Schiit Freya Preamp Review (Episodic)

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

  1. leafy

    leafy Rando

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    I am wondering if you have tried mixing the LISSTs with tubes? Specifically input stage with real tubes and driver stage with LISSTs?
     
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  2. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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  3. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Psvane CV181 did not fit in Freya but did fit in Saga.
     
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  4. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    Any recommendations for socket savers if I decide to try these? Lots of them on eBay direct from Shenzhen.......
     
  5. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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  6. Argopo

    Argopo Acquaintance

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  7. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    Thanks. I've been ordering some resistors from their .ca site, but could not find those there. Hopefully shipping is not too crazy.

    Update; shipping is the same. Just ordered some. Figure it is worth just having some around.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  8. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Socket savers scare me a bit - even high quality ones can shit the bed (like Tube Mongerer)
     
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  9. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    Interesting. They are pretty simple devices, I would hope they have a low failure rate. I can see adapters being less reliable. I suspect heat would be the biggest enemy so I guess you would want to watch for any degradation, and make sure all the connections are clean.
     
  10. Noldir

    Noldir Rando

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    As a new proud owner of a Freya, does anyone else have a slight hiss in the jfet output? It's "put ears to tweeter" type but I always assumed it would be dead silent in jfet mode
     
  11. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    So I snagged a pair of the Psvane UK-6SN7s. Using them in the gain stage and some NOS tubes in the follower. I think they would probably fit without the spacers but it would be tight, I'm more comfortable using them. And while I did not buy them for cosmetics I must say they are nice looking pieces.

    I've read they take quite a few hours to break in, I've only got a few listening days on them, but they have improved already. At this point they sound pretty good to me. Not a lot of experience to make comparisons here, but the first thing that stands out is they have a really wide soundstage and good detail.

    I'm happy there are good sounding, reasonably priced new production tubes available for those of us not wanting to deal with old stock. I might give some Shuguangs a try as well now.
     
  12. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    I may not have apples to apples for you. I use it in a headphone rig, Gungnir Multibit A1 balanced out to Freya with no tubes in it - Gungnir Multibit sits on top of the Freya, into a Liquid Crimson. It is really just an oversized stepped attenuator in this configuration. Headphones are MrSpeakers Ether C’s which are pretty efficient. No hiss here, passive or jfet.

    Are you sure it is the Freya and not source or amp or amps in the powered monitors if you are using those?
     
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  13. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    I was wondering the same thing myself, and I think I can now confidently answer this question; it works really, really well.

    [​IMG]

    I like the LISSTs in the cathode follower stage better than any of the tubes I have tried (admittedly only a handful). I bought a quad, so at some point I will post some impressions of the LISSTs as gain tubes as well, but I like this existing pairing so well that I don't feel any pressing need to change it. I'll have to wait for the contentment to wear off and boredom to set in, which may take a while.
     
  14. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I would really appreciate your impressions of LISST quad vs. passive/Jfet (I can't tell a difference between those if I'm being honest). Some Raytheon 6SN7WGT's showed up today, hopefully can play with those soon.

    In my setup, in passive/jfet, I basically am at 3/4 volume all the time and it's not really that loud. I have found I need the tubes to get those extra SPLs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  15. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    I'll make a point of giving it a try probably on the weekend. Likewise I'm getting close to the max volume wise when I listen in passive or jfet mode, but it still has enough to get the job done. That only became the case when I switched to balanced inputs (from Modi to Gungnir). I loved the sound of the Saga's passive mode best, but I could run it fully maxed with one Vidar and the Maggies and it still could have used a little more.
     
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  16. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Funny timing, I had just tried my LISST for the first time yesterday.

    8205CDF0-D888-4166-A82F-729372B73A88.jpeg

    One thing I can say for sure is they have a Schiit TON of gain over my tubes. I measured 3-4 dB extra for the ones in the gain stage, and another 1 dB in the output follower (so 4-5 dB overall). I should state that tube mode increases SPL output by ~16 dB for me normally, so LISST is ~25-30% increase over that.

    So if you want extra gain from your Freya, this is one solution I would say. However, many people with efficient speakers don’t like as much gain as Freya tube mode has already, so this might not be ideal for them. I do hear a slight bit more hiss from the speakers when music is not playing, which I didn’t hear before, although this could be purely from the added gain.

    Initial impression of the quad of LISST is they sound pretty clean and punchy, and not etched or old school solid state sounding, but they do seem to collapse the soundstage a bit, and lose some airiness up top from my tubes (which are either Sylvania VT-231 + Raytheon GTB, or quad of Northern Electrics). They do seem to have some very deep solid bass however and may also be a bit mid-forward, but need to listen more and also pay close attention to volume matching compared to tubes and passive/JFET modes.

    Compared to passive mode, they sound punchier and less soft/rounded. JFET mode I find does something similar over passive, but to a very, very tiny degree. LISST are like JFET mode x5 or more. But seems a bit less open with narrower stage than passive and JFET though.

    Those are some initial impressions for now.
    I also plan to try some different configurations as well and will report back too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  17. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I sourced a pair of Raytheon 6SN7WGT and I just gotta thank you man. Micro detail is way better than the EH 6SN7 quad, stage is further out and deeper, vocals a touch more forward. Bass has lightened up and doesn't feel quite as tight but the pros outweigh the minor con.
     
  18. Noldir

    Noldir Rando

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    Sorry for the late reply. I somehow missed your reply.

    You make a good point, I'll hook it up to my headphone system (ancient stello dac, Taurus mk2) which I know to be dead silent .

    Schiit confirmed that passive and jfet have similar noise floors so they should be similar in noise heard
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  19. Noldir

    Noldir Rando

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    Well colour me surprised. The system (Phone to Freya with Taurus MK2 and HE-4xx / Koss Portapro) was dead silent. Even in tube mode. As in, not a hiss, pop or crackle. I first thought it was because I was running in balanced mode but even in single ended mode same effect.

    I at least expected to hear a little tube noise (I tapped a microphonic one to check they where even doing their thing) but nothing.

    Did I miss something somehow? Freya was on 100% and Taurus at the "plenty loud" level
     
  20. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    So I spent much of yesterday and this morning listening to LISSTs in both stages. I'm not sure if they require any sort of break in period, the ones in the output stage have quite a few more hours on them but did not really have a noticeable change in that time. Like rlow I also note that in the input side they have noticeably more gain than tubes. I did not do any microphone measurements, but where my normal listening would be around 10:30 in tube mode, they moved it down to about 10 o'clock.

    As for sound, I'm not an experienced reviewer so take these impressions for what they are worth, but the LISSTs do have somewhat of a tube-like quality to them, just not as much as tubes if that makes sense. They certainly don't just sound like the jfet buffer with extra gain, they definitely add some "warmth" to the sound. The other adjective I would use to describe them, for want of a more technical term, is "fast" and this quality is noticeable with LISSTs in the output stage only as well.

    For people who want (much) more gain than passive and don't want to deal with tubes I think the LISSTs are a good solution. I have enough gain in passive, but like the sound of the LISSTs better even if it is not really as accurate. That said, I've come to like the tube sound, so I've gone back to tubes in the gain stage, but I will absolutely be leaving the LISSTs in the output stage, I'm very happy with that combination.
     
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