Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up
Jul 19, 2022 at 9:11 PM Post #96,511 of 109,898

szore

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Posts
4,532
Likes
5,668
Location
NYC
2022, Chapter 8:
Curing Tube Nervosa, Part 1


Feeling a bit, ah, apprehensive about the future of tubes?

Hesitant about jumping in and giving them a try?

Wondering if you should give it all up and go solid-state?

Well, I know how you feel. A while back, I posted a chapter entitled “The End of Tube World As We Know It?” This was in response to our ongoing issues with getting enough tubes for our own production, combined with the topical subject of Russian tubes becoming unobtanium.

Since then, Russian tubes have kinda-sorta become available-ish, as long as you’re willing to pay 2-3x the historic price for them. JJs kinda-sorta go in and out of availability. Chinese tubes are either (a) very expensive, (b) kinda-sorta available, or (c) come from sketchy sources. NOS tube prices have skyrocketed, and some NOS tubes are either becoming unavailable or even more expensive.

So, even though it’s not the End of Tube World, there’s a ton of uncertainty.

And uncertainty ain’t great.

For some people, it means “buy all the tubes you can, Mad Max is just around the corner! Be ready for the coming tube-less dystopia!”

For others, it means “let’s avoid all the tubes, even though I’ve really wanted to see what they’re all about.”

And yes, I know the irony of us introducing a 10-tube OTL/OCL headphone amp in the midst of all of this madness. But to be fair, that had been in process for a long time—literally since before COVID—and we have a bunch of 6N1P/6N6P tubes in stock.

But the uncertainty also meant we decided to make Folkvangr a limited run product. That wasn’t the original intent. Now, for better or worse, we’re sitting back, crossing our arms, and saying, “hmm, let’s make sure that we can make Valhallas for a while, since they use a lot less tubes.”

So the uncertainty has hit even us.

But...

I did mention that tube supply has been limited for a while, at least in terms of the 6SN7s we use in Freya+.

And that supply uncertainty has been stressing us out for a long time.

And we’re not the kind of company to sit around and do nothing about a situation like that.

But instead of just stressing about supply, and empathizing with your uncertainty, we're doing something about it. So here you go. The doctor is in. (Metaphorically speaking, of course, we're not MDs.) Let's get started on curing this tube nervosa.

As of today, we’ve expanded the Freya+ line options to ensure you have more options for more and different kinds of tubes, or at least have access to a reasonable facsimile of tubes—facsimiles that will happily run for (virtually) ever.

Here’s what we got:

The introduction of Freya Noval. Don’t want to deal with scarce 6SN7s? Want a wider range of tubes to roll in Freya? Have a ton of 6922 and similar tubes? Then Freya N is for you. It’s a Freya...that uses noval tubes. Simple as that. Oh, and it even costs a bit less than Freya+!

freya-noval-front-1920.jpg

The Return of LISST. Want a tube-like device that will always work? Then Freya+ with LISST, our Linear, Integrated, Solid-State Tube is for you. We made LISST a few years ago. Lately, people have discovered how good they sound. And, unlike tubes, they don’t wear out. Get a Freya+ with LISST and you’ll always have something for Freya+’s tube sockets. Want to get LISST for your Freya, Freya+, Saga, Saga+, or Lyr 3? Hold on...we're ramping up production. They'll be available separately in a couple of weeks.

freyaplus-LISST-front-1920.jpg

Is Gerbil-Like Proliferation Our Future?

Now, with the introduction of yet another Freya variant, and the return of LISST, some of you are undoubtedly saying, “Holy moly, are you guys just gonna keep adding products until we all go insane?”

In short, no. The intent is not to have 467 variations on Freya in the future.

But the current world is the current world, it is uncertain, and we felt that we should give you the maximum number of options to enjoy tubes, and to feel comfortable with tubes, that we possibly could.

This meant changing the operational points of Freya+ and making a Freya Noval that we could offer you, together with the 20,000 or so 6N1Ps we have. Bottom line, we can make lots of Freya Novals. And it offers more tube rolling options for you, if you want to go that way.

This also meant bringing back LISST. Easy decision. Well, except for finding someone who wanted to build them, because the main factor in cancelling LISST is that they were a pain in the rear end to make, and nobody wanted to do it. So we did some redesign to make them easier to deal with (you’ll note the phenolic base, unlike the old LISST), and more attractive (the domed design, rather than the square-shouldered originals.)

Those two changes, we figured, would give everyone enough options to kill that tube uncertainty.

“Well, together with Freya S, maybe,” someone says. “There’s no uncertainty there.”

Which is very true. Heck, I use a Freya S. It’s a great (and maybe a bit overlooked) preamp. So I’ll include it in the following breakdown of preamp options.



Options, Not Uncertainty

So, with these changes, you now have a ton of options for balanced tube or non-tube preamps from us. Here’s a discussion of each.

Freya+. Our current top-of-the-line balanced, differential tube preamp, that also has differential buffer and passive modes for you to choose from. If you go this way, you’re gonna be using 6SN7 tubes, because that’s what it’s designed for. New production 6SN7s are gettable, but pricey. Russian NOS alternates, like 6N8S, are frequently microphonic, so beware. How microphonic? Like picking up the clicking of the relay volume ladder microphonic. Best to stick with premium new production tubes in this one. But now you also have LISST. Add a set of LISST and you’ll have a tube-like device that ensures your Freya+ will run pretty much indefinitely. LISST measure like a tube (similar harmonic profile, lower overall distortion) and many have chosen them in blind listening above new production tubes(!). Freya+ with LISST means you can try real tubes if you have them, or can get them, but you always have a backup.

