Schiit Freya + and S Impressions - Stream of Consciousness

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by purr1n, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    I am going to edit out "preferring" because it wasn't really accurate. I just really didn't want to put the particular issues I had with the Freya S in this thread. I didn't want some lurker to read the post and get the wrong idea but given my previous posts in this thread I need to clarify things.

    I really never got to hear the Freya S Nexus stage under normal circumstances. The Freya S and my amp just wouldn't play nice together - the result was an insane amount of hiss that was audible during music playback when the S was in Nexus mode. Passive mode worked wonderfully well as I stated earlier in this thread. I had a dialog with Schiit and sent them the specs and information on my amp and they couldn't find a reason why this was happening. I tried two different Freya Ss and the result was the same so this is just unique to me and anyone else who has built the same amp. No fault of anyone and Schiit was really cool about it.

    The Freya + was quiet as a mouse though in both JFET and Tube mode. So I really think the Nexus stage had issues with my amp.
     
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  2. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

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    Buy a learning universal remote like a Harmony or whatever, and then program it to do the Freya stuff.
     
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  3. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    @Aklegal, thanks for sharing! You mentioned a preamp tour. What other preamps have you compared to the Freya+ and how did they compare?
     
  4. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    I have a Denafrips Hestia incoming this week. I am planning on getting either a Kinki pre or one of the Hattor passives that have popped up on ebay recently after that. I did a similar tour type thing with amps last year and ended up with something I really liked so I wanted to do it again with preamps. Ends up saving money in the long run.

    I'd rank the preamps that I have owned recently (over the past 2 years) like this:

    Freya + tube mode 20 out of 20 - since its the best I have heard in my system so far
    Freya + JFET mode 19
    Freya +/ Freya S passive 18
    Audio GD Master 1 17.5
    Audio GD Master 9 17
    Wyred 4 Sound mPre 13
    Wyred 4 Sound STP SE 10

    I actually owned the Wyred STP SE for a total of 5 years having purchased it twice - the last time i picked up a used one just make sure I wasn't crazy and because I wanted to like it for some reason. It is the most overrated piece I have ever heard. I hope Wyred cuts Srajan Ebaen very large checks every month. I know there are upgrades available but after hearing the passive and JFET modes on the Freya, just substituting in some expensive resistors and and caps will not come close to closing the gap.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
  5. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Thanks for this. A few of these have been on my “maybe I’ll try it someday” preamp list, especially the Wyred’s. I already had my doubts/suspicions about them, but will now cross them off! Very curious how you find the Denafrips and Kinki (I had the Kinki integrated for a while, nice piece, just not my flavour).

    I’ve been enjoying the Freya+ for a few weeks now too. For the tube mode, I have a couple reservations compared to the OG Freya (related to soundstage and grunt/punch) but otherwise it’s much better overall. I’m contemplating trying a Freya S as well, but not a ton of comparos of the two other than Purr1n’s. Too bad you had an issue with yours.

    OT, but what amps did you try and end up with?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  6. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    I ended up with a DIY chip amp - Folsom 7293. This was my first amp build. I added a resistor to get the gain down from 32db to 26.
    https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/gro...tend-amplifier-60-120w-8-4ohm-0-0005-thd.html

    I tried a few amps last year in my attempts to replace a Hegel H360. The best were the Liberty B2B-100 (borrowed from a friend) and the Schiit Aegir. I oh so slightly prefered the Liberty over the Aegir but I didn't buy it due to its having way too much gain for my system. I didn't keep the Aegir due to it being class A and the fact that whatever amp I ended up with would pull double duty in my HT setup. My TV is usually on about 3-4 hours a day - that just a lot of heat caused wear and tear for mindless tv viewing. I wrote notes about the Aegir and the Liberty in the Aegir review thread.

    The Folsom 7293 sounds alot like the Liberty - actually better imo. I got interested in chip amps because my speakers are 97db and the have open baffle servo subs (rythmik audio) that handle everything below about 150hz so I don't need a ton of power. I tried the Folsom on a whim and fell in love with it. I really didn't expect it to sound so good and originally just had the thing mounted on a piece of mdf.

