Schiit Freya Preamp Review (Episodic)

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

  1. Dr J

    Dr J Friend

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    Has anyone else observed an out-of-phase behavior of Freya?

    Ran across this while setting up Freya as a switcher for selecting between AV receiver or Yggdrasil as the source to active speakers.

    Setup 1: AV receiver RCA out-> RCA to XLR cable -> XLR to XLR cable -> XLR-in of active speakers.

    Setup 2: AV receiver RCA out -> RCA to XLR cable -> Freya XLR in to Freya XLR-out -> XLR to XLR cable -> XLR-in of active speakers.

    Otherwise exactly the same room arrangements and rest of the system and settings. I.e. the only difference is if two cables ar plugged to teach other or if Freya is between them in the chain.

    When doing room calibration (with Yamaha YPAO), the Setup 1 goes normally, but Setup 2 results in Yamaha warning that the L and R speakers are out of phase.

    This happens with both passive and JFET stages. It also happens when going from AC receiver RCA out -> RCA to RCA cable -> RCA in of Freya with otherwise the same configuration.

    Also tried other RCA-XLR and XLR-XLR cables in case I had a funky cable. But it did not change the results.

    With Ragnarok the out of phase did not happen.

    I wonder if somehow the design of Freya leads to this, or if I have a incorrectly wired Freya. A quick google failed to find similar experiences.

    Also wondering if this happens when listening to the Yggdrasil XLR out -> Freya XLR in to Freya XLR out --> XLR in of active speakers and if it actually skews the phase also in this case. And if I then flip the phase in Yggdrasil, does that in effect restore the "normal" phase.

    Any experiences, advice and thoughts would be very welcome.
     
  2. luckybaer

    luckybaer Friend

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    Just pulled the trigger on Freya with the Tung-Sol tubes.

    These pieces of gear will input into Freya: PS Audio NPC, Gungnir (fed with CD5003, PS Audio's coax out, PC), Nakamichi DR-2, and eventually an SACD player (will replace CD5003).

    Freya will output to an Onkyo TX-8555 (RCA) and Taurus MkII (XLR).

    No plans to roll tubes. The intention is to listen via passive mode, but I'll play with JFET and tube modes to see if there is any difference.

    I decided on a Freya to simplify my set up (at least in my mind), gain some flexibility, and for the volume control. I should have done this a while ago, but I got fixated on another product before I realized Freya was what I needed and wanted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  3. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    No tube rolling...

    I said that once.
     
  4. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I could tell right away I was lying too.
     
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  5. luckybaer

    luckybaer Friend

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    Been listening an hour, and no urge to roll tubes!!! ;)

    Just enjoying fiddling around and listening to all my sources. I haven't even bothered doing any critical listening to see if I can tell the difference between passive, JFET, and tube modes.

    Early thoughts:

    • Love that 128-step relay attenuator. What precise control over volume it provides. I've never had any piece of gear that allowed me to control volume with such precision!
    • The remote control is functional, and a lot smaller than I thought it would be. It measures 11.8 cm x 3 cm x .75 cm. Although it is diminutive, it has a good, solid feel to it. It doesn't feel cheap at all.
    • I think Marv said the source and output markings were small and cryptic, and I have to agree. It doesn't take long to figure them out, though. Gungnir MB's input selections still sometimes give me pause, so you know I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed.
    • It looks great perched on Gungnir Multibit.
    • It gets hot. Hotter than Gungnir Multibit. Hotter than my Taurus MkII headphone amp. Hotter than my Onkyo TX-8555. I wonder if it gets that hot if I only run it in passive or JFET mode? I'll have to find out. I've been listening 90% tube gain thus far.
    • I nudged the volume down on my subwoofer a tad.


    I'm glad I came to my senses and did not trade in my little Schiit Stack (Modi MB, Eitr, Magni 3) to get a discount on a PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC/Preamp. Not only did I save money, I keep my Schiit Stack AND I got a fine tube preamp.

    Is there any burn-in/break-in time for Freya (like there was for Gungnir Multibit)?

    Oh, and unlike Gungnir Multibit, Freya is getting switched off when not in use. Did I mention it runs hotter than anything else in my system?

    And... I will buy another matched set of 4 tubes - to have as back-ups, not to fart around with and roll. :D
     
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  6. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    I am finally getting acquainted with my Freya after more than a year. I was running it as a GumbFreya or Gumbreya or WhateverTheHell it's called in a background music satellite/sub system at my shop. In that service, there was no opportunity for critical listening while I rebuilt old motorcycles. So, it "did fine". Recently, I decided to ship the Yggdrasil in my headphone setup back to Schiit for an Analog2 upgrade. I moved the GumbFreya down to the house for headphone duty.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It didn't take too long to discover that in passive and JFET modes it sounded very good, but in tube mode it sounded bad. I'd almost given up on tube mode when I decided to pull out my stash of 6SN7's from my Cavalli Liquid Glass days. I did not intend to relive the year I spent tube-rolling on the LG, but in that process, I had found a tube that was reasonably available which I really liked. Namely, the Ratheon 6SN7GTB 1959 vintage. I had about a dozen pairs in NOS or used Audiophile or Reference graded condition. Instant satisfaction. Tube mode is now the only mode I listen with. The Yggdrasil may end up at the shop when it returns. I'll try it here with and without the Freya, but I can't imagine being more satisfied (I know, famous edible words). Without the Freya, I have used an Emotiva ControlFreak for volume control.
     
