achieving the high levels of rigidity and internal damping that SAT tonearms implement.

To design his tonearms, Gomez uses CAD and CAE tools that allow him to accurately calculate the arms' moment of inertia, their natural frequencies, and modes, among other things. 

This reduces the guesswork to achieve the desired performance and allows Gomez to tailor the arm design to specific cartridges. 


In 2010, after working for many years for various engineering firms, Gomez decided to start his own company. Having only recently discovered the world of vinyl reproduction, he quickly recognized the opportunity to develop pickup arms of higher performance than the existing offerings on the market.

With his knowledge and experience in the fields of mechanics and materials science, it was only natural that he would make the design and manufacture of the highest performance pickup arms the core of his business.

Gomez firmly believes that pickup arms should be designed and manufactured as precision measuring instruments, not as tuned musical instruments, which is, unfortunately, a common practice today.

As a purely mechanical device, Gomez pickup arms are very rigid and have high structural integrity, providing a more stable platform for the cartridge to operate. This directly results in more accurate playback of the records - higher fidelity.

He achieved this by selecting materials and geometries that ensure the desired mechanical performance of the arms - always based on the laws of physics and best-proven engineering practices. 

Gomez's raison d'etre is fierce: "You will never find magic ingredients or bullshit in my designs. I cannot make magic, only the best of what science, technology, and my imagination have to offer today."

Gomez personally builds and customizes each arm he makes to specifications.

SAT CF1-09

My fascination with mechanical instruments designates from car engines, high-precision instruments, watches, musical instruments, etc. 

The SAT CF1 tonearm easily falls within these categories with its beyond the fair share of attributes addressing my enchantment with refined and state of the art engineering. 

I know that many of you have a similar fondness for various types of mechanical exquisites from different industries and when the opportunity finally arose to test the Marc Gomez tonearm for myself, I was not at all reluctant. 

I was highly taken with the SAT tonearm from the very start. Mono and Stereo also published one of the first reviews of the original SAT tonearm way back. 

In the meantime, a lot has happened. Gomez has sold more than 70 first-series tonearms and a handful of the latest generation CF1, LM, and Ti tonearms.

The SAT CF1-09 tonearm tested here represents the current version of the tonearm, with refined solutions and newly found advantages. 

Up to this point, I was meticulously working on my reference high-end audio system and my reference listening room. The review of the SAT tonearm came at the right time when I'm more than satisfied with the achieved level and equilibrium of system performance and listening room acoustical treatment. 

With an almost eerie noise level (27dB) in my reference listening room, I can finally not only almost hear my thoughts :), but actually, hear and discern all the smallest details. 

When it comes to discovering and exploring the ultimate ultra-high-end audio reproduction, I think the acoustics along the properly balanced and high-performing system is indispensable to draw an objective conclusion. One can always discuss the ancillary components down to the smallest detail or the nth degree, but one thing I always miss generally is the properly addressed and acoustically treated listening room. If the listening room is an important part of the evaluation, it is perplexing that this fundamental part is too often left unaddressed. 

One thing that originally drew my attention to the SAT tonearm is Gomez's clear and straightforward disclosure. He sees his tonearms as precision measuring instruments, not musical instruments. 

Even though the subject of musical instruments is so lightly and often used in marketing analog. Tonearms, in particular, are all about physics, math, mechanics, and engineering. Perhaps even more than any other high-end audio product. 

Gomez deals with resonances, micro-vibrations, resonant frequencies, etc. scientifically and by implementing 21st-century approaches. Hardware and software wise. 

We live in the 21st century and while some might be, or want to be engaged with esoteric claims, fringe technologies, exotic materials, etc., fewer people try to stay away from the intoxication of mystique. The demand for factual presentation is on the rise by the people who have the means to explore and afford this kind of product. 

The fact is that we lack innovation and real engineering in high-end audio, and that's one of the main reasons we are losing customers or not getting new blood that our industry craves more and more every year. 

Over the years I have met many hardcore audiophiles, music lovers, and enthusiasts. Many of them appreciate sophisticated mechanical gems in large or small form. 

I believe that the youngest generation who can furnish themselves with these upscale mechanical marvels, such as watches, cars, etc., are highly interested in what is behind the product. And that includes designer history, know-how, engineering, high-tech approaches, well-researched materials. And so on.

