I cant speak on the Freya+ but I have had a ARC LS15 for over 15 years and its a great preamp. I've change tube to Tele 7dj8 and its sounds fabulous. Its now in a second system with a ARC LS25mki taking its place.
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Over on AudioAsylum, several people have bought the Freya+ and have very nice things to say about it. At $900, it is not particularly cheap, though certainly not priced in the high-end category.
If you want a new ARC preamp, you're going to spend several multiples or more than what the Freya+ costs, though you can get one of ARC's discontinued and much older models on the used market in roughly the same price range as the Shiit.
@zerobias HiFI shark haas a silver LS15 coming out of Az for a good price https://www.hifishark.com/model/audio-research-ls-15. I have nothing to do with the seller at all. The ARC LS15 will kill the Freya+ in sound. I would highly recommend get a ARC piece over Shitt. Shitt makes some nice cheap gear, I had a Mani phono stage and was very happy but then I finally got a ARC PH3 and now Im more that happy. Good luck and happy hunting zerobias.
I have an ARC LS-15 that was modded by Huntley with the great northern sound company. I pulled it out as I’m updating my aesthetix calisto and am amazed by the sound. I have auditioned schiit audio gear (mani and yaggi) and fine them to be a great bang to the buck. But, frankly, not in ARC league. For the price, a second hand ls-15 is a superb way to enter into tubes. You can get fancy by purchasing exotic tubes, but you won’t go wrong buying tubes from ARC. My ARC VM-220 holds its weight with 10k amps, but that would be appreciated more after some time with the LS-15, imho
This is interesting. I have never heard either a ARC or Schitt preamp, or amp for that matter. I have what I consider a very nice tube preamp made in Denmark.
But what I find interesting is that from all the very high praise garnered by the Freya+ from you tube and A’gon users, I would have thought the newer Freya+ would sound better than an older ARC. Just would have thought it, nothing else.
Not at all questioning your responses, but have you all heard both in somewhat comparable circumstances to draw your conclusions?
the op has really no way to know but to get both and try in his own system
short of that, he is asking for input
i have not heard a freya in my own system, but i have in others... but of course, not A/Bed against an sp15
i would say that so long as the unit is in good shape and checked out, no caps or tubes failing etc etc, the sp15 is one of the units that audio research built its name and reputation on in the 90’s, designed and built to take on all comers ... at the time it was its main linestage under the megabuck reference one ...
you can bet this preamp, while no doubt having its sound signature, makes absolutely no apologies to the linestages on the market today in the 2 grand price range
Thanks to all for their thoughts. One more question. I am looking at two very nice LS15's. The first is an older model with the attached power cord. The second one is a very late model with the detachable power cord and various ARC improvements. The price difference is $600. Is there $600 dollars worth of performance difference between the two?
@zerobias the new modal with detachable cord has Infini Caps which where a upgrade to the REL cap in the older modal. If yo sent the older modal out to ARC for a cap upgrade it would cost about $600. I have had my LS15 for 16 years and am the second owner with no problems at all, works perfect and sound great.
Just want to thank all who responded, here and by PM. The input is greatly appreciated. I found and purchased a very late model LS15 with all of the upgraded caps, the power supply, and the detachable power cord. Looks very nice from the pictures. I hope to have it Friday. Now for a headphone amp, it does not have a headphone jack. Thanks again, and happy listening.