Is Schiit Freya + / Aegir > similarly price integrateds?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by tomlomtimlim, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Hi!

    I have just sold a load of junk and now have about £1600 to spend on Hi-Fi!!!! :D

    The Freya + is a pre-amp with passive & active (SS or tube) modes.
    • Well reviewed
    • I like the idea of being able to tailor sound by playing with the tubes or bypassing them totally if the source needs it.
    The Aegir is a Class A, 20 W/ch (8 ohms) power amp.
    • Well reviewed
    • I like the description of Class A sound.
    • I do not need loads of W (88dB efficient speakers in small room with volumes no greater than 80dB average), the low power rating does not concern me.

    I already have a DAC and phono stage that I am happy with and since the products are supposedly great value it seems like a no brainer.

    BUT.... Schiit seems to have a bit of a culty following and I dont know if the reputation of the products (GIANT KILLERS!!!!!) is grossly exaggerated or not. I had a Schiit Mani and found that it was no better than a similarly priced phono stage (Rega mm mk3).

    So, before I go and spend, what is to me, a lot of money on this gear, I thought I better question my decision and seek advice from this knowledgeable community.

    I dont really want to buy used stuff as I like the safety net of a warranty. Futher, I cannot find much of anything out about pre & power amps in this price range.

    So, turning to integrateds I have checked out:

    Yamaha A-S2100 (manufacturer refurb)
    • Seems to be very well thought
    • I have read some criticisms of its colouring and lack of excitement.
    Line Magnetic LM-34IA
    • I like the idea of tubes but I am not married to it, especially if its going to be all or nothing (tube virgin, bit scared).
    • I am a bit unsure of the brand.

    Will the Schiit combo be significantly better than these or anything else in the price range?

    Many thanks
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  2. Acapella48

    Acapella48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA.
    Yes, Schiitster's do like their Schiit. Not sure of the prices in the U.K. but I have heard that some Schiit gear availability is spotty across the pond. Could be due to popularity or low inventory levels but they do seem popular in Europe.

    Most of the chatter you hear is about their headphone amps and DAC's. I've never owned any Line Magnetic gear so I can't comment.

    The Yamaha is a strong contender, although considering it's a refurb vs a new product: You pays your monies and you takes your chances.

    $1700 USD for the Aegir / Freya + combo, isn't exactly expensive (not including shipping and VAT) but that's a relative term and it depends on one's pocket book and priorities.

    Hear more about the Ragnarok more so than the Aegir.

    As far as the Schiit combo vs the Yamaha vs the Line Magnetic being significantly better, only you can answer that question after comparison listening. Known, established brands vs New kid on the block.

    Afterall, this is a subjective hobby and the the Line Magnetic will probably be more than your target price unless you buy used/refurbished.

    Schiit has a 5 year warranty. Compare that to what you'll get on a refurb. Heck, that's better than the 2 year warranty on my Audio Note OTO SE Phono Sig integrated at 4 times the price.

    On a personal level, I'm strongly considering a Lyr 3 / Bifrost 2 stack for my desktop. I'm just waiting for a pair of HD 6XX's to arrive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  3. tIANcI

    tIANcI Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Malaysia
    The Schiit Freya+ is a very good piece of kit, esp when you tube roll with NOS tubes. It’s great for its price. You cannot go wrong with it. It impressed me.

    Problem is ordering one. May take up to 2 months to receive it. But I would say, it’s one of the best you can buy in the sub £1,000 price bracket.

    Line Magnetic makes superb amps for their price. I had the LM805ia with me for a bit and it performs amazingly well. I just tube rolled the 2 6SN7 and it already made a big difference.

    Down side is it’s just over priced in Europe and the US. Over in South East Asia it’s a lot cheaper. Probably cheaper with shipping and import duties included.

    I find the LM805ia to be much better than PrimaLuna amps. It’s a fair bit cheaper too.

    If you can ... pair the Freya+ with the XTZ Edge A2-300 (Class D). It’s a very nice combo. Very nice.
     
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  4. RemyM

    RemyM Forum Resident

    I'm in the market to buy a Croft Integrated amplifier.
     
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  5. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks for the replies guys!

    In the UK, used Schiit stuff sells on eBay for prices very similar to retail. Infact, I just sold a Mani on there for £20 more than retail due to stock shortages. I may just order the Schiit gear to demo it, if its not that great I doubt I would loose much after selling it on.

    The line Magnetic is £1700 .

    Yes, the Schiit warranty is fantastic and makes their products very tempting.

    I was thinking about ordering from the US. With the shipping there is still a saving of about £200, but I would have to try and figure out the customs charges.

    Could you please reccommend a SE Asia retailer whos website I could check out, thanks.