In these lines is the real answer to all those emails, questions, and late-night conversations regarding high-priced, "high-tech" products. 

Of course, such products are not cheap to produce on a smaller scale, but that's no different in other luxury industries. Yes, the luxury industry. We too often forget that in the real world, a wristwatch worth 2,000 euros is mandatorily considered a luxury item; what about products in the five- or six-figure range?

There are three different levels of SAT tonearms. The LM line represents an entry into the analog universe of SAT. The model tested here is part of the CF1 line and the Ti (Titanium) version is exclusive to owners of the XD1 turntable. All tonearms are offered in 9" and 12" versions, but they both have their specific virtues that next section explains in detail.

SAT CF1-09 VS 12

The laws of physics dictate that, due to the loads an arm is subjected to, a shorter length has a higher potential for rigidity and a lower moment of inertia. Given an arm tube with a certain length, diameter, cross-section, and material, when the length is doubled the bending and torsional stiffness will decrease to half. 

In the same example, the moment of inertia will increase to four times the original one.

To bring the stiffness of the 12-inch arm tube to the same levels as the 9-inch version, one must add material that will substantially increase the moment of inertia. Given a certain maximum moment of inertia allowed as a design specification, Gomez can always design a 9-inch version with much higher stiffness - every single time - no matter what kind of design the arm tube has.

The CF1-09 arm’s tube - the most rigid tube in the SAT range - has its first and second natural resonance frequencies at 4030Hz and 9000Hz, respectively. In comparison, the CF1-12 tube’s natural frequencies are 2380Hz and 5800Hz. Under the same loads, the longer tube will start vibrating at a lower frequency and with a higher amplitude.

For all the above reasons, Gomez designed the original SAT Pickup Arm as a 9-inch model instead of a 12 inch one. After three years of production, and taking advantage of the launch of the new CF1 and LM series of arms, Gomez decided to add a 12-inch version for each of the lines. This decision was driven by the request from some of the existing owners to be able to have an additional SAT arm that could be mounted on a position or a turntable where a shorter model wouldn’t fit; Gomez also wanted to allow experiencing the SAT performance levels to those who feel a 12 inch is a better choice, based on their preferences.

As physics hasn’t changed since Gomez developed the original SAT Pickup Arm, for a given moment of inertia, the shorter arms provide in general a more accurate sound reproduction - which is not to say many might prefer the sound of the 12-inch versions.

Both the LM-12 and CF1-12 models have a consistent different sound when compared to their 9-inch siblings. 

It all can be explained by the physics of their design and how they interact with the cartridges. At the same time, the original SAT Pickup Arm and all four new models share a common sonic identity, with very high resolution, low distortion, and precise transient response, at the highest levels available today. 


No matter how we spin the business of high-end audio equipment, we live in the 21st century, where the pricing structure of products and the demand for luxury are far more than instant bling-bling, fancy marketing bells and whistles, and unresearched implementation of esoteric and high-tech material. 

Mixing and matching different approaches and materials is a science in itself, and at the end of the day, many products leave much to be desired when it comes to product realization. 

For this reason, we are seeing a perpetual change of audio components in the endless quest for so-called audio perfection. Yes, it is all about perfection, but such end of the path comes at a price, but not the price of constant change, but the price of finding the right product that actually delivers what it promises. For this reason, you will not readily find SAT tonearms on the used market. 

There is little doubt that carbon fiber is very popular as a material and a real eye-catcher. But contrary to most accessories or products made from off-the-shelf carbon fiber parts, the SAT went an extra mile with the CF1-09 tonearm. 

When you see the ordinary tonearm based on carbon fiber tubing, it's an utterly different concept than the SAT multi-layered and laminated tonearm, which has unique stiffness and carefully calculated geometries that are essential for high rigidity.

Marc Gomez takes a different approach to the development of his product. As glorified and mystical as the analogy to musical instruments maybe, especially in the analog realm, it's all about factual science, measurements, mathematics, cutting-edge software analysis, and nonetheless, applied physics. 

The true meaning of luxury lies in performance and properly applied materials and techniques. People so easily assume that products marked with a luxury price are considered high quality. 

