Schiit Freya preamps are fun (!) and recently improved (I have the original version and it's great sounding) so that's likely a real good idea, and you need only one Aegir to get cookin' (I use a 12wpc single ended tube amp with Heresy IIIs...killer sound, plenty of headroom...2 REL subs are also in the pile). The good news with efficient speakers is the ability to use any amp with 'em, although lower powered Class A or single ended tube amps are addicting and keep you in the efficient speaker domain.
Thanks Wolf, I am still on the fence and for Tuberis, the room is small 12X13 and not a lot I can do with it. I have heard 3 dimensional, speaker disappearing sound out of a 40+ year old Marantz 2238B and an almost as old pair of Paradigm "Export Monitors" from the early 80's and that is what I seek!
I bought all this equipment long ago when I had hair!
Schiit gear is good but having owned both brands, Primaluna is far and away better. The parts quality, the build quality, the sound quality, the longevity...all better than Schiit. Every piece of Schiit I had was nice at first but slowly degraded over time and had issues. First crackling, then intermittent failures needing a restart, then inputs on the DAC would stop working and Schiit customer service would just shrug. Primaluna has been solid for years. Zero issues. Sound quality compared to a Luxman $9k integrated was almost indiscernible in comparison.
Schiit just couldnt hold up so I don’t trust them as a brand or a company.
To you question of tube pre and class A solid state preamp, I say yes very good combination. One of the best combos I had was the AES (Cary Audio) AE3 DJH tube preamp with a Pass Labs Aleph 30 class A power amp. I still have fond memories of that system with plenty of power driving 87db speakers in a medium size room.
The Schiit system your interested in looks promising for a very reasonable price. I've had good luck w/ excellent sound from a Schiit phono preamp and have their DAC coming shortly. Yes to Schiit for bang for the buck.
I have the following equipment and have run the following setups:
1. Schiit Freya+ preamp > First Watt SIT-3 amp > Magico A3 speakers.
2. PrimaLuna Dialogue HP integrated amp > Magico A3
Trying to be objective I think if you want tubes or a tube sound, I would stay with PrimaLuna. If you want that clean Class A solid state sound then the Freya/solid state setup is for you.
I’m a little concerned due to lack of experience with the Aegir as to how that will drive a 4 ohm speaker. But as was said, time and again for reasonably good quality nobody beats Schiit. But as far as upgrading on the tube side, PrimaLuna is the upgrade. Not Schiit.
I have the Primaluna Dialogue premium HP and have it powering some AR 308HO speakers 93db in a 15' X 18' X 10' ceiling the room is carpeted and I have wall treatments and I get plenty of bass oomph from this set up, I think you should look into some wall treatments or other correction treatments like broadband bass traps or acoustic panels.I mainly listen to blues and hard rock and sometimes I feel I have almost too much bass.
@pesky_wabbit is on the right track with the different tubes. Have you tried different pwr amp tubes in the Primaluna? Even if you haven’t, my vote is still for the Primaluna nonetheless. It’s hand wired with top notch build quality, where the Schiit has mostly SMD components on the PCBs, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
It’s your system though, and it sounds like you want something different. If you want bigger, better, faster, louder, have you thought of a couple of Schiit Vidar amps and a Freya + ?
Agree with several here. The Schiit electronics are nice for the money, but they are going to be on the harsh/sterile side. I was actually quite impressed with the Primuluna equipment for tube (and I'm not a tube fan).
Lot's of choices for rolling out tubes. For the 12au7, PSVANE if you want the most highest resolution and neutral tubes manufactured today (best modern manufactured tube in my opinion). PSVANE makes EL34 tubes also.
Or go towards something more romantic like NOS such as Amperex or others.
Some people recommend trying KT120 or KT150 to push up the power. I have limited listening, but my ears tell me that these higher power tubes will tend to be shouty and have some grain. Definitely not as sweet as the KT88 or EL34.
his speakers are rated 8 ohms at 98db I think he's fine with the single Agir.
from the Forte spec sheet:
I have my Finale Audio 300B integrated up for sale right now I've been thinking something similar, going a Freya and Aegir maybe First Watt if funds are there.
me personally I'm tired of tubes and the costs of 300b's every year or so. Hell a good set of new production 300b's are what an Aegir is worth lol. I've spent $1500 on tubes this last few months re-tube my integrated, I'm done with output tubes costing hundreds each.
Go vertical bi-amping with the Freya into both Aegir amps and into the Klipsch Forte 3 speakers. This setup will make the Forte 3's sing.
Study the link I gave and follow it to the letter don’t forget to remove the jumper links on the speakers, and double check everything before turning on.
If you have two amps the same, and your speakers like you have that have mid/high speaker terminals and bass speaker terminals then vertical bi-amping is the way to go.
