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Is Schiit Freya + / Aegir > similarly price integrateds?

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

  1. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Seems like the CXA60 is a pretty good $1000 integrated amp, very interesting to see how the Schiit pair stack up. I assume (as you do) that the sound will be better overall, plus the Freya+ has 3 modes to try out (and a multitude of tubes as well to roll in and test). If I didn't already have a highish end preamp, I'd get a Freya+. I still might at some point!

    There may be some breakin time for the new components, hopefully you're blown away at first and it just keeps getting better!
     
    tomlomtimlim likes this.
  2. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I have certainly enjoyed my CXA60. It was my first step into the stereo world, coming from headphone use only, and I was quite impressed by the soundstage and seperation of instruments within it.

    After a couple of years with it I am just starting to see its limitations. There is very little depth to the soundstage and the depth that is there seems very poorly defined. Centre stage also seems to be a bit mashed together.

    I paid about £200 for it and I think that low price may be skewing my expectatations of how the Schiit gear will sound relative to it. I might want to rein in my expectations but the descriptions of the Schiit gear make it hard!
     
  3. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I HOPE your experience is like mine (but 36 years later): I had a well-regarded Yamaha A-700 integrated amp ($500 in 1984, that's what ... $1250 today, so about the same original MSRP as the Cambridge). After several years of enjoyment, I discovered after hearing better gear that while it had excellent lateral soundstaging, plenty of power, etc., it didn't have hardly any 'depth' or 'space'. My friend who's into flea markets and tube gear had a Dynaco SCA-35 from the 1960s, he found it lacking in power so offered it to me. I gave it a shot, thinking 'how can this thing sound good, much less 'beat' my Yamaha?'. Well ... long story short, it never left my system for about 7 years. It was totally stock when I got it, an EE friend had checked it out for him, and put in some Sovtek EL-84M tubes, and I paid him the $100 he was asking. Totally blown away by the (real, not distortion) sense of space and depth, and sense of real musicians playing together. It didn't overlay a sameness to the sound, some recordings sounded great WRT depth and space and others flat. Yeah, it was a little lower 'resolution' than the A-700 but that was fixed with some mods/simplifications etc.. What a great little amp, at "17.5W" per channel. In triode mode (one of the mods I did) the power probably was more like 8-10Wpc but was really sweet and musical.

    Some people claim that 'depth' is a distortion ...! and/or that tubes just add distortion ... they haven't listened to a good/tube system then! From reading, I am relatively certain you'll be VERY happy with the sonics. I assume your speakers are at least a bit out 'into the room' and away from walls, and maybe you're set up in nearfield listening (equilateral triangle with speakers and your ears). This (with a sub <50Hz) has been my mode of listening for many years. It can result in 'soundstage city' as Sam Tellig of Stereophile used to say, where the speakers totally disappear and there's just a wide and deep soundscape laid out in front of you. If you don't get at least some of this ... and I hope you get a large portion ... maybe some higher end small speakers are the next step? My Triangle Titus monitors from 2002 ($900/pair with upgraded veneer) are excellent at this, and only now after spending what ... many $1000s of dollars on other gear do I sense they might be limiting things. Always lusted after Ref 3 MM DeCapos ... hmmmm ... ! but first I'm going to try the 'opposite' with a Parasound A 21 and Monitor Audio Silver 8s, with the 300B/Titus system available too as a comparison.
     
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  4. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Forum Resident

    The Aegir has been reviewed by Stereophile. It's now listed in their Recommended Components list, as a Class A recommended amp. Not too shabby, considering it's low price.

    That being said, Jason of Schiit, has stated in video chats, that if you run 4 Ohm speakers, you need a Vidar. The Aegir won't push 4 Ohm loads. Jason has Magnepan LRS speakers for auditioning their gear, and has mentioned he has to use a Vidar, as the Aegir shuts down under the load.
     
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  5. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Errr, I haven't read the review or whatever, but if the OP runs decently moderate volume and the speakers are relatively efficient, should be no problem. The Aegir is supposed to put out 40W into 4 ohm loads. If it doesn't do that, Schiit has a problem. Magnepan LRS loudspeaker Measurements sure, at 3.3 ohms and only 80dB/W/m ... if you try to crank it you'll hit 40W pretty quickly. I assume Jason maybe likes to push things to the LOUD end of the spectrum ...