How many products actually justify the high price tag is another question.

True, it's not very convenient to engage in analogies, especially with high-end audio watches that are too often overused or do not really offer an objective consensus. That said. With SAT CF1-09, I kind of feel obligated to cash in the chip to understand a bit more, materially, why CF1-09 differs and to what extent.

In haute horlogerie, carbon fiber is no stranger to watch aficionados. Rolex, TAG Hauer, Hublot, etc. all have special editions or production models, but perhaps most striking are the limited edition watches from Richard Mille and Patek Philippe in carbon. 

I mention the high-end watch industry on purpose to make my point. None of these carbon fiber watches are cheap. The mighty duo I favor the most is not only exclusive but also skyrocket in price. 

That brings me to SAT tonearm. The above watches are milled from a block of flat layers/plies of a single grade of carbon fiber. 

The SAT CF1-09 is far more complex, consisting of two different grades laid in a specific order and orientation and shaped/molded to match the geometry of the tonearm tube. 

In addition to this lengthy and complex process, it is precisely machined to remove the excess material and obtain the final shape that meets the required dimensional specifications.

Most audiophiles have seen various audio devices with carbon fiber composite (CF) components. They are commonly found in turntables and tonearms and serve mainly as a fashionable high-tech material with no real structural function. These parts replace existing metal or plastic components and retain their original geometry, making very poor use of the wonderful properties of CF.

Unlike other pickup arms, SAT designs the composite parts themselves and sizes them to have the desired mechanical properties. The off-the-shelf carbon fiber components used in most other arms do not have the stiffness of the laminates used by SAT and are not available in the geometries required for high stiffness.

They are usually thin-walled tubes of constant diameter woven from CF or UD laminates with fibers running only along the longitudinal axis of the arm. These configurations DO NOT provide adequate mechanical properties for the arm.

SAT defines and uses the laminates in the right way, taking full advantage of their potential and placing the fibers along in the directions where stiffness needs to be high. That's how it's done in aerospace, Formula 1, or other applications where maximizing stiffness per unit mass is paramount. It's how it's done in industries where serious engineering is required and customers want performance for their money. Why should not that be the case in the audio industry as well?

Each laminate consists of several plies of CF pre-impregnated fabric. The parts for the different plies are CNC machined from a pattern taken from the CAD models of the arm and then placed on a tool one after the other, taking into account the load paths so that the component deforms very little during use when subjected to loads.

This process can create a complex structure with varying thickness and stiffness through the tube, which has unparalleled mechanical properties compared to conventional arm tubes. In the case of the SAT arm, the tube and headshell consist of approximately 20 and 40 layers, respectively, of CF.

The laminated parts are cured in an autoclave under pressure and temperature, using the same material and equipment normally used to produce composite parts for satellites. This is a costly process because it is labor-intensive and the equipment and material are scarce and expensive.

The result is a component made from a material with one of the highest specific stiffnesses available today, normally found only in aerospace or very advanced medical, automotive, and sporting goods applications.

The laminates from SAT achieve much higher specific stiffness than other materials used by other arms manufacturers. Proof of this is the very high first resonant frequency of the arm tube of 4.0 kHz.

Cad/CAE modeling

SAT uses CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to design its arms. When working with irregular geometries, such as on SAT, the CAD models allow for accurate values for moment of inertia in the vertical and horizontal axes. 

SAT can then adjust the arms to a specific effective mass so that they better fit specific cartridges. It is always advantageous to have as much mass as possible for a given cartridge - a function of the mass of the cartridge itself and the rigidity of its suspension. More mass provides better damping and, properly placed, much greater stiffness. To achieve this, it must be used properly so that a certain moment of inertia about each axis is not exceeded. It is very remarkable how many arms that are considered top performers have thin tubes of the constant cross-section that lack the stiffness that a high-performance arm must have to earn this qualification. Another important tool that SAT uses is CAE (computer-aided engineering). It is used to simulate the deformation of the various components of the arm under load and decide what geometry and combination of materials to use to achieve the design goals. Components such as the clamping devices in the headshell or the arm base were designed using this tool.