  7. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    Give it time LOL


    Some people seem to dislike it, I think it's great myself. Even when the music is loud, you can still hear/feel it. The fine adjustments let me dial things in perfectly. If the temp on the amps starts to climb too high, a click or two down and it evens out nicely.


    I got the original remote with my Freya that I bought used here on SBAF. It does feel cheap. The new metal remote is MUCH nicer, and a deal for the $18 from the Schiit store. For Freya owners that use their remote it is a no-brainer upgrade.


    Indeed. Almost like they were made to match. I'm wondering if their upcoming transport is going to use the same 16 inch form factor. I hope so.


    Warmer than the Gungnir, yes, but I would not say hot. It is probably a good idea to have a reasonable amount of ventilation around it though.

    Enjoy your Freya!
     
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  8. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Freya gets warm. Tubes get hot.
     
  9. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    The Freya gets hot enough that I was worried, maybe still am, about its longevity.
     
  10. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

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    Interesting. I have a Freya and it does not get hot... a little warm. We should consider many variables here ( place, subjectivity ) I will try to measure the warmth later with a proper instrument.. maybe 50 (122 F) celsius.
    Zana deux super in comparison it’s very hot. Maybe 80 Celsius (178 F)
     
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  11. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I think about 110F is as hot as I have measured. 95 right now after playing a couple CDs.
     
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  12. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    I use mine without tubes installed, in passive or jfet mode. Gungnir Multibit sits on top, covering the tube holes. It would not even qualify as warm. It’s the tubes, man....
     
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  13. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I agree. Wide range among tubes too. I have some NOS ones that run over 200F. The Psvanes I'm currently running are much cooler, around 165ish. This is my first tube component so I just assume that is normal tube variation.
     
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  14. luckybaer

    luckybaer Friend

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    This is probably new toy syndrome, but the music coming from my speakers since integrating Freya sounds a better than it did prior to Freya. Makes no sense to this layman. I'm running in passive mode, so there's no reason for things to sound better, right?

    I bought this for the volume control, connectivity options, etc. and because it helps to organize my components from a connectivity standpoint. I've got to be imagining things. I'm trying to think about what else is different...

    OK... Gungnir Multibit is Bal/XLR into Freya, as is my phonostage (NuWave Phono Converter - NPC). They were both SE/RCA directly into the integrated amp prior to Freya's arrival. Could that have something to do with it?

    Maximum output for Gungnir is 4.0V RMS balanced, and 2.0V RMS single-ended.
    Maximum output for NPC is 6.3V RMS balanced, and 3.15V single-ended.

    However, Freya goes into my Onkyo TX-8555 single-ended.

    I'm clueless, but not complaining. Things sound great, so why question it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  15. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    That depends, what did you have before?
     
  16. luckybaer

    luckybaer Friend

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    Before: My CD player, phono stage, and PC were all connected to Gungnir Multibit. Gungnir Multibit, in turn, was single-ended into my integrated amp - Onkyo TX-8555.

    Now: Gungnir Multibit goes balanced into Freya, and Freya goes single-ended into the TX-8555.
     
  17. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    As with most Schiit products, the case is a heat sink: it's meant to take heat
     
  18. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I’ve come to the very strong conclusion that I just don’t like Freya in passive or JFET mode. At least not compared to my tube mode. Neither give me the cleanliness, openness, separation, extension, tightness, dynamics and staging I hear from tube mode and my combination of Sylvania VT-231 and LISST.

    Passive mode sounds way smaller, muddier, softer, bloomier and mashed together/confused. JFET, compared to passive, opens up and cleans things up a bit and adds better transients and dynamics, but it goes too far adding etch/ragged edges to the mids and top end, and a midbass bump and blurriness to the bottom end. And neither can stage anywhere close to tube mode (which is one reason why many of us like tubes to begin with obviously).
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  19. luckybaer

    luckybaer Friend

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    @rlow and anyone else with more of a clue than I...

    With all the audio-savvy folks here, this probably sounds like a stupid question, but how does everyone volume match when doing comparisons between settings, gear, etc.?

    I don't have test gear, so I use a Rat Shack SPL when doing comparisons on speakers, and I have something rigged with the same SPL to try and get matching volumes when listening through a pair of headphones. That's as good as I know how.

    Open to suggestions that don't cost a lot. :)
     
  20. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    For speakers, yep all I use is a cheap SPL meter and measure from the same location at my seating position. One good thing about Freya’s clicky stepped attenuator is you can count the clicks between the different things you’re testing, so you know how many clicks between different sources for instance, or for when I swap speakers, so that I don’t need to measure every time. A number display on the preamp for the volume would be even better, but a least it’s better than a standard pot with no indication other than visual.

    For headphones I will leave that to others to advise on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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