Freya

Balanced Passive/Active Remote Preamp

Voltage (?)
Plug Type (?)

$699

Description

Specs

FAQ

Downloads

STATUS: In Stock . Orders place now ship in 1-3 business days.

Now this is a no-excuses balanced, remote-control preamp! Switch between passive, active JFET buffer, and 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—for many times less than you’d expect to pay.
 
It’s Your Choice: Passive, JFET Buffer, or Tube Gain
Go ahead. Run Freya in passive mode for a convenient remote-controlled passive preamp that’s ideal for many systems. If you need to drive long cables, you can simply select the JFET buffer stage, or choose the tube gain stage—a serious gain stage running on 300V rails. 
 
128-Step Relay Attenuator
Most preamps—passive or active—use a potentiometer for volume control. Freya uses a sophisticated microprocessor-controlled relay-stepped attenuator for perfect channel matching and zero distortion—and with 128 steps for ultra-precise level control. You can hear it clicking as you turn the volume up and down.
 
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 includes 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.
 
Made in USA. Really.
By “made in USA,” we mean made in USA. The vast majority of the total production cost of Freya—chassis, boards, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. 
 
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.

JFET Buffer
Gain: 1
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.2db, 3Hz-500KHz, -3dB
THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 2V RMS 
IMD: <0.0015%, CCIR 
SNR: >110db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS 
Output Impedance: 75 ohms SE, 600 ohms balanced
Topology: Single pair JFET per phase with passive distortion cancellation, DC coupled 

Tube Gain
Gain: 5 (14dB)
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.2db, 3Hz-200KHz, -3dB 
THD: <0.01%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 2V RMS 
IMD: <0.01%, CCIR 
SNR: >95db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS 
Output Impedance: 210 ohms 
Topology: differential input/output, pure triode, with low impedance followers
 
Crosstalk: >75dB, 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 +/-20C rails, plus 6.3VAC 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
 
*All measurements made on a Stanford Research SR1+ Audio Analyzer

Wait. A preamp? You’re doing preamps now?
So I guess you skipped the Saga page. That’s cool. A lot of times we like to start at the top. And yes, Freya is the top of our preamp line. That is, if you can call a group of two products a “line.” But that’s semantics. Let’s talk Freya.

Well, hell, this thing is tubes, and I don’t want tubes!
That’s cool. Go ahead and use the passive mode or the JFET buffer mode instead. No scary tubes there!
 
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. 
 
And I can use a JFET buffer? Tell me about that.
The JFET buffers we use are pretty cool—just a pair of JFETs per phase, with some supporting circuitry wrapped around them to make them work. They measure so insanely well that it’s hard to tell if the Freya is running passive or running through the buffer (technically, only the tiniest difference in noise floor gives it away.) They’re the latest iteration of our super-transparent JFET buffer that first showed up in Yggdrasil. 
 
And I can use a full differential tube gain stage? Tell me about that, too.
Now, we’re going back to classic designs—designs using the 6SN7 (or equivalent Russian 6H8C) triode, arguably one of the best tubes of all time. It measures extremely linearly, and offers performance that eclipses smaller noval (nine-pin) tubes. This design couples a tube differential input with a low-impedance tube output stage, for 100% triode performance. 
 
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, Freya’s little sister.
 
So where are your power amps to match this preamp?
Patience is a virtue. 
 
But I need a power amp now!
We’re unaware of the current alien plot to secure, contain, and eliminate all audio power amplifiers on the planet, so we believe there are any number of good amps out there for you to choose from. 
 
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.