Schiit Audio launches the Freya Noval tube pre amp
It has been discussed on many occasions, but like traffic in Los Angeles – the world’s supply of tube has the capability to ebb and flow… (and/or stop completely). Even though there has been a few market freakouts, the supply and resulting cost per tube has realistically only gone up a small margin, for now. West coast and Texas amp maker Schiit Audio isn’t waiting to see what happens next. Based on the success of their popular tube pre amp Freya +, the budget audiophile favorite is making moves to ensure that their future supplies of Freyas don’t run out.
From designer Jason Stoddard’s morning email:
The scarcity (and prices) of tubes has a lot of people worried about the future. So, we thought we’d take a couple of steps to help with this uncertainty:
We’re re-introducing LISST, our Linear, Integrated Solid-State Tube, a MOSFET-based replacement for the 6SN7s used in our popular Freya+ preamp. This gives Freya+ purchasers a tube-like (tube-esque) option that won’t wear out like tubes.
We’re introducing Freya Noval, a version of Freya+ optimized for noval tubes. It ships with 6N1P tubes, which we have deep stock of–and also gives owners the ability to roll many different tube types, including 6922, ECC88, 6CG7, 6BZ7, 6DJ8, and even mix and match tubes like 6922 and 6N6P.
Now, we have actually had the pleasure of attending an event where these three iterations were all compared in a blind listening test, so if you want to know what the sound differences are click through to the coverage here: Schiit Freya Tube Shootout
More from the press release:
CURING TUBE NERVOSA
Freya+ with LISST and Freya Noval Now Available\
July 19, 2022, Valencia, CA. Today, Schiit Audio expanded the Freya preamplifier family with introduction of LISST, a solid-state tube replacement, for the popular Freya+ tube preamplifier, and Freya Noval, a version of the Freya+ that uses noval, rather than octal, tubes. Freya Noval offers exactly the same capabilities and features as Freya+, including its passive and buffer modes. Freya+ with LISST is available at schiit.com for $1049, and Freya N is available at schiit.com for $899 including tubes.
“LISST is a set of solid-state tube replacements that end your tube nervosa forever,” said Jason Stoddard, Schiit’s co-founder and head of analog development. “Get Freya+ with LISST, and you never need to worry about tubes. Use tubes if you want, but with LISST, you always have a great-sounding backup.”
LISST are depletion-MOSFET-based solid-state tube replacements, in an octal base with an anodized aluminum top. Unlike tubes, they have a practically unlimited lifespan. Since they are used as direct tube replacements, the basic topology of the preamp is unchanged, and the sound is similar. In listening tests, many actually preferred LISST to new-production tubes.
Stoddard continued: “You can now also choose Freya Noval and get a much wider variety of tube rolling options. It ships with 6N1P, but you can use 6922, ECC88, 6DJ8, 6BZ7, heck, even 6CG7 type tubes if you want. Lots of readily available options for Freya Noval!”
Noval tubes have 9 pins, and are smaller in diameter than octal tubes, which have 8 pins. Noval tubes are used in many products, including Schiit’s own Valhalla 2 and Vali 2+.
“We decided to do a Freya with noval tubes for a simple reason,” said Jason. “We have a large stock of noval tubes, specifically 6N1Ps. Whereas with octal tubes, like the 6SN7s we use in Freya+, we’ve been running into issues getting enough of them. Also, many of our customers have large stocks of octal tubes, including rare 6922, 6DJ8, and ECC88 models. So this is a preamp that uses the tubes we have, and many customers can use. It also costs a bit less.”
Stoddard pointed out that the Freya Noval isn’t just a Freya+ with different tube sockets. It has different operating points, and a different gain structure, to accommodate the needs of 6922, 6N1P, and other popular noval tubes. Like Freya+, it can accommodate 4 tubes of up to 600mA heater current each, or a mix of tubes that total no more than 2.4A of heater current. This provides flexibility for using, say, 6922 tubes in the voltage gain stage and 6N6P tubes in the output current gain stage.
In addition to Freya N, Freya+ continues in the line, as does the all-solid-state Freya S.
Like all Schiit products, Freya N is made in the USA—specifically, designed and and built in California. The vast majority of the total cost of the product, including chassis and PC boards, go to US-based companies manufacturing in the USA.
Freya N is available now at schiit.com with a full complement of 6N1P tubes at $899.
For more perspective on the current state of tube supply, The Occasional Podcast covered off on a few perspectives earlier this season. Available to listen direct from the embed below or iTunes and various podcast hosting platforms.
More info: Schiit Audio Freya Noval