Using FEM (finite element method), the natural frequencies and modes of the arm tube and headshell can be predicted. Design changes in the CAD models of the arm can be evaluated using the FEM models and the effects on the resonant frequencies can be estimated.

In summary, the CAE tools allow SAT engineers to predict the behavior of the arm and provide listeners with the ultimate performance expected from the premium product as SAT tonearm.


Arm design is a technical subject and requires the use of accurate terminology to reduce the risk of misinterpretation. Many conflate the terms vibration and resonance to refer to two different phenomena, although they are related. All bodies vibrate with their natural frequencies and modes as well as their harmonics (multiples of the fundamental frequency) when excited. A longer and less rigid body will begin to vibrate at a lower frequency, while a shorter and more rigid body will begin to vibrate at higher frequencies.

The vibrations of a tonearm tube are mainly caused by the forces acting on a cartridge suspension. Since this cannot be avoided, it depends at which frequencies and especially with which amplitude the vibrations occur. The higher the amplitude, the more detrimental it is to playback accuracy.

Resonance occurs when the frequency of the exciting load matches one of the natural resonant frequencies. This is an undesirable condition because the amplitude of the oscillations is much higher than other adjacent frequencies. This leads to an increase in distortion. The higher the fundamental resonant frequencies of the arm's components (headshell, arm tube, bearings, etc.), the lower the amplitude of the oscillations and the lower the proportion of harmonics within the audio frequency. 

A very familiar example of the change in natural frequency is the behavior of a ruler held against the edge of a table. If we let the ruler extend 50 cm beyond the table and bend it, it will start to vibrate at a certain frequency when we let go of it. If we now let only 30 cm of the ruler protrude above the table and do the same, it vibrates with a much higher frequency and with lower amplitude. The shorter ruler is stiffer and therefore has a higher natural frequency of vibration with a lower amplitude. The same principle applies to an arm tube.

It is important to note that in the case of an arm tube, it refers  to vibrations with an extremely small amplitude that deform the tube at the microscopic level - this has nothing to do with the macroscopic motions of the arm tube caused by warps and eccentricities. That is a different phenomenon.

Gomez designed the arm tubes of the SAT arms to be very stiff and have a very low resonant amplitude at the highest possible frequency. The CF1-09 arm's tube - the stiffest tube in the SAT series - has its first and second natural resonant frequencies at 4030Hz and 9000Hz, respectively. In comparison, the natural frequencies of the CF1-12 tube are 2380Hz and 5800Hz. At the same load, the longer tube begins to vibrate at a lower frequency and a higher amplitude.


The CF1 was designed from the ground up as a precision mechanical transcription device to extract as much of the original information from recordings as possible to minimize distortion and achieve greater fidelity to the original. 

SAT has applied its decades of experience from technology-intensive industries to its designs. In doing so, they have taken advantage of advances in aerospace, medical, composites, and other fields and integrated them into the design of SAT products.

It is rudimentary to comprehend that the turntable and arm are purely mechanical systems and are ruled solely by the physical laws of mechanics. 

Acceleration and deflection of the cartridge and platter cause distortion because the pickup does not accurately map what is hidden deep within the black grooves.

The tonearm is conceivably accountable for far more distortion than the turntable. Improving the performance of the tonearm will beyond any doubt have a greater impact on the overall playback accuracy of the turntable system.

After sitting down and taking the necessary time, I was able to grasp the functionality of the SAT CF1-09 tonearm fairly quickly. The CF1-09 is a sophisticated concept that went through a few design iterations that were rather slight improvements to the original well thought out design concept. 

The installation process is well documented and easy to understand and I really had no problems setting up the CF1-09. 

The bearing mechanism is firmly secured for shipping. In fact, for shipping purposes, a red aluminum piece is inserted with an empty bearing that is removed and replaced with the main bearing during installation. This must be done very carefully with supplied tools so as not to damage the bearing, but it is very logical and easy to do. 

The shipping bracket also needs to be removed as the next step. 

The CF1-09 has an excellently simplified and easy to perform on-the-fly VTA adjustment via a knob mounted on a screw that ends in a conical tip. The final position can of course be locked with the Allen key. 

Adjusting the VTF is similarly simple. The fine adjustment screw sets the exact tracking force and the large knob locks it in place.  

