Vollautomatic 14 Stereo
Saba is the acronym for Schwarzwälder-Apparate-Bau-Anstalt ( Black Forest Engineering Institute for Technological Devices)
The company was founded back in 1835 by Joseph Benedikt under the name of Jockele-Uhren. Only in 1923, with the production of components for radio devices, the company went under the name of SABA.
At the end of the 1920s SABA became extremely popular with the well-known S35 and in the following year the brand became the second biggest German producer after Telefunken.
During the war SABA was producing machinery for the army and in 1945 the company was completely destroyed by a bombing.

In 1947 SABA began the production of radios again distinguishing itself for avant-garde, high quality production.
They began to produce Televisions(the first PAL color TV is a SABA), domestic appliances and medical machinery as well. Many Italians worked at SABA
Alnico Greencone Loudspeakers became popular for their feautures of linearity, tenuta in potenza, constant impendance and they were employed by many other producers in all HI-FI devices at that time.
Motorized tuning
devices became popular as well and SABA became the German brand synonym of quality, reliability and extreme precision.
In the 1970s the brand began to decline because at that time only Japanese devices were thought to have HI-FI. In the 1980s Thomson bought out SABA.
In the 1990s, the other way around, having a 1970s Japanese device meant no HI-FI. They also found out that those devices worked with a 96% negative feedback and that a device with a 0,001 db from 1 to 100 KHz does not necessarily work well.
We do not trust completely our ears but we do trust what other people say, not necessarily with good intentions. In 2007, due to insolvency, SABA disappeared from the French(Thomson)-Chinese(TCL) venture and ceased to exist.

I started the description of the Saba Freiburg 100 with this sentence: going beyond one’s self is the destiny of the greatest. And the story goes on. The Saba Freiburg 14 is the evolution of Freiburg 100, 125,11 and 12. The Freiburg 14 is the ultimate model. It was followed only by the Freiburg 18 (having an elliptical tweeter instead of two round tweeters and wooden band instead of canvas – this aesthetic choice was not appreciated by everyone).

Saba, following the German tradition, continued to use the name Freiburg for its top models, even though the latter did not have anything in common with the original masterwork.

I want to highlight the fact that this was the top model of the most prestigious german brand in the golden age of german technology and production.

As I have mentioned before, the first visual impact is shocking and exciting. This is a huge device successfully showing off its majesty.

The sound impact is even stronger and more exciting. But before that, I would like to present a brief description of one of the most distinguishing feature of this device: the loudspeaker system.

The loudspeaker ensemble is composed of two 250 mm (9.9 inches) woofers, two 200 mm (7.8 inches) wideband and an elliptical tweeter.

The radiant area of the loudspeaker group is the same as the Klipschorn (see pictures), medium-high included.
Not bad at all for a “radio device.”

All the loudspeakers are the amazing Greencone that are still today employed on highly appreciated Hi-End speakers. This device has more and better loudspeakers than the majority of later HI-FI systems.

Greencones are very fast if compared to other contemporaneous loudspeakers and for this reason they reproduce a modern and extremely clear sound. Moreover, the particular cone treatment ensures a low humidity sensitivity. This help the maintenance of good conditions over the years.

Free air response of one of a 8" mid/woofer used in this device.




Due to their high efficiency, these loudpseakers are suitable for low- power valves amplifiers. Basses are remarkable thanks to the two 240 mm (9.7 inches) woofers. Mediums are clear thanks to the two 200 mm (7.8 inches) wideband and the acutes are sharp thanks to the front elliptical tweeter.

When you are listening to spoken radio programs, the best effect could be obtained by leaving the device on “Sprache”.

Another exclusive feature is the automatic tuning. By pushing one of the buttons beneath the main keyboard you can notice that the needle automatically moves to another station following the direction of the pushed button, either right- or leftward.

The volume knob is a tad hard to turn because it has to pull the engine connected to the potentiometer.
This device was indeed equipped with a flush remote control through which it was possible to regulate the volume by pushing two buttons. The latter made the engine turn.

Other details will be further analyzed.
On this page I showed the FM stage calibration process of this device.

The Freiburg is best to be listened in on a medium-big room.
This queen radio was destined and thought for a upper middle-class audience due to its expensive initial price. The large amount of time necessary for its restoration makes of it an expensive device still today.

