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Thread: Schiit Freya passive pre amp

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Phil.

    Default Schiit Freya passive pre amp

    The Freya is now available preferably for collection . Its a pre amp with several options i.e passive and valve . i have run it in both to good effect . in fact its incredibly transparent . with a remote and 2 xlr inputs and several RCA inputs

    as with some tube pre it does make a slight noise sometimes in the valve stage but passive is deadly quiet . i upgraded to tungsol valves and selling this quite a bit below what i paid . Schiit stuff is well worth trying . it is DEFINATELY not pipe and slippers and is probably one of THE most transparent passive pre amps i have heard

    P1060454 by , on Flickr

    475 collected from brum or at Kegworth

    https://www.cnet.com/news/how-can-te...und-this-good/
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs /MSB s200 , / onkyo sacd/ bel canto fm1
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]schiit freya pre , firebottle mono`s marantz sa8005 bel canto 3.5vbss and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands 3] harbeth p3esr /rotel

  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Worcestershire, UK

    Posts: 723
    I'm Rob.

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    Oh that's tempting, and if I needed the XLR facility a definite, but I think I'll stick with my Saga (which has the one essential advantage for me at the moment - it's smaller).

    These Schiit Pre-amps are great. All the advantages of a passive pre (but with a Valve mode available for a little extra humf) with the added convenience of a remote (perfect for lazy fat arses like me and it even let's you switch in/out valve mode) and at a good price. Bargain here for someone.
    Rob.
    Powered by crossed fingers and clenched buttocks

  3. #3
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Phil.

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    thanks rob

    the saga is absolutely super pre amp and as you say smaller . the realism and clarity from the freya is superb . i think you would have to match it carefully so would not be using in a `bright ` system but with the correct amp its rather good
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs /MSB s200 , / onkyo sacd/ bel canto fm1
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]schiit freya pre , firebottle mono`s marantz sa8005 bel canto 3.5vbss and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands 3] harbeth p3esr /rotel

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2014

    Location: Solihull

    Posts: 465
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    So what do you plan on replacing it with Phil?
    Tangerine LP12,Naim Aro, Benz Wood
    Audiomeca Talisman Highly Modded
    Audiomeca Kreatura &,SW1X DAC1
    Hovland HP100 MC
    SiriuS D100
    Quad FM4,RWA Cassabria + LCD 3
    Wilson Benesch Actors
    Cables by Cardas, Hovland G3 and Yter

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    saving up for an ear yoshino i think or whatever amazing comes along !!!
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs /MSB s200 , / onkyo sacd/ bel canto fm1
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]schiit freya pre , firebottle mono`s marantz sa8005 bel canto 3.5vbss and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands 3] harbeth p3esr /rotel

  6. #6
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Worcestershire, UK

    Posts: 723
    I'm Rob.

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    I'm sure I'm going to stop returning to this thread for another look soon.
    Rob.
    Powered by crossed fingers and clenched buttocks

  7. #7
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ReggieB View Post
    I'm sure I'm going to stop returning to this thread for another look soon.
    if you want rob , i`ll deliver it for nothing just for you !!!
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs /MSB s200 , / onkyo sacd/ bel canto fm1
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]schiit freya pre , firebottle mono`s marantz sa8005 bel canto 3.5vbss and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands 3] harbeth p3esr /rotel

  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Worcestershire, UK

    Posts: 723
    I'm Rob.

    Default

    That's a very kind offer.

    My real issue is that if I had 475 beer tokens I'd get myself a new SUT. Then a new plinth for my LP12, Then a be half way toward a new Phono stage.

    I'd love to get a Freya, but there are higher priorities at the moment, I've been spending too much recently, and that's too much for a "oh sod it" purchase.
    Rob.
    Powered by crossed fingers and clenched buttocks

  9. #9
    Join Date: May 2014

    Location: Solihull

    Posts: 465
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hifinutt View Post
    saving up for an ear yoshino i think or whatever amazing comes along !!!
    Can't go wrong with the 868 or even the 864........I had one for quite some time
    Tangerine LP12,Naim Aro, Benz Wood
    Audiomeca Talisman Highly Modded
    Audiomeca Kreatura &,SW1X DAC1
    Hovland HP100 MC
    SiriuS D100
    Quad FM4,RWA Cassabria + LCD 3
    Wilson Benesch Actors
    Cables by Cardas, Hovland G3 and Yter

  10. #10
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    interesting to read some latest thoughts from randy at audioshark

    Now that I have had the Freya for a while and believe it is breaking in and I thought this might be a good time to dig a little deeper. I have done some comparisons; different tubes, balanced versus unbalanced cabling, running straight from my DAC to the amplifiers versus going through the pre-amp, solid state amps versus the SET amplifiers, etc.

