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Old 07-10-2018, 05:28 PM
Soundmig Soundmig is offline
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A week or so ago I ordered a Freya with the upgraded Tung Sol tubes. It is due to be delivered sometime today! I'm excited :-) Do any of you have experience with this piece? About how long should I let this one cook before doing any critical listening?

I'm looking forward to using the balanced connections with my Gumby and for the output going to the bass DSP unit. I can't hurt as I was using output from my Hafler amp into the DSP unit (via a level reducer that I built). I would think that direct output from the pre to the DSP will be "better".

Anyway - if you have any thoughts on break-in time or how to get the most out of the Freya - I'm listening. And before someone says it - I know - get the Yiggy - (that'll be next).
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Main System: Pre-Power; Schiit Freya w/tung sol 6SN7's, Hafler 220 (modified) mids, Parasound Zamp V3 on tweets, Adcom 555 - main woofers. Digital; Alien R3, iFi USB, Schiit Gungnir MB. Analog;Well-Tempered Classic, Monster Alpha 2 (rebuilt by SS), PS Audio GCPH. Bass DSP: Behringer DCX2496. Power: RGPC. Mains; 1) Home built with Vifa-Peerless and HIVI drivers:Active Crossover - Bryston 10B-LR. Subs; Energy 10.3, Tannoy CMS-110B
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:06 PM
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Congratulations on the Freya. I look forward to your listening impressions.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nc42acc View Post
Congratulations on the Freya. I look forward to your listening impressions.
It's cooking now ... once the tubes warmed up it started sounding ... well, Holy Schiit!!! I'll post some detailed observations once I believe it has hit its stride, but I'm already impressed.
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Main System: Pre-Power; Schiit Freya w/tung sol 6SN7's, Hafler 220 (modified) mids, Parasound Zamp V3 on tweets, Adcom 555 - main woofers. Digital; Alien R3, iFi USB, Schiit Gungnir MB. Analog;Well-Tempered Classic, Monster Alpha 2 (rebuilt by SS), PS Audio GCPH. Bass DSP: Behringer DCX2496. Power: RGPC. Mains; 1) Home built with Vifa-Peerless and HIVI drivers:Active Crossover - Bryston 10B-LR. Subs; Energy 10.3, Tannoy CMS-110B
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:07 AM
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Congrats on your new Freya. I've had mine since they were introduced and I enjoy it daily. It sounds great with the Tung Sols, and now I run mine with the Schiit LISST solid state "tubes," and am very pleased with the sound, and the immunity from tube rolling. I'd rather buy more music than more tubes, and my budget dictates that it's either/or.

I look forward to reading more once yours in settled-in.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:21 AM
Soundmig Soundmig is offline
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OK, so the Freya is starting to hit its stride. But first my reference points. These are the pre-amps I have owned and listened to daily at various times: Audible Illusions 3A with phono, BAT VK-50SE, BAT VK-20SE, BAT BP-10SE, Bryston SP-1, Thor TA-2000, Forte model 2 (still have), Spectral (can't recall model #), Mod Squad Passive, and a couple of others that I'm not recalling at the moment.

So, the Freya? .... well its impressive. I paid $799 as configured (with tung sol tubes) and I expected it to sound good (heard it at shows), but didn't quite expect the performance level I am experiencing. So far I like the Jfet buffer mode the best as the soundstage is big and deep with a very "relaxed" ,very smooth and and extremely natural sound overall. In straight passive mode the soundstage lacks some depth, but the timbre is very natural - if somewhat light. With the tube stage engaged (not sure they are fully burned in yet) there is a very subtle "pinching" of both soundstage and timbre - although still excellent. The tubes do impart a bit of harmonic extras that make duller recordings sparkle and add to the "air" factor. I'll be interested to see if this harmonic addition tames down a bit as the tubes break in more (if they are still breaking in - that is). Dynamics with the tubes are a bit more "there" but not quite as natural sounding as the Jfet buffer mode - which is an extremely natural sounding configuration with soundstage scale and dynamics scale that are equally "natural". Again, we'll see if the dynamics with the tubes change over time.

As good as the Freya is in the Jfet buffer mode, I'm very curious to try the LISST solid state tubes that US Blues mentions in the post above. Suffice it to say that the Freya is a solid performer. At the moment, especially with HQ-HD classical files, its making me wonder why I would look to improve upon what Freya is capable of??? Stunning performance for the price, so I'm a happy camper!

