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Hardware Teardown of Schiit Sys Passive Pre-amp and Switcher

amirm

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#1
I recently performed a measurement and review of Schiit Sys Passive Pre-amp and Switcher . This is a quick hardware teardown of this unit.

As I noted in that review, there is not much in this box:

Schiit Sys Hardware Teardown-221555.jpg


We have two inputs on right top side, controlled with the front panel push on/push off switch. The output then goes through the potentiometer ("pot") next to it on the way to the rear left set of RCA jacks.

Schiit Sys Hardware Teardown-222325.jpg


I was pleased to see a Japanese branded pot there:

Schiit Sys Hardware Teardown-222012.jpg


The rear RCA jacks are PCB mounted and held on top by a single self-threading screw into plastic:

Schiit Sys Hardware Teardown-222308.jpg


I unscrewed it some so that you can see the threads. It is secure enough but I would not jam any heavy audiophile cables into it.

Sadly the trademark hand soldering of Schiit shows up here with solder splatters:

Schiit Sys Hardware Teardown-221807.jpg


Those little white spots are bits of solder. I don't understand why a brush or cotton swab is not used to clean these contacts. Or why so much splatter is there to begin with. These can lead to shorts and reliability problems which can cost more than cleaning them. And while there, the flux should be cleaned too even if it is "no clean" type:

Schiit Sys Hardware Teardown-221821.jpg


On the positive side, the sheet metal is pretty sturdy for a small box. Pretty sure you can drive over it and it would survive. :)

Conclusions
For a box with a specific function sold at budget prices, this type of design and construction is fine with the exception of solder splatter. I hope Schiit takes care of this issue which has manifested itself in Schiit Modi 2 teardown just the same. If you own this device, open it up and clean up the solder splatters.
 
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#2
The randomness in the amount of solder, and the solder balls is poor, and is due to poor and rushed technique, I'd say. The dirty-looking flux shows the iron tip isn't being cleaned regularly. I'm a research/development engineer, not on a production line, but I'd be ashamed of soldering like that on any of my prototypes.

Good hand soldering should leave solder fillets that look almost identical, with little puddles of clean flux, also looking regular. Leaving flux in place isn't a problem for me; no-clean flux is pretty benign.
 

LarsS

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#3
The randomness in the amount of solder, and the solder balls is poor, and is due to poor and rushed technique, I'd say. The dirty-looking flux shows the iron tip isn't being cleaned regularly. I'm a research/development engineer, not on a production line, but I'd be ashamed of soldering like that on any of my prototypes.

Good hand soldering should leave solder fillets that look almost identical, with little puddles of clean flux, also looking regular. Leaving flux in place isn't a problem for me; no-clean flux is pretty benign.
Welcome Captain!
As once being taught soldering in the Swedish Army couldn't agree more ( ex Army Engineer Radar tech.)
 

Dialectic

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#4
I realize the Sys is only $49, but that looks like a very cheap Alps pot. Even some cheap NAD integrateds have had Alps Blue Velvets.
 

jseaber

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#5
Conclusions
For a box with a specific function sold at budget prices, this type of design and construction is fine with the exception of solder splatter. I hope Schiit takes care of this issue which has manifested itself in Schiit Modi 2 teardown just the same. If you own this device, open it up and clean up the solder splatters.
Leaving flux in place isn't a problem for me; no-clean flux is pretty benign.
@captain paranoia is right on. This looks like no-clean solder flux. We see this from many CMs these days, and as the name suggests, the ugly residue does no harm.
 
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#6
I just purchased this tonight, then looked for reviews. Figured the worst would be it somehow deviating the sound quality by a big margin, but should work with the Parasound Zamp I bought for $100.
 
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#8
The SYS is the one POS gear I have kept. I have used it for various switching duties only (volume full up), no noticeable effect on sound, also in room measurements with REW show no effect with or without the SYS in the circuit.
 
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#9
Thanks...I just don't want the sound colored. I'm down to rebuilding a system and this will allow me to not have to use the R/L gains on my Parasound Zamp for volume.

I really liked Schiit when they began due to price and aesthetics. But reality hit me with their first offering and product to sell--their BiFrost DAC, maybe I didn't give it enough hours and time? After 4 months I never felt like I it was an upgrade from my MTech thumb drive 24/96 DAC. Went with Benchmark after that and never looked back. I owned their Mani and it was fine for $99. But I borrowed a TCC-Forget model, pre and it was a pleasant surprise. I don't think I like the Schiit house sound, or their older one.

I wish I'd remembered that TCC or Technolink sells a passive line level preamp for $49 along with their phono pre's. They're like Schiit but minus all the hipster appeal. https://www.phonopreamps.com/TC-780LCpp.html
 
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