Schiit Freya Preamp Review (Episodic)

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by purr1n, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    based on my listening on Freya: Psvane CV181 TIII > Sophia 6SN7 ≥ Northern Electric 6SN7. The Sophia's excel at space and nuance. Northern Electric is very similar, which they should be considering they're very, very similar construction. From what I've seen, the differences between the TJ Full Music/Sophia/Northern Electric are minimal, if any at all. NE 6sn7 was a little more closed in, but this may be due to lack of break-in. I admittedly didn't spend much time with the NE 6SN7 since they seemed so similar, sonically, to the Sophias.

    edit: I'm also fairly certain the NE tubes are made in china by TJ Full Music.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  2. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I've got a quad of the NE 6SN7 tubes for Freya - came with the Freya which I picked up used.

    Agree with @yotacowboy, they are definitely open and spacey. Super clean sounding and tons of tone/timbre, but I find them a bit hot/etched in the mid-upper treble. Running a quad of them in Freya I find a bit too much- so I only run a pair of them in the right side gain stage, and a pair of smoother 50s Raytheon GTBs in the output buffer. Makes a nice combo. You lose a bit of that space, but less fatiguing.
     
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  3. econaut

    econaut Almost "Made"

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    @Garns I read you are using Freya's passive mode by now. How come?
     
  4. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Short story: various things have changed in my system which mean that passive mode now sounds better.

    Long story: I have quite long cables from my Yggy to my active speakers (3-4m). The input impedance on my speakers is low (14k). The Yggy is still Mk 1 with its relatively wimpy output stage. All of which is a perfect storm if you're trying to attenuate passively. When I first got the Freya the tube mode was superior: it had more drive and energy and less harshness in the treble.

    Since then I changed my cabling from Mogami 3080 to unshielded OCC copper. Seems this is way easier for the Yggy to drive. I also now have weapons-grade line filtration (PI Uberbuss). Taken together this means I don't hear the harshness and lack of dynamics I used to hear in passive mode. Set against that, tube mode seems to drops low level detail and microdynamics, regardless of which tubes go in. I think it's inherent to the Freya circuit.
     
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  5. econaut

    econaut Almost "Made"

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    My only gripe with the stock tubes is that they are often noisy, I then mute the Freya, tip the tube with my finger and unmute Freya again. Sometimes I have to do this several times until the noise is gone.

    I assume, this behavior will be gone with new tubes?

    Thanks for the hint to Electro Harmonix a few weeks ago, but you didn't write anything about sound. Since I am finally going to buy new tubes for my Freya now, I wonder how these differ soundwise from the stock tubes?

    1. Tung-Sol 6SN7 GTB

    2. Electro Harmonix 6SN7

    3. Electro Harmonix 6SN7 gold pins

    Thank you :)


    EDIT: I found only one opinion on the Tung-Sol in comparison to stock tubes.
     
  6. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Don't waste your time with the EH 6SN7 - I've tried the gold pin and it's crap. I can't imagine the regular black base is any better. I think both of these tubes are actually made by Sovtek.
     
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  7. econaut

    econaut Almost "Made"

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    Do you mind to explain why you think they are crap? Two other people recommended them here, although not saying anything about the sound.

    I guess Tung-Sols will do ok, since they are Schiit-approved.
     
  8. mark47

    mark47 Rando

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    I am a noob: I have schiit ragnarok
    What do you think about the rag - freya combo?
    Do you recommend buying me the freya to put in a combo with my ragnarok?

    thank you
     
  9. Aklegal

    Aklegal Acquaintance

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    Anymore reviews of the LISST tubes with the Freya or Saga? It seems like one guy had some issues with them and that killed the interest.
     
  10. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

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    Hello Mark. I did that, and with the correct tubes , Freya put another dimensional enjoyment in Ragnarok sound. If you have the money, I think it’s a good call.
     
  11. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

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    Do we have a solid theory on the nature of the (presumable) distortion that Freya serves up in tube mode? I've been fiddling around with pre-amps for months but keep coming back to Freya's tube stage as it just has that lovely bloom (or whatever it is) that works well in my system/room. It does come with the price of a crappy noise floor though, at least with all the tubes I've tried, but overall it's still a pleasant effect despite being clearly not accurate/neutral.
     
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  12. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Did the other preamps you tried have as much gain in tube mode as Freya? How efficient are your speakers? I don't really detect much difference, but I'm also running low-efficiency speakers, not in nearfield.
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Can use XLR or RCA pad attenuator after output to lower gain.
     
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  14. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Anybody have advice/instructions on how to open up Freya? The previous owner installed some socket savers that I think are causing problems with some of my NOS tubes - want to get them out, but seems like I'm going to need to get the cover off.

    When I tried unscrewing the lid, it seemed to be caught up somewhere on the front but didn't want to force it and break something that needed to be detached first. Looking under the lid by tilting it from the back I couldn't see anything obvious that needed to be disconnected...
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Lock nut on the pole where the volume knob goes over?
     
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  16. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Yup, that did it thanks! Socket savers removed.

    However that still doesn't seem to have eliminated the snap, crackle and pops from the vintage tubes (Sylvania VT-231) I purchased a few weeks back. I used contact cleaner on the pins a couple times, and it seemed to remedy it for a bit, but it seems to be back now with a vengance. Crap.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Might be the tubes. Does the crackle happen with other tubes? The sad fact is that many remaining vintage tubes on the market are in sucky condition. "Tube tester" results only tell a part of the story.
     
  18. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I've experienced it once with some other tubes, but these ones are consistent. For a while, they would only crackle when warming up - so I'd put the Freya on mute or in JFET mode for 15 mins or so and then it usually cleared. Now it doesn't seem to be going away even after warming up. For now I've just swapped out other tubes and they sound fine. Could it damage the preamp running the crackly tubes on mute or in another mode?
     
  19. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

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    I don't know if it's a 6SN7 thing, or bad luck, or that Freya's tube stage is inherently a bit noisy, but I've tried four different sets of tubes in Freya and they've all been noisy...shitty stock tubes, new production Tung-Sol, NOS Brimar, NOS Sylvania chrome tops. The latter are bearable so I stuck with them, though the noise floor sucks.

    This is my first 6SN7 amp, but I have three other tube amps and have never had issues like this with tubes before. Has anyone achieved a silent noise floor with Freya via the tube stage? If so, please share which tubes you're using!
     
  20. J Seymour

    J Seymour Acquaintance

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    I have had good luck with the Freya with all sorts of 6SN7, 6F8G, 7N7 and for tube buffer only Ken-Rad 6C8G. All the tubes are NOS. I use Herbie’s tube dampeners for the 6F8G and 6C8G and they do help on the older larger style tubes. But the most important thing I found for quiet tubes is vibration dampening of the Freya chassis. I have Vibrapods under the footers and a heavy stone mortar and pestle on top. Press down on the Freya chassis and see if the noise is decreased.
     
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