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Schiit Freya S Preamplifier Review 2

amirm

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#1
A few weeks ago I reviewed the Schiit Freya S preamplifier. It performed really well in passive mode, providing fully transparency to my ultra low distortion and and noise audio analyzer. In active mode, one channel produced excellently low distortion and noise but the other was some 9 dB worse. One or two dB is normal but not such a wide gap. After the review was published, company contacted me and offered to send me another sample to test. This is article is the results of measuring that unit. FYI, the owner of the unit who loaned his to me received a unit with a new board.

As I noted in the previous review, the ultra wide and not so tall height produces a much more attractive look than some of the other Schiit products:

Freya S active and passive stepped attenuator preamplifier sample 2 audio review.jpg

The back panel shows the nice balanced connectivity:

Freya S active and passive stepped attenuator preamplifier sample 2 back panel connectors audi...jpg

Combined with the stepped attenuator providing good channel matching, this is a very attractive set of features.

Preamplifier Audio Measurements
I won't be repeating all the previous measurements but rather, focus on where the issue was starting with active "0 dB" mode. This is what we had before:



As you see, there is 9 dB of difference in SINAD between the two channels. Here is how the new unit performs:
Freya S active and passive stepped attenuator preamplifier sample 2 audio measurements.png


The two channels are much closer and within margin of error I normally see. There is a slight drop in how good the one channel is though and we can see that in follow on measurements:

Freya S active and passive stepped attenuator preamplifier sample 2 IMD 0 dB audio measurements.png


Freya S active and passive stepped attenuator preamplifier sample 2 IMD 14 dB audio measurements.png


I think some variation is inevitable given the architecture here (stepped attenuator with many passive parts).

Conclusions
Honestly, there is no way I could ever build you a preamp with this functionality and performance and sell it at this price. Many of us who need a preamp have a digital source (DAC) and one analog input (Reel-to-Reel in my case, turntable for others). Having balanced preamplification including a passive and low gain mode is quite excellent here.

With the channel discrepancy fixed, I am happy to put the Schiit Freya S on my recommended list.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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majingotan

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#5
It's from a member, not Schiit. But also means not really a golden sample as some would think if it were to come from Schiit. Still, agreed, thumbs up for Schiit.
It's from @T.M.Noble (Schiit's finance manager) contacting Amir directly for a retest. I don't think it's a golden sample, but they just pulled a random one from their inventory
 
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#7
It's from @T.M.Noble (Schiit's finance manager) contacting Amir directly for a retest. I don't think it's a golden sample, but they just pulled a random one from their inventory
Honestly we don't know either way. But Amir has tested units from manufacturers before so I don't see why schiit should be treated any differently.
 

majingotan

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#8

majingotan

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#10
Honestly we don't know either way. But Amir has tested units from manufacturers before so I don't see why schiit should be treated any differently.
A little googling shows that T.M. Noble is Tyler Noble from Schiit and that from the original Freya thread, Tyler specifically wrote this
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...preamplifier-review.10960/page-10#post-316306

FYI, Amir has the new Freya S. I know the man is very busy but I really look forward to the results.
 

gvl

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#15
So why do people need a preamp these days? Seems that setting aside $700 towards a purchase of Benchmark DAC3 or the like is a more rational choice. And I do like the Freya especially now that they ditched the tubes, but can't think of a use case for my purposes, then you still lose couple of dBs of SINAD while going through it.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #17
So why do people need a preamp these days? Seems that setting aside $700 towards a purchase of Benchmark DAC3 or the like is a more rational choice. And I do like the Freya especially now that they ditched the tubes, but can't think of a use case for my purposes, then you still lose couple of dBs of SINAD while going through it.
As I explained, it is for those of us who have more than one source such as LP or Tape plus DAC. Otherwise yes, you feed the DAC to the power amp if it has a volume control (or if you are brave, using software volume control).
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #18
Where is the record out for the reel to reel?
The application these days for tape is not recording but straight playback. People actually pay to have the record heads taken out of their decks.
 

gvl

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#19
As I explained, it is for those of us who have more than one source such as LP or Tape plus DAC. Otherwise yes, you feed the DAC to the power amp if it has a volume control (or if you are brave, using software volume control).
Benchmark DAC3, some variants at least, has analog inputs.
 

laudio

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#20
Gimme a good input switcher (should cost about $10), some tone controls (yes I am a dinosaur), two pre outs and record out, and a nice looking unit - then I'm a buyer. Oh - and phono EQ please :). That's the definition of a preamp if you want to call it a preamp. Just kidding - the Freya fits the bill these days for a lot of people I guess,
 

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