I'll let the tubes cook for a full week and then post some specific observations from specific reference songs/recordings.
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Main System: Pre-Power; Schiit Freya w/tung sol 6SN7's, Hafler 220 (modified) mids, Parasound Zamp V3 on tweets, Adcom 555 - main woofers. Digital; Alien R3, iFi USB, Schiit Gungnir MB. Analog;Well-Tempered Classic, Monster Alpha 2 (rebuilt by SS), PS Audio GCPH. Bass DSP: Behringer DCX2496. Power: RGPC. Mains; 1) Home built with Vifa-Peerless and HIVI drivers:Active Crossover - Bryston 10B-LR. Subs; Energy 10.3, Tannoy CMS-110B
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:08 PM
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Nice report. I believe the issue in regards to topping the Freya's performance is "at what cost?" The value of Schiit gear in terms of price for performance is darned good.

PS- Freya does like a good power cable.
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Oppo BDP-93 > Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC > Schiit Freya Preamp > Schiit Vidar Power Amps (x2- Monoblock configuration) > B & W DM604 s2 + JL Audio E112 subwoofers (x2); Equitech Son of Q; Wireworld and Synergistic Research Cabling.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by US Blues View Post
Nice report. I believe the issue in regards to topping the Freya's performance is "at what cost?" The value of Schiit gear in terms of price for performance is darned good.

PS- Freya does like a good power cable.
Yep ... I have a nice big juicy well shielded one on my Freya

I've been experimenting with single ended vs. balanced .... a tale of two pre-amps is all I can say. Different animal when used balanced Single ended is nice but lacks a bit of drive at the very bottom and tends to err toward the thin (not much) side. Balanced operation is another level of bass control, midrange beauty and top end extension and ease. Pretty surprised by this - now I have to buy a phono pre that operates in full balanced mode! Damn - this hobby is one thing after another
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Main System: Pre-Power; Schiit Freya w/tung sol 6SN7's, Hafler 220 (modified) mids, Parasound Zamp V3 on tweets, Adcom 555 - main woofers. Digital; Alien R3, iFi USB, Schiit Gungnir MB. Analog;Well-Tempered Classic, Monster Alpha 2 (rebuilt by SS), PS Audio GCPH. Bass DSP: Behringer DCX2496. Power: RGPC. Mains; 1) Home built with Vifa-Peerless and HIVI drivers:Active Crossover - Bryston 10B-LR. Subs; Energy 10.3, Tannoy CMS-110B
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:12 AM
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OK, so I now have a balanced phono pre en-route (PS Audio GCPH) so we'll see how that pans out with the Freya. In the mean time, the tubes have finally broken-in. It took about 3 weeks of continuous on time for them to settle in. At this point, it depends on the music as to whether I prefer the tubes or the JFET buffer. But, (using the tubes) I'm happy to say that the soundstage has now opened up nicely and the spitty high-end has settled into a smooth and natural sounding presentation. The mids and bass have a wee bit more body (barely) using the tube stage vs. the JFET buffer and the dynamics are better with the tubes. Which one is more accurate is a tough call. I will get around to some tune specific observations soon, but I got sidetracked as my Father had a heart attack a week and 1/2 ago. He's 85 but made it fine and is now rehabilitating at a skilled care center :-)
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Main System: Pre-Power; Schiit Freya w/tung sol 6SN7's, Hafler 220 (modified) mids, Parasound Zamp V3 on tweets, Adcom 555 - main woofers. Digital; Alien R3, iFi USB, Schiit Gungnir MB. Analog;Well-Tempered Classic, Monster Alpha 2 (rebuilt by SS), PS Audio GCPH. Bass DSP: Behringer DCX2496. Power: RGPC. Mains; 1) Home built with Vifa-Peerless and HIVI drivers:Active Crossover - Bryston 10B-LR. Subs; Energy 10.3, Tannoy CMS-110B
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  #9  
Old 08-06-2018, 06:36 PM
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Overall the Freya is a great sounding pre-amp .... sonics are well above its price class - especially running balanced and using the JFET buffer mode. The tube gain stage is also very nice, but I don't think that it is "better" than what can be purchased other places. The newer Quicksilver tube line stage (about $900) comes to mind. But the ability to run balanced in's and outs may give the Freya the nod for many (me included).

