Schiit Freya + and S Impressions - Stream of Consciousness

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by purr1n, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

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    Looks like I'll be keeping my eye out for a good deal on a used Freya +
     
  2. Alcophone

    Alcophone Acquaintance

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    The DAC produces a line level signal within the normal voltage range for a line level signal. In the active modes, the extra gain might simply push the signal beyond the supported line voltage range on the device you're going into, causing clipping in the input stage. Attenuating the signal a little bit can compensate for that. I know x1 is supposed to be unity gain, but apparently not quite: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/schiit-freya-s-preamplifier-review.10960/ (insofar as ASR is accurate here).

    Is the distortion only present for the loudest sections of the content you're playing or even in quiet parts? If the latter, forget what I said. :)
     
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  3. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    I have a pretty decent compliment of tubes in my Freya+ and yet, I can't seem to stop listening in JFET passive mode. I don't dislike tube mode whatsoever, but the clarity, speed, and engagement I'm getting out of JFET mode is wonderful. Running single ended to stereo subs, balanced to stereo amplifier.
     
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  4. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    I believe the RCA->XLR from Freya+ out will be 6db gain. For unity gain, would need to be RCA->RCA.
    I don't believe the Jot 2 is expecting a super hot input from a active preamp with gain. It's expecting DAC or phono stage levels at the inputs.
     
  5. hifiandrun

    hifiandrun Almost "Made"

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    Hi Toddrhodes, I've read many people liked the JFET in Freya + but some others would say that it was the least favorable of the three options. I assume that it depends on synergistic. Can you please tell us a bit more about your system? It would help me to know if the Freya+ would fit my system and my music preferences. Thanks

    (PS: I had an original Freya but I preferred the original Saga. Currently the best for me is a couple of DIY passive 10k ALPS potentiometers (a two-gang for RCA and a four-gang for XLR). But I miss the remote and the looking and the versatility of the Freya+ are very attractive)
     
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  6. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    Hi, certainly! For reference, I've had an original Freya, an original Saga, and now the Freya+. Some gear has changed over in that time, but one thing I learned from original Freya - I liked the balanced outs better than SE outs. I ended up sending original Freya back and went back to the Saga I already had. But, when I had Freya feeding a pair of Aegirs via balanced, it was REALLY good. I just couldn't make that combo work with my speakers and listening habits, so the Aegirs went back as well.

    Currently my setup is:
    Vinyl - Sol + McCormack PhonoDrive phono stage
    Digital - Roon + HQ Player (DSD256, EC modulators) --> iFi Zen Stream as NAA --> Denafrips Venus II DAC
    Freya+, tubed or JFET passive
    Balanced out to a McCormack/SMC Audio modified DNA-125 amplifier, SE out to two sealed SVS 12" subs
    Feeding a pair of Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum floorstanders

    I *think* my setup is pretty revealing and transparent. The C2s are very well-balanced top to bottom, and really don't highlight any particular range or pitch, they really do just get out of the way. It's all set up with a laser so I'm equidistant left/right from the listening position, and the speakers are symmetrical to side walls and back wall. Gear is on the side, but the amp and Freya+ are between the speakers. Here's a pic:

    [​IMG]

    At this point, I listen to about 90% digital - local files and Qobuz streaming. The rest is vinyl, usually jazz albums or my better, early copies of classic rock.

    I hope this helps!
     
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  7. hifiandrun

    hifiandrun Almost "Made"

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    What a system!!! If the Freya+ can keep up with THIS system, I've got the answer.
     
  8. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    I've had the Freya S for 1.5 years in my system and just took it out in favor of the OG Saga, which I've had for 5 years now. So what happened? I could not fall in love with the sound of the Freya S. Some music was great, some worked well with 4x, some with 1x, some in passive, but over time, I noticed I started listening to music less. I always enjoyed the OG Saga, but I remember it sounding a little 'thin'. This process took such a long time that I forgot I was using the Saga with SE out of the Yggdrasil, and by now I was using a transformer for BAL-SE conversion. It may be instructive to say more about the system and the timeline at this point:

    System: Marantz SA8005 / Pi2AES > Yggdrasil A2 > BAL-SE transformer > preamp > 300B SE amp / 45 SE amp > Tannoy speakers and S1512 bass.

