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PostPosted: January 5th, 2023, 11:04 am 
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Grover Gardner wrote:
Over the holiday break I built a pair of Williamson monoblocks for a friend in Florida who's been reaching the limits of his SE 300B integrated amp. But he had no preamp for the Williamsons. On a lark I ordered a Schiit Freya S, thinking that worst case the passive mode wouldn't get in the way. Much to my surprise, after a few days of break-in I found it to be a very enjoyable piece--so much so that I ordered one for myself. I'm interested to hear what a week or so of playing does to it, but I have to say that for $600 it's not bad at all.


Interesting about the Freya S, noticed there are B-Stock units for $100 off. Nice price. It was interesting that the Steve Guttenberg review of the Freya+ (not Freya S) using the LISST and in passive mode when compared of the Pass B1 NuTube, kind of implied a preference for the latter from a musicality standpoint. Wish there was something more on the Freya S. BTW, are you using it as a buffer or gain stage?

Well, in my enthusiasm in putting together the Wayne's BA2018 linestage, I neglected to properly ground the chassis against static (since corrected). While I had the phonostage connected and playing for a while, I touched the volume knob and heard a pop. Well, the phonostage is dead (iFi iPhono3 Black Lable). Damn. Have to do more testing to verify, but have no output through it, even though the power indicator LED shows it is active. No problem with another phonostage (PassDIY Pearl 2). Sometimes it makes sense to buy a finished and tested product (rather than DIY).


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2023, 3:59 pm 
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Joined: June 4th, 2013, 2:39 pm
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OH NO!! I'm sorry to hear that. What a bummer. I have a grounding issue in my setup, guess I'd better address it...

I'm using the active stage right now, but the passive isn't bad. Haven't really given the buffer stage much of a try. I need more gain for DSD recordings, though. It adds a touch of coloration, but not an unpleasant one. My DAC also has balanced outputs so I've been experimenting with that, seems a bit smoother. But it's still breaking in. Out of the box I would have sent it back.

I've read that the Freya+ gets hot. Seems like a poor design choice...


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2023, 4:17 pm 
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Joined: March 12th, 2013, 11:12 am
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Sorry to hear about the iFi. :|

I never tried the LISST in my Freya+ but I would not be surprised if it performs worse than a decent 6SN7. I think the folks over at Shiit developed the LISST as an available option when supply chain/sanction issues were scaring everyone with tube shortage concerns? The Freya passive path sounds like most other passives (transparent, detailed and also with remote control and nice tight channel matching) but not really "musical" IMHO. Oh yea, there was a gain difference between the passive and the buffered paths that should not be there according to the specs.

From memory, I think my Ayre sounds better than the SS and passive paths of the Freya and a bit different from the 6SN7 path.

I think that as a company, Shiit is knocking it out of the park with a nice lineup of affordable, made in the USA components.


David McGown wrote:
Grover Gardner wrote:
Over the holiday break I built a pair of Williamson monoblocks for a friend in Florida who's been reaching the limits of his SE 300B integrated amp. But he had no preamp for the Williamsons. On a lark I ordered a Schiit Freya S, thinking that worst case the passive mode wouldn't get in the way. Much to my surprise, after a few days of break-in I found it to be a very enjoyable piece--so much so that I ordered one for myself. I'm interested to hear what a week or so of playing does to it, but I have to say that for $600 it's not bad at all.


Interesting about the Freya S, noticed there are B-Stock units for $100 off. Nice price. It was interesting that the Steve Guttenberg review of the Freya+ (not Freya S) using the LISST and in passive mode when compared of the Pass B1 NuTube, kind of implied a preference for the latter from a musicality standpoint. Wish there was something more on the Freya S. BTW, are you using it as a buffer or gain stage?

Well, in my enthusiasm in putting together the Wayne's BA2018 linestage, I neglected to properly ground the chassis against static (since corrected). While I had the phonostage connected and playing for a while, I touched the volume knob and heard a pop. Well, the phonostage is dead (iFi iPhono3 Black Lable). Damn. Have to do more testing to verify, but have no output through it, even though the power indicator LED shows it is active. No problem with another phonostage (PassDIY Pearl 2). Sometimes it makes sense to buy a finished and tested product (rather than DIY).


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2023, 4:49 pm 
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David McGown wrote:
Grover Gardner wrote:
2). Sometimes it makes sense to buy a finished and tested product (rather than DIY).


Agreed. I made my first music server but recently took the plunge and purchased a Roon Nucleus + to replace the home built server and a cheapie streamer I have. Huge difference in quality and accessibility of my music plus that on Qobuz. And, it truly was plug and play. I'm past the point of building and configuring PCs.

Tom


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2023, 8:02 pm 
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Joined: February 28th, 2013, 1:19 pm
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TubeDriver wrote:
Sorry to hear about the iFi. :|


Thanks Pete and Grover for your sympathy :cry: Walt warned me about the reliability of the iFi units (after I purchased it), since the iPhono2 had history of failures. This is the second failure (my second unit), though I suspect this last time my fault rather than premature failure. Low voltage electronics can be pretty fragile.

So now digging out and dusting off my old phonostage builds to find the best to put into service. It is distracting me from linestage evaluation, but that is starting to sound really good breaking in in the basement system, so maybe time to move it back upstairs to the main system.

David


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2023, 8:32 pm 
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Oh, well, at least I'll avoid purchasing one, since I was considering it! I've been looking at a Vincent Pho 500, decent reviews and it has a USB output, which I would like for LP transfers. Anyone had any experience with Vincent?


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2023, 9:03 pm 
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Grover Gardner wrote:
Oh, well, at least I'll avoid purchasing one, since I was considering it! I've been looking at a Vincent Pho 500, decent reviews and it has a USB output, which I would like for LP transfers. Anyone had any experience with Vincent?


No experience with Vincent, though the ability to output 24/192 via USB certainly looks appealing. It does look like the design is a few years old, and the use of a 12AU7 (output buffer?) seems to be a gratuitous nod to “tube sound”. I have been kicking around the idea of picking up a used PSAudio NuWave, typically around $900 for the ADC capability.

There are quite a few well reviewed $1000 phonostages out there, particularly if you only need a MM input. I may have to start looking myself.

Well, the linestage is sounding better after a couple days of burn-in. The attenuators needed a signal running thru them for a couple of days.


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PostPosted: January 6th, 2023, 9:55 am 
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David, I have been using a Kitsune LCR phono stage (designed by Kevin Valab) on one of my tables. It is more than your $1000 budget (current cost is $1500 or $2200 depending on the amount of magic dust added) but you are welcome to try it out for a couple weeks if you want? It uses EMI shielded 80% high nickel content Permalloy cores in the RIAA eq which I gather is somewhat unusual. It is Class-A FET , DC coupled with no caps in signal path. The only thing to really note is that the umbilical cord from the external power supply to the phono stage must be connected first, before you plug in the AC PS cord or it will become another doorstop to join your iFi. :D


David McGown wrote:
Grover Gardner wrote:
Oh, well, at least I'll avoid purchasing one, since I was considering it! I've been looking at a Vincent Pho 500, decent reviews and it has a USB output, which I would like for LP transfers. Anyone had any experience with Vincent?


No experience with Vincent, though the ability to output 24/192 via USB certainly looks appealing. It does look like the design is a few years old, and the use of a 12AU7 (output buffer?) seems to be a gratuitous nod to “tube sound”. I have been kicking around the idea of picking up a used PSAudio NuWave, typically around $900 for the ADC capability.

There are quite a few well reviewed $1000 phonostages out there, particularly if you only need a MM input. I may have to start looking myself.

Well, the linestage is sounding better after a couple days of burn-in. The attenuators needed a signal running thru them for a couple of days.


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PostPosted: January 6th, 2023, 10:27 am 
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TubeDriver wrote:
It is Class-A FET , DC coupled with no caps in signal path.


Doesn't the C in LCR stand for capacitor? Just because it's a cap to ground doesn't mean it's not in the signal path. When a signal goes through a node with a shunt component to ground, that component is one of the possible signal paths for the signal energy to follow. What doesn't go through the shunt component proceeds on its way down the "signal path". So how well a shunt component performs its intended duty absolutely affects the signal. Seems to me that shunt components are as important as components the signal goes through on its way to the output.

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PostPosted: January 6th, 2023, 10:29 am 
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TubeDriver wrote:
David, I have been using a Kitsune LCR phono stage (designed by Kevin Valab) on one of my tables. It is more than your $1000 budget (current cost is $1500 or $2200 depending on the amount of magic dust added) but you are welcome to try it out for a couple weeks if you want? It uses EMI shielded 80% high nickel content Permalloy cores in the RIAA eq which I gather is somewhat unusual. It is Class-A FET , DC coupled with no caps in signal path. The only thing to really note is that the umbilical cord from the external power supply to the phono stage must be connected first, before you plug in the AC PS cord or it will become another doorstop to join your iFi. :D



Pete, I would love to try out the Kitsune phonostage. Are you at home today or over the weekend. It occurs to me it has been a while since you have heard my system…not sure if you have heard Charlie’s Nesterovic speakers, but your call, I appreciate the loan to get an idea of what is out there.

I am not wedded to $1K phonostages. At this point, I have to decide whether to go for something that will LAST in my system, or something again stop gap until I try to build someone better than I have done before. There is a lot of appeal (conceptually) to a FET phonostage over tubes, lower noise, consistent sound over time, not spending considerable time tube rolling to find just the right combination of NOS tubes to sound best. BTW, permalloy is pretty typically used for RIAA LCR cores. I actually have a pair of Silk 600ohm LCR networks (permalloy cores) that have a limited voltage capability (100VDC) that make them challenging to use in a tube phonostage direct coupled. A coupling cap for 600ohms input impedance is huge and undesireable, definitely would need a cathode or source follower driving it at a voltage within the limits which limits tube choices. Maybe a FET LCR project would be a good thing to attempt.


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