Schiit Saga Thread

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by HitmanFluffy, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. HitmanFluffy

    HitmanFluffy Hoping to see real genitals someday!

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    I just got my Saga in, running it into my custom amp featured in here: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hmfs-mysterious-custom-2a3-amp.3834

    The immediate impression is very positive in terms of the feel of the product, with the recent nicer finish on the chassis and a splendid knob for the relays. The startup is a bit unfamiliar, but I do long listening sessions and won't switch it on/off more than twice a day so its not a big deal.

    I also ran it into my T3 for testing purposes, but that test immediately revealed that the T3 isn't really resolving enough to notice the differences between the passive/active modes, so I it is excluded from this post.

    I've also listened to the Saga in a few setups at the NY meet and on Marv's speaker rig with the Vidar at the LA meet.

    At the meets, I was not able to make out any significant difference between the active and passive modes, using the stock tubes. With that said, at home with tracks familiar to me and headphones, I actually noticed a pretty non-subtle penalty in clarity and bass bloat using the active mode.

    I was wondering if this was inherent to the circuit or if it was the tube, so I rolled in a RCA smoke glass VT-231 in. Bam! Those complaints went away almost immediately. Chuck the stock tube in the trash, I'm fairly sure most variants of NOS 6SN7 will comfortably beat it. I forgot to take my Sylvania 6SN7GTBs with me to test, but having used them in other applications I've no doubt they would be a better fit than the stock tube.

    In conclusion, if you're looking for a single-ended pre, you really can't go wrong with this, as long as you roll out the tube if you intend to use the active mode.
     
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  2. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    I am using the Saga between Yggdrasil and an SET amp. I have mainly been listening to the passive mode since the Saga replaced a series stepped attenuator. Other components connected to it are a turn table and the CD player feeding the Yggdrasil. The reason I have the player also connected directly to the Saga is for listening to the occasional SACD. I wasn't able to do that with other preamps due to sound leaking among the inputs (in most preamps I tried). The Saga, on the other hand, is an open circuit for non-selected inputs since it uses relays. I replaced the stock tube with a Sylvania 6SN7WGTA from the start. I haven't listened to the tube buffer much, but at least with this tube, for the short periods when I switched, I couldn't hear an appreciable difference.
     
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  3. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    This is a rather dumb question, but can Saga/Freya be used purely as a tube buffer than outputs a line level out signal (thus bypassing volume control/amplification/attenuation) into another amp (i.e. headphone amp like Jotunheim)? I've heard a lot of good stuff about this so-called Sagaheim or Freyaheim that makes the Jotunheim much more listenable by adding a touch of tube sound, but at the same time I'm not sure if it is a good idea to feed a preamp into another amp with volume control. Jotunheim, for example (and all headphone amps, for the matter), can be used as a preamp.
     
  4. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    With the simplest of volume controls in amps, ie pot at input means that once you max it, the pot is essentially out of the circuit.
    Then adding a pre to do the pot duty should be completely fine.
    I have found that many amplifiers pick up noise in pot intermediate positions.
    This is why I use external vol control with some big amps when I plug iem-s into them.
     
  5. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    And the Saga ladder volume control should be better than the Joti's potentiometer.
     
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  6. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I don't hear a significant difference between active and passive, although I have a slight preference for the active. This is with the stock tube. It's entirely possible my current power amp isn't resolving enough to make the differences clear.
     
  7. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Tried out tube rolling the Saga tonight. I used the following tubes (all 6SN7):

    1. Stock NOS
    2. Tung-Sol GTB used
    3. GE GTB NOS, short grey plate side getters
    4. Sylvania GTA NOS, angle plate chrome top
    5. Sylvania GTA NOS, tall bottle T-plate

    Test track was the stereo mix of "Waterloo Sunset" by the Kinks, which I was already using to help refine my speaker placement and mark the sweet spot in my listening room. Digital source was a Raspberry Pi 2 with Digi+ hat, coax out to a Modi Multibit. Blue Jeans Cables along the entire path. This was being fed out through my Fleawatt amp to the Blumenstein Orca speakers. I gave each tube 15 minutes of warm up before playing. One thing to keep in mind here is that I am highlighting the differences for comparison purposes, the differences on these tubes aren't really night and day.

    Thoughts on the tubes:
    1. Stock tube was likely chosen by Schiit because it is mostly inoffensive, and also likely because they could get a good supply of them without breaking the bank. Given the total cost of the Saga itself, I can't complain. The tube feels transparent and without excessive coloration. Soundstage is reasonable but not massive. In my system I'm not hearing a major difference between active and passive with this tube. It could be my ears aren't sufficiently trained to hear the differences, or my power amp is not resolving enough to make those differences clear.

    2. Tung-Sol was a bonus pack-in by the vendor where I bought these tubes, not one I chose specifically. I'm guessing it's not as high grade as the ones I bought, and to my ears it sounded worse than the stock tube. Thin, lacking in dynamics. The box listed it as used and I don't know how many hours it has on it, so there's a lot of unknowns with this particular tube. Suffice it to say that not every single 6SN7 out there will beat the stock tube.

    3. GE GTB was a nice surprise for me. The soundstage width expanded nicely and the tone was invitingly warm. The bass become a little more wooly than the previous tubes, but not so much that it detracted from my enjoyment. The most colored of the tubes I tried, but also perhaps the most pleasing for their warmth.

    4. Sylvania angle plate added more soundstage depth and offered a more laid back sound than the GE. The tone was more neutral, which made them sound a little cold coming off the GE, but the bass was cleaner.

    5. Sylvania tall bottle is perhaps the best of all worlds, with a neutral tone, but the most detail and dynamics. It has a lively, exciting sound that makes the music come alive. Switching between active and passive with this tube, the active mode gave the sound more body and weight.

    The tall bottle also makes for a nice addition to the Sagaheim, as I found out when I finished the comparison and threw on the new Kevin Grey remaster of Yes's Drama on vinyl. The two components really do complement each other nicely, although these days my headphone listening is rare as I can run my speakers any hour of the day or night without disturbing the rest of the house.

    In terms of enjoyment, I'd put the Sylvania tall bottle first, then the GE, Sylvania chrome top, stock, and finally Tung-Sol. Definitely pick up some solid 6SN7 tubes if you're going to run the Saga or Freya before the prices spike. I may pick up some more GE and Sylvania tall bottles as I see them come up.
     
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  8. Big D Design

    Big D Design I've got stereo junk in my trunk.

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    @Merrick
    Nice to see Saga getting benefits from tube rolling adventures. Great review. I was wondering which Schiit preamp you were going to get a while back. I got the Freya and look foward to some rolling. I haven't started yet, but have 8 of the tall bottle Sylvania tubes. After reading your review... I went and ordered 2 more Sylvania, and now 2 GE tubes. Your review made me do it.

    The joy of being able to use the real good vintage tubes (6SN7) is just fantastic. I know I would still be listening to my 16 watt Quinpu tube amp if it wasn't for the new Schiit preamp. Love the Modi Multibit too. Thanks for big smile this morning.
     
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  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    When both were announced I initially gravitated toward the Freya, but after reading some of Jason's comments about the two I thought the Saga might be a better fit in my system. Currently the only balanced component I have is the Jotunheim, so Freya seemed like overkill. Once I get a DAC with balanced outs I'll likely upgrade to a Freya to go with it, but that is a ways off.
     
  10. Big D Design

    Big D Design I've got stereo junk in my trunk.

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    I would love to have a Gungnir Multibit. The only way I could get one is to figure out what possessions of mine I can sell to raise the money. Already went way over budget with my system. But it is a possibility. I've always had a hard time myself selling my stuff to to others. Some are great at that. Unfortunately, I'm not so good. Sounds like Saga is a good fit for ya now. The Schiit Multi-Bit DAC, even the Modi Multibit just took my system up quite a bit in fullness and body to everything. I hope the new Schiit amp works out for them. It won't be a good fit for me. As to it can't really handle the low ohms needed for my ML ESLs. The Vincent is 2ohm stable and others have had great luck with the Martin Logan/Vincent combo. Cheers.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Did you get the Vincent in yet?
     
  12. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Maybe we'll talk you into building a cheap* low-jitter source for your Modi Multibit yet. You might be surprised how much more it has to give without breaking the bank. Don't fret about it right now, but let the idea stew in the back of your mind, for when your setup is a bit more stable. Then you'll have a better sense of what you're listening for, and the changes will pop all the better.


    *Less than you're probably paying for one fancy cable, in some cases!
     
  13. Big D Design

    Big D Design I've got stereo junk in my trunk.

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    @Kattefjaes
    Sounds like fun. Yes I'm still stabilizing. I have the NuPrime STA-9 back into the system using the RCA inputs now. Sounds great while I wait for the Krell KST-100 to come. Just got notice that it shipped out yesterday. Now my subs are synced perfectly. I'm probably going to use the RCA inputs with the Krell. It has to do with integrating the subs properly. The balanced output of the Freya just causes gain matching problems with my REL subs. I see you have a new pic. No more kitty. Is this the Kat?
     
  14. Big D Design

    Big D Design I've got stereo junk in my trunk.

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    Yes. No good for me. Too full bodied, some kind of viel on voices and instruments that I can't get to leave.

    I doubt that more break-in will help. Just a miss match of speakers and amp.
     
  15. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    Have any Saga owners tried it powered speakers? I'd be curious to hear about your experience...
     
  16. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Has anyone tried a 12AU7 with adapter in the saga? I have a fairly nice Mullard 12AU7 in my Crack that imparts a nice, warm lushness, and I was wondering how it would sound in the Saga. Or would it be better to to just get an RCA black bottom or other "native" lush tube?

    The adapter is only $15 on eBay.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Just don't. 12A_7 tubes suck (they just sound "weak" for lack of a better term), at least compared to 6SN7 variants. There is a reason why the shitty EAR stuff uses EC83 / 12AX7 and the TOTL EAR stuff doesn't.
     
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  18. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    ok, thanks.
     
  19. MattRG

    MattRG Facebook Friend

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    Having just gotten my Saga in and connected last night I discovered that using the remote causes the Saga to click like mad while turning the volume up or down and that the volume knob doesn't move (but the sound level does raise and lower) in response to the remote input. Is that normal? The functionality seems to be spot on, so no worries there, but for some reason I was expecting that volume knob to move in response to the remote input.
     
  20. JayC

    JayC Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    from the product description on schiit.com:

    Regarding the knob: Is that not an infinitely rotating volume knob? In which case I dont see why you would need it to turn, but if it is a limited rotation knob (with a max and min stop) then i would get the annoyance when you set a different volume on the knob versus the remote and then things change drastically when you move the knob again
     
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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

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