    I've got the amp building bug now so I have ordered a pair of Neurochrome 186 for a pair of monos. It might be a while before I buy another commercial amp.
     
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  7. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    I am going to start a separate thread for the Denafrips Hestia in about 1-2 weeks or so but @rlow asked for a brief comparison to my memory of the Freya +. Keep in mind the Hestia is brand new shipped from China.

    Freya + has a slightly (maybe more than slightly) deeper soundstage. Both preamps put you in about the same row in the audience from lets say the main vocalist but the Freya was picking up details further back.
    On first listen the Hestia's soundstage dies at the outside edge of the speakers. It was a little better after a day of break in in but I don't expect it to ever be panoramic. I sit about 12 feet back from my speakers so people who sit farther away might not notice this as much. The Freya+ extended past the edges of the speakers and sometimes wrapped around on certain recordings.
    Hestia has a bolder presentation and it is warmer but still manages clarity and sharp lines.
    It doesn't layer front to back as well as the Freya + but it is close.
    Hestia seems to have a blacker background. I don't remember noticing blackground with the Freya nearly as much.

    There are things about the Hestia I can't figure out yet. Upon firing it up the first time I had flashbacks to 10 years when I swapped dacs with a friend and had his MHDT Havana for a week. There is just this initial shock of how different its sounds compared to any other preamp I have heard. Really bold sounding, with a narrow soundstage and a slight loss of low level detail, noticeable loss of dynamics. Things have changed a bit from then though and I am really interested to see if it opens up a tad bit more.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  8. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Just a quick note on tubes for Freya+ (and likely OG Freya as well). The new production JJ 6SN7 tubes that are included with the Freya+ are really quite good. Better IMO than the NP Tung-Sol 6SN7 that they used to include, at least in this application. In fact, I prefer them more than most of the vintage/NOS tube I’ve tried, except for maybe the very best ones (which are rare and cost mucho $$$). They don’t really blow you away in any particular area, but they’re just nicely balanced and neutral, with nice tight bass and clear mids. These are very nice NP tubes for pretty cheap.
     
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  9. androxylo

    androxylo Acquaintance

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    So as Freya S is gone. what's the replacement? They can't just leave a hole in their offerings... or can they?
     
  10. androxylo

    androxylo Acquaintance

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    I know hardcore audiophiles will kill me, but I installed a silent fan on top of my Aegir. I run it to listen music about 6 hours per day in average, except Sunday. So it's ~35 hours per week. No harm done, and I absolutely don't hear the fan, except if I stop the music and concentrate on hearing it.
     
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  11. Brian D

    Brian D Facebook Friend

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  12. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Which fan did you use? How did you do the install - are you pulling air through the holes (on the sides, next to edge) or blowing air over the heatsinks or something else?
     
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  13. androxylo

    androxylo Acquaintance

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    I purchased this fan 1.5 years ago: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MWH4FL4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1. At that time the review was it's super quiet, and it is. There could be better by now. It's not attached, just sits on top of Aegir and soaks the air from the holes up. The amp is just warm to touch, not hot at all, and I run it for many hours non stop.
     
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  14. econaut

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    @rlow Could you go a little more into detail concerning the differences between the Tung-Sols and the JJs? Would be highly appreciated!
     
  15. Metamodern

    Metamodern Rando

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    I recently put a quad of Baldwin Sylvania manufactured GTB’s in my Freya+. I initially had the supplied NP Tung Sol’s in, which sounded very muddy in the mid’s, and very coarse highs.

    So far I’ve found the Sylvania’s to have better resolution, and separation. I also found the bass to be more full? The Tung Sol’s always seemed to be absent in the upper bass.

    If you are looking for a pretty cheap, all around improvement to your Freya+, I don’t think you can go wrong with some NOS Sylvania 6sn7GTB’s.
     
