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Freya + / N

Balanced Tube Preamps with Remote Control

Model
Finish
Tubes
Voltage (?)
Plug Type (?)

$849.00

Ships in 1-3 days.

Description

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Freya+ and Freya Noval are true no-excuses, balanced, remote-control preamps. Switch between passive, differential buffer, and differential 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.
 
Whisper-Silent Tube Stage—With Tube Shutdown
Now, you can enjoy a tube preamp without the hiss and hum of classic designs. Freya+ and Freya Noval both offer super-quiet tube modes with DC heaters and semi-circlotron, noise-cancelling output stages. Better yet, the tubes turn off when you’re not using them! That’s right, both the tube heater and high voltage rails go away when not in use, so you can preserve lifetime of costly tubes. 
 
Your Choice of Tubes
Freya+ uses four 6SN7 tubes, while Freya Noval uses four 6N1P or similar tubes. This allows you to choose a preamp best suited to your tube preferences. Have plenty of 6SN7 octals? Freya+ is for you. Or do you have noval tubes (6922, 6DJ8, ECC88, 6BZ7, 6N1P, etc)? Then Freya Noval is best. Both have operation points optimized to their particular tube types.
 
Your Choice of No Tubes
Freya+ also offers our LISST “solid state tube” option, which replaces your tubes with depletion-mode MOSFETs in tube-like cans. 
 
Easiest 128-Step Relay-Switched Volume, Ever
The benefits of a relay-switched stepped attenuator for volume are clear. Compared to a potentiometer, they give you essentially perfect channel matching and near-unmeasurable distortion. However, some preamps with relay-stepped attenuators confuse you with buttons and screens. Not Freya. Both Freyas have a volume knob that works just like a volume knob—just grab and turn. And if you use the remote control, the motorized potentiometer changes to match the remote setting. 
 
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+ and Freya Noval include 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 Built in California
By “designed and built in California" this is what we mean: the vast majority of the total production cost of either 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. 
 
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.

 

Compound Differential Buffer
Gain: 1 (0dB)
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.2db, 3Hz-500KHz, -3dB
THD: <0.004%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS 
IMD: <0.0055%, CCIR 
SNR: >120dB, A-weighted, referenced to 2V RMS 
Output Impedance: 75 ohms SE, 600 ohms balanced
Topology: JFET differential amplifier compound pair with equalized-gm followers 
 
Tube Gain 
Gain: 4 (12dB)
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.2db, 3Hz-200KHz, -3dB 
THD: <0.01%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS 
IMD: <0.01%, CCIR 
SNR: >115dB, A-weighted, referenced to 2V RMS 
Output Impedance: 75 ohms SE, 600 ohms balanced
Topology: differential triode input with semi-circlotron follower stage
 
LISST Gain
Gain: 5 (14dB)
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.2db, 3Hz-150KHz, -3dB 
THD: <0.005%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS 
IMD: <0.006%, CCIR 
SNR: >114dB, A-weighted, referenced to 2V RMS 
Output Impedance: 75 ohms SE, 600 ohms balanced
Topology: differential depletion MOSFET with semi-circlotron depletion MOSFET follower stage
 
Input Impedance: 10K ohms
Crosstalk: >85dB, 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 +/-18V rails, plus 6.3VDC 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
 
 
Why do I need to read this question if I want to order Freya+ and Freya Noval without tubes?
Unless you have a stash of great tubes, you are gonna be better off ordering a Freya with tubes (or LISST, in the case of Freya+). If you order either Freya without tubes, you are saying:
  1. I understand that the Freya I am ordering is 100% tested, on instruments and ears, before it ships, using premium new-production tubes (Electro-Harmonix, Tung-Sol, JJ), so if it doesn't work with my tubes, it's probably my tubes.
  2. I have a matched set or sets of good tubes to use in Freya, or, I will purchase a matched set of tubes from a reputable supplier (that is, not on eBay, not some sketchy dood you met in an alley promising NOS nirvana, etc.)
  3. I won't be using any tubes other than the ones you specify, even if they plug into the same tube socket.
  4. I understand that NOS Russian 6N8S and Sovtek 6SN7s are frequently microphonic, so that we cannot recommend them for use in Freya+.
So what’s the difference between Freya+ and Freya N?
Tubes. These two preamps have two different operating points and gain structures to support two different families of tubes.
  1. Freya+ was developed for 6SN7 type tubes. It also accepts our LISST solid-state tube replacements. If you have a ton of cool 6SN7 tubes, or if you like new-production 6SN7s, or if you want to use LISST, Freya+ is for you.
  2. Freya Noval was developed for a range of Noval tubes. It ships with 6N1Ps, but it can use 6DJ8, 6922, ECC88, 6N23P, 6BZ7, and heck, even 6CG7s, though the gain might be a bit low. You could even use, say, 6922s in the voltage gain and 6N6P in the output stage, as long as you don’t exceed 2.4A total heater current. So if you have a bunch of noval tubes, Freya Noval is for you. 
So what’s this LISST thing?
LISST is our solid-state replacement for tubes, based on depletion-mode MOSFETs. This is due to the fact that 6SN7 tubes are still kinda hard to get, and also because many people like the way they sound.
 
Solid-state tubes that sound good? You’re kidding.
No. Also imagine the peace of mind, having solid state tube replacements that won’t die, like, in forever.
 
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. Just don’t expect it to convert single-ended to balanced or anything like that. It is, after all, passive.
 
But I can use the buffers to get differential output, right?
Right. The differential JFET buffers will convert single-ended to balanced, which is very handy if you want to run, say, a pair of Vidars from a single-ended source. They’re also pretty cool designs, with a compound feedback pair front end and an equalized-transconductance output stage.  
 
And the differential tube gain stage—tell me about that.
This one is also pretty neat, with a differential triode front end feeding a semi-circlotron output stage for lower distortion and noise cancellation. That trick, together with DC heaters, provides a much, much lower noise floor than most tube preamplifiers. 
 
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+ or Saga S, Freya’s little sisters.
 
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.
 
Positive Feedback: Schiit Freya+ Preamplifier
Smit Patel

"For example, the Freya + captivates more of a warm sound with some midrange thump and smoother vocal delivery. The tube gain is also noticeably quieter which is more evident across sensitive audio gear; a complaint which the old Freya had often received. As with the previous model, the passive mode offers a solid-state flavor with a more transparent and revealing sound albeit with less soundstage and harmonic bloom compared to the tube gain. The tube gain also impacts a more holographic sound stage with height and depth while also adding some weight to the lower frequency spectrum."

:...I would strongly urge readers to try this product for those seeking a smart preamplifier solution to their audiophile needs."

Read Full Review ->

Audio-Head: A Four-Way Schiit Shootout
Brian Hunter

From a blind test at the Schiitr between all four preamps (Saga S, Saga+, Freya S, Freya+.)

"After the first run of Tracy’s Chapman’s Fast Car it was readily apparent that the Freya + was earning its keep as the most expensive option of the lot. A flushed out, full representation of everything from bass to treble produced focused instruments that were never flimsy, vocals that drew you in and tonal beauty that both delighted and entertained the small crowd that was gathered. The guitar parts from 15 Steps translated as a smooth, euphonic sound – thick with both detail and dimensionality."

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Any Flavor You Want
Darko.Audio, John Darko

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Listening to the Schiit Freya+ Preamplifier
Fair Hedon

"...we have had numerous far more expensive tubed preamps in the system, including multiple models from Rogue, Audio Research, Lamm, Manley, and others. It is our belief the Freya+ was not in any way embarrassed by these units, and in fact, held it’s own in every category except maybe for less elaborate case work.

 
To add another perspective, we have also had many “budget” tube preamps in for audition and while all of them sounded generally “good”, they all seemed to do one thing well, usually a smooth midrange, or they added some harmonic richness, but along with that a flat sounding top end, and somewhat sloppy bass. No such situation with the Freya+. It was difficult to find an area where it was deficient sonically overall.
 
The Schiit Freya+ gets our highest recommendation. For $899 you get a triple mode line stage, with a 128 stepped attenuator, rarely used but beautiful sounding 6SN7 tubes (new production Tung Sols to boot) and a nice metal remote control. The Freya+ with the design changes noted above, only commands a $100 premium over the original Freya, which is amazing. If you have no desire for tubes, the Freya S is available for less."

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AudioSolace: Freya+
Smit Patel

"The Freya + establishes what the original set out to do with its involving and holographic sound as well as the convenience of controlling multiple sources from one device. However, there are some differences between the new model and its predecessor. For example, the Freya + captivates more of a warm sound with some midrange thump and smoother vocal delivery."

"As with the previous model, the passive mode offers a solid-state flavour with a more transparent and revealing sound albeit with less soundstage and harmonic bloom compared to the tube gain. The tube gain also impacts a more holographic sound stage with height and depth while also adding some weight to the lower frequency spectrum."

Read Full Review ->

Schiit Freya Plus Preamp
New Record Day
Schiit Freya Plus Review and Tube Rolling Fun!!
Small Room Audio

2021 Editor's Choice Award
The Absolute Sound