Schitt Freya or older pre instead


Hi, 

Got the itch. Currently running an Adcom GFP 555. It does its job, but nothing great. Thinking of getting something better without spending too much money. The Schitt Freya looks very interesting. Lots of options and has a remote. Reviews tend to range from "it is great!" to "tends to be a little bright" and "nothing but a $400 preamp with a weak power supply and a tube buffer stage". The old B& Pro 10 or Sonata 101 looks to still be good buys (?). Adcom GFP 750 (?) Any thoughts for a preamp for around 800.00 or under?. Amp = Classe DR 10 with Spendor speakers. Tried a CJ PFR but thought way too much gain and a bit bright (not what I expected from CJ). Thanks
rich3549
If you could wait and double your budget,
You should look at the Linear tube audio MZ2S,beats or rivals preamps much more expensive.

I tried a Freya with very good nos tubes but found it noisy and just didn't sound that good,sent it back at the end of the trial period.

The MZ2S greatly responds to different tubes and you can voice it for the sound you like,the only thing I don't like is only remote volume and no selection but I can live with that especially with the good sound I'm getting.

Kenny.
Running a Freya into a Taranis amp w/balanced interconnects.  JFET buffer mode exclusively.  Took the tubes out.    It sounds great to me.  NOT noisy at all - though there is some low level "warbling" that can be heard when "muted", oddly enough.   With volume up and nothing playing, very quiet...no noise, warbling or otherwise.  Solid state sound for me was more refined and detailed than with the single-ended tube pre I was using previously.  It supports long listening sessions.  No fatigue.  Seemed to respond with heightened clarity to vibration/isolation measures.  I was NOT that impressed with sound running the as supplied Russian NOS 6sn7 tubes.  Might need to revisit those now that the unit is well run in but I'm entirely happy with the JFET mode.

Expectations and experience levels differ so I'm not trying to pick an argument with Kenny.  5% restocking fee is all you have to risk if you order from Schiit and decide to return it.   DO put signal through it continuously for a couple of days before any critical listening.  
OP--It's kinda all over the map on the Freya.  I know Kdude thinks it's junk.  I saw ghosthouse rave about the JFET in another thread.

Here's a third take.  Some of this is culled from what I wrote this morning on another thread.  I mostly got it to try a passive and stay balanced.  Tubes and JFET were nice tweaker bonuses.  I very much like it for the value.  I use it mostly as a passive with a Cary DAC200ts.  It works well for me like that and so fulfilled its primary purpose.  To add some tube flavor with a push of a button is great and certainly helps with some bad recordings and such.  Between the options on the Cary and on the Schiit, it can be a distraction, because, if there are buttons and knobs, I like to push them and turn them.

That said, unlike ghosthouse, I haven't made friends with the JFET stage, but that almost certainly relates to different gear and preferences.  I don't think the tube stage sounds as good as many other tube pres (anything I'm comparing that to, though, is also more expensive).  With the stock tubes, it was pretty sterile and didn't add a whole lot. To be fair, I probably didn't give them sufficient time to burn in. I've tried maybe half a dozen or so combinations--didn't like it with Sylvanias (VT-231, GT, or GTB) or Raytheons. Very much prefer it with GEs, RCAs, and/or KenRad. I didn't try 6sn7w or TS BGRP...I refuse to put tubes in that cost nearly as much as the Freya (or more), especially when the tubes keep burning in the other modes. I don't find it to be as responsive to tube changes as some others, though.  I don't find it to be noisy--one pair of known-to-be-noisy tubes was actually much quieter in the Freya than in a Cary pre.

One note--the remote doesn't do on/off, and the switch is on the back of the Freya, if that matters. If you don't need the balanced and aren't interested in the passive or JFET push-button tweakability, still easy enough to try and I think good for the money, but probably could do better on a tubed pre for not a ton more dough, but more dough nonetheless.

So, on that, if primarily looking for an unbalanced tube pre, I generally agree with Kdude that there are other places to look for that.  Although I haven't heard the LTA, sure seems like an awesome piece.  What folks are saying about using it as an amp on high-efficiency speakers just blows my mind.


Ghosthouse,

I'm very glad to hear how much you like the Freya,
I always keep a open mind and trust me I much wanted to like the Freya,It just didn't work out for me.

As you know I do Dig the YGGY best dac under 2k that I've had the pleasure of using.

Kenny.
OP, if I were to buy a new line stage preamp in the $800 price range, I would buy a Mapletree Line 2C Line Preamplifier even though I have not personally heard it in a system. It just looks like an awesome piece for its asking price. I have also not heard anything negative about it from folks who have heard it. It does apparently have a long wait time, especially if you specify any upgrades.  
rich3549

I’d go the Freya, because

1: Gives you choice between passive, tube or solid state output.
2: Has both single ended or balanced in and output.
3: It has 64 position relay based volume control, one of the best there is.
4: Has remote control for that volume control and input/output and mute
5: If you don’t like it you can send it back.

And it was deigned by Mike Mike Moffat, the head designer at Theta when they were on top.

Cheers George
Look for a Rogue Audio Metis. A very nice preamp for the money.
Used should be in the under $1000 range. And it also comes with a remote and tube rolling can be fun.
rich3549 - Seems to me you will get a pretty well-rounded picture of the Freya reading the posts from kdude66, stfoth, and georgehifi.

The unit (mainly the remote) has some quirks; e.g., switching inputs briefly triggers mute but there is a definite click or slight pop when the next input is engaged (whether it’s actively carrying signal or not). That and the low level warbling when mute is engaged long term were the "noisy" aspects of the design I encountered.  I did return a couple of tubes to Schiit for exchange due to noisiness...but counted that as an issue with the tubes not the Freya design.  Things were okay with the replacement tubes installed, though maybe not as quiet as in passive mode...don't recall.  Tube gain IS a lot higher than with passive or JFET.  Also, using the remote, you can only go forward changing input or output selection. There’s no "reverse". Sequential changes to output mode using the remote will eventually hit the tube stage which because of its much higher gain can result in some loud and startling blasts of sound, unless you remembered to lower the volume first.

Like stfoth wrote, the tube mode did nothing for me either but I was really looking to get away from tubes so not a problem. In fact, I was initially a bit put off by the fact it had tubes at all! Ultimately, my buy decision was on the strength of it being a balanced design, offered passive options, could be used without tubes and had a good volume control. Can’t deny the price was a big attractor too (as well as the return option if it really stunk).  Ultimately, it has worked out for me (but maybe I have low standards!  :-)

If I wanted to upgrade from the tube preamp I have now (Opera Reference 50 Mk I), to another tube pre, I’d be saving my pennies for something from Aesthetix or, more affordably, maybe a deHavilland UltraVerve. In my limited auditioning of tube preamps I do think getting a design that uses tube rectification brings something good to the sound. Good luck whatever you decide.
WOW. Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I think I will hold off - for now. I do not think I can handle the Schiit's quirks. Save some more coin and check out something else that fits my needs more. 
rich3549
 I do not think I can handle the Schiit’s quirks.
There are many here that have the Freya from Schiit, can’t remember anyone else saying this, could be a one off. And you can send it back anyway if you don’t like it, or these "quirks" are a common thing, and you can’t "handle" them.

Cheers George