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Thread: Schiit Freya

  1. #11
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    Re: Schiit Freya

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    Now that I have had the Freya for a while and believe it is breaking in and I thought this might be a good time to dig a little deeper. I have done some comparisons; different tubes, balanced versus unbalanced cabling, running straight from my DAC to the amplifiers versus going through the pre-amp, solid state amps versus the SET amplifiers, etc.

    Running the Freya in either passive or FET buffer was not nearly as good as the tube output when used with the SET amplifiers. However, both passive and FET worked very well with either of the T+A or McIntosh amplifiers. I still prefer the tube output with any of the three amplifiers though, with a caveat.

    The Freya seems to be very good at tube rolling, but it is also very sensitive to certain tubes. Maybe this is the trade off for how inexpensive it is. It is very much dependent on tubes. The standard tubes that come with it work well, but are a little noisy. The same with certain NOS tubes like a later generation Sylvania. The RCA "Grey Glass" are particularly noisy for example. Matched with very good NOS tubes and it shines. Having a very quite tube in the Voltage Gain Stage is a must and having a great sounding NOS tube in the Output Stage really seems to make a huge difference. I have found that the early 1950's Sylvania "Chrome Dome" work very well in the Gain Stage and the CBS 5692 "Brown Base" tubes work fantastic in the Output Stage. With these the pre-amp shines and is as black of back ground as I have heard in any pre-amp... absolutely quite in every way!

    Another thing I have noticed is that the Freya sounds much better using Balanced cables. I have directly compared RCA cables coming from my DAC with XLR cables and it was a fairly big difference. The RCA cables were a much higher level cable however I felt the balanced cables sounded much better. I performed the exact same test with the outputs to the SET monoblocks. Again, the XLR was much better. In this case the XLR were a better cable then the RCA. In my opinion using balanced connections seemed to make a big difference. I have had other "Fully Balanced" pre-amplifiers that the difference in XLR versus RCA cables was fairly minimal. Maybe this is another trade off with this piece being so inexpensive.

    I also compared going straight from the T+A DAC to the amplifiers versus using the pre-amp in line. The T+A is rated to have a very good pre-amp section and an excellent volume control. However I felt the system sounded quite a bit better when being controlled by the Schiit versus going direct from the DAC.

    Other personal notes and opinions;
    • The unit does get fairly hot, but not excessively so. I do believe that it gets hotter than any other pre-amplifier that I have used. Not terrible but worth mentioning.
    • I like the little remote, it is very functional and has a nice feel in my view. Nice metal casing, but some people have complained about the little buttons. I like them ...
    • Some people complain about the clicking noise when changing any of the controls, including volume. This does not bother me at all and actually I like it because it is very nice feedback.
    • I also love the 128 relay volume control; very fine control indeed.
    • Being thin means that the connectors in the back are close with very little room. Not a terrible issue but one that you may want to consider.
    • I do not like that the tubes are recessed in the top of the case. This limits using some tubes, for example the "Chrome Domes" barely fit through the hole, but they work fine. It was just a very tight fit getting them in. The Black Treasures can not be used since their oversize porcelain base is to large. This is too bad since I really wanted to try them .
    • I like the way that the unit always comes on at the volume that is set on the volume knob, not where ever you had it changed to with the remote.
    • Some people have complained about the small or useless labels on the front of the unit. It does not bother me at all... I mean, after ten minutes with the unit it is obvious how everything works and what every light and control are.
    • I hear a very slight low level sound when the mute in engaged. Not really an issue for me but I could see some people complaining.


    So the bottom line, to really see what this very inexpensive pre-amplifier can do requires using some good NOS tubes. In my view forget whatever Schiit offers. With some nice NOS tubes this inexpensive pre-amp can be magic.

    Using solid quality XLR cables wherever and whenever possible; use good NOS tubes (good ones in my view, like those mentioned above) and this pre-amp can become an amazing sounding audiophile piece. I truly believe the biggest trade off with it being inexpensive, ok cheap, is that it is picky, not as forgiving. But with the right match it is truly amazing. At this point, with the Schiit, my system has never sounded so good. I have had a lot more expensive pre-amps but I do not believe any better sounding one. I say this knowing full well that I have not been able to directly compare it against others that I have had such as the ARC LS-17se or W4S STP-SE.

    It is startling quite in my system which I do not expect with a tube pre-amp and SET mono block amplifiers. Separation and sound stage is to die for, as good as I have heard anywhere. Base is deep and smooth, but in no way boomy. I have heard that this is a weak point with tube gear, but not with this combo. Very airy and open sounding; it draws me in and I get more involved with the music then I ever have in the past. It really enhances what SET amps are all about.

    All in all I cannot imagine a better pre-amplifier without going many times the price. Honestly I feel it is rather shocking. At some point I may replace it; not because I think I am going to get remarkably better performance, but more so because having a $699 pre-amp powering the rest of my system might just seem weird . Yes, it is that good in my view... but in the long run it may not give me the warm and fuzzies I get from say, an Audio Research or a McIntosh, for example!
    Great info, Randy. Is this the original Freya preamp or the new Freya+ specification?

  2. #12
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    Re: Schiit Freya

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyc View Post
    My new freya plus arrives tommorrow. looks like there is some solid upgrades from original fraya. cant wait to pair it this weekened with my Mac MC-302 and 7ft. line arrays at camp. Let you know.....
    Just got my new schitt freya plus and heres my initial impressions. First off, very well packed. very heavy cardboard container with foam inserts. build quality is first rate for price. Especially nice are high quality tube sockets. tubes fit nicely and have a solid fit.new style aluminum remote feels solid and has only basic controls, volume, buffer mode, and input. right now. i am using only my edifer pc speakers and lg V3o phone for audio, better audio report when i get to my camp and hook it to my mac mc-302 and line arrays. however, no noise or hiss whatsoever.even when i tap on cabinet there is 0 noise. seems to function perfect. None of problems i saw in original freya reviews. seems to sound good with this basic setup. Better review this weekend when at camp.

  3. #13
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    Re: Schiit Freya

    thanks for update , I use the original one in passive form only and its pretty good but glad if they can solve the valve issue bit
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs msb s200 . onkyo sacd , bel canto fm1 tuner . tannoy eaton legacy 2]schiit saga pre , firebottle hybrid monoblocks ,bel canto 3.5 vbs , marantz sa8005, reference fidelity impulse Ta`us horns

  4. #14
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    Re: Schiit Freya

    Dead quiet so far. Even tapping on cabinet produces no noise. Will provide more complete review when I bring to my camp this weekend.
    Thanks, jimmyc

  5. #15
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    Re: Schiit Freya

    Well, back from camp and was very impressed by Freya plus. Best was 0 tube noise, not even when I knuckle rapped the chassis. Very quiet. Blown away by improvement in sound from previous top of line Yamaha surround preamp valued at $3000. Reminds me of time I was Cary audio dealer. Very musical unit. I have about 30 hours on tung sol tubes. Many other refinements including nice aluminum remote control, tubes shut off when switched out of tube mode. Nice . Especially like new motorized volume control, not only does it operate smoothly but it tracks remote volume control. Very nice. Unit gets hot but that’s to be expected with tubes mounted so close to chassis. All in all, bargain for $900. Seems to run well hooked up balanced to my Mac MC302. Plenty of drive. Great build quality for price, has nice feel. Seems to be substantial improvement from original Freya. Very happy so far. Will give more complete review when fully broken in.

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