BTW: You need a Y adapter on the preamp left and right outputs
Like these https://www.ebay.com/itm/2pcs-RCA-Audio-Y-Splitter-Plug-1-Male-To-2-Female-Gold-Plated-Adapter-Connector/291217630582?hash=item43cdec6576:g:waoAAOSwxCxT7GNs
The comments about Schiit products are silly...they enjoy a fine reputation in the audio world and don't "degrade" over time to any degree differing from other brands, if at all. All of the Schiit components I own work perfectly and have been examples of clever engineering and solid build quality that other manufacturers can only imagine as they lose market share to Schiit's USA made yet often far less costly world class components.
You may want to consider Decware instead of the above. I admit I haven't heard the Schitt gear you mention, but I have heard the PrimaLuna and many other amps in my system as I am a dealer (was a PrimaLuna dealer and had that unit). The Decware (and I am NOT a dealer for him) by and large fried all the competition. I have his Zen triode SET amp (SE341.5) modified with Jupiter Beeswax caps and have it bridged to mono which give 12W Class A per channel. His power supplies are huge, and the amps sound like they are on batteries. I am driving Quad 57's with them-not your most efficient speaker-and they do all the volume I need, with delicacy, huge soundstage, depth through the wall, and tight bottom end. Admittedly subs handle 60Hz on down. Everyone that has heard them will or are going to buy some of his products. They are dirt cheap for the performance. I also got the OTL tube preamp w the same caps, and I spent all in $6400 with shipping. My previous setup I had 3 times that invested and the Decware beat it.
Good Luck on your search.
This seems more like a sideways move to me. A few gains will be had due to going to separates but that primaluna is a great integrated so I don't know if it will be a big improvement as much as a different sound. If you are trying to get as much performance as possible then yeah by all means separates all the way! Enjoy your new set up.
OP, where do you live? If you're in Chicagoland you can come here my Primaluna HP or possibly borrow it.
Plus one on tube rolling. I use KT 150s with the amp under certain circumstances (typically lower efficiency more modern speakers). I use 7581A or EL34s when driving horns.
Primaluna is great but not the end all be all. You've heard all the upsides. Here are the downsides.
-Default setting is ultralinear--you have to have the remote to select triode
-Aesthetics could be easier on the eye. Not ugly, but not pretty either
-Not the last word in clarity. My Elekit 300B amp sounds clearer with more realism.
I have an opportunity to buy an HP Dialogue Integrated for $2600, I think that’s a steal.
So why go against what you just said here??
Stick with the Schiit, less trouble and less coloured sounding.
I agree with Wolf_Garcia! I think the Schiit combo is going to work out for me more than the PL. I have heard that the Auto Bias system is the death of the tube sound and is fluctuating as much as 15mA, has anyone else heard if that is correct?
What I ended up with believe it or not was a Rogue RP-1 and an Atlas Amp that I bought the pair form a gentleman here and had them sent to Rogue, rebuilt, upgraded and thoroughly gone through, replaced front panels and the amps top plate along with the upgrade to Magnum II status and they sound lovely!
It was a good decision!
Thanks @eag618 for the update.
I bought the Aegir based on reviews, together with Freya + . They sound great. They sound better in almost every aspect compared with PrimaLuna prologue one I have: bass, details, space, air, instruments separation, etc.
However, I have quality issue with the Aegir amp that I have to return them. Here's the full story.
The Aegir has a 60hz like humming noise from the unit as well as going to the speakers. I tried only connecting the power cord to it (no interconnect, no speaker cables, etc), it still has the humming noise from the unit. Went through psAudio's page for getting rid of humming noise, it does not work for me. https://www.psaudio.com/ps_how/how-to-find-and-fix-hum/
I guess it's due to the quality of the transformer. The sound is not too loud, and might not bother much. But still, I decided to return them.
I hope they can provide better quality transformers and add cost to the price.
It does not feel right as they say the transformer is made in California, and yet the quality is inferior than transformers made elsewhere.
That is surprising!
Everything I had read about Schiit was very positive. I understand the heat issues withe their "Almost class A Amps" but still surprised at the quality issues....perhaps it's just initial production issues that will if not als ready have been rectified!
On my side, the Rogue combo is OUTSTANING running through a pair of Forte III's!
I’ve owned lot of preamps and amps, and my "original version" Freya has amazed me over the last couple of years as a sonic marvel. There is absolutely nothing "harsh or sterile" about this preamp in any of the three operating modes, but there are some critics of course and that’s to be expected...but the whining about the volume control system seems funny to me as that’s one brilliant design feature...3 clicks..man...one of the nice things about separate preamps and amps is the ability to try different things, and with Schiit you can do that for far less money than might be expected. The Primaluna seems well regarded if somewhat pricey for a Chinese build (Jolida makes amazingly great sounding amps for far less), and for $4900 (the Primaluna HP price) you could biamp your rig (as George recommends) with an Aegir and a Vidar (the Fortes have biwire capability and simply won’t need a bridged amp....I’d suggest a single Aegir to start), add a Freya + and save 2500 bucks over the Primaluna HD. It might even sound great! I may get an Aegir simply from curiosity and hey...a Stereophile Class A rated amp for 800 bucks? Yeah man...if it hums more than I can stand, even using the PS Audio Humbuster III that I always plug my amps into, I’ll send it back...