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Schiit Freya S Preamplifier Review 2

dfuller

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JJ are cheaper tubes made in Slovakia. Tung Sol are made in Russia to a classic USA design. Schiit changed to save on cost figuring many customers do not care and there is no objective benefit to the Tung Sol. Also, you can buy and put whatever you want in there anyway.
This is not quite accurate. The Tung-Sols are not made remotely like the old ones. They just have the brand on them.

The thing about tube factories that you have to take into account is that each factory has good and bad years and it varies.
 

Helicopter

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This is not quite accurate. The Tung-Sols are not made remotely like the old ones. They just have the brand on them.

The thing about tube factories that you have to take into account is that each factory has good and bad years and it varies.
Interesting. Bad clone or not a clone at all?
 

dfuller

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Interesting. Bad clone or not a clone at all?
Not a clone at all. They're all tweaked EHX/Sovtek designs. JJs are mostly Tesla-based designs though a few are newer designs.
 

Helicopter

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Schiit has couple B stock Freya S in are in stock right now; both 115V and 230V. They had 3 in 115V before I got there ;)
 

tmtomh

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Did they give a reason for discontinuing the product?
Not that I'm aware of. However, the Freya+ tube version has a tube-bypass option, and I would guess Schiit - and maybe a lot of their customers - think that provides the equivalent functionality (even though if memory serves Amir's measurements indicated that the Freya S performed better than the Freya+ in bypass/solid-state mode). So if most of their Freya customers were going for the Freya+ to get the tube functionality or play with the tubes but still have the option to run in solid-state mode, perhaps Schiit figured, "Why sell Freya S for $600 when we can streamline our production, lower production and inventory costs, and sell some of those prospective customers Freya+ for $900"? In any business there are opportunity costs to keeping more items in the lineup.

To me the loss of Freya S is sad - but on the other hand @gvl is correct that a Topping preamp could make the Freya irrelevant. I currently have no preamp and run my Purifi-based power amp in its highest-gain mode. If Topping were to introduce a preamp that measured as well (or nearly as well) as its DACs, at a reasonable price, I definitely would be temped to pick one up to see if I could achieve even better performance with the Topping providing the extra gain and my power amp's input buffers bypassed entirely.
 

Helicopter

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Schiit sometimes launches products planning to thin the herd once they see how they sell. That's what they did with the preamps. They were actually surprised there was so much demand for the tube versions, but they are keeping them because they are in the business to meet consumer demand and that's where the demand is. When I got my Saga S, I was surprised how nice it was, and I think that partially explains why it didn't sell better than it did. It was bigger, heavier, and better finished than I expected, and well-worth six times what I paid for my Sys.

I had actually been planning to get a Freya+ since the S has been discontinued, and I really like 6SN7 tubes, and already have a bunch of them, and because, I'm sure like most consumers, I had liked the idea of being able to switch between 'tube mode' and other modes. If you think of it as 100% more functionality in the same space, then the price increase is easy to justify. I am sure a lot of people are thinking of it that way. If you are not an ASR nerd, the performance of the + products is just fine too, and gives that great tube ambiance.

I pulled the trigger on the Freya S because my tube amp has a preamp gain stage built in, and I am really looking at class D for my next power amps. I figure the S is a better pairing because I can run Freya S in passive with the tube amp's built-in tube preamp gain stage or run Freya S passive/active with class D amps and have pure tube or pure solid state in one unit with the (solid state) gain stage where I am more likely to want it while keeping everything philosophically pure. Also, I know it is going to be nice because I bought a Saga S earlier to have remote volume control on my bedroom TV.
 

Labjr

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Not that I'm aware of. However, the Freya+ tube version has a tube-bypass option, and I would guess Schiit - and maybe a lot of their customers - think that provides the equivalent functionality (even though if memory serves Amir's measurements indicated that the Freya S performed better than the Freya+ in bypass/solid-state mode). So if most of their Freya customers were going for the Freya+ to get the tube functionality or play with the tubes but still have the option to run in solid-state mode, perhaps Schiit figured, "Why sell Freya S for $600 when we can streamline our production, lower production and inventory costs, and sell some of those prospective customers Freya+ for $900"? In any business there are opportunity costs to keeping more items in the lineup.

To me the loss of Freya S is sad - but on the other hand @gvl is correct that a Topping preamp could make the Freya irrelevant. I currently have no preamp and run my Purifi-based power amp in its highest-gain mode. If Topping were to introduce a preamp that measured as well (or nearly as well) as its DACs, at a reasonable price, I definitely would be temped to pick one up to see if I could achieve even better performance with the Topping providing the extra gain and my power amp's input buffers bypassed entirely.
So bypass the buffer in the Purifi amp and use a preamp for gain instead? I'm thinking I'll eventually change up my system and would do it balanced. I'm wondering if Purifi will be making an amp with more power? Hadn't thought about a preamp but things seem to keep getting better. Will have to watch for a Topping preamp. Would be interesting to try a tube buffer sometime too. I have a Wavelength Sine preamp that's 25 years old, but it's single-ended. The best sound I ever got was using Golden Dragon 6SN7's.
 

