Balanced Passive/Active Remote Preamp

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Backordered, Ships 4-30






Now this is a no-excuses balanced, remote-control preamp! Switch between passive, active JFET buffer, and tube gain modes, enjoy the fine control of a 128-step relay-switched stepped attenuator volume control with perfect channel matching, and control it all from the comfort of your favorite chair—for many times less than you’d expect to pay.

It’s Your Choice: Passive, JFET Buffer, or Tube Gain
Go ahead. Run Freya in passive mode for a convenient remote-controlled passive preamp that’s ideal for many systems. If you need to drive long cables, you can simply select the JFET buffer stage, or choose the tube gain stage—a serious gain stage running on 300V rails. 
128-Step Relay Attenuator
Most preamps—passive or active—use a potentiometer for volume control. Freya uses a sophisticated microprocessor-controlled relay-stepped attenuator for perfect channel matching and zero distortion—and with 128 steps for ultra-precise level control. You can hear it clicking as you turn the volume up and down.
Yes, Remote Control Included
When you’re talking about gear that doesn’t sit on your desktop (like our headphone amps), you need the convenience of remote control for volume, input switching, output switching, and muting. Freya includes a custom remote control, standard.
Perfect Companion to Our DACs
Want a remote-controlled system to interface your digital gear with the rest of your system? Stack Freya and Gungnir Multibit or Freya and Yggdrasil (or any other of our DACs) for a true no-compromise remote-controlled system.
Designed and Assembled in USA
By “designed and assembled in USA" this is what we mean: the vast majority of the total production cost of Freya—chassis, boards, transformers, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. Our chassis are made minutes from our facility. Our PCBs are done just over the hill from us, or done in NorCal. Our transformers are also made in California. You get the picture. 
5-Year Warranty and Easy Return Policy
Freya is covered by a 5-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. One exception: the tubes. Those we cover for 3 months. And if you don’t like your Freya, you can send it back for a refund, minus 5% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving it.

JFET Buffer
Gain: 1
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.2db, 3Hz-500KHz, -3dB
THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 2V RMS 
IMD: <0.0015%, CCIR 
SNR: >110db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS 
Output Impedance: 75 ohms SE, 600 ohms balanced
Topology: Single pair JFET per phase with passive distortion cancellation, DC coupled 

Tube Gain
Gain: 2.5 (8dB)
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.2db, 3Hz-200KHz, -3dB 
THD: <0.01%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 2V RMS 
IMD: <0.01%, CCIR 
SNR: >95db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS 
Output Impedance: 210 ohms 
Topology: differential input/output, pure triode, with low impedance followers
Input Impedance: 10K ohms
Crosstalk: >75dB, 20-20kHz
Inputs: 2 XLR pairs plus 3 RCA pairs, selectable via front switch or remote
Outputs: 1 XLR pair plus 2 RCA pairs, selectable via front switch or remote 
Volume Control: relay-switched stepped attenuator with discrete thin-film resistors, 128 0.625dB steps
Power Supply: One 48VA transformer with regulated 300V rail, plus 24VA transformer with regulated +/-20C rails, plus 6.3VAC tube heaters and regulated 5VDC for microprocessor 
Power Consumption: 40W typical
Size: 16” x 8” x 2” + tube height (about 2.5" more)
Weight: 11 lbs
*All measurements made on a Stanford Research SR1+ Audio Analyzer

Wait. A preamp? You’re doing preamps now?
So I guess you skipped the Saga page. That’s cool. A lot of times we like to start at the top. And yes, Freya is the top of our preamp line. That is, if you can call a group of two products a “line.” But that’s semantics. Let’s talk Freya.

