Preamps

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by sphinxvc, Sep 21, 2016.

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  1. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Reckon on hearing some changes over the first 20-30 hours. There are good physical reasons for this. Things that you could hear in this period are popping, crackling, bad transients or crispy treble. Just wait a bit.
     
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  2. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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    Thank you, Gans. I figured that there might be some break-in to tubes but, as I said, am woefully ignorant in that department.

    So far no pops or crackles and the treble is smooth and I am easily a few dozen hours in. I am really appreciating Schiit's light touch on the tube's effect on the sound out of the Saga. It isn't over done, but instead widens and deepens the sound stage beautifully while maintaining a great deal of clarity. Listening to Cesária Évora at the Olympia at the moment and it captures the sounds of the hall and the audience wonderfully.
     
  3. Rex Aeterna

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    a friend let me borrow a carver c-1 preamp for a awhile till i can eventually get another preamp down the line. so far i like it. quiet and clean. better than expected. this one is unmodded as well so, it's all original. he has 2 more c-1's with bill d mods but, never tried them on my system. i know some criticize some carver stuff but, so far stuff i got hold of his and so forth i had good impressions with and not bad at all.
     
  4. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    1. In your distortion measurements, you might want make sure the nth harmonics are shown. You seem to have cut them off and only show the fundamental levels during the sweep.
    2. Measuring preamp performance from a microphone pointed at speakers is not a good way to do this. You should be using a probe on the outputs of the preamp to specified voltage levels (at typical voltage output levels or a bit higher). If you wanted to evaluate the effect of preamp / amp interactions, then use a probe at the amp outputs. Speakers and rooms produce too much weird stuff.
    3. What frequency is the THD keyed off? That is the THD % that you've cited.
    4. If you don't what you are doing, and it's clear that you don't, then it's best not to present these kinds of measurements. You can caveat stuff that you see in measurements that you are not too sure about; but please don't caveat "I'm not totally sure what I am doing". Bad measurements from bad methodology is worse than mediocre subjective impressions. I'd rather hear subjective impressions from you.
    You can't arrive at this conclusion. It's too close to call.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016
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  5. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    If the tube is really old (or it's some of the new production Chinese tubes), you may experience a small change in the first 40 hours of use. But generally, I don't hear changes over time with burn in or whatever with tubes. Tubes do take a while to warm up. Some feel 15 minutes is enough. Others think 45 minutes or so. I did feel that the Saga upon initial warm-up was not as resolving as it was later in the day at the meet.

    I generally turn tube gear on when I know I will be listening to it in about an hour. If it gets better into the night, I guess that's not a bad thing.
     
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  6. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

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    Very early impressions, but I'm impressed at the transparency of Saga's tube buffer mode.
     
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  7. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    @aafnp - one comment

    I would only use a miniDSP for an active crossover. Using a Modi MB and then adding another ADC/DAC stage kinda defeats the purpose of using an R2R DAC to begin with. If you are using EQ do it at the very beginning with software.
     
  8. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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    Agreed! The difference between passive and active (tube) is pronounced on my system--but subtly so. The sound stage widens and deepens, but it isn't at the expense of clarity/transparancy. Very nicely done, IMO.
     
  9. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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    That certainly jibes with my experience, both with the Saga and with the Musical Fidelity XT-100 integrated that I used to have (but where the tubes were sealed inside and not readily conducive to tube rolling). I think, from casual observation, that the stock tube that came with the Saga seems to do much better with 1/2 - 1 hours of warm up on it. And I agree with the sentiment that if it gets better going into the night, it's a good thing as that's when I can do most of my (relatively quiet) quality listening--once the kids and the wife have fallen asleep....

    Which is also where my appreciation of the Saga's relay-stepped attenuator kicks in. I am coming to terms with the clicks, slowly. But it has wonderful clarity and balance when played at low volumes, which is a plus in an 1100 square foot house with thin walls and three sleeping family members....
     
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  10. Merrick

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    Now that I blew pretty much my entire audio gear budget for the next year, I think the Freya is not necessary at this point, since I won't be upgrading my DAC for a good long while. But I still need a preamp for remote volume and managing my different sources. So now the question becomes are there any good alternatives to the Saga in its price range? Or should I just go with the Saga and not look back?
     
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  11. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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    I faced the same dilemma. I sold some gear to enable the purchase of a Singxer SU-1 and a Saga. But I built a spreadsheet and considered many options in the process. My wife (wisely, due to budgetary constraints) insisted that the purchase be zero sum vis a vis the gear sold. I would have preferred to have purchased a Freya, but it just wasn't in the cards.

    I am not disappointed.

