Schiit Saga Thread

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by HitmanFluffy, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. deserat

    deserat Acquaintance

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    Thanks for the reasurance.

    Any suggestion on a tube to open up soundstage?

    I've also got a maxed out foreplay 3 that I need to finish refurbing, going to enjoy comparing the two,
     
  2. RiddleyWalker

    RiddleyWalker Friend

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    Just got my Saga in. Currently just running it as a preamp to my Black Widow, but it will also serve my JBL monitors. Oddly, it seems like I need to have the volume pot turned all the way up in order to get decent volume. And even then, it's about the same volume as if I had connected my RCAs directly from source to amp. Is this to be expected, or is something amiss?
     
  3. rlow

    rlow Facebook Friend

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    From the Schiit website under specs for the Saga:

    Gain: Approximately 1 (0dB) through either passive or active stage​

    So yep, that's what to expect...max output same as the source direct. No gain.
     
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  4. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

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    While the Saga is transparent for speakers, I would not use it in between a dac and a resolving headphone amp. When I tried it with the ZDT, there was a loss in max volume (likely due to the impedance interactions b/t pre-amp and headphone amp) and a loss in overall resolution.
     
  5. rlow

    rlow Facebook Friend

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    That makes a lot of sense. I also don't find it makes much of a tube buffer either in my experience. Saga is subtle enough on its own WRT the tube-loob it adds on, and I found it's even less apparent going through another preamp (the character of the next preamp marks it's stamp on the signature as well).
     
  6. deserat

    deserat Acquaintance

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    Saga arrived today... along with Vidar. My rig is Yggy Gen5 -> Saga -> Vidar -> KEF LS50.

    Stock tube.

    Notes:
    • Active vs Passive. Subjective: Highs reverb just a bit more, most noticable on cymbals. Mids seem to come up a couple of db in active but not much. Does nothing for sound stage, liquidity, dynamics. Really can't tell the difference.
    • Active vs passive. Test with Audiophile Test CD. I was expecting some roll off in active mode in the bass but in both active and passive level testing for bass was equal down to 31 hz. Well below the rated bottom lows frequency of the ls50's so tube doesn't seem to have a problem there.
    • Relay attenuator volume is not smooth. There are some spots where the db level jumps unevenly and a spot right after the 12 o clock position where the signal cuts out for a split second while moving between relays. This occurs less severly at 1 o clock and 3 o clock. I don't care cause I don't adjust volume alot.
    • Whole system ( with Saga in both passive and active mode ) is transparent enough to make 256k mp3 very annoying to listen to. ( The Yggy is known for being extremely unforgiving the Saga isn't smoothing or hiding that ).
    • I feel like, if the attenuator is going to be that noisy the Saga should be less clean and high tech looking, and have more of a mad scientist lab aesthetic. But that's just me being ... well mad - waa haa haaa.
    • Am very happy the tube isn't as sunk in as far is it is one MJ2 and Lyr 2. It's nice to see the glow and not leave fingernail shavings in the amp when removing the tube.
    I have a Sylvania Bad Boy and some Russians from Upscale Audio on the way... will see if they make any difference. Sure hope they do or I'll just stare angrily a that useless button.

    Also have a heavily upgraded Bottlehead Foreplay 3, that I'm restoring. I'll compare it against that at a later date.

    So far I'm happy depite the useless button.
     
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  7. rlow

    rlow Facebook Friend

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    You really need to give those new components some time to burn in to get their true sound. Not saying you will necessarily find it better or worse, but my Vidar changed quite a bit after about 30 hours of play time at moderate volume, and more so up to 75-100 hours. With a new Saga and tube on top of that, I think you will likely hear quite a change over time. And that's not just having the units plugged in, but pushing amps (in particular with Vidar).

    I agree the Saga volume steps/attenuator seems to jump around a bit sometimes moving a couple of steps instead of one, and it's also a bit blurry/scratchy going between steps. But like you, I don't change that often, doesn't bother me at all.

