Schiit Freya+ vs. high end (e.g., Mcintosh) ?

Hi all, 

I just got an mc275 power amp and need a pre. Don't want to spend a ton so was considering a Mcintosh c220 but its so pricy. Considering the Schiit Freya+ but will I regret it? I know they have a great trial period but I can't really do the same for the c220. Any comments?

I am sure the c220 will be better, but HOW much better is my question, I guess....? Thanks for the thoughts.
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?

Having heard a Vidar in my system and been underwhelmed, I had the same experience with the Freya+.  Competent, and competitive at the price.  I preferred a c-j PV12L and a AI Modulus 3A. 

What is your room like?  And what's the rest of your system?
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.