    Here's the saga/freya progression. Note this is a few years timeline:
    • I started with Yggdrasil SE into Saga. The sound always felt a little thin and sometimes lacked power (with certain recordings and especially with the 45 amp)
    • At this point, it was clear to us (SBAF) SE out of Yggdrasil is gimped. I didn't understand how much, but wanted to try it out, and bought the Freya S.
    • With Balanced-SE conversion I couldn't use passive mode, and Nexus has a particular hum when there is no music. It somewhat bothered me since the system is pretty much dead quiet with passive mode.
    • 4x was better than 1x, not always though, and I found myself switching between them, which is not very enjoyable. The worst part was listening to violin with Nexus. It made the E string etchy.
    • At this point, the BAL-SE thread was ongoing and I had these WE111C's sitting in storage. I put together the project, and bilt them. Now I could listen to passive mode, and both 1x and 4x modes sounded better.
    • We're peeling one layer at a time. The next layer was I realized the sins of omission are very real on the Freya S. This was apparent when switching between passive and other modes -- where did that breath go? wait, I thought I could hear the touch of the stings prior to the pluck.
    • I could listen to passive most of the time, but the stage was recessed. In particular the bass was recessed and felt like a layer behind everything else. It popped back into place with 1x, but then I lose the fine details. 4x was even more cohesive, but so energetic that it sometimes sounded shouty.
    • I started longing for the sound of the OG Saga. Even though it lacked power, it was more cohesive with correct timbres, and I always wanted to listen to it. But wait, now I have the BAL-SE transformers which I built after switching to the Freya S!
    • Henry had me turn off all my equipment in preparation for the storm. I decided this is a good time to plug in the Saga OG. I had recently tested a TungSol 6SN7 tube that was superbly matched (in terms of mu), and was handy, so I used it (for the curious, the triangle plate kind).
    • This was it! Natural timbre, cohesive stage, full sound, minute details no longer missing, delicate sound at low passages (no Nexus hum), and has enough power without needing to have the volume at 3 and above all the time (where there is less gradation).
    This was my 5 year journey with the OG Saga, BAL-SE converter, and Freya S. I feel sad about the Freya S. I'll use it in another system (maybe for movies it'll be fine). I listened to a lot of music before writing this up. This is all OG Saga tube mode.
     
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  9. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I’m just curious, when did you add the pi2aes? What if any impact did it have on the listening experience with the two units?
     
  10. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    I added it around the same time I added the transformers (specifically 2 months before so I don’t remember how it sounded during that short period). The Pi2AES sounded better than the Marantz in passive and 1x but sounded bloated in 4x mode (bass too forward). All the same other observations for passive and 1x carried over (to a slightly lesser degree). Similarly for the observations with OG Saga. I’m enjoying it a lot more now — there was one song where for the first time I could tell it’s recorded outside. With the Freya that space was lost.
     
  11. leafy

    leafy Acquaintance

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    I am curious of what you think of balance out from the Yggdrasil A2 directly into Freya-S instead of going through a transformer? Balance in still works with passive mode last time I checked.
     
  12. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    Freya S is back for sale until they run out of the chassis metal they found.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  13. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Right! I’ve always kicked myself for not grabbing a Freya S before it lost the Thunderdome and I am not making that mistake again. Ordered.
     
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  14. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Luckily the Freya S is only in silver... phewww. I feel like I owe it to Schiit to build a Schiity system around the Jotunheim-A (black chassis). Not sure if I'll need a new pre-amp and some big mono's, or just a lokius and call it a day. I'm sure either is just fine, but I really would love remote volume control. *Dang you Ford and your black Model T! you were so right, we can't handle choices*

    Schiit has given us that much freedom to build around in all types of price categories. Made, basically by, my neighbors near the ocean and the gulf. Schiit boys sure like being close to either breaking off from the rest of the 48 or being swallowed by the sea.
     
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  15. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    If anybody here has tried the Freya (OG, S, +) with the hot outputs of pro-DACs like the DM Convert 2, could you please tell if the Freya is
    1. Capable of handling such output
    2. Does "better" balanced to SE conversion than the Jensen Isomax PC 2XR (the 4:1 trafo).

    Thanks
     
  16. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I wish the Freya S had the buffer mode. I know they’re not going to redesign it to add that now that would make no sense. But I’d like to eventually replace my passive pre with a Freya + for the buffer mode but it’s an expensive purchase and I’m paying for all kinds of features I don’t need. A balanced buffer mode only preamp with the same stepped attenuator would sure be awesome.
     
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  17. pavi

    pavi Almost "Made"

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    i've happily used both freya s & + with the convert2, and with the rockna wavedream -- no issues there.
     
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  18. Qildail

    Qildail Facebook Friend

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    I think this is where I'm at with it too. The Freya S could simplify my line-out-roundabout; and tubes aren't a showkiller for me either way. But I think I might be better off waiting/saving for the Freya+.

    I'm sure I'll change my mind six times on this before it's all said and done though.
     
  19. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    In passive mode, Freya S isn't doing BAL->SE conversion or SE->BAL conversion, but I'm still getting sound going from one signal type to another. Is the Freya S just running the SE signal through BAL cables in passive unless the whole chain is balanced?
     
  20. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    Here’s what schiit said when I asked them this question a while back:

    it'll pass the signal, just won't convert it. It'll be all out of phase and weird technically.
     
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