Well, hell, this thing is tubes, and I don’t want tubes!
That’s cool. Go ahead and use the passive mode or the JFET buffer mode instead. Or go with Octal LISST instead of tubes in the gain stage. No scary tubes required.
Why so many options?
Why 31 flavors of ice cream? Why 173 different kinds of toothpaste on the store shelf? Why more than one color of car? Because choices. Choices are cool. We should have more choices. Except maybe in toothpaste. We don’t really understand that one. Or why there’s like 500 different kinds of bread on the bread aisle. But hey, those are mysteries that we shouldn’t perhaps delve too deeply into. 
So what can I use a preamp for?
If you have only one source, and it has a volume control, maybe you don’t need a preamp. But if you have a system with more than one source, and you want convenient remote input switching and remote volume control, a preamp is a good idea. You can also pair it with our DACs for convenient remote volume control, since our preamps don’t cost like the total debt of a small nation-state.
So cheap is good?
Absolutely. Because in the last 20 years or so, audio pricing has gotten really stupid. Go ahead. Look around for a remote passive preamp, and check the prices. Now add a buffer stage. And a tube gain stage. Oh, wait, there really isn’t anything like that. And then start looking at preamps that use a sophisticated, perfectly-matched relay-switched stepped attenuator instead of a volume pot, and you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that Freya is in a class by itself. That is, a class with a three-digit price tag, not a four-digit price tag (that doesn’t start with, like “5,” either.)
I don’t like cheap. I distrust cheap. I like nice things.
That’s cool. We like smart design and efficient construction that make great sound affordable to more people. But if you literally have $100 bills hand-stitched into toilet paper so you can wipe your butt in wretched excess, then by all means, find something that costs more. Just don’t think it’ll automatically be any better. 
So I can run this fully passive, no gain stage at all?
Yes, no problem at all. 
And I can use a JFET buffer? Tell me about that.
The JFET buffers we use are pretty cool—just a pair of JFETs per phase, with some supporting circuitry wrapped around them to make them work. They measure so insanely well that it’s hard to tell if the Freya is running passive or running through the buffer (technically, only the tiniest difference in noise floor gives it away.) They’re the latest iteration of our super-transparent JFET buffer that first showed up in Yggdrasil. 
And I can use a full differential tube gain stage? Tell me about that, too.
Now, we’re going back to classic designs—designs using the 6SN7 (or equivalent Russian 6H8C) triode, arguably one of the best tubes of all time. It measures extremely linearly, and offers performance that eclipses smaller noval (nine-pin) tubes. This design couples a tube differential input with a low-impedance tube output stage, for 100% triode performance. 
So what’s the big deal about a relay-stepped attenuator?
Unlike a typical potentiometer, a relay-stepped attenuator gives you perfect channel matching down to the lowest level of the volume knob. It also makes cool clicking noises when you turn the knob. In our minds, this is the best way of doing volume control. There’s only a couple of thin-film resistors in the signal path at all times, rather than a potentiometer wiper. And it doesn’t use a “volume control chip,” which we believe proper only to cheap receivers. But then again, a lot of people think we’re crazy. 
What if I don’t need balanced inputs and outputs?
Then you need Saga, Freya’s little sister.
So what’s a Freya?
From Wikipedia, In Norse mythology, Freyja (/ˈfreɪə/; Old Norse for "(the) Lady") is a goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death. We have no idea what seior is, and the war and death stuff doesn’t sound so fun, but the first five items we can go along with just fine. Disturbed? Don’t be. It’s just a name.
How Can Technology This Old Sound This Good?
Steve Guttenberg, CNET Audiophiliac

"That's why I'm so excited about this one, the Schiit Freya: it goes for $699! And it's better built than any $1,500 tube preamp I'm aware of. Schiit has a real knack for making serious audiophile gear that's also affordable.

Those four tubes gracing Freya's topside aren't just any tube mind you, Freya uses my favorite preamp type, the 6SN7, which is a bit larger than most. Still, don't get the wrong idea, Freya's sound isn't soft or laid back, there's resolution aplenty.
With Freya's tubes engaged Miles Davis' "The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions" album's sound blew me away. Its at-times almost-ambient music completely fills my room. Amazing, and then Davis' killer rhythm section kicks in, and oh boy the band takes off and the music's dynamics rocked my world. Switching from the tubes to the Freya's buffer stage the soundstage flattens, it's smaller, more two-dimensional. The music feels less dynamically alive without the tubes in the signal path. Still, listening with the passive or buffer stages was perfectly enjoyable and probably more neutral. Anyway, it's easy enough to switch between passive, buffer, and tube stages and decide for yourself which one sounds best.
The Schiit Freya stereo preamplifier is without doubt a superb performer, and its rare flexibility will appeal to audiophiles who want to get into tube electronics without going overboard."

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Schiit Audio Reference System, Part 1
Chris Connaker,

"The Freya offers listeners three choices of output modes, passive, JFET buffer, and tube gain. In my system I prefer passive mode because I only use a preamp to control volume and want to do this in the most pure way possible. Above all, I prefer the sound in passive mode. JFET buffer mode is more desirable for those who need to drive long cables between the preamp and amplifier(s). During my extended listening time with the Freya, I didn't notice much sonic difference between passive mode and JFET buffer mode, but my interconnect cables are only two meters in length. 

Freya's tube gain output may increase the flexibility and fun to be had with this preamp, but also changes the sound quality quite a bit compared to the passive and JFET modes. Some readers will find this blasphemous while others will enjoy the ability to adjust the sound to one's preference. The Freya uses 6SN7, 6N8S, or 5692 tubes, so one can try different makes and models until their heart is content with the sound. I'm more of an audio purist and usually steer clear of tubes. That said, I love the ability to use them and try some esoteric tubes if I wish. In addition to flavoring the sound a bit, the tube output stage is very robust, running on 300v rails. 
My favorite feature of Freya is its relay-stepped attenuator / volume control. This attenuator not only enables excellent channel matching (ever turn down the volume on a low quality audio product and have the right and left channel at different levels?), it doesn't suck as much as other volume controls. What I mean by that is, volume controls are notorious for having negative consequences on sound quality. A volume control can only degrade the audio signal. Good ones just degrade the signal less than the others."

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