To adjust the azimuth angle, the M2.5 screw that secures the headshell to the arm tube must be unscrewed. After adjusting the angle, the torque is cautiously applied slightly as with installation of the cartridge. 

As with setting the azimuth angle, Gomez recommends setting the (SRA) Stylus Rake Angle visually using a reflective surface on the platter as a reference to determine the angle of the stylus. A CD disk or a 1-2mm thick mirror or piece of glass is suitable for this purpose. A high quality 10-20x magnifying glass or USB microscope is also needed. A camera with a macro setup can also be a very good tool. 

I will not go into detail, because anyone interested can check the manual, but again the instructions and implementations are simple and straightforward.

Analog aficionados are certainly not averse or luddite to progress. Quite the opposite. They welcome it open handedly. 

As digital has evolved, so has analog significantly. Of course, there are many solutions based on questionable science or using exotic materials just for the sake of it. 

But there are also really well- designed products that do their job superbly, and the SAT tonearm is undoubtedly one of them.


Listening through my familiar and beloved records, the SAT CF1-09 proved above all that true high-end audio reproduction is not about interpretation, but about opening your ears to the boundless vista. 

And with SAT CF1-09, this was done in a way I never knew or even came close to. This proves that there is still a vast pool of information to be discovered and extracted from the black vinyl records. 

From album to album, from track to track SAT the CF1-09 not just functioned as an analog hallmark, it is the product that in its course redefines the meaning of the tonearm and launches the analog replay into a new stratosphere. 

Over the past few months, I have often speculated about what exactly it is about the other tonearms I have tried or used that erases the scent of music, and what about SAT CF1-09 reconnects me back closer to the music and offers a more profound reality and why SAT allows the unfolding of an amazing analog music legacy so tremendously.

This also opens an interesting question. How much more information can we decipher and retrieve from the black grooves? 

As always, here are some of the albums and reference tracks that highlight and elaborate on the unique qualities of the SAT tonearm.

Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans - Know What I Mean? On this iconic album Cannonball Adderley is accompanied by Bill Evans and the rhythm section (Connie Kay and Percy Heath) of the Modern Jazz Quartet. The album was recorded for Riverside at Bell Sound Studios in NYC in three sessions on January 27, February 21, and March 13, 1961.

Perhaps one of Julian Edwin aka "Cannonball Adderley's" best recordings and certainly one of the most compelling and among the best-sounding jazz albums. 

SAT CF1-09 rendered excellent interplay between Adderley's saxophone and Evan's piano with both performers complementing each other rather than taking each other's space. Evan immediately recognized harmonies and Edwin's undoubtedly Kind Of Blue inspired playing seamlessly and lyrically intervened. 

On Know What I Mean? Adderley shows more of his mellow and sublime side, but still with a recognizable DNA. The album includes Evans' immortal "Waltz for Debby" and is the very first track on the album. 

I have never heard this album as intensely as I did with SAT CF1-09 in motion. The instruments just melded into the mellifluous whole and the music flowed like never before. 

The figurative perspective of the musicians, the remarkable synchronized playing, and the being-there factor were great, to say the least. 

I have written a few times in my listening memo of an emotional and sonic triumph, and that's exactly how Know What I Mean? came through Gomez's precise instrument. Yes, not a musical instrument, but a precise instrument!

Belafonte At Carnegie Hall is another classic that needs little or no introduction. It can sound quite good on the humble analog front or, as in the case of the review, magnificent with a great tonearm. With the SAT CF1-09 tonearm, the whole perspective shifted to a higher plane. 

Belafonte's voice was formulated in his smokey quality, sounding like a human being rather than a duplicated three-dimensional mesh. All the accompanying performers and instruments appeared against a pitch-black background rather than from a kaleidoscopic and mosaic wall of a sound that is usually connected with a less effectively performing tonearm. 

The sonic triumph continued with the timbral accuracy, the truly believable scale of the performers. Belafonte and the accompanying musicians came across with an operatic force, bursting with joy and vibrancy. Moreover, the recording was suddenly deeply rooted in a wealth of information. Again the hand-on proof that SAT CF1-09 delivers a higher grade of density. 

