Interesting, I own the Freya. @cbozdog check this out
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Does the freya have better and more careful construction compared to that saga? I introduced the saga into my system and it was making my right channel pop so loud... but every other preamp I've had in my system worked like a charm. I was told it was a ground loop issue and I did try to ground the unit but I found the problem peristed. That, combined with the fact all my other preamps did not have me issue made me come to the conclusion the saga was using inferior parts or had a poor power supply or something. Anyway, do you guys think this is the case, and that perhaps the Freya, being at a higher price like and (Id hope) higher performance standard, would it function better the the saga? I swear I was the only one with this problem...
I had the Freya in my system with 4 different sets of tubes, and i was getting a lot of noise and hum in "tube mode". I was able to get most of the hum out, but i would still get random static and noise. Z reviews on youtube did a review of the Freya, and he talked about the feedback through the tubes. He came across as this being a positive feature that gave it the "tube sound".
I had 2 matched new Tung Sol 6SN7GTBs already when I received the Freya, so I ordered 2 more and stuck ’em all in. There is amazingly low noise from the tube stage in the Freya in my rig (surprising since I read most of the 10,418 comments in "headfi"), and that’s with testing for that by putting my ear next to a horn loaded tweeter that certainly will reveal hiss. I didn’t think the stock Freya tubes were so bad particularly, but I swapped them anyway because I’m a mindless crowd follower. I often swap output modes around when listening, although the gain jump in tube mode has to be allowed for, and that, for me, keeps the tubes honest (or something). I would get the Lisst tube replacement things if they glowed, but I doubt they glow at all under normal circumstances…and they would die in a thermonuclear electromagnetic pulse, so there’s that.
6SN7 tubes are relatively affordable NOS and very rugged and longlived, new production Tung Sol is decidedly ordinary to my ears. Pick some good RCA's or Sylvanias up you will be much better off. I was curious about what the heck a LISST actually is but the shiit site doesn't seem to give any info or I couldn't find it.
A large part of why I like tubes is that they're tubes…linear, they glow, and I can swap 'em out. I agree that the newish Tung Sol 6SN7s aren't spectacular sounding, but I tried them anyway and they do work fine and very quietly (they seem modeled after RCA 5691s maybe…those little anti microphony rods?), and I prefer a clean sounding tube without any sonic signature per se…I have 2 (one spare) Amperex USA 6SN7GTBs for my Fire Bottle SE power amp and they're excellent, but hard to find.
To anyone interested...
The LISSTs are on their way back to Schiit. During the second day of use they started producing noise in the right channel. No signal being applied and Freya in mute mode. Something getting through that shouldn't have. Sounded like a short and, actually, a lot like a conventional tube going bad. Shut things down. Pulled the LISSTs. Installed a quad of conventional glass tubes. Powered back up. Everything okay...no damage done. Given the long expected service life of 6SN7s in Freya and their affordability, I personally don't see an advantage to LISST. Maybe if they ran cool...but they don't.
Although I like sound of the new Tung Sols in the Freya, I got curious and stuck a pair of NOS Sylvania "Chrome Dome" 6SN7GTBs in the "input" (right pair) sockets and man…they sort of lift it up to another sonic level altogether. A relatively inexpensive (for well regarded NOS tubes anyway) good thing. I'm keeping the Tung Sols in the "output" sockets.