Discussion in 'Preamps' started by rlow, May 28, 2019.
I wonder if plankton would get any better with Freya S over time.
I would certainly give it a decent chunk of time to break in, in both passive and Nexus modes, before coming to a final conclusion for sure.
Even so, I still wouldn’t necessarily expect Goldpoint levels of transparency - it will come down to a matter of how close does it get and does it give enough of what you need to feel satisfied, vs having to get up off your ass all the time. For me, soundstage, openness and dynamics are something that OG Freya passive just can't pull off at all.
I’ve been using SYS with a single Vidar now for a few weeks and it is great, but the up and down from my chair can get a bit annoying. I listen to more full albums now however, so maybe not a bad thing.
Might not be the best place to ask, but I'm in the market for one of the new Freya S pre amps & I'd like to know how much of a difference the tube versions (in general) make vs the solid state preamps?
Like is the difference the same as SS amp vs a tube power amp or are the tubes pre-amps just adding a bit of color to the sound?
The tube versions won't completely transform a narrow & bright solid state power amp into a wide & holographic tube sound even with the best tubes would it?
More thoughts (4 hrs)
- I don't really believe in break in. I even enjoy cold Yggdrasil.
Ok so first,
Goldpoint vs Freya Passive
- These two are similar in the way that the soundstage is flattish unlike tube or Nexus in my noob experience. Goldpoint has way more microgradation of sounds such as vibration in the air from plucking of guitar strings or horns, decay of drums, shimmering cymbals, dude spitting into harmonica, what not. I KNOW the sound is there but Freya Passive smears 3 range of sound into 1 note, it's like going from 1440p to 1080. RTX on to RTX off. Replacing tap on a cymbal with a 10 year old playing musical triagle. I admit Goldpoint is a bit bright and I thought about, bright = perceived notion of more detail, but it's not. There is actual loss of information. if i had to guess if goldpoint is 100%, something like 85% to my liking. Saga? Idk, probably 80-90%. OG Freya? I don't know, heard one like 5 years ago with different gear. Gut feeling makes me feel not much diff, perhaps blacker background with the Freya S.
Goldpoint vs Freya Nexus
- Imagine Freya Passive then you turned up the color saturation in your monitor a notch or two. Bass line, drums, guitar whatever seem to have a volume of their own and it's easier to separate one another. Bass/Subbass just pounds your chest. Ultimately this all sounds very "fun" but again no plankton because it seems like the inherent loss of information from being Freya is still present. I know I am missing that airy-ness, that sweet plucking of acoustic guitar, echoing in a cave, 1% change in volume of ambient sound. Positives are that it made my crappy jrock recording more listenable and coherent. Also more even frequency(tonality) than goldpoint that I like. Also black is very black for some reason.
In my limited experience if I had to guess Freya Nexus sounds like HD650 and Goldpoint is HD800. It is brighter but you just have more information. I always wanted more bass oomph from my rig but oh well.
Passive vs Nexus
- would rather listen to nexus. similar amount of information but more fun with nexus.
- dont know. kind sad I have to give up remote of Freya probably.
@Hooncake Thanks for sharing. Can you remind us your source and the rest of the chain? Which Goldpoint model are you using?
win10 wasapi -> yggdrasil A2/Unison USB -> freya -> Mono Aegir -> voxativ ac 1.6 Trio15
For schiits and giggles if you feel so inclined could you take Freya/GoldPoint out of the equation entirely and see what digital attenuation sounds like? I assume you're on JRiver or Fb2k?
ie: win10 wasapi -> yggdrasil A2/Unison USB -> Mono Aegir -> voxativ ac 1.6 Trio15
You mean USB Gen 5? Unless you got hold of a Unison prototype...
I bought a Freya new from Schiit in February - the NOS-supplied tubes. It's fed balanced by an Yggdrasil (A1) and unbalanced by a Rogue Audio phono-pre. It feeds (balanced) two Vidars as monoblocks.
What I find attractive about the Freya+ is the stated ability to take unbalanced in, and convert to true balanced. Have you compared the Freya + unbalanced ins with the previous model?
Just ordered a Saga+ in Black
I would be interested in any impressionis of the Saga+
I would also like to understand why the Saga+ should not be used in passeve mode without a tube inserted.
As I will use the Saga+ in passive mode most of the time and as it does not shut down the tube I would like to run it without a tube.
You should check with Schiit support on this (unless Jason happens to be watching). I’ve seen conflicting reports about this for the OG Freya even from Jason. Please report back if you get an answer.
So what the tubes do, in OG Freya at least, is open up the soundstage (for my setup I’ve found it adds height, width and depth), gives more immediacy, dynamics and separation over passive, and adds a touch of tube bloom around vocals and instruments. The level of that depends on the tube, but I’ve found you get some level of it with every tube I’ve tried.
Frequency response colorations and flavorings however I’ve found were HIGHLY dependant on the tube choice - you could go from bright/etched, to bassy/bloaty, to dark/rolled-off top end, to pushing the mids, etc. I don’t think it’s as impacted by the tubes as some tube power amps, but that probably depends on the amp. Some tubes are also a bit smoother while some are a bit grainier. Things could take you from sounding lively and lean, to full and ballsy, or to just plain boring.