    The Saga is wonderful. As a passive, I like it a little better than the SYS (which is crazy good for the price). With the active tube gain stage, it is a marked improvement over what I was doing before (direct to the living room amp/speakers from a Berkeley Audio Gen 1 DAC and with the SYS in line for the kitchen amp/speakers to attenuate the signal a little.)

    It plays very well with the solid state amps, opening up the sound stage and adding air between the instruments/voices.

    Two other advantages worth considering:
    1. The Freya is inexpensive enough that there's a much better chance that it will become affordable down the line than your average block of unobtanium.
    2. If that interests/intrigues you, tube rolling is much cheaper (1 tube vs. 2 or 4 on the Freya). So if you aren't already familiar with the practice, you can experiment at a far less expensive level for now and get a sense of the sound signature(s) you like for less money (though in my reading it seems that a certain synergy might be achieved by using two different kinds of tubes in the Freya to temper and refine each other. That you can't experiment with on the Saga, but you will have built a stronger sense of what is out there before embarking on the more expensive journey...)
    I will reiterate that I am *very* happy with the Saga right now and my main concern is not having enough time to listen to it!
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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  12. Merrick

    Merrick Friend

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    Thanks @nedifer! I like your thought process there, and I think I will go with the Saga.
     
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  13. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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    I was just about to add that I'm listening to Louis Armstrong / Duke Ellington: The Master Summit and the quality of Louis' voice on the living room speakers is delightful.

    Note: If he remembers, my brother will lend me his Parasound preamp tomorrow when we get together for Thanksgiving and I hope to compare the two over the weekend (along with the SYS and the BAD DAC by itself (time & kids permitting). I will post my findings here when I can.
     
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  14. Merrick

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    Thanks, but for the prices I'm seeing on ebay for the Parasounds I'd rather spend the small premium to get a brand new preamp covered by a five year warranty. Plus I want the tube. :)

    Already ordered mine, heh.
     
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  15. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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    I hope you come to the same conclusion as I did...

    :)

    Telling , isn't it , when @schiit 's s new pricing (with warrantee) is competitive with many years old used gear and kicks butt in the process.

    This is exactly the kind of disruptive movement the audio industry needs to save itself and sell itself to its next generation of customers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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  16. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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  17. Garns

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    Is there any sane way of managing the following set-up? I have Yggy, Valhalla 2, Jotunheim and a pair of powered monitors with XLR inputs. As it stands, I can't plug more than one of the latter three in to Yggy at the same time, because:

    1) Jotunheim and the speakers both require XLR outputs and Yggy has only one such. I can't use y-splitters due to...

    2) When the monitors are switched off they present a load of 100 ohm so if I try to use them with y-splitters with the Jotunheim, or forget to physically disconnect them from Yggy balanced when listening to the Valhalla 2 via SE, it sounds like shit, because Yggy output buffers are current-limited.

    3) Surprisingly, it's also the case that if I don't physically disconnect Val2 from Yggy SE while listening to the monitors or Jotunheim, they sound audibly worse (nasty distortion around 6-10khz). I'm certain Val2 doesn't short its inputs when switched off, but whatever additional load it imposes is apparently too much for the Yggy buffer. (Monitor input when switched on is a 14kohm transformer).

    At the moment I just unplug and replug everything every time I change from speakers to headphones or vice versa. I don't want to use Jotun as a pre because it isn't entirely transparent. I guess something like the Freya would fix 3) since it should have way more current capability than Yggy. But I don't know that it would fix 2) unless either it has insane amounts of current capability, or it has switchable outputs (which the Saga doesn't). Moreover it also wouldn't fix 1) because it still only has a single pair of XLR outs.

    The only solution I can think of at the moment is a passive 3-way XLR switch and a bal-SE transformer for Val2. It all seems quite inelegant.
     
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  18. batriq

    batriq Friend

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    How about yggy balanced to Joti, then Joti preamp balanced to speakers and Joti preamp RCA to Val2. Set the speaker and Val2 volume controls to max and control the volume with the Joti.
     
  19. Garns

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    Thanks, that is an option I thought about -- problem is that Jotunheim is not very transparent as a preamp. It flattens both the soundstage and the dynamics a bit. Seems there is no easy way of getting convenience and best sound quality simultaneously.
     
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  20. nedifer

    nedifer Almost "Made"

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    You could get something like the Goldpoint SW2X-O for the Jotunheim and the active speakers and then continue to either manually plug/unplug the Vali2 or get a second SE switcher to use for the Vali (without anything connected to the second output on the SE switcher).

    Two switchers, though, would rapidly approach the cost of a Freya, but then how it would help/not help in this situation is up in the air as it hasn't been released yet.
     
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