    Hey, the Aegir seems like a real winner, from the Stereophile review and even measurements. Yeah, it gets a little cranky above 20W into 4 ohms it seems ... but Herb REALLY liked the sound into various speakers (including Lintons, which I am interested in).
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
  6. Acapella48

    Acapella48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA.
    Jason refers to what happens with the Aegir's vs Vidar's when driving the Magnepan LRS during the September 16, 2020 Q&A live-stream at the Schiitter.

    Regarding the Vidar vs the Aegir during a blind listening test, Jason says "If one goes click and you hear nothing, --that will be the Aegir." If you're on Facebook, you can watch and listen to the session.
     
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  7. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I don't doubt what happened/happens when you drive things past their design limits. Seems kind of dumb for him to say those things about his own products, but maybe it's not too shocking. Seems like if your speakers aren't inefficient, you don't need head banging levels, the Aegir may sound sublime ...
     
  8. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Forum Resident

    I'd love to consider an Aegir, but all of my speakers are 4 Ohm, or less. Maybe one day, Schiit will release a beefed-up Aegir, where even a mono-block set up can drive a low impedance! That'd be sweet. :agree:
     
    33na3rd likes this.
  9. Acapella48

    Acapella48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA.
    Maybe not. Especially when you compare each amps specs.

    AEGIR

    Stereo, 8 Ohms: 20W RMS per channel
    Stereo, 4 Ohms: 40W RMS per channel
    Mono, 8 ohms: 80W RMS

    Vidar

    Stereo, 8 Ohms: 100W RMS per channel
    Stereo, 4 Ohms: 200W RMS per channel
    Mono, 8 ohms: 400W RMS

    At the time, the blind test comparison was made between a pair of Salk Sound 3's and the Magnepan LRS that Schiit Audio have in their shop. Both speakers are rated at 86 db. The Sound 3's rated impedance uses 8 ohms vs the LRS at 4 ohms.

    The Salk Song 3 is a 3-way ported design with a RAAL 64-10 ribbon tweeter and requires 100 watts vs the LRS 2-way Quasi-Ribbon design. Magenepan according to their website FAQ, is vague about their speaker's power requirements, so the onus is on the buyer/owner to properly match their amp when purchasing Magnepan speakers. In essence what Magnepan is saying is to be specific with the dealer about your musical tastes and listening levels and your current or planned amplification.

    Let's face it - people push their speakers limitations. It happens.
     
    bever70 likes this.
  10. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Yes! I hope so too. I assume the wide and deep soundstage largely contributes towards the "holographic" quality ascribed to tubes. From what I have heard the Freya + will give me these qualities, especially when using GTA & GTB GE tubes made in Canada.

    Speakers will be my next upgrade. Assuming that the limited soundstage I currently hear is the amplifier and not the speakers, I have no complaints about them other than a lack off bass extension, which I think is partly due to my room.

    Having said that, my head is being turned a little by the Croft Acoustics stuff. The £1700 integrated they offer, I think, combines their £1400 power amp and £550 pre amp and seems like really great value.
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  11. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Is a speakers impedance rating an average across the frequency range? I am getting quite nervous about this 4 ohm stuff!

    My speakers have a nominal 6 ohm rating and a minimum of 4 ohm, with 88dB sensitivity. Am I right in thinking that an Aegir should drive them OK at moderate volumes (avg 80 dB measured from about 2 m)?

    Sometimes I feel as though I should be purchasing a Vidar instead. The problem with that is, the impression I get of the Vidar is that its just OK and I want something that is reputed to greatly overperform at its price point.
     
  12. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I don't know why you're arguing with me, if that's what you're doing. Sure people can push things, what's the point? If you know you "shouldn't" push things too much and do not do so, no problem.

    The LRS dips to 3.3 ohms (2.8 ohm minimum) and only measured 80dB/W/m according to Stereophile. IF that's true, trying to get loud volume out of the LRS could drive the Aegir into clipping/shutdown, there's no doubt.

    But ALSO, according to Stereophile (the same review) the thing sounded sublime driving several speakers, including the Lintons (which measured 88dB/W/m and have a small area <4 ohms) ... driving the Magnepan .7s, Herb said "At higher volumes, the Aegir's clipping was frequent and easily noticeable, but not totally damning." But into a more 'reasonable' load speaker (even having 4 ohm dips) like the Lintons, Herb said "The Aegir's ability to balance generous bass power with high levels of filigreed class-A detail made finger picks plucking banjo strings and wood bows rubbing fiddle strings into titillating physical pleasures. I could live, satisfied, forever with this reasonably priced pairing."

    Sounds like a hearty recommendation to me! and the Aegir is apparently in 'Class A' of the S'phile rankings.
     
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  13. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Forum Resident

    Maybe also consider the Ragnarok. It's been reviewed by Stereophile, and is a Recommended Component. One can also upgrade it with DAC and phono preamp cards. Not a bad choice either.

    Oh, I personally own a Schiit Saga preamp, Modi 3, Bifrost MB, Modius, and Gungnir D/S DACs, a Vali 1 head amp, and a Fulla for my PC. All great sounding pieces. No complaints. So, whatever decision you make, I'm sure it'll sound awesome.

    Luck!
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  14. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    YES !!!!!!!! See my comment on the Lintons above. The Lintons seem like they're VERY similar to yours WRT impedance and sensitivity (altho I'd take the '88dB' with a grain of salt. Guessing they're more likely a few dB lower, like 86dB?). But unless they're really MUCH lower, you should get plenty of volume etc.. Have a look at the measurements for the Lintons: https://www.stereophile.com/content/wharfedale-linton-heritage-loudspeaker-measurements

    The amp 'sees' the impedance curve shown, it's not as simple but specs (should) report an average and minimum (as yours do). I'd call the Lintons a 6 ohm speaker with a 4 ohm (or 3.4 ohms to be more precise) minimum. From 4 ohms to 3.4 ohms isn't a large difference, but it will require slightly more 'oomph' from the amp to get the same exact volume.

    So at ~150Hz there's a 4 ohm 'dip'. If there's a loud passage with this frequency range prominent, the amp will need to put out power into 4 ohms. Over most of the spectrum, the average is 6 ohms, so will be less demanding on the amp. The peaks in the low bass to 15 ohms or higher aren't a problem, as the amp isn't asked to provide high current into that load. Basically, low impedance demands higher current be delivered (if voltage is held constant). Yes, I don't fully understand all this either but think my generalizations/examples are valid.

    See https://shure-content-files.s3.us-e...al-mixing-tips-for-church-sound_content-1.png for more info too. 150Hz = 'D' which is of course a popular note in all music, and 100-200Hz span an octave from 'G' to 'G'. But Herb didn't "note" (sorry!) any issues driving the Linton with the Aegir ...

    I can't make that decision for you, but if you're playing music at moderate volumes, would think the Aegir is plenty. Of course the Croft could be a good one too! Good luck with your quest.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  15. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    See Peak SPL Calculator for estimations of volume (SPL or Sound Pressure Level) given various specs. See Table chart sound pressure levels SPL level test normal voice sound levels pressure sound intensity ratio decibel comparison chart conversion of sound pressure to sound intensity noise sound units decibel level comparison of common sounds calculation compression rarefaction loudness decibel dB scale ratio factor unit examples - sengpielaudio Sengpiel Berlin for some 'examples' of dB to sounds ...

    On AVERAGE, if your speakers are indeed 88dB/W/m, seems like you only need LESS THAN ONE WATT to get >80dB SPL at 6 feet (~2m). On the SPL calculator, put in 2 speakers and 'Away from walls' to be conservative. If your speakers are say 84dB/W/m (being conservative again) it still only takes 1 watt ... increasing to 9' (3m) you get 1.6W ...

    But figuring on 'peak' sound is usually prudent, which may be 10-20dB higher than average. 80dB average is actually pretty loud! and 100dB peaks would hurt most peoples' ears (unless they love live rock concert levels). So I tend to use 90dB or so peaks. This requires (no surprise, it's 10dB (10x) higher than 80dB) 16 watts at 84dB/W/m Sensitivity and 9' distance. Which again is well within the Aegir's capabilities.

    Reading further down the SPL examples page, they say that 10dB is 'twice as loud' and requires 10x the amplifier power (as above). Indeed, if you want to get 100dB peaks, the Aegir probably won't do this, unless you get much more sensitive speakers.

    Croft Integrated ... I hate to throw cold water on it, but Croft Stereophile review and Measurements seems to me to show very similar 'limits' as the Aegir, with much higher measured distortion. Altho, it certainly seems to sound very good to several S'phile reviewers. Seems like within comparable volume limitations ... could also be a strong contender.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  16. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Sorry guys, I just need to shut up !!! This is taking the place of me actually listening to a high end rig, as I'm stuck in California while my gear is in Idaho. I'm moving there in February, can't wait. Meanwhile I'm just visiting as I can (which is very limited due to job and covid restrictions). My iMac with iFi DAC and small Tannoy powered speakers does sound PRETTY darn good though. See 'System 1' at Audio Streams #7 ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  17. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I had an automated search on AG and US AM for the past several months for tube preamps- used freya+ show up quite frequently
    Schiit Audio Freya + Preamp Like New Bought new in May. Extra tubes
     
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  18. Acapella48

    Acapella48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA.
    No one is arguing with you. Just putting into context what Jason Stoddard had to say regarding the two amps during a blind listening test with the speakers in question.

    If you don't agree - then take it up with Jason Stoddard.

    Lighten up.
     
    JackG likes this.
  19. bajaed

    bajaed Forum Resident

    Superficial question but has the Freya ever been available in black and will it ever be in the future? Wonder why other models are but currently this is not?
     
  20. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Forum Resident

    It's been stated at Head-Fi, in the Schiit Happened thread, Schiit gear in black is produced only when a piece in silver is rejected. The cosmetic defect is repaired by painting it black. As such, if all the silver Freya's are good, none are available in black. I suppose it's just a wait and see proposition?
     
  21. bajaed

    bajaed Forum Resident

    I think I saw that a while back and forgot about it. Strange. I think their stuff looks great in black.
    Wonder if you could take off the case and have it painted or powder coated? Would need to get a set of decals.
     
  22. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks Rick58! Very helpful stuff.

    I am definitely going with the Freya + and Aegir. Mostly due to the reviews but also with the resell value being soo high over here its a very safe bet.

    If my socks are not completely knocked off by the pair, I think I will order the Croft Integrated from a website I found that offers 30 day returns. That way I can do a thorough comparision and if the Croft is no better, move on to the next.

    Thanks to everyone for their input.
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  23. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Location:
    Malaysia
    2 final words ... Tube Roll!
     
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  24. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    You're very welcome! and I hope the pair knock your socks off! Be sure to give them some time though. Not sure about these, but some components can take a while to come 'on song' as they say. Hopefully things will just sound wonderful from the get-go, and maybe bloom from there into something sublime.

    After a few weeks or so, if you're into it, CERTAINLY try tube rolling. There are many threads about this in general and also for the Freya+ ... if you find something a little lacking, or just want to experiment, can likely find tubes that nudge things in certain directions. I've done this with great results in a McIntosh C220 preamp as well as my current 300B tube amps. Funny, to me the driver tubes in the 300B amps made the most difference. I got some 'exotic' mesh plate 300Bs, they didn't sound much different (if at all) but looked WAY cooler at night!

    Best wishes!
     
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  25. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Interesting! One more blathering then I'll try to shut up. I kept going back and forth whether the 'buffer' mode used tubes or not. NOT! from the manual:

    3 Buffer LED
    This light is on when using the buffer. This
    solid state stage provides SE-to-balanced
    conversion with 0dB gain.

    4 Tube LED
    This light is on when using the tube gain.
    This provides SE-to-balanced conversion
    and 12dB gain.

    and also (accessible via remote, WAY cool)

    6 Output Select
    Press to select the output stage:
    • Passive (resistor ladder only, 0dB gain)
    • Differential buffer (0dB gain)
    • Differential tube gain (12dB gain)

    I guess if you select the tubes (which take 45 seconds to warm up) you'd also need to reduce the volume? Not certain. Not sure what 12dB gain means (electronic vs. SPL is different) but I don't think it'll be more than 'twice as loud' ... hopefully.

    "Freya+ accommodates any 6SN7, 6N8S, or 5692 tube type". Not certain but I think 6SN7 is very common. 5692 seems to be a 'premium' version ... yeah, this can get a bit expensive but may be worth every penny!

    Here's a chart about 12AX7s (which are NOT the same but maybe indicative of the 'brand' sonic family). I did get some Siemens triple mica 12AT7s for my 300B amps and they nudged the sound as noted here ... 12ax7 guide tube sound — Postimages
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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