This is actually what has bugged me most about owning Freya - I have a hard time finding tubes that give the technicality improvements to soundstage, immediacy and dynamics, but that are smooth (low grain) and stay neutral on the frequency response. The Sylvania VT-231 were the only tubes that satisfied me on this so far, but they are hard to find and expensive (at least in my neck of the woods). However, I’ve never heard a quad of the Tung-Sols that Schiit is including now with Freya+
My Freya+ has two sources connected: the balanced input from my Gungnir Multibit, and a single-ended input from my Dynavector phono stage and step-up-transformer. The preamp feeds a Music Reference RM-10 mk2 tube power amp, which has SE inputs only, so I'm not currently exercising the full SE-to-differential conversion capability of the new buffer circuit.
I have made a few observations about buffer mode operation so far:
When using balanced in, SE out: passive mode and buffer mode are essentially indistinguishable in terms of output level and sonics. My interconnects are all very short, so this is unsurprising to me. This was true in the previous model as well.
When using SE in, SE out: buffer mode has a bit of attenuation relative to passive mode. This wasn't the case with the previous model, since there was no SE-to-differential conversion going on in buffer mode. This is something I hadn't considered prior to buying the preamp [I mostly ran in JFET buffer mode on the OG Freya, and expected to do the same with Freya+ initially], but it makes sense when you consider the new buffer topology. As a result, I would expect that Freya+ users will want to avoid buffer mode in the case of SE in, SE out, unless you want unnecessary attenuation of the signal. Passive or tube mode would be better options.
@tlainhart, in your case, with differential outputs going to your monoblock Vidars, I would definitely expect an improvement over the previous preamp in buffer mode, and you wouldn't be running into the caveat I described above. Not sure in which mode you normally run, but in tube mode on the OG Freya, you're already getting a true balanced conversion from single-ended. If you upgraded to Freya+, you'd be also reaping the benefits of the massively improved tube section. It's really, really good.
I do have an Audio Research power amp with balanced inputs; I might give that a try connected to the balanced outs on Freya+, just for kicks.
Hi Matt -
Thanks for your detailed response. I guess I didn't know or recall that the tube mode of Freya did the SE/balanced conversion.
The modes that I use of the Freya depend upon what speakers I'm using (or what pre-outs). When the Vidars are going into my LS-50s, I'll use tube mode. When they're pushing my Polk LSi15s, I use JFET - it just sounds better to me at volume with those speakers for some reason. When I'm directing the outputs of the Freya into my Jotunheim (single-ended) for headphone listening, I prefer passive or JFET. Truth be told, I prefer to go direct balanced out from the Yggdrasil, but then I lose the option of listening to the phono front-end.
This is with the stock NOS tubes that Schiit was selling at the time - I didn't upgrade to the Tung-sols. I'm resisting the tube trial rabbit-hole, as I've been down it before with guitar amps (both pre and power), and it took a while to climb out. I know that guitar amps are different than hi-fi amps, but I can imagine (for me) that the rabbit hole is deeper and slipperier...
One more thing I wanted to add that your response about attenuation prompts - I notice that when I go SE out of the Freya into Jotunheim, there's next to no volume difference switching between the various gain modes of the Freya, as there is going balanced out to the Vidars. I've been wondering about that for a while, and now I'm wondering if it relates to your attenuation observations of the Freya+.
If an amplifier has a input impedance of 47kohms, what ideally would the impedance for the preamp?
The impedance on the Freya + is 75 ohms SE, 600 ohms balanced.
Would that match up?
I read that people recommed a 100K impedance for the preamp.
Vidar and Aegir are 22k ohms input impedance, and they are obviously designed to go together with Freya+. 47k is tons. Some people say a minimum of 10:1 ratio - others say 20:1. You're way, way above that here - 47K : 600 is like 78:1. And it would be even higher with the SE outs. It's generally if your preamp output impedance is above 1000 ohms that you can start to run into issues, which I guess can be seen on some tube based preamps, but not with the Schiit preamps.
But is it worst case scenario OI as it may change based on volume pot position, right? So suppose if I dial.down the volume to 12'o clock will the OI remain same or it will change greatly?
The output impedance should only vary in passive mode. In active modes, like JFET, tube mode or Nexus modes, the OI is stable based on the specs Schiit quote.
They don’t seem to spec the passive mode for the Freyas, but for the Saga they do, which is this:
Output Impedance: varies, maximum 4.8 kohms
Not sure if it would be the same for Freya or not, but probably similar. Also I think it is only this high if your sources output impedance is also very high, which it probably isn’t. That number would be like a worst case scenario. I believe you generally tend to hit the highest output impedance in passive mode near the lowest amount of attenuation (aka, near the highest volume setting) so unless you are maxing out the volume in passive mode, and your source’s output impedance is in the thousands of ohms, again you’re probably fine. Also, again, since Freya and Vidar/Aegir are meant to go together, it should be a non issue if the input impedance of your power amp is at least as high in input impedance as they are. Probably below 10k input impedance is when you might start to think about whether passive mode would be a good match. The other modes however would be fine.
For the record, OG Freya with no tubes, usually passive for about a year. No discernible issues to my fault tolerant (ie tin) ear.....
I wonder if you're quoting the input impedance of a MM phono stage?
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