    Also regarding Saga tubes - my experience with a half-dozen tubes of various quality is that ALL are fairly subtle - they do each have their own signature but it is not dramatic at all (it's only one tube) so if you're trying to significantly shape your sound with Saga's tube buffer, you may be dissapointed. That said, I did find the stock tube a bit rough/bright, there's definitely better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  8. deserat

    deserat Acquaintance

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    Ya figured that'd be the case. Intend to update post after a weekend of burn in. Also the expecation of required burn in on the Vidar is why I've not posted anything about it. I'd expect a "passive" component that has little more than a couple of resistors in the signal path to require very little burn in. That said the tube stage should need some.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  9. Lenroot77

    Lenroot77 Almost "Made"

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    Just received a saga, my pot seems to be a bit “stiff” like something is rubbing? Anyone else experience this? Maybe they all are like this when they are new?

    Thanks!
     
  10. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

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    Use a 1/16 hex to loosen the pot and re-align it. If it's not straight, the pot will rub against the metal behind it.
     
  11. deserat

    deserat Acquaintance

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    Rig burned in all weekend in active mode - vidar/saga now at 75+ hours of music. I stand by everything above. The burn in increased the smoothness up and down the range - everything feel more natural. Though I suspect that was a result of the Vidar, not the Saga. Clicking the useless button is still pretty useless. Don't get me wrong, I'm prone to hyperbole, there is a difference, but it is very very very sublte... not worth actually pushing the button. My guess is that it's going to take some very liquid tubes to make a difference. Perhaps coating those tubes with a bit of of Mrs. Butterworth will help. I recall this from my MJ2, where the gooey Orange Globes sound fantastic while the more natural Telefunkens sound much like the LSST. Though I also recall smashing the stock tubes with a hammer out spite ( again remember I I'm hyperbolic, I smashed them out of joy of seeing them die, not from spite. )

    Tube is essentially a slight bump in the midband EQ. Nothing like actually using a tube. At this stage, I feel like Schiit could have forgone the extra cost associated with adding a tube stage and either enjjoyed the profit from having producted an excellent passive stepped attenuator or investied the money into smoothing out the attenuator. Either way, a passive attenuator with a remote control for this price is unheard of, totally worth what I paid for it - if I think about the button on the front as an implementation of Claude Shannon's "Ultimate Machine" I feel like I got a hipster/irony bonus. We'll see, new tubes come in this week.... plus I'm sure somebody is going to say, "You need to let the passive equipment burn in for 300 hours."
     
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  12. Jokko

    Jokko Friend

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    Is using a Saga with xlr-monitors a bad idea, you know, being rca and all.
    Does anyone have a good alternative to Freya, would like a smaller footprint for desk use.
     
  13. GanGreinke

    GanGreinke Almost "Made"

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    You'd have to check on the specific monitor, but some monitors are designed to take both balanced and unbalanced inputs (you can just use an XLR-to-RCA cable). Some monitors have a specific switch that allows you to choose balanced/unbalanced, but others don't have the switch. Just know that the signal for unbalanced will be -10 dB while the balanced will be +4 dB.
     
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  14. mrflibble

    mrflibble Almost "Made"

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    Or RCA cables with TRS (phono) adapters if the monitors have TRS sockets. That was the method I used to connect my phono stage to my JBL LSR305's.
     
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  15. deserat

    deserat Acquaintance

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    Ordered a Freya to test difference figured I'd send one of the two back. Didn't figure I'd decide this fast but the Freya stays the Saga is going back. Tube stage in the Freya is really just more what I was expecting from the Saga Not syrupy, still very clean, but more spatial and with an increase in dynamics, immediately noticiable on percussion.
    Also perhaps it's psycological but going balanced from Yggy to Feya seems to be yeilding a more accurate sound stage even when not using the tube buffer, perhaps a result of balancing through more of the chain.
    This is all with the Freya only running signal for 4 hours before I started listening. Cruft on the Tube heaters isn't even burned off yet.
    I think the Saga is a very good Passive Attenuator, for a good price - maybe the best on the market. But the tube stage reminds me of the tube in the Aune T1 Mk2, it glows. ( Yes I get the implementations have nothing in common. )
     
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  16. rlow

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    Funny timing, I just acquired (within the last hour) a used Freya along with some funky looking Northern Electric 6SN7 tubes. It'll probably arrive late next week. I plan to compare with Saga which I've become very familiar with at this point. I am looking to get a bit more tube sound in my system, and also to be able to used balanced going from Gumby to Freya. I'll report back once I've had some time with it.

    P.S. Sorry to hear about your Vidar, but glad to hear Schiit is being proactive about replacing potential problems.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 7:24 PM
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