- Sep 3, 2002
Read the whole thing, glad to hear that you're enjoying your new system! What finish are your Dirty Weekends?Some background:
Over the last year and a half or so I have been on a journey to replace my 30+ year old vintage 2 channel audio system with new components. My old system consisted of a Hafler 945 preamp, Hafler 9180 amplifier and Advent 2002 loudspeakers. I had been happy with the system for a long time, none of it was overly expensive, more mid-fi in some respects than audiophile grade "Hi-Fi" since it was mass marketed and I could afford it more or less straight out of college (or in college in the case of the Advents.) But... the Advents finally needed new foam surrounds and the crossover was a bit flakey in one of them so rather than spend more than I paid for them to maybe get them working well again I decided to buy new speakers for the first time in more than 30 years.
So, about a year ago I scored a pair of the Zu Omen Dirty Weekend loudspeakers with the Clarity Cap upgrade. I really loved both their classic good looks as well as the sound, though they did point out to me that my amplifier more than likely needed new capacitors among other things!
Thus began phase two of my upgrade, a new preamp and amp. Last week I got in a Schiit Freya S and Schiit Aegir. This will be a summary of my thoughts on the completed system.
System under test:
Roon (core on Windows PC with internal SSD) > Sonos Port > Schiit Bifrost 2 > Schiit Freya S > Schiit Aegir (stereo) > Zu Omen Dirty Weekend (with Clarity Cap upgrade.)
I listened uncritically for the first two days, playing music in the background just to let the system warm up and settle in, not paying too much attention for the most part. Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time listening to a 100 song playlist of songs I know very well and have heard many times on my old system (and in other contexts, including on a decent desktop system, in the car, etc.) All tracks played were ripped from my own personal CDs using Exact Audio Copy into lossless FLAC. If anyone is interested I can provide a list of songs, but they are all rock or rock-adjacent from the 1960's through the 2000's with an emphasis on music from the 1980's.
- This system does not have the base slam that my old system had in its prime. The Advents were well known for being bass forward and the beefy 105 wpc of the Hafler amp really made this aspect shine. While the bass is very solid with this pairing, I would say it is more polite and refined but lacking in raw impact.
- The midrange with this combination is quite lovely. Detailed, expressive and very, very revealing of the quality of the recording.
- Highs were so, so, so much better than my old system. There is really no comparison. I'd describe them as effervescent at times. Crystal clear, precise, but no hint of harshness or those qualities that can lead to listening fatigue.
- This combination excels at reproducing acoustic guitar. Holy cow, it sounds like you are sitting in the room.
- The Freya S in 1x or 5x coupled with a single Aegir in stereo configuration was more than capable of driving the Zu Omen's to more than needed volume levels. My listening room is our living room, about 16 x 20. The speakers are along the shorter wall, with listening position on the couch about 8 feet away. I never set the volume on the Freya S past 1 o'clock in 5x gain mode (80 db or so typical.)
I really like this new combination and I expect it will be enjoyable for many, many years to come. Considering the total cost of all components (preamp, amp and loudspeakers) was under $3000, I think this is a remarkably good sounding system.