Belafonte At Carnegie Hall is one of those records that combines a rare juxtaposition of performing art and sound in a most pleasing way. It is a special record that I know by heart and have heard in various releases from my early childhood. For me, there is nothing audiophile about the record that is repetitive pleasant to enjoy. 

SAT CF1-09 permitted voice and tone feel of higher quality, weighty low bass notes never lost the focus when called upon and never forcing or constituted shattered momentum. 

This and more cemented SAT CF1-09 qualities into the upper echelon of analog affairs, with an essential sonic foundation, fast and resolving sharp attacks, and non hindered leading notes edges. but CF1-09 also never entered into brittle realms or faux sterility.

With SAT CF1-09 the music was simply much more focused, believable, and above all a musically enriching experience. 

Regardless of genre, the ability of SAT, to ride through the grooves fastidiously handling sudden eruptions of dynamism with supreme ease and draw the narrative with fascinating lightness.

Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! A studio album by Ella Fitzgerald continued to show SAT CF1-09 qualities that have no small but fundamental differences. 

With Fitzgerald's vocals, even the most cherished analog gear can render her alluring and powerful voice with a lack of continuity and a fractured texture that too often takes on a grainy quality. 

The SAT CF1-09 did an excellent job of reproducing the music, entwined sonic details, adding no noise, and simply working with a far fewer level of perpetual errors (that can never be completely discerned) and no mechanical fatigue. 

With a rejuvenating surprise, Fitzgerald instantly appeared out of the tin air unlike anything I've heard before and the music was sonically richer and CF1-09 summoned and invoked up a plethora of information that I was not aware of. 

Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! is another album that was entrusted to me by my father in my early youth, and SAT CF -1 tonearm helped leave an indelible impression. I call it a newfound emotional connection that stands above all technical audiophile nomenclature.

With King Singers, I experienced a true encounter with the music rather than a clash of fragmented sounds spread across the sound spectrum and screen. This can be too quickly noticed when anything in the analog front end is not operating at a certain level. And frankly, before digging deeper into submarine depths with SAT CF1-09 tonearm, I've never considered that tonearm can be such a paramount part of an analog rig. 

The foundation of the lower registers, the harmonic density, and the newfound integrity of the voices with a head-scratching increase in the level of acoustical anchor points that made the acoustic space and voices appear with a natural, believable holographic extension, was again a subject matter I've needed to process differently. It was so much positively different, involving, and tantalizing affair. 

The SAT CF1-09's ability to reproduce multi-layering and note stacking without losing compass or shortening decay and delays tails was furthermore demonstrated on Oregon's Out of the Woods

Recorded at Long View Farms, North Brookfield, Massachusetts, and at Soundmixers, New York City in 1978 Ralph Towner (guitar) Paul McCandless (oboe, English horn), Collin Walcott (tabla, congas), and Glen Moore (bass), the quartet shines at their best. 

With SAT CF1-09 riding the grooves, the beauty of simplicity can be reflected in both music reproduction and technical marveling. When the rhythm and tempo are followed and rendered correctly, you begin to notice and discover the particularities that were not so apparent before. Our ear mechanism and brain "decoding" system is highly subjective to the timing. 

When our logical and sensory guards are bypassed or deceived by a higher level of illusion, the true magic that everyone seeks in music reproduction takes place. 

It is not an esoteric matter but recorded and reproduced music simply reflecting the qualities of the real world, live music. When timing, phase, and needed amount of information density is there, the constitutive essence of such phenomena is viable. SAT CF1-09's mechanical qualities, or rather, the lack of a mechanical footmark made the Out of the Woods appear with spellbinding and shimmering beauty and depth. 

To put it in more complex terms. The SAT CF1-09 tonearm made it possible to bridge the gap (differences) between the reproduction of the original musical instrument crux and the core of the reproduced instrument. This was rather a revolutionary discovery than an evolutionary step onward and something that deserves to be highlighted and highly praised. 

Of course, the expectation of the SAT tonearm was open-hearted. It is one of the most sought-after high-end tonearms on the market. Nevertheless, I was not prepared for or did not expect such an exalted encounter and rediscovery of my vinyl records. A shockingly inspiring experience, that pushed me to reexamine my perception of the analog front end and the importance and key role of the tonearm. 

