I’m toying with the idea of adding a Schiitt Freya+ tube preamp in between my DSJ and S300. The thought has crossed my mind to instead get a hybrid tube/ SS integrated amp. Any suggestions under $3K? More under the better
My thought process is Paul has stated many times that tubes (of a certain quality level) improve the sound, and that the BHK line would not be made without them. But thus far, the PS Audio tube incursion has been limited to very high priced amps.
So what is a poor boy to do to bring in tubes at an affordable level?
Balanced tube preamps, save the Freya, seem to start at $4000. How the Freya+ does it for $900, I’m not sure. On the hybrid integrated side, Rogue Audio has the Sphinx V3 (no XLR inputs) for $1600, and the Pharaoh for $3500 (has XLR inputs). There’s Vincent, but I’ve always had weird feelings about them, based on nothing empirical. And I know little about Rogue Audio.
I’m disinclined to go all out tubes. The hybrid route seems best. Too bad the Strata didn’t sneak some tubes in.
Any ideas on how to effectively bring tubes into my DSJ’s world, with or without the S300?
I live on Maui. “Close by” is measured in thousands of miles
Audio Advisor sells Rogue, so I could probably work out a home trial with them. Just not clear what I’d be losing by switching from the S300 to a lower end Rogue? Could be Schitt is a good place to start. I splurged on some AQ Colorado XLR’s last year for the DSJ, and the length needed for the Freya+ will cost another $500, ugh! That brings the Freya+ to like $1500 with shipping to Hawaii. Could sell the S300 for $950 perhaps. That’s $2450 which puts lots of options in play. Just a few of which are tubes. I’m drawn to the idea of tubes even though my only experience is with a quite good Ah! Tjeob CD 4000 and a not so good low end PrimaLuna tube power amp that was destroyed by the S300.
Hawaii? Might check with Wally Underwood. He might have an idea. He drop ships a lot of stuff, but carries a pretty wide project range. I had an Ah! Tjeob CD 4000 too. Bought it from Upscale Audio. It was a nice modified Marantz player. You might consider a tube buffer…I have one of these custom jobs.
LOL… well, you live in paradise, so its comes with the territory. I would NOT call that Rogue product “lower end”, as it seems to have all the right topology and components, but hard to say without auditioning. S300 is entry level from PS Audio and Class D, which I personally never liked the sound of. So, you might actually get a bump in performance.
Having said that, if you’re happy with S300, and just want a Tube pre-amp, probably easiest and best option is Schitt, maybe get a cheaper yet good XLR instead not to spend too much (or find used cable).
Cool looking tube buffer! Yes, Underwood also lives on Maui, the other side of the island. But he runs that business out of his residential home, it’s a business only in the online sense. He doesn’t have a showroom. But he might have some good ideas, thanks for suggesting it.
Prior to purchasing a BHK 250 I used a Rogue Hydra which would be the power amp equivalent of the Sphinx. It is a great sounding amp that runs cool and you can even lift it. I keep it in case the air conditioning fails in the warm season.
I am a fan of Prima Luna, all tube, and they have a headphone amp that is driven by the tubes. Further, the amps (integrated too) can handle many different amp tube types (not just brands) so you can have fun trying out different stuff… changes the sound of the amp. Best deal going as far as I am concerned.
Cool stuff. Are those Bob Latino amps kits than one assembles themselves? Might be over my head. Reminds me of the Yaquin units on Amazon. I tried one of those $200 tube buffers and felt the thing might burst into flames at any moment. Which is what would happen if I had to assemble it
I guess it doesn’t have to be an integrated, could be a hybrid power amp, if those exist. That YouTube necromancer @Paul has me convinced that tubes will improve my sound, though some form of hybrid with SS is best. And that balanced XLR is also best.
Thanks for the personal experience update on the Freya+. I’m attracted to it for sure. But at $1500 with matching Colorado XLR’s I wonder if there might be a more efficient way to utilize tubes by selling the S300 and wade into better amp waters?