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Schiit Freya S Preamplifier Review 2

Rottmannash

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Right, that's arguably the main selling feature of the +. I just prefer cool running under use case conditions is all. I'm sure the + performs great as well.
According to Schitt it performs identically using the passive buffer.
 

tvrgeek

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A preamplifier in passive mode may be fine by it's self, but not necessary when driving an amplifier input. Input stages are sensitive to the output impedance of the source. Too high an input impedance can raise distortion dramatically. You may say, yes, but the amp IPS is a buffer. Yes it is, but it has a filter network in front of it and participates in the feedback loop. A buffer at the volume pot is designed to handle the variable impedance.

The good news is there seems to be several active preamps with measured performance we could only dream of in a lab a few years ago.
 

borisM

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One thing im trying to figure out, and excuse my ignorance or poor forum-searching, but is the fact that all outputs on the Freya are active a problem in any way?
Initially I was hoping that I can select and switch between my inputs and outputs freely. This is now obviously not the case. But how would this even work in passive mode? If im feeding balanced/se input to the Freya and I have things hooked to say 3 of the five outputs, will all perform equally well (can I terminate on the receiver end and only leave the relevant one active)? I am having a hard time imagining how the output is not getting degraded. Then again, if the passive mode is powered..

As many other people I have two inputs (record player and my DAC). The issue is, I have at least two outputs too (headphone amp and speaker amp), tendency increasing. Im looking for something (probably in addition to the freya) that can switch between outputs :C
 

Laserjock

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One thing im trying to figure out, and excuse my ignorance or poor forum-searching, but is the fact that all outputs on the Freya are active a problem in any way?
Initially I was hoping that I can select and switch between my inputs and outputs freely. This is now obviously not the case. But how would this even work in passive mode? If im feeding balanced/se input to the Freya and I have things hooked to say 3 of the five outputs, will all perform equally well (can I terminate on the receiver end and only leave the relevant one active)? I am having a hard time imagining how the output is not getting degraded. Then again, if the passive mode is powered..

As many other people I have two inputs (record player and my DAC). The issue is, I have at least two outputs too (headphone amp and speaker amp), tendency increasing. Im looking for something (probably in addition to the freya) that can switch between outputs :C
Inputs are selectable, outputs can be non-active if you leave whatever is connected in the off position. Shouldn’t affect performance
 

pvehling

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Inputs are selectable, outputs can be non-active if you leave whatever is connected in the off position. Shouldn’t affect performance
From the manual:

Can I use both outputs at the same time? Most of the time, yes. If you have products that short the input when turned off, then that can cause distortion.
 

Laserjock

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From the manual:

Can I use both outputs at the same time? Most of the time, yes. If you have products that short the input when turned off, then that can cause distortion.
There you go.
Anyone know what amps short input when turned off?
 

Guestuser

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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:


The back panel shows the nice balanced connectivity:


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:

index.php


As you see, there is 9 dB of difference in SINAD between the two channels. Here is how the new unit performs:
View attachment 50796

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:

View attachment 50797

View attachment 50798

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.

I have been spending every dollar you all donate but then someone asked me what I am doing for a "rainy day." I said it rains most of the time here so every day is a rainy day. It was explained to me that rainy day meant having a huge bank account that I could draw upon for wild parties and such, after this effort has gone bust. So I thought I come to you all and ask for BIG donation to fill that new account using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Awesome review, thanks for the doing the good work. Also, just wanted to mention that the Ranking Index still shows Freya S as not recommended. In light of this second review, maybe that should be updated. Thanks again!
 

Rottmannash

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Awesome review, thanks for the doing the good work. Also, just wanted to mention that the Ranking Index still shows Freya S as not recommended. In light of this second review, maybe that should be updated. Thanks again!
Also check out @Kal Rubinson 's review of the Freya+ in the current issue of Stereophile magazine. Very positive review and measurements. Basically the Freya S is the Freya+ without the tube drive stage according to Schitt.
 

borisM

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Thanks for clarifying things for me. So far im really happy with the Freya. Only one thing is kind of bothering me. In the passive stage on max volume I can maybe hear some very light buzzing on the right channel. Its most probably one of the dozen power cords running around my desk, im gonna be doing some spring cleaning (organizing cables) and XLR up this month.

But is there a reason why (1) this buzz is completely gone in the 1x stage (nice!) and (2) the noise floor is noticeably higher (not so nice)? Can this be due to this mode actually introducing gain? This is at least what is indicated in the original Freya S review:
I was surprised when I selected "0 dB" active mode and it produced fair bit of gain at max volume. So I had to dial that back to still get 4 volts out
.. resulting in around 6dB gain. Can I be hearing this? :D

Edit: everything is RCA / SE, Freya dial at 50% and speaker amp at 80-100% volume.
 

Scot_Douglas

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"the cases on the Vidars and the Freya+ do not match (different color)"

Speaking of non-matching cases — ever take a look at your furniture? :)
:D

OMG those bookcases. Ya got me! Center one is a 5-section case bought from Etsy a year ago - went to buy two more and couldn't find the guy. Found another guy from the same area that claimed that the cabinet design was his and he sold to other sellers on Etsy for resale. Sent him a photo and what I was looking for and he said yep - it's the same.

Turned out it wasn't, but I set them up before trying a return and think it looks decent with the wall color. My desk is an old quarter sawn oak schoolteacher's desk from the 20's (1920's) and with the additional wood color from the Q350's, I'm pretty happy with it. :)
 

DSJR

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Putting my dealer hat on, I'd suggest putting each mono amp as near the speakers as possible and have good quality longer interconnects between pre and power amps... If you can't, don't worry obviously, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw your pic.
 
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