Although I tried the SAT CF1-09 tonearm with various cartridges of different price ranges, the combination with the Lyra Atlas Lambda cartridge was the most synergistic. This combination resulted in fantastic, non-weighted playback that responded to a different kind of music with the newly found quality and most prominent absence of sonic obfuscation I have ever experienced with the tonearm regardless of the price. 


The term organic essentialism, which originated in industrial design, perfectly encompasses the SAT CF1-09, and what fascinated me about this concept from the very beginning. 

The concept of "less is more" can easily be overused, and it has been misused too many times. We have all heard that great products should be simple, but not simpler. While this sounds tempting, in theory, making a product essential is no easy task. 

The SAT CF1-09 is essential in its nature and form, but most importantly, it is designed from the ground up to transmit music in its organic, unadulterated form.

This brings us back to the all-too-often overlooked importance of the tonearm. Even on a simplistic level, if a single note can confiscate an object to vibrate, invoking the harmonic similarity commonly known as sympathetic reverberation, the importance of the tonearm, which is not designed to be a tuned musical instrument, shouldn't fade into the background. 

Tonearm designed in the terms of musical instruments, not researched material-wise, implementing physical and mathematical laws,  not only vibrate but cause unwanted resonances and micro-vibrations. Instead of tracking and transmitting sound, it captures, alters, and slows down the sound and transition of music.

So the question is how much of the music, and sonic potency is terminated with an ordinary tonearm design!

All these intentional or unintentional distractions undoubtedly obscure the unfiltered crux of reality, which consequently leads to a less than appealing musical rendition.

What does this analog conduit, a tonearm proudly designed and executed by Marc Gomez, a man who strives for perfection at every turn, have to offer that makes it so unique and stands out from the crowd?

For those able to go beyond the preconceived patterns tied to the limitations of analog playback on turntables, the SAT was designed to delve deeper into the black grooves, scientifically avoiding many of the common shortcomings of tonearms and going beyond misinterpretations of our limited sensory input. Gomez prefers to rely on 21st-century technology. 

SAT CF1-09 avoids the hubris of mechanical hysteresis and mechanical delay and cements de-stressing reality using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and FEM (Finite Element Method) calculations.

Accurate prediction of mechanical vibration and deformation is a highly complex and difficult task. The virtual calculations of CAD and FEM help to predict the confounding changes in properties, the undesired and unpredicted behavior.

Marc Gomez Pièce de résistance opposes the thesis that analog, old is obsolete! Beyond the audiophile factions the SAT CF1-09 boldly escapes sonic monotony and steps out of the blur, demonstrating the ability to function as a superb analog building block that maps various degrees of musical complexity with assuring certainty.

The silence and finally the Vanta black backgrounds were fed into my Tidal Prisma phono/line preamplifier. I know there are countless unbalanced phono options, but in my experience over the past few years, the properly balanced tonearm feeding the fully balanced phono stage introduces something that is usually considered the holy grail of vinyl playback and something that was, in a sense, reinvented during my evaluation with the Trinity Mic/phono preamp, where for the first time I heard and dealt with the surface noise of the vinyl versus the phono noise. And that was repeated and raised to another level with SAT CF1-09 and Tidal Audio Prisma preamplifier with a superb built-in phono preamp. 

I think this is something that many audiophiles and music lovers have not stumbled upon yet, hence my urge to bring it back into the public eye. 

My Dohmann Helix 1 turntable was recently upgraded to the MK2, which resulted in a considerable increase in the performance of my analog front end. The SAT CF1-09 added significantly to the newfound benefits of my analog front end.

The silence deepened with a considerably lesser amount of clicks and pops, and SAT CF1-09 yawned notes definition far beyond expectations and far better than I have ever experienced with a tonearm.

Keep in mind that I am an analog person by nature. Only in the last ten years have I seriously re-entered the digital domain thanks to R2R ladder DACs. In between, there was a long period when I focused entirely on analog music, including various R2R tape recorders and turntables. 

To say that vinyl reproduction comes close to the tape machine is a bold statement. From my perspective, the first pressing or original recording of music, when properly set up, is a unique experience that comes frighteningly close to master tapes. For objective comparison, I own a few copies of direct master tapes. 