Pros:
  • The one to get if you have good 6SN7 tubes
  • Ability to use LISST and end your tube nervosa
  • The comfort of a Stereophile review
Freya Noval. This is our other top-of-the-line tube preamp. I say “other,” because it’s exactly the same as Freya+, with the exception of some operational point changes, and the addition of two small resistors to the gain-setting structure. That’s it. Everything else—differential buffer mode, passive mode, volume ladder, etc…all the same. The difference is that this one ships with 6N1P tubes, which we have a zillion of, so you can be assured of supply. The other difference is that you can use a whole lot of different tube combos in this product—6DJ8, 6922, 7308, 6BZ7, ECC88, 6CG7, heck, you can even use 6N6P in two of the slots, combined with two lower-heater-current tubes, because as long as you’re under 2.4A total, you’re fine. (And if all of this crazy heater-current talk makes you nuts, just stick with the 6N1Ps, or try a quad of 6CG7s, or try some premium 6922s as input tubes only.)

Pros:
  • The one to get if you have compatible noval tubes or want to go nuts rolling
  • Ability to roll a bunch of different tubes—tons of combos!
  • Saves some money
Freya S. Done with tubes? Freya S is our other-other top of the line preamp, with Nexus topology, 2 gains, passive mode and relay stepped attenuator, just like Freya+ and Freya Noval. Get this and don’t worry about tubes. Ever. And save a ton of money.

Pros:
  • The one to get if you’re done with tube worries and rolling nervosa
  • Has a great-sounding Nexus™ gain stage
  • Saves a ton of money
So. Yeah. Options are good. Options for tubes of two different types, options for solid-state-like tube replacements, options to say “the hell with tubes” and call it a day. Options are good, and I hope you enjoy at least one of them.

And for the sharp-eyed readers who noticed the “Part 1,” stay tuned.

And not for long…
Considering the tube crises, it may be a buyers market coming up for tube amps...
 
Jul 19, 2022 at 9:12 PM Post #96,512 of 109,898

US Blues

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 1, 2015
Posts
1,482
Likes
4,802
Location
Holy Faith.
Precisely.

Which is why I went with this:

66526387999__001DD505-9E71-4D15-9A09-84AEDBBA6AB1.fullsizerender.jpeg
Trouble ahead, audiophiles in red...

1luV9z.jpg
 
Jul 19, 2022 at 9:32 PM Post #96,513 of 109,898

1Audiophool

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 29, 2021
Posts
108
Likes
337
Location
Oregon
I'm seriously torn on the "some stuff will remain black-only" thing. I obviously completely understand the reasoning behind it, and I'd be the last person to actually, seriously complain.

But…

I wish I could honestly say that I would still buy a product if it only ever came in black. I am, truth be told, still holding out on the purchase of two Loki Max, however, because it only comes in black. Until that changes, and I'm tempted to say that it never will, my two silver Lokius will suffice.

The looks of an (audio) product is nearly as important to me as its (sonic) performance. They are somewhat central pieces of my office and living room furnishings, after all. All of my furniture is dark brown or black, so I really enjoy how the silver-gray stands out against it. It just looks nice and timeless. In contrast—pun intended—black just disappears. The only thing worse than all-black gear, to me, would be a black and silver mix.
(Black gear also lacks personality. And purely practically speaking, compared to silver, it's a regular finger print and dust magnet. But all that is subjective and not part of what I'm trying to convey with this post.)

Yes, I know how entitled and shallow this makes me sound. That's why I feel like I should press again that I would never (!!!) actually, seriously complain about the fact that some gear will ever only be available in black. I fully accept this as a necessity resulting from the current state of things. Especially because we all know that Jason prefers silver himself.

The good thing (seriously, NO! irony or sarcasm intended) is that most people won't really care, they'll just buy whichever finish they can get and will be fully and entirely happy with how fantastic this gear performs.

But most people aren't autistic, and I know from personal experience just how freaking difficult it can be for a small-ish subset of the population to deal with something like this. A neurotypical person will just look at their "mixed" rack, shrug it off, and never think about it again. A person with autism (or OCD, for that matter), however, will be bothered by the way it looks for the entire time of ownership. If you can't relate to this, if you think that I'm exaggerating, that this would be utterly ridiculous, or that I'd be a little first-world princess who really needs to grow up, then all the better for you. I won't even attempt to argue against that, and I think that you should consider yourself very, very lucky that you don't have to deal with something as "dumb" as this.
But for some people, this is an actual and very real problem.

Obviously, autism or OCD doesn’t entitle anyone to a silver piece of Schiit. But it does explain why some feel so strongly about it. Myself included. That’s all I’m trying to say with this. 🙂

All right, that's it from me on the topic for the foreseeable future. Just wanted to throw in my two cents and offer a somewhat different perspective on the whole "sitch". 😇

I swear, that whole black/silver debate will be the reason Jason stops talking to us one day.😬
Even I am quite annoyed by it at this point, and I'm squarely on the pro silver side! 🤣
I appreciate this post as confirmation that I’m not crazy…or at least not alone in my crazy!🤪
As you said, I have no arguments with Jason’s decisions, reasons, product limitations or what have you…totally get it and appreciate when my preferred color way is doable.

The fact is though, I won’t even consider a component if it doesn’t come in (in my case) black. Though wood is also acceptable to my brain for whatever reason.

Just wanted to acknowledge