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Schiit Freya S Preamplifier Review 2

PeteL

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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.
Why Topping before smsl considering their head office is the same?
 

PeteL

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Pretty sure that's not in fact true. Topping, afaik, is entirely unrelated to SMSL.
OK, all I have is comments on forums like here and sbaf that they boh share the same compagny and it would be two divisions of a holding called AOSHIDA. I’d do more research, would be easier if read the Mandarin I guess. If those are rumors and unfounded, maybe. Yes so far it’s just something i have read, not rigourous truth

edit: Yes digging more into it it looks like bullshit claims, Looks like a distributor to me, Apologies for the disinformation.
 
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Veri

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If those are rumors and unfounded, maybe. Yes so far it’s just something i have read, not rigourous truth
Ah I see, I know which SBAF thread you are talking about. Pretty sure that rumour was debunked some pages later. It is unsubstantiated ;)
 

AudioTodd

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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.
I was sad to see them go as I have a Saga, Saga+ and Saga S and they are great for what they do. I mostly use them in passive mode and sometimes to add remote volume to some vintage setups I like to throw together from time to time for fun. The Saga S is the most convenient for its lack of tube that allows placement anywhere. Too bad not enough audiophiles agreed with my appreciation of the little guy.
 

Helicopter

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I was sad to see them go as I have a Saga, Saga+ and Saga S and they are great for what they do. I mostly use them in passive mode and sometimes to add remote volume to some vintage setups I like to throw together from time to time for fun. The Saga S is the most convenient for its lack of tube that allows placement anywhere. Too bad not enough audiophiles agreed with my appreciation of the little guy.
I really think the lack of appreciation for the S models boils down to the more expensive, excellent build, which is difficult to communicate through the internet-direct sales model, and then there is also the positioning right along side the incredibly novel + modes which have the tube mode you can switch on and off. That adds a lot of value for those who are curious about tubes. The + models are really pretty too.
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.
Looking at the tube specs

Schiit site, Saga+:

THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
IMD: <0.001%, CCIR (active stage)
SNR: >108db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS

Freya+:

THD: <0.01%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
IMD: <0.01%, CCIR
SNR: >115db, A-weighted, referenced to 2V RMS

The circuits are very well implemented and it is not surprising you don't hear the tubes. A rougher implementation, like a Darkvoice 336SE, or maybe one of the really cheap Chinese tube buffers or HPAs with buffer stage pass through might give you the sound you are looking for. Stay away from the Loxjie P20. I haven't see specs yet, but my subjective experience, and that of others, is that the sound is very clean. I love the P20, but but it is not my recommendation for adding audible distortion and frequency response change.

Maybe this guy. One review on Amazon (David Roehr), has some AP measurements showing lots of harmonic distortion and modified FR.
 
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tmtomh

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Darn tubes. People are weak.
They are weak, and in a perfect illustration of the problem with audiophile culture in its current form, their weakness consigns the rest of us to overpay by 50% and accept slightly inferior measured performance if we now want to get a Freya to use as a solid-state preamp.
 

win

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I really think the lack of appreciation for the S models boils down to the more expensive, excellent build, which is difficult to communicate through the internet-direct sales model, and then there is also the positioning right along side the incredibly novel + modes which have the tube mode you can switch on and off. That adds a lot of value for those who are curious about tubes. The + models are really pretty too.

Looking at the tube specs

Schiit site, Saga+:

THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
IMD: <0.001%, CCIR (active stage)
SNR: >108db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS

Freya+:

THD: <0.01%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
IMD: <0.01%, CCIR
SNR: >115db, A-weighted, referenced to 2V RMS

The circuits are very well implemented and it is not surprising you don't hear the tubes. A rougher implementation, like a Darkvoice 336SE, or maybe one of the really cheap Chinese tube buffers or HPAs with buffer stage pass through might give you the sound you are looking for. Stay away from the Loxjie P20. I haven't see specs yet, but my subjective experience, and that of others, is that the sound is very clean. I love the P20, but but it is not my recommendation for adding audible distortion and frequency response change.

Maybe this guy. One review on Amazon (David Roehr), has some AP measurements showing lots of harmonic distortion and modified FR.
Indeed, after my post I was curious and went over to the Schiit site and looked at the AP graphs myself!

I might attempt to drive the tubes at 100% volume, and use my SHD studio's digital volume control instead. That should produce more distortion, just not sure it will be audible. Conversely, I bought a $200 tube buffer for my garage setup, and can definitely hear the difference.
 

BDWoody

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I really think the lack of appreciation for the S models boils down to the more expensive, excellent build, which is difficult to communicate through the internet-direct sales model,
I agree. This is what sold me on it:

Conclusions
Honestly, there is no way I could ever build you a preamp with this functionality and performance and sell it at this price.
Even with that endorsement, it was better than I expected in terms of quality of fit/finish, the quality of the remote, and just overall being a pleasure to use.

It's reminiscent of some older quality stuff I've got.
 

win

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I agree. This is what sold me on it:



Even with that endorsement, it was better than I expected in terms of quality of fit/finish, the quality of the remote, and just overall being a pleasure to use.

It's reminiscent of some older quality stuff I've got.
Did yours smell weird? Mine smelled weird for like a week.
 

Rottmannash

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Indeed.

If someone told me a year ago that I might consider actually purchasing a Schiit product, I would have told them they were out of their mind... At this point, after seeing some really excellent products, I would almost buy something in penance for all of the Schiity things I may have said about them.

They have moved out of the role of being the butt of all jokes with some profoundly serious issues, to their new offerings being taken seriously and offering highly recommended products of very good value...I'd say someone is making some better overall engineering decisions, and it is so great to see.
I just bought and have been listening to the Freya+ and it's been a joy to listen, especially thru the tube stage. So far, so good.
 
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