Still... It is a rare pleasure to find high-quality first copies of originals. The density of tapes deteriorates over the years, which is why some of the first pressings of vinyl are so highly prized, as they keep the original density relatively "intact".  It is claimed that the vinyl record loses its ability to play back at the same level every time it is played. 

If the cartridge is set up properly, and with a tonearm that is technically designed and engineered correctly, wear should be minimal. It has been my experience that acetate records, which are normally assumed to be played only once or a few times, are undamaged after 30-50+ repetitions on the right turntable setup. So there is a playground to be discovered that is closely related to the tonearm. 

SAT CF1-09 can retrieve the ambient information and offer a unique stress-free playback that reproduces the complete frequency spectrum without mechanical hysteria, unconstrained, offers far freer dynamics than I am used to, and provides an all-encompassing musical experience - an outstanding achievement. 

The level of information deeply rooted in the grooves, generated by the friction of the pickup needle, is one-of-the-kind taking the arch of analog heaven without neglecting reality to a remarkable level. 

The newly introduced density makes the sound not only better but also more realistic.

By skillfully using a variety of materials and techniques, SAT CF1-09 provides biting transients, more stellar note edges, and easily distinguishable longer decay and delay times. 

Analog is still uncharted territory, despite its oft-touted architectural genius with lower dynamic range.

The SAT CF1's exceptional design ensures that music sounds organic and lifelike. 

Does this grant SAT CF1 an unfathomable price sticker? As with anything high-priced in high-end audio, this is always relative and highly debatable, but in the world of 15-20k+, 150-500k+ turntables, etc., a 50k tonearm certainly does not feel like the craziest expense. And staying on the subject of those limited edition timepieces that only tell time correctly, the SAT CF1-09 is a real (non-musical) instrument that, rather than just measuring time, digs much deeper into the grooves than I could ever expect, and makes the importance of the tonearm much more shocking.

SAT CF1 is a clear reminder that while the digital world of the 21st century has its own highly valued benefits at the ultimate level, the analog world still has infinite things to offer and how some layers of vinyl playback are still being revealed. 

But both my logical and emotional insides are equally spoiled by SAT CF1-09 and that is one of the rarest and perhaps most glorious comments I can make about a high-end product. 

Gomez's exacting efforts have been reflected in SAT CF1-09, making it a gem among analog products.

The SAT CF1 is a technical work of art that avoids any non-functional element and offers superbly researched and optimized functionality. 

Marc Gomez is a quiet purveyor who lets his work speak for itself. His precise mechanical device solves technical problems and refines everything down to the nth degree rather than engaging in any kind of subjectivity. 

The SAT CF1-09 not only rekindled my interest in analog gear. It opened up new possibilities for me that I would not have thought possible. 

Leonard Bernstein said, "A great artist leaves us with the feeling that something in the world is right." That's exactly how I felt about the level of record playback I was able to achieve with SAT CF1-09. 

The SAT CF1-09 is the result of exquisite craftsmanship that is the result of years of passionate patience that has resulted in a miniature masterpiece of engineering and material composition.

For what it represents technologically and especially for how profoundly it contributes to the reproduction of music on records, I wholeheartedly give the SAT CF1-09 tonearm a rare Mono & Stereo Editor's Choice Award.


  • 55.000 EUR


  • Arm tube : one-piece carbon fibre, internally damped, CNC machined.
  • Headshell : hybrid carbon fibre-aluminium. Detachable with azimuth adjustment.
  • Vertical bearings: high stiffness, no-stiction, pre-loaded and sealed. Proprietary design. Maintenance-free.
  • Horizontal bearing: Tungsten carbide point on sapphire jewel. Pre-load adjustment.
  • Height adjustment : via knurled dial with 0,1mm divisions. On-the-fly adjustment.
  • Main yoke: stainless steel. Adjustable bearing. Cardanic arrangement.
  • Secondary yoke : stainless steel with sealed bearings. Cardanic arrangement
  • Arm base : aluminium alloy with clamping device.
  • Skating compensation : constant torque via weight and low friction pulleys.

SAT 9 inch geometry

  • Mounting distance: 212,2mm 
  • Overhang: 22,8mm 
  • Offset angle: 26,1 ̊