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Schiit Freya+ Pre-amp Review

Rate this preamp:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 89 49.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 60 33.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 19 10.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 6.7%

  • Total voters
    180

PeteL

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Let me break it down for you. Their products don't measure well compared to their price and none of them come with a display or a remote. They all have a boring industrial look which saves cost.
I do have their modi ESS DAC and I like the sound of it.
It comes with a remote
 

PeteL

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What a load of Schiit IMO. I firmly believe that the sole reason for the JJ being considered as a dirty tube due to how dirt cheap it is compared to Tung Sol and NOS tubes. My headphone tube amp is 100% JJ KT88 power tubes and JJ 6SL7 input tube (supposed to be noiser than 6SN7) and it's the cheapest brand out of all KT88 and 6SL7 tube types, and my headphone amp has (hate this term but had to write it anyways) inky black background with zero noise and zero hissing even when cranked to 100+ dB SPL levels (watching Blu-ray movies with Dolby Atmos encoding)
I crank it up quite regularly and I never heard any hissing with my gain structure and speakers, but yeah it may vary with the rest of the chain. It's a very quiet preamp, that's what I like about it. I agree that for headphone amps it may be a different story but why bring that in the comparison?

Edit. Sorry I now see you are commenting about the JJ tubes themselves, missed to conversation background, my bad.
 
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Jimster480

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DHT = just pure visual tube sexiness. My KT88 based headphone amp looks cheap in comparison
View attachment 221191
They definitely look cool. But I can't imagine much of use for them other than nostalgia for some people. I grew up past the time of tubes and even though some of my friends really liked them I never got into it
 

PeteL

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Well yes, but you are arguing semantics.... I meant measurements.
Any first party measurement is always something to be skeptical of.
Why don't you tell us what is wrong with Schiit measurment reports instead of just broad generalities that you just don't trust first party measurments and you trust Amir's measurments? I don't know, one of the biggest thing this community critique about is that some manufacturers don’t rightfully measure their stuff and don't show their measurments. Now we have one that does and it seems to be ok to just make free accusations of falsifying and conspiring to make a product more sellable. Not everybody is dishonest outside this group...
 
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MaxBuck

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Regardless of what one might think about Schiit, they are committed to transparency regarding the measured performance of their products. I applaud their corporate ethic in this regard.
 
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amirm

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Why don't you tell us what is wrong with Schiit measurment reports instead of just broad generalities that you just don't trust first party measurments and you trust Amir's measurments?
I will say it. They are batch generated and hard to read. They for example don't set the signal level to 0 dB which makes it hard to read distortion spike amplitude. They also don't run all the tests I run, or in the manner I run them. Since members here are interested in comparison to other products I have tested, the job is quite complicated especially if you are not familiar with the measurement software. This is why I continue to get their products to test from members.

I also get fair number of requests to translate measurements from Schiit and other companies as again, they are run differently than mine and people don't know how to compare them.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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What a load of Schiit IMO. I firmly believe that the sole reason for the JJ being considered as a dirty tube due to how dirt cheap it is compared to Tung Sol and NOS tubes. My headphone tube amp is 100% JJ KT88 power tubes and JJ 6SL7 input tube (supposed to be noiser than 6SN7) and it's the cheapest brand out of all KT88 and 6SL7 tube types, and my headphone amp has (hate this term but had to write it anyways) inky black background with zero noise and zero hissing even when cranked to 100+ dB SPL levels (watching Blu-ray movies with Dolby Atmos encoding)
My last couple of batches of tubes were $3 a piece. JJ is ten times that.
 

AudioX3

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What is it that the audiophile community of reviews can't comprehend that the difference in sound they hear is so attributable to dB gain or accentuated areas of frequency gain? Louder accentuates the dynamics. Tube amps or preamps in general have extensive gain. (So does your volume control, BTW, and it isn't fixed.) This became so clear to me when I got a $30 Radio Shack sound level meter and adjusted even crudely via this method to equal volumes. This is so basic.

(I almost bought a Freya+ based on the numerous gushing reviews. So this review by Amir hits home for me.)
 

Rottmannash

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What is it that the audiophile community of reviews can't comprehend that the difference in sound they hear is so attributable to dB gain or accentuated areas of frequency gain? Louder accentuates the dynamics. Tube amps or preamps in general have extensive gain. (So does your volume control, BTW, and it isn't fixed.) This became so clear to me when I got a $30 Radio Shack sound level meter and adjusted even crudely via this method to equal volumes. This is so basic.

(I almost bought a Freya+ based on the numerous gushing reviews. So this review by Amir hits home for me.)
the passive circuit does not have gain.
 

bboris77

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The thing that I still cannot reconcile in a logical fashion is the attempt by most manufacturers of tube audio equipment to minimize the distortion that tubes add to the original sound to the point of inaudibility, when it is that very distortion that gives them their raison d'etre. Unless there is something other than distorting in a smoother fashion that tubes do better their solid-state equivalents. I would really appreciate it if someone technically minded could point out at least one area in which tubes outperform current day solid-state amplifiers.