Year of production: 1963-64

Superheterodyne IF: 468/10700 kHz

10 AM Circuits
13 FM Circuits

Medium Waves (OM)
Long Waves (OL)
Short waves (OC)

5 Greencone loudspeakers:
2 x 10" Alnico woofers
2 x 8" Alnico mid/woofers

1 Elliptical tweeter

Dimensions (LHD):
27,6 x 17.9 x 12.2 inch

Net weight: 53.6 lb

14 Tubes:
EC92 EC92 ECH81 EF89 EM87 EBF89 EF86 EF86 ECC83 ELL80 ELL80 EM84 EABC80 ECL80

Ferrite rotating aerial
Automatic tuning research
Optional remote control
FM stereo decoder


The tone control system is really efficient. Above the tone control knob you can find a small window that progressively lights up indicating the emphasis given to the band.


The correction system of the frequency response is composed of two buttons, MUSIK and SPRACHE.
They allow the emphasis of high and low tones while listening to music and of medium tones while listening to spoken programs.
A light indicates the selected choice

Both the magnetic eye indicating the tuning and the one indicating the reception of a
stereo station are new.


Rotating ferrite curve with lightened window indicating its position.
The ferrite curve can be rotated through a big knob which is coaxial to the volume knob. Inside the
piece of furniture there is a dipole for the FM reception and a directable ferrite curve for the AM


The device is equipped with separated tuning mechanisms for AM and FM bands and for each of the FM bands.
There is only one tuning knob but the selector changes on a cable and pulley system that are separated according to the band.
Worth noticing is the accuracy and the complexity of the motorized FM group.


The tuning system is a masterwork.
It is a motor with windings supplied in a phase shifted by some capacitors. It permit to change the motor rotation direction of according to whether the search is in one sense or another.
The tuning is centered by drawing part of the signal from the
CAC circuit and by using a relais controlled by a tube.
As already mentioned, calibration is rather complex and it cannot be put into practice without referring to SABA’s original manuals.
Below a detail of the engine and the scheme section to control the automatism.


Another interesting feature is the volume control.
The knob does not automatically control the volume potentiometer. It controls through an unknot push-back.
The motorized remote control has a slight friction effect which strengthens the resistance when you turn the knob.


Another exclusive feature is the possibility to insert the plug (see picture) in the designated back
socket and remotely control the volume and tuning.

Archive material


Another remarkable feature is the lightened keyboard.
The selected button lightens up.

The small Light bulbs are very rare and hard to be found.

Here the input PHONO has been selected

Here the Long Wave band has been selected
Here the Medium Wave band has been selected
Here the Short Wave band has been selected
Here the FM band has been selected


Mono/stereo commutator does have its lightened indicators as well.

Usuallu the stereo position work only when you are listening to CDs or IPODs, but this model is equipped with a stereo decoder allowing an accurate stereophony FM reception.

The magic eye on the right side works as a modulation intensity indicator of the stations that have been received in stereophony.

The picture above shows the reception of a stereo station.


The first small window that can be seen on the left side indicates whether the ferrite curve is inserted and its position.
On the left side you can also find the volume control (with incorporated loudness) and the ferrite curve rotation control.
Right above the volume control there is a magic eye indicating the perfect tuning of each station.
Below you can see the Mono/Stereo indicator and further below the bass control knob.
The AM bands with Short, Medium and Long Waves and the FM displays.
Starting from the lefthand corner you can see the Musik/Sprache, Stereo/Mono, AUX input buttons, the band switch buttons, the Long, medium, short waves and FM switch buttons and the motorized tuning system (Automatik) button.
Lastly the ON button.
Next to it the acutes control knob is to be found.
The Musik/Sprache equalizer indicator.
On the right, the tuning knob, which is supported by a big fly-wheel that renders its movement really pleasant.
The automatic tuning functioning indicator is to be found on the right as well.
Above the stereo modulation indicator and below two buttons for the automatic tuning functioning. Each button activates the automatic tuning mechanism in one or the other direction. By pushing one of those buttons the engine constantly activates the tuning indicator for a fast reposition.


Loudspeakers are another remarkable feature of this device: the well-know Alnico Greencone.

Its side wideband create a three-dimensional effect.

The topic has been largely researched before the advent of stereophonics and quadrophonics.

The sound is amazing


Output for external speakers. Socket for recorder (tonbandgerat). Turntable input (Tonabnehmer)
AM and FM aerial inputs and ground socket. Remote control inputs

The usual final overnight.

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