  16. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Ok, I did a bit of a comparo this morning to listen a bit more closely. Bear in mind, I am only using 2 tubes of either Tung-sol or JJ in the gain stage (right side tubes if you’re looking at the Freya). In the cathode follower stage (left side) I use my favourite Sylvania VT-231 tubes. So whatever I say may be somewhat “enhanced” by using all 4 of the same tube.

    JJ is airy and less warm. A bit drier and squarer in the bass (esp midbass) whereas the Tungsol is more “organic” in the lows. JJ mids and vocals are a bit clearer and there’s just more seperation overall than the Tungsol. JJ is a bit brighter, tungsol a bit darker or more neutral. JJ is a bit more forward , incisive and detailed and the Tungsol is a bit more euphonic and rounded. I think it’s mainly going to come down to synergy. If you want more incisiveness and separation and a more brightness and sparkle, go for the JJ. If you want to smooth things out a bit and have a bit more laid back or neutral presentation that’s a bit wetter and more euphonic, go for the Tung-Sol.

    About the only thing i will say that I don’t like about the JJ is that it seems to emphasize the midbass a bit and that emphasis is a bit blunt/square, so it sort of calls attention to itself more than it should. This was actually a dealbreaker when I tried a JJ in my Lyr 3. Doesn’t bother me as much with just 2 tubes in the Freya however, perhaps because the Sylvanias I use with them are a bit softer/rounder in bass.

    edit: or maybe a pair of each to balance things out - I’ll have to try that sometime.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  17. jeff free

    jeff free Rando

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    Greetings friends - I'm listening to a new freya+ and have a couple of questions:
    If the passive stage and buffer stage are both "unity gain", shouldn't they be the same level? The buffer on mine is significantly lower than the passive. I measure it to be ~6 db lower than the passive. is that normal?

    Also, using the tube stage I'm experiencing very loud pops thru the speakers while adjusting the volume and muting . Alarmingly loud. This can't be normal..
    Your thoughts?
    Thanks
     
  18. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Hi there, welcome. Please note the banner at the top of the pages that has this:

    Read these "rules" AND introduce
    yourself
    before your first post.


    To answer your question though - do you happen to be using RCA inputs and XLR outputs? Passive mode doesn’t do a conversion of single ended inputs to fully balanced - so you won’t get the +6dB of gain from the XLR outputs from Freya in passive mode if you are using single ended RCA inputs. In buffer mode (which is an active stage that converts things properly) you get the differential balanced outputs, which adds the 6dB because it effectively doubles the voltage output the amp receives.

    And no, the popping through the speakers is not normal. You should hear clicking from the Freya itself when you adjust volume or mute, but nothing from the speakers. I think you have an issue there for sure.

    Edit: I just realized you said the volume difference was the opposite (lower in the buffer mode). Could be the same as what I describe, but in reverse (XLR going to RCA) maybe? Not sure about that however I would have to play with my own unit to see. Either that or the popping issue you’re describing is related to that issue as well - the popping is not normal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
  19. econaut

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    Thank you so much for this comparison. It helps me a lot. Since switching from Unison to Pi2AES my two channel system got so much clearer (which I like). But now I think some tube rolling into the bloomier/warmer direction would be a nice move towards more synergy since my Klipsch RF7 IIIs sound brighter now than with Unison.

    Thanks to your impressions I won't bother with the JJs now and keep my Tung-Sols for the time being. Still searching for some warmer tubes without sacrificing too much else, though.
     
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  20. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    I'm just a few days into running in my Freya+ but so far I'm quite thrilled with it. So far, and for the foreseeable future, I plan to run the stock TS tubes. And I'm happy with "tube mode" - gain seems to fit well within my setup, it's not congealing everything together, and a pretty broad range of music seems to sound pretty darn good through them for my tastes.

    But then I saw page 6, first post - "check out JFET mode!" So I did. And while some albums I have probably won't get quite loud enough this way for my liking, the vast majority absolutely will and yea, this does sound very good to me.

    I have read that the PSVane UK tubes work well in Freya+? Like I said, I'm not going to roll for a bit, but I think those will be on the list when I do start.

    [​IMG]
     
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