You have one used here on AudioGon
I do not know your country
A Mcintosh C220 is pretty old. Really.. I have a lot of Mac gear. I had the Freya +, guess what I have the original MC275, and a GG MC275 too.
The MC220 might out perform the Freya +. Not by much. New it would, and recapped correctly it will. Think on that one though. It’s 25 year old or more...
The Freya right at 1000.00 shipped with taxes everything..
Great sounding little Pre for the money..
The Mac will always have the greatest resale...
Both companies have great customer service. Freya, may have a slight edge, no snooty folks there for sure.. Great PR, and CS.
I had no clue what kind of pre would match my other components or achieve a specific sound as I went from an SS integrated to a tube power amp. I thought about the Freya+ and read about a bunch of other preamps. I ended up going even cheaper and got a Saga+ with the plan to use it in a second system eventually. I wasn’t sure how annoying the clicks on the volume control would be. (not too bad) If I decided I didn’t like it the restock fee is less because it’s a % of cost and may be waived if you trade up instead of straight return. If you want to play with tube rolling to get a feel for it, one tube is easier than pairs or quads. It is single ended only and unity gain but with no long runs and only digital sources that wasn’t an issue for me.
Without anything to compare it to I’m not sure where it falls short. So I’m happy for now, but fully expect to be blown away when I finally upgrade to a “serious” pre amp. It’s kind of a nice feeling knowing that despite how much things improve with the little tweaks and other upgrades I’m doing now, there should be a big step up waiting for me when I’m ready.
The current solid state version, the Freya S, measure very well. The first sample did have a channel imbalance, and it performed measurably worse that the other channel. A new sample was sent, and performed nicely. This does bring Schiit's level of QC into question, though. here's a link to the measurements of the second sample:
Schiit seems like a good deal. I considered it and thought about the 15 day trial -- and then both a shipping fee and 5% restocking fee if I returned it. In other words, about $100 to try it out. Not bad. Still, from what folks here have said, it can take some time for tubes to burn in. Would 15 days be enough time to really know how it sounds with your stuff? For the same money, even less, you could get a used Van Alstine from his site with a 30 day trial. That would probably be my choice. avahifi dot com/collections/ava-used-equipment/products/transcendence-8-sl-preamp-with-remote-control-and-ht-bypass
Personal taste matters a great deal.
No matter how expensive one piece of gear is, it does not mean it's better for all listeners in all systems.
What good is it to have a 300 lb, $20k amplifier if you don't actually like the sound of it more than a 10 lb, $2,000 amp? Is the $20k amp really "better" for you, or does it just have a better brand and more expensive parts?
"Still, from what folks here have said, it can take some time for tubes to burn in. Would 15 days be enough time to really know how it sounds with your stuff?"
Actually it would not be enough, especially if you want to roll tubes and see what this little preamp can really do. It cannot be judged with the stock JJ tubes.
On the the other hand, there are very few Freya+ units on the used market and you can sell it quickly and with very little loss. I know; I did.
Freya+ sound decent with stock JJ tubes.
It does not sound etched before break but slightly veiled compared with Nos tubes.
You can get nice Nos 6sn7 tubes made in 1950's at 50% for pair.
I like the remote of Freya+ with click noise while some people got bothered by click noise.
Using quad 6sn7 tubes, Freya has lot of room for tube rolling.
So far I had been happy with Sylvania vt231 in gain stage and Rcs gray bottle in buffer stage.
But I will also try out other combinations.
Having burned in the stock JJs on my Freya+, I have ordered quad Tung-Sols with all options: balanced triodes, low microphonics, high gain, matched. My first rolling experiment on this pre with 6SN7s. Bass on JJs can be tubby (some listeners like this sound; on most material I want more definition) and female vocals can lack clarity.
@shkong, if I go next to a pair of NOS RCAs, should they go in buffer stage rather than gain stage? (This assumes Tung-Sol or JJ in gain stage).
Same question for @wolf_garcia; if I get only a pair of NOS GEs to begin, try them in buffer stage?
As for myself, I’ve got Revel f206s (pretty analytical and neutral) and a listening room that is moderate in size (~14x16). Listen to a lot of LPs on a Rega P3 and have the Schiit Gungnir DAC for Tidal. I currently/previously used a Dared VP-80 integrated tube amp (45 wpc) that still sounds surprisingly very good. I am sure with the right pre, the mc275 will blow it out of the water; well expecting that anyway.
I do notice, using the Gungnir direct into the mc275 (not ideal, I know, just to test), its quite a bit brighter/sharper than I like. This is probably because of the KT88s and obviously no good pre amplification.
Hickamore...yeah the input stage, but I decided to use 4 matched GEs of the same vintage as they’re pretty cheap really. Maybe I got lucky but my original version Freya has never been noisy at all...tried various tubes and settled on NOS GEs...I have horn loaded speakers and you can put your ear right on the horn and no hum or buzz exists (my SEP tube amp is also very quiet). It’s absolutely a high end product, and an open mind can keep you from being influenced by the relatively low cost...I did a shoot out with an ARC tube preamp and a CJ, and all there (well, all 4 people anyway) thought the Freya sounded better (had the GEs in the thing), and two of these friends bought a Freya. By the way, I don’t think tubes take long at all to reveal their qualities...heat ’em up and go. Note that I don't think my Freya sounds "euphonic" or whatever people blame tubes for being, other than what seems to be more revealing of detail and somewhat more musically accurate...again, instantly noted when switching to one of the non tube modes, a thing that you simply can't do with any other preamp I know of.
One person claimed that using 300$ Melz 1578 at gain stage and 600$ TS bgrp at buffer stage in Freya+, he got the utmost sound out of it.
My Melz 1578 is staying in Line Magnetic 508, but I may try to duplicate his method.
It is best to rely on your ear after testing different combination yourself.
All I can say is most Nos 6sn7 tube made in 1950’ are pretty good and almost all Vt231ss made in 1940’s are excellent.
But King of 6sn7 is Melz 1578 one notch above all vt 231s including TS bgrp.
Wolf, shkong, thanks for the detailed info, which will certainly inform my rolling experiments. All systems & ears differ, but there are areas of wide consensus so there is a great value in sharing experience in a forum like this. Apologies to OP for the interjection. Didn't want to start yet another new string on this popular product.
I use the old Freya, currently with mix of 2 Full Music and 2 old GE tubes. It does the job well, both in tube and solid state modes. Rest of my system: Schiit Ygdrasil, and ATC SCM 100 ALS speakers. Recently I added MiniDSP SHD Studio sitting between source and DAC (I really recommend for room correction in base, which can’t really be done otherwise in rooms below 50m2).
I compared Freya to Macintosh C52, ATC SCA2. I also tried out DCS Bartok as combined PRE & DAC. All very expensive gear. I have to make disclimer, that I did some of these comparisons before any room treatment also before applying speaker feet from Isoacoustic (Gaia). Yet Freya was not shy in these comparisons. Macintosh provided better imaging and details. ATC gave very energetic sound. Yet when I changed the tubes to 4 Full Music’s the gap was too small to trigger the change, and the sound was more to my taste.
As to the noise - it depends on the tubes applied and also environment. The stock tubes were very noisy. If you use them replace ASAP. You'll be amazed.
Now I’m thinking of replacing Freya with Freya +. Any thoughts on this topic?