Schiit Freya + and S Impressions - Stream of Consciousness

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

  1. Lou Casadonte

    Lou Casadonte Friend

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    @Samac I'm curious to follow your satisfaction on this in the next few weeks. Considering adding one to a second system in my corporate apartment.
     
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  2. Samac

    Samac Rando

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    I’ll keep you posted, Lou. Wednesday will be the two week mark with Freya S. Here are a few more thoughts I posted earlier today on another forum:

    So, nearly two weeks with the Freya S. At this point the It continues to amaze me and I don’t believe there should be any weird set backs with regard to break in. I keep going back and forth between adding a Gungnir or a Vidar next.

    Again, the DAC in the Node 2 is doing a very good job and I really like the idea of having more power and 3db more headroom with the Vidar.

    There’s a couple of good online reviews of the Vidar that come with hearty recommendations but the online end user comments are perplexing to me. I wish there was a clear consensus between owners and reviewers in regards to the Vidar as there is with Schiit’s DACs.

    The specs on the Vidar look outstanding with a strong power supply and from the reviews I believe it should work very well.

    If it acclimates itself to the system like the Freya S I’d be very pleased. More thoughts to come I’m sure.

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
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  3. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I have had a Vidar for a couple of years now (bought it the day it came out) along with OG Freya and have recently upgraded to 2 Vidar monoblocks - they’re great. Have compared the single Vidar to around a half dozen other integrateds and power amps - preferred it over them all. And the monoblocks are even better now that I’ve switched out tubes. Have also had every Schiit Multibit DAC except Bifrost, including both versions of Gungnir Multibit (now have Yggdrasil) - they also kick ass. Not sure what you were looking at for integrateds, but this stack of 2-channel Schiit is a crazy value for the performance IMO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
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  4. Samac

    Samac Rando

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    I’m glad you replied, rlow, thanks. I’ve read your posts on the Vidar Impressions thread. If I remember you’ve paired the Vidar with ATC SCM19, right? I’m using B&W 683 S2s along with a Bluesound Node 2 streamer and the amp section of my NAD C320BEE integrated.

    Before getting the Freya S I was considering the Anthem STR and the Naim Unti Nova. Ultimately I decided they are both out of my budget comfort zone. I will say the Freya S made that decision a lot easier and I’m really glad I tried it first.

    The system is in a large great room (28x26x9ft LWH). The B&Ws have a low of 2.9ohms @ 124hz according to Stereophile. I sit 13ft from the speakers and I like to hit peaks around the low 80db at my chair which I believe should be about low 90 peaks at three feet.

    Besides good sound I’m looking for the headroom and what I call an ease to the sound. I guess I’m mean like the amp and speakers aren’t working hard.

    Maybe Vidar can give me that.(?)

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
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  5. Lou Casadonte

    Lou Casadonte Friend

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    Thanks Scott! Sounds like a nice system. Good Luck! I don't have experience with the vidars myself. I've preferred monoblocks myself in general. I have owned solid state amps for decades and am just upgrading to a tube amp (monoblocks) which I haven't integrated yet. I was going to use the solid state amps in a second system with the freya. Still thinking on this. Happy New Year.
     
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  6. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I've got so much headroom now, even at 4x I can go max volume and they don't sound stressed.

    My eardrums get stressed - it's a small room - but a mono Vidar into scm19 is so effortless.

    I've tried both SE and XLR from the Bifrost 2 into the Freya S and while there are small differences I think the majority of it is using PYST XLR vs FAW Claire RCAs.
     
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  7. Samac

    Samac Rando

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    Excellent, Taverius. It’s great to hear how well the Freya S is doing with your mono Vidars.

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
  8. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    I’ve really enjoyed my Freya S with Aegir as well. I like that I can leave it on all the time and it runs so cool. I don’t have any complaints about the sound. It’s not as big and lush as some others I’ve owned, (like a Luxman CL-32 that had tubes) but it isn’t too analytical either. My only real complaint is that I still haven’t memorized the sequence of the inputs, I do like knobs that I can see from the listening position. I just replaced the battery in the remote, so it looks like I’ll go through about 3 of those per year, or maybe the stock battery was weak compared to an Energizer or Duracell.

    I’m kinda sad the Freya S didn’t sell better. For a full sized, full function preamp, it’s cheap and probably sounds better than any non-Schiit preamp with comparable features under a grand. Heck, I can’t even think of something with similar features except maybe a Parasound, and I’ve read enough to know how that worked out.
     
  9. Samac

    Samac Rando

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    One of my favorite pieces of gear is the deHavilland Ultraverve 6SN7 tube pre amp. When I first got it I used it with the same NAD C320BEE that I’m using with Freya S.

    I loved everything about the Ultraverve. Just a fantastic component. I enjoy the Freya S just as much. And one area that the Freya S bests the Ultraverve is the volume control. The volume control pushed me to give it a try and it hasn’t disappointed. For me the VC is special and Schiit deserves credit for including such a feature.

    Now, the Freya S doesn’t sound like a tube pre but I like everything about the sound and function of it. It looks, feels and functions like a much more expensive piece of gear. I really hope more people give it a shot.

    it deserves a place in Schiit’s excellent line-up.

    Cheers,

    Scott


     
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  10. Samac

    Samac Rando

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    So I’m nearly a month in with the Freya S and my enthusiasm for it has only grown. I honestly wouldn’t be posting so much about it if I didn't have the reference point of using another excellent pre-amp with the same amp I’m using now.

    I will try to gather my thoughts and write a brief coherent review of it in the next few weeks. Although I believe @purr1n has wrote an excellent assessment of Freya S and I agree with his findings. In the meantime I hope others will continue to share their thoughts.

    From reading posts around the web it seems Freya S is overshadowed by its tubed sibling Freya +. I get it, Freya + looks to be a great tube pre-amp and a true value. I may pick one of those up myself. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Freya S is even a better value, which is quite an accomplishment from Schiit.

    There’s rumblings that Freya S may not survive “Thunderdome”; I do hope that It stays in the Schiit lineup. It would be a shame if it’s dropped.

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
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  11. Ntbm3

    Ntbm3 Almost "Made"

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    I agree, I picked my Freya S up used to make integrating a couple dacs sources and feeding multiple amps easier.

    In the end I do not know what I would do with out this thing!!

    Major pros:
    - Non summing XLR -> SE conversion, allows me to get the best out of my sources and then feed SE amps easily.
    - Perfectly matched volume control, I can set all my amps to the same output level and swap around easy. Plus the connivence of a remote.
    - High level of transparency. I put this in line of my DAC amp I have had for over a year and notice no degradation or change in sound with 1x mode. This is exactly what I hoped.
    - Easily stackable as it puts off little to no heat.

    I feel like the Freya S is definitely the unsung hero... missing some flash of the Freya +
     
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  12. Samac

    Samac Rando

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    Great post, Ntbm3. Like you, I don’t know what I’d do without my Freya S. You highlighted excellent qualities of Freya S and besides the sound my absolute favorite quality: The amazing volume control.

    A couple months back when I was deciding on a pre-amp I kept coming back to the Schiit site and looking at the photos of the internals of Freya S and gazing for minutes at a time at the beautiful volume control. Yeah, I’m weird but it is so cool.:)

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
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  13. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    I still want @schiit to make an inverse Freya S.

    I don't need a pre as much as I need a switch. I also prefer not to mess with tubes on something like this, as I want to leave it on 24/7.

    Think about it... I want to buy a Yggdrasil to feed my ENTIRE audio setup, but it can't do it. I have: Studio monitors, Eddie Current ZDS, ECP DSHA-3F, Bottlehead Crack, and Asgard 3. Those devices need 2 XLR and 3 RCA connections.

    Yggdrasil has 1 XLR and 2 RCA outputs.

    Freya has 1 XLR and 2 RCA outputs too.

    If I fed one of the Yggdrasil RCA's to a Freya S, I could have enough outputs to feed everything, but here's the rub: All the outputs are hot, all at the same time, so there's no way to switch the signal off to my studio monitors. I don't want those blasting while I'm trying to listen to headphones. I also have 4 unused inputs on the Freya just sitting there taking up space. It's just not the right solution.

    I need a device that can take one balanced or one single ended input and selectively output it via balanced or single ended, kinda like a backwards Freya S. Something where I can choose which output to send the signal, one output at a time. And has an awesome volume control, like the Freya S. And only has 1 XLR and 1 RCA in, because my FREAKING AMAZING Yggdrasil is the only source I need, so I'll just get some Pyst XLRs and I'm done! ... but if I want to put another DAC into the system, I can just use the spare RCA input and I won't even have to rewire my entire setup. And has a cool as fuck slim metal remote, like the Freya S. And for bonus points, might even let me bypass the volume pot via dip switch (or something) for a clean pass through of the signal.

    I really only want 1 DAC, but I do like to mix and match amps and headphones to explore synergies there.

    Ya smell what I'm shoveling here? Good Schiit is what I'm shoveling! I'm serious. Please build this.

    Jason - I've done my homework. This product doesn't exist for consumers. Hell, it doesn't exist for Prosumers. There might be some gawdawfully expensive pro gear out there that does this, I don't know.
    For the high end audiophile market you have these options:

    Get a Goldpoint SA2X-O-47 for $750 to cover the XLR needs, plus a Goldpoint SA2 for an additional $500 for the RCA... and wind up with a 2 box solution... Without remote... and that would suck.

    You could go with some kind of Khozmo monstrosity for about the same amount of money - still no one box solution, remote, or even good design language.

    Go ahead and browse around Amazon.com for "audio switch" and all you will find is a bunch of Nobsound, Little Bear, Chi-Fi ripoffs, and a bunch of things that I just wouldn't want in my setup. Check any Prosumer audio place like Guitar Center. You're not going to find it. Nothing like this exists! It is an untapped part of the market!

    Another reason your customers would buy this: A looks a crap-ton better than B.

    A:
    upload_2020-1-3_20-18-54.png

    B:
    upload_2020-1-3_20-24-17.png

    (Sorry I stole your picture @bazelio.)

    All I ask is this: If it happens, and you build it, please call it the Elnrik. I'm of Viking descent, so it fits the naming scheme. haha. JK.

    Thanks for your consideration.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  14. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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  15. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Thanks for that. I appreciate you passing the info and links!

    It highlights a point of mine though. I wouldn't really want to put those pro items in my stack based on size, looks and price, or even features. It's gotta fit on my desk somehow.

    $3K for the Grace m905! Whew. Looks really cool though.
     
  16. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    How about just put a switch on the current Freya S so we can select both input and output (rather than have them all hot). Hell, even make the output switch go 1, 2, 3, 4, all if we want all hot for some reason.

    I'd buy that in an instant.
     
  17. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    You go this route and it gets more complicated. Four outputs could mean users want 1-3 active and 4 inactive, say if one is biamping speakers on outputs 1-2, using subwoofers on output 3, and a headphone amp on output 4.

    The simpler solution seems to be to just use your studio monitors and only one headphone amp at a time. ;)
     
  18. bilboda

    bilboda Friend

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    I have been using this remote control power switch for my monitors for 2 years+, for the same reasons. The headphone amps are within arm's reach and I do have a reversed SYS for selection as well.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OBYGW4Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  19. Samac

    Samac Rando

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    I’ve had the Freya S for about six weeks now. That should put me well past the honeymoon/new toy phase and I am as pleased with it now as I was when I first received it.

    The Freya S has made my system sound bigger, clearer, smoother. Which gives a naturalness and ease to the music. Anyone considering the Freya S I can recommend it without reservation. It is one sweet preamplifier.

    I hope to add the Vidar amp soon. While I look forward to that, it’s nice to be able to enjoy the system so much in the meantime.

    Cheers,

    Scott

     
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  20. tlainhart

    tlainhart Rando

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    What was your prior pre? I have a Freya OG (right before the model change), and am curious about the 'S' as a non-tube alternative (or the + to take advantage of SS differential and tube shut-off). I've still got some reading up to do here.
     

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