tmtomh

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So bypass the buffer in the Purifi amp and use a preamp for gain instead? I'm thinking I'll eventually change up my system and would do it balanced. I'm wondering if Purifi will be making an amp with more power? Hadn't thought about a preamp but things seem to keep getting better. Will have to watch for a Topping preamp. Would be interesting to try a tube buffer sometime too. I have a Wavelength Sine preamp that's 25 years old, but it's single-ended. The best sound I ever got was using Golden Dragon 6SN7's.
I should clarify that I have zero specialized technical expertise to say whether or not a hypothetical high-performing Topping preamp feeding a Purifi power amp with its input buffer bypassed would measure or sound any better than a Purifi power amp by itself set to high gain. For all I know the two setups might sound identical. But if Topping's preamp measures out as good as or better than the Freya S, for less money than the Freya S, I might buy one just to try it out. :)
 

gvl

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A like the idea of having a very clean remote-controlled SE<->XLR converting preamp lying around, but the Freya is a bit too expensive for something I might use every now and then. Hopefully Topping will offer one at a more attractive price point, and with properly buffered inputs (and outputs) this time around.
 
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Helicopter

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I should clarify that I have zero specialized technical expertise to say whether or not a hypothetical high-performing Topping preamp feeding a Purifi power amp with its input buffer bypassed would measure or sound any better than a Purifi power amp by itself set to high gain. For all I know the two setups might sound identical. But if Topping's preamp measures out as good as or better than the Freya S, for less money than the Freya S, I might buy one just to try it out. :)
The Freya S measures well enough that even if Topping makes something 100x better objectively, they will still both sound the same. Also, this level of Schiit is pretty good audio jewelery. It is very nice stuff, and that is part of what you are buying.
 

PeteL

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So bypass the buffer in the Purifi amp and use a preamp for gain instead? I'm thinking I'll eventually change up my system and would do it balanced. I'm wondering if Purifi will be making an amp with more power? Hadn't thought about a preamp but things seem to keep getting better. Will have to watch for a Topping preamp. Would be interesting to try a tube buffer sometime too. I have a Wavelength Sine preamp that's 25 years old, but it's single-ended. The best sound I ever got was using Golden Dragon 6SN7's.
I wouldn’t recommend that, bufferless, purifi module have quite low input impedance, 2200 ohm I believe. Freya balanced have an output impedance of 600 ohms. impedance bridging is the main purpose of the buffer, not the gain
 
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Did they give a reason for discontinuing the product?
Slow sales.

Schiit was testing what customers wanted, and last year released 4 preamp models at the same time (Saga S, Saga+, Freya S, Freya+). Low end, high end, and both in solid state and tube versions. They called it a Thunderdome competition, and produced an initial run of each and would only make more of whatever sold well. To their own surprise, both of the solid state models sold poorly and they let their supply run out and didn't make more.
 

win

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I wish the tubes did more on the Freya+, you really can't hear them. I'm yet to listen to tubes that sound any better than 'the same'. I've tried some that sounded worse though.
 

PeteL

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I'm waiting for the Topping preamp to be released, then I'll need to find a reason to buy it :)
It could happens, it might not, but sometime, for me it’s ok for manufacturers to stay focus on what they do best. Topping are great but I’ not convince that they need to enter this market. I mean analog only preamps. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, it’s hypothetical, but assuming off the bat that they would beat the competition is biased to the brand. Like, really who talks about smsl speakers amp? they are similar compagnies, with he same ownership at administrative levels. There was also a network streamer just reviewed here with lukewarm performance, and pricing that was pretty much on par with the usual suspects in that line of products, basically, by doing that they where not bringing sommthing fresh to the table. Looking at product offer, smsl would be more likely to release a multi input balanced preamp. at some point, and see how they do. Topping seam to have a status here of unconditional love here, rightful to some extent, be they really arent a R&D focused company, More integrators and designers, trying to take a shot at new markets, maybe, but assumings that their first shot at it would be state of the art, is in some way biased wishful thinking. Maybe, maybe not.
 

win

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It could happens, it might not, but sometime, for me it’s ok for manufacturers to stay focus on what they do best. Topping are great but I’ not convince that they need to enter this market. I mean analog only preamps. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, it’s hypothetical, but assuming off the bat that they would beat the competition is biased to the brand. Like, really who talks about smsl speakers amp? they are similar compagnies, with he same ownership at administrative levels. There was also a network streamer just reviewed here with lukewarm performance, and pricing that was pretty much on par with the usual suspects in that line of products, basically, by doing that they where not bringing sommthing fresh to the table. Looking at product offer, smsl would be more likely to release a multi input balanced preamp. at some point, and see how they do. Topping seam to have a status here of unconditional love here, rightful to some extent, be they really arent a R&D focused company, More integrators and designers, trying to take a shot at new markets, maybe, but assumings that their first shot at it would be state of the art, is in some way biased wishful thinking. Maybe, maybe not.
not a question of if but when. And the performance will most likely be excellent, and priced competitively to boot.

It kind of has to be to justify an all analog preamp.
 
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