    Am I making too much of a deal about Class A amplification? I dont have lots of time to investigate but from what I have read, Class A seems to be very highly rated with audiophiles and Class D is quite the opposite. The vast majority of manufacturer product pages that I view do not mention the class of their amplification, I find this a bit strange.

    I just had a look at the Croft Acoustics Integrated Version R Amplifier, it certainly looks interesting and is the right price. Something else to consider!
    Edit: A bit more research reveals that I could also get a Croft Micro 25 R preamp and Series 7 power amp for the same money!


    Another similarly priced integrated I have just come across is the Rogue Audio Sphinx V3.

    There seems to be quite a few cool looking products at this price point. I wish I could hear them all!
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  6. Silverwolf

    Silverwolf Forum Resident

    I’ve not heard it, and yeah I know it’s a Whathifi review (quickest I could find!), but this may suit... I think it’s well regarded generally.
    Rega Elex-R review | What Hi-Fi?
     
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  7. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks, I have read good things about this from other sources also.

    There is soo much to choose from, its making my head spin.
     
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  8. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Can’t speak for the Aegir but the Freya+ is indeed a giant killer in the realm of tube preamps. You probably have to spend at least 3X as much to better it.

    I would wager a Freya+ and Aegir would definitely perform better than what I’ve heard from the Sphinx. The Yamaha will get you closer to the sound of decent separates, but it cost $4K U.S. when new, vs $1500 for a Sphinx.

    I’d take the Croft and Elex-R over the Sphinx as well.
     
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  9. Silverwolf

    Silverwolf Forum Resident

    See if you get a Rega on 30 day return maybe? Do a direct comparison to the Schitt stuff (it still amuses me...) if you’re not worried about shifting it on eBay if the Rega is good.. Good luck, I’m a little jealous, my next upgrades will be in this price range - one day...
     
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  10. LostArk

    LostArk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    Marantz PM8006 is the best thing I've heard under $2k new.
     
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  11. Acapella48

    Acapella48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA.
    In Chapter 9 of Jason Stoddard's book: "Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up," he discusses Class A. Very entertaining and informative book. You can read the book online for free:

    Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up

    Highly recommended lot's of humor and insights into the company, what it's like to start a home-based business and the audio industry.
     
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  12. CTA

    CTA Well-Known Member

    I've got a Freya S that I sometimes use and for the money it is surely very good as long as you're either in passive or the 0dB gain Nexus mode. The achievable volume is obviously limited. The 12 dB gain mode doesn't sound as good as the former two. The tube stage could be different.
     
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  13. tIANcI

    tIANcI Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Malaysia
    Class D amps are sounding very much less sterile nowadays. It’s starting to have much more warmth. Times are a changing.

    PM me for contact. I’ll get you some leads and can check shipping for you. No biggie.
     
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  14. RemyM

    RemyM Forum Resident

    See if you can audition the Croft. If i may believe this is a very high end piece of gear for a very decent price.

    I'm also looking into a Sugden A21.
     
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  15. bajaed

    bajaed Forum Resident

    The volume comment concerns me. Are you saying you cant play the system it's in very loud because of the Freya?
     
  16. CTA

    CTA Well-Known Member

    If you use the preamp in 0 dB gain mode, then depending on the gain of your source, your poweramp, the sensitivity of your speakers and your SPL requirements you could experience limitations. The tube stage of the Freya+ will certainly sound different from the 12 dB gain mode of the Freya S that I have, so depending on the tubes you use it might even sound better than either the passive or the 0 dB Nexus mode, I have no experience with the tube stage of the Freya+. I can only say that the 12 dB gain mode of the S doesn't sound as good as the passive or the 0 dB Nexus mode on the S. I can imagine the tube stage to be exceptional. Have a listen if you can.
     
  17. rednedtugent

    rednedtugent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Funk, Ohio
    I just checked the site and their Freya Shiit is backordered till the 29th...
    Couldn't find the Shiit on amazon.
    I have money burning in my pocket and a tube pre is the next big thing :uhhuh:
     
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  18. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I had this combo for a short while in my room. It didn't work with my setup (4 ohm Dyns won't work with bridged mono Aegirs, sadly) but I wanted to give it a shot. Schiit was excellent in working with me to return everything - truly a stand-up operation IMO.

    Now that said? I SO wanted it to work and keep working. It sounded sublime and it has cost me... $4500? To get a setup that sounds a little better but that works without issue on the load I'm presenting to the amp and the volume I listen at.

    There's a purity of tone and honesty to the presentation out of the Schiit stuff that opened my eyes to the fact I was leaving a lot on the table with the amp I previously was using.

    Now I will say this - I was not as impressed with Freya + running single-ended. And for Schiit gear that is designed to run balanced, this is not an unpopular opinion. It sounds excellent in balanced configuration, but a bit dull and lifeless in RCA-mode. I went back to my original Saga to recapture the single-ended magic, with a different amp after the Aegirs didn't work out.