The Freya has a big soundstage that is unusual at this price point. Using the JFET mode the stage seems to extend deeply behind the speakers, and the aural cues allowing instrument (voice) placement and a realistic sense of hall size and space are all there. The pure passive mode is also good, but the stage feels a bit smaller. Switching in the tube gain stage keeps the stage about the same size (touch smaller), but the sense of "feeling" the ambience and recorded space declines slightly. This is most evident on well recorded classical music from Chesky and RR.

While the Freya has a "polite" nature dynamically - micro dynamics are quite good. Using the JFET buffer: piano on Sheffield Labs LP Hollywood Town (lincoln mayorga and amanda mcbroom) is very well fleshed out with the attack envelope of the hammers hitting strings properly represented as an organic and cohesive part of the sound. Likewise the rich upper and lower overtones/undertones of cymbals and bells on this disc are beautifully represented giving the sound a very live - yet rich sound. Another example of this is on the Sheffield Lab "The Name is Makowicz" LP .... Phil Woods saxaphone is alive with solid body and rich overtones that sing and sounds very "you are there" live. Switching over to the tube gain stage: you loose a wee bit of the piano hammers on the Hollywood Town disc. You also hear an altered set of harmonics on the cymbals and bells that sound nice (a bit more exciting) but not as "real". Phil Wood sax on the Makowicz disc takes on a bit more body with the tubes, but doesn't sound quite as "real" (although I like it). Amanda Mcbroom's vocals are extremely real sounding via the JFET buffer stage. The tube stage fattens the sound up ever so slightly and it becomes very slightly sweeter (nice - and I like it) but it doesn't sound as "real" (to me).

Having spent some good time with Freya now, I can say that Freya is a fine pre-amp and one that I can (and will) live with for some time. Does it have any weaknesses? I'd say that compared with some of the better pre-amps I have owned it probably isn't as dynamic as the higher end big boys. The bass is quite good for the price range, but here again it isn't quite as able to grab on and hold a bass note (or line) like say a higher level BAT pre or a higher level ARC for example. Nothing to complain about for sure, but relative to the "best" - it is close but not quite there. Then again Schiit isn't (for the most part) about being the "best" - its more about giving the best a serous run at a ridiculously low price - and Freya does that. Freya can play music and make you feel that you are "in" a large room listening live (even if you're listening room is quite small - as mine is). That is something that few pre's can do regardless of price, so (IMO) Freya is a significant achievement at the $799 (as mine is configured) price range. Now I'm going to have to spring for a set of the LISST solid state tubes to see how they compare to the Tung Sol tubes. After all "gain is seductive: :-)

You may gather that I strongly prefer the JFET buffer stage, but that is not really the case. I find myself using the JFET and the tube gain stages almost equally and which I use is highly dependent upon the program material. While there are differences between them, the two modes of operation are VERY similar sounding. The subtle differences are nice to have as some recordings are better with the JFET buffer and some are better with the tube gain stage.

I'll update this thread if and when I buy the LISST Solid State tubes. Not sure how long they take to "break in", but I can tell you that the Tung Sols took almost 3 weeks of continuous on time to settle in. So, if you get a Freya - give it time to cook before you decide how you like it.
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Main System: Pre-Power; Schiit Freya w/tung sol 6SN7's, Hafler 220 (modified) mids, Parasound Zamp V3 on tweets, Adcom 555 - main woofers. Digital; Alien R3, iFi USB, Schiit Gungnir MB. Analog;Well-Tempered Classic, Monster Alpha 2 (rebuilt by SS), PS Audio GCPH. Bass DSP: Behringer DCX2496. Power: RGPC. Mains; 1) Home built with Vifa-Peerless and HIVI drivers:Active Crossover - Bryston 10B-LR. Subs; Energy 10.3, Tannoy CMS-110B
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2018, 08:02 PM
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Mike.......Thanks for the update on your new Schiit Audio Freya preamplifier. Your description makes clear that it punches well above its price point and in keeping with the hallmark of Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat's business model and design philosophy. Sounds like serious performance from a reasonably priced component.
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