Schiit's marketing for their own Folkvangr monster tube amp is a lot more clear - it really is an experimental tube amp which does not even pretend to aspire to measure well. It embraces its own "tubeness" and is marketed as a novelty and niche headphone amplifier.
 

PeteL

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I will say it. They are batch generated and hard to read. They for example don't set the signal level to 0 dB which makes it hard to read distortion spike amplitude. They also don't run all the tests I run, or in the manner I run them. Since members here are interested in comparison to other products I have tested, the job is quite complicated especially if you are not familiar with the measurement software. This is why I continue to get their products to test from members.

I also get fair number of requests to translate measurements from Schiit and other companies as again, they are run differently than mine and people don't know how to compare them.
Yes, I have not disputed the fact that their measurements use different parameters than yours or tried to imply that it was not useful that you measure and review Schiit's products. The comment was about trusting the data that is there.
 
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don'ttrustauthority

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Where did you get that from?
In your speaker reviews, you say often how distortion at the upper frequency range is more audible than the lower frequency range, or do misunderstand your reviews?

I do agree that the data could be easier to read on their reviews.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Yes. I also have the JJs. Schiit's Data should also be based on that, originally it was the standard package.
I don't necessarily agree that the data for tubes should be based on any particular brand since they all measure slightly differently, but it would be helpful to identify the type of tube used. I assume they used the same tube that it originally shipped with.

Amir has done tests that show tubes basically test the same, but he isn't a tube expert so maybe there are other tests he could do that would show a difference.
 

PeteL

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I don't necessarily agree that the data for tubes should be based on any particular brand since they all measure slightly differently.
It's not "any particular brand" It's the model that comes with the product they are selling.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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I think a 6sn7 tube would last a very long time. I’m not a tech but from most of my reading 10,000 hours in a preamp is not unreasonable. Seems unlikely the tubes in this model tested were burned out
Amir's results are consistent and reflect other testing. The difference in SINAD of 30db is almost certainly due to Amir testing at 4 v and Schiit testing at I think 1 v.

I wish Amir would test at 1 v or 2 v which is high for casual music listening. 4 v is for killing the neighbors.
 

RHG55

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How disappointing. I was almost tempted at one point to buy the Schiit Freya+, partly based on Amir's positive review of the Freya. I'm happy that I patiently waited for this review to come out. I'll forget about using tube-based preamplifiers and will concentrate instead on a combination of streamer - DAC - room correction and preamp that bypass my Marantz AV8805, which I know is the weak-link in my AV system from the music sound viewpoint.

I have to say Marantz AV8805 does a pretty decent job as a hub for streaming HD multi-channel and dolby Atmos movie and TV content from Apple TV, FireTV, etc. and it is hard to replace for anything else that significantly better performing, without costing quite bit of money.
 

Sklats Det

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Wow what a ton of information on my insufficiently used Freya+. I have had a reliable and enjoyable Saga as my daily driver for an extended amount of time. I have found some enjoyable NOS to work with along with Tungsols for the Saga.

I have to say i am a hybrid preamp fan not for nostalgia, or because i am under some type of marketing spell, but because i enjoy the sound. It took me a long time to even invest in the tube vein.

For those who have owned both, did you not observe the Freya to sound better than the Saga? To what degree? My Freya is out of pocket at the moment, but i remember thinking it sounded better than the Saga, and i was not disappointed by the cost difference, from an audio perspective at least
 
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amirm

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I wish Amir would test at 1 v or 2 v which is high for casual music listening. 4 v is for killing the neighbors.
I show the range of output vs performance:

index.php


The tube mode has maximum of 15 volts. If you set up your amp to have full output at this level, then 2 or even 4 volts is still reasonable volume.
 
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Hello,

Thank you Amir for the review !

The review from stereophile :


Ludo
 

mhardy6647

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Hello,

Thank you Amir for the review !

The review from stereophile :


Ludo
As is always the case with passive preamplifiers, the output impedance depended on the setting of the volume control. The preamplifier's balanced output impedance was lowest with the volume control set to its maximum, at 638 ohms. (This figure includes the Audio Precision's source impedance of 40 ohms.) The output impedance increased to more than 5k ohms at settings from –4dB to –15dB but dropped to 2.4k ohms at settings of –20dB and below.

Well, yes, I suppose it's "always the case" when a so-called "passive preamplifier"* uses simple variable resistance for attenuation -- but there are, of course, constant impedance options for attenuation. :)

That maximum impedance at intermediate attenuation thing mentioned almost in passing by @John Atkinson and quoted above is, IMO, the bugbear of oh-so-many passive preamps. It's completely avoidable, too.

________________
* Which still strikes me as oxymoronic, although I've come to grips with it after ca. 3 decades of -- dare I say it? -- resistance. ;)
 
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