    So while this may seem all over the place, I don't intend for that to be the case. This pairing did not work in my setup but I truly wish it would have. I loved the sound of it, top to bottom.
     
  19. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    I love this sentence and need to do the same in a verrrry big way. About a month ago I mentally tallied the number of integrated amps and amps I own and got to 26. That means I have more than 30. Then there are receivers....and other goodies (but not a ton of speakers, just about a dozen pair). :D

    As far as Schiit, Ive been happy with their Bifrost 4490, Vali 2, Asgard 2, Magni 3, and Sys. I need to send back my Magni Heresy as its volume pot has noticeable "play" and when I turn it up and down but with nothing playing there is significant hiss during a good portion of the rotation. It is quiet when it is not being rotated and in those regions but the play in the volume pot annoys me and I dont trust it so I dont use it, especially considering that the main reason I bought it was because of its "very, very positive test results".
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020 at 10:44 AM
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  20. CTA

    CTA Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, like toddrhodes says, if you get a Freya, go balanced..
     
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  21. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    I was thinking of going along the same Freya+ / Aegir path, but realized I was going to run into the same problem (4 ohm Aurum Cantus speakers that I'm not willing to give up...).

    I currently use the Freya+ with my Parasound A21 with pretty fab results, so I'm really in no hurry to change amps for that matter. Considered also the Vidar (or dual Vidars, cause they're cheap), but thought that may not be an improvement over the A21, esp. at the moderate volumes at which I generally listen.
    I am currently using Freya+ Balanced into the A21, and balanced into Freya+ from my Schiit DAC and CODA PhonoPre. Made a nice difference over single ended in each instance, but I'm using different brand of cables for XLR and SE. Never found the SE dull, by any means, either.

    I won't over-tout the Freya+, but it's fantastic (I really only use it in tube mode with the Tung Sols it came with last year for real listening; I use the passive mode when needledropping at lower volumes...a nice feature to turn off the tubes).
    Also really like the three output choices (2 SE and 1 Balanced)...I use one set of SE for my dual subwoofers and one set for my headphone amp.

    I'd definitely consider higher powered Aegirs down the line, if they were to come to fruition.
     
  22. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    Yea, "dull" may be a bit harsh on my end, but relatively speaking I just didn't feel like Freya had the attack and dynamic potential in single-ended mode versus balanced. And in that regard, I think Saga does it better, I presume because it's designed to be SE where Freya, Yggdrasil, Aegir and so forth are designed to be run balanced, but are just able to run in SE mode when needed.

    Either way - absolutely brilliant stuff in the right system.
     
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  23. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks for all the help!

    I am quite certain I will go with the Schiit stuff. With it generally being very well reviewed and the high resale value it seems like a very safe choice.

    For all the other options, I just cannot find enough reviews or message board chatter to feel sure that I am making a good decesion.

    The other good things about the Schiit stuff is it will let me get a taste of tubes without being restriced to them and I can get another Aegir a bit later and go monoblock to give myself more speaker choice when I eventually upgrade those.

    Shame about the stock shortages, I cant wait!

    Does anyone have experience importing stuff like this into the UK and the custom charges its likely to incur?
     
  24. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I was wondering about the bridged mode for the Schiit amps, they only mention 8 ohms ... seems strange they don't design them for 4 ohms, MOST speakers have at least some 'dips' to that level in the bass (of course the 'worst' part of the spectrum for wanting power).

    OP, I guess if you're only going to run single ended ... seems to me that the Freya+ doesn't sound its best in SE mode, and one Schiit amp in stereo only can run in SE mode ... personally, I'd get the Freya+ and run it in balanced mode to an amp(s) that accept balanced connection AND are rated to run comfortably into 4 ohms. You say your speakers are efficient ... what speakers are they? MANY speakers that are rated at 88dB measure more like 84dB ... and '8 ohms' many times = 4 ohms at certain frequencies where there's lots of power needed. OOOOF it's like the old "music power" ratings of amps in the 60s and 70s. WHY can't speaker manufacturers be HONEST ????
     
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  25. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I have read conflicting reports about SE performance, this leads me to believe that I will be happy enough with it. I would have thought, at the very least, it will blow away my old Cambridge CXA60 which is good enough until I can upgrade to mono's.

    My speakers are Q Acoustics Concept 20
    • Frequency Response: 64Hz - 22kHz
    • Nominal Impedance: 6ohm
    • Minimum Impedance: 4ohm
    • Sensitivity: 88dB
    I am not going to pretend I understand how all of this works out, but from what I head read and heard, I should be OK at the relatively low volumes I listen at in my 4 m square room.

    This review of the Aegirs on youtube (8:06 into it) talks about them not being rated at 4 ohms . He mentioned it because he had been running them into 4 ohms with no trouble and did not know about the lack of rating.

     
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