    Running the Freya in either passive or FET buffer was not nearly as good as the tube output when used with the SET amplifiers. However, both passive and FET worked very well with either of the T+A or McIntosh amplifiers. I still prefer the tube output with any of the three amplifiers though, with a caveat.

    The Freya seems to be very good at tube rolling, but it is also very sensitive to certain tubes. Maybe this is the trade off for how inexpensive it is. It is very much dependent on tubes. The standard tubes that come with it work well, but are a little noisy. The same with certain NOS tubes like a later generation Sylvania. The RCA "Grey Glass" are particularly noisy for example. Matched with very good NOS tubes and it shines. Having a very quite tube in the Voltage Gain Stage is a must and having a great sounding NOS tube in the Output Stage really seems to make a huge difference. I have found that the early 1950's Sylvania "Chrome Dome" work very well in the Gain Stage and the CBS 5692 "Brown Base" tubes work fantastic in the Output Stage. With these the pre-amp shines and is as black of back ground as I have heard in any pre-amp... absolutely quite in every way!

    Another thing I have noticed is that the Freya sounds much better using Balanced cables. I have directly compared RCA cables coming from my DAC with XLR cables and it was a fairly big difference. The RCA cables were a much higher level cable however I felt the balanced cables sounded much better. I performed the exact same test with the outputs to the SET monoblocks. Again, the XLR was much better. In this case the XLR were a better cable then the RCA. In my opinion using balanced connections seemed to make a big difference. I have had other "Fully Balanced" pre-amplifiers that the difference in XLR versus RCA cables was fairly minimal. Maybe this is another trade off with this piece being so inexpensive.

    I also compared going straight from the T+A DAC to the amplifiers versus using the pre-amp in line. The T+A is rated to have a very good pre-amp section and an excellent volume control. However I felt the system sounded quite a bit better when being controlled by the Schiit versus going direct from the DAC.

    Other personal notes and opinions;
    The unit does get fairly hot, but not excessively so. I do believe that it gets hotter than any other pre-amplifier that I have used. Not terrible but worth mentioning.
    I like the little remote, it is very functional and has a nice feel in my view. Nice metal casing, but some people have complained about the little buttons. I like them ...
    Some people complain about the clicking noise when changing any of the controls, including volume. This does not bother me at all and actually I like it because it is very nice feedback.
    I also love the 128 relay volume control; very fine control indeed.
    Being thin means that the connectors in the back are close with very little room. Not a terrible issue but one that you may want to consider.
    I do not like that the tubes are recessed in the top of the case. This limits using some tubes, for example the "Chrome Domes" barely fit through the hole, but they work fine. It was just a very tight fit getting them in. The Black Treasures can not be used since their oversize porcelain base is to large. This is too bad since I really wanted to try them .
    I like the way that the unit always comes on at the volume that is set on the volume knob, not where ever you had it changed to with the remote.
    Some people have complained about the small or useless labels on the front of the unit. It does not bother me at all... I mean, after ten minutes with the unit it is obvious how everything works and what every light and control are.
    I hear a very slight low level sound when the mute in engaged. Not really an issue for me but I could see some people complaining.


    So the bottom line, to really see what this very inexpensive pre-amplifier can do requires using some good NOS tubes. In my view forget whatever Schiit offers. With some nice NOS tubes this inexpensive pre-amp can be magic.

    Using solid quality XLR cables wherever and whenever possible; use good NOS tubes (good ones in my view, like those mentioned above) and this pre-amp can become an amazing sounding audiophile piece. I truly believe the biggest trade off with it being inexpensive, ok cheap, is that it is picky, not as forgiving. But with the right match it is truly amazing. At this point, with the Schiit, my system has never sounded so good. I have had a lot more expensive pre-amps but I do not believe any better sounding one. I say this knowing full well that I have not been able to directly compare it against others that I have had such as the ARC LS-17se or W4S STP-SE.

    It is startling quite in my system which I do not expect with a tube pre-amp and SET mono block amplifiers. Separation and sound stage is to die for, as good as I have heard anywhere. Base is deep and smooth, but in no way boomy. I have heard that this is a weak point with tube gear, but not with this combo. Very airy and open sounding; it draws me in and I get more involved with the music then I ever have in the past. It really enhances what SET amps are all about.

    All in all I cannot imagine a better pre-amplifier without going many times the price. Honestly I feel it is rather shocking. At some point I may replace it; not because I think I am going to get remarkably better performance, but more so because having a $699 pre-amp powering the rest of my system might just seem weird . Yes, it is that good in my view... but in the long run it may not give me the warm and fuzzies I get from say, an Audio Research or a McIntosh, for example!
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs /MSB s200 , / onkyo sacd/ bel canto fm1
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]schiit freya pre , firebottle mono`s marantz sa8005 bel canto 3.5vbss and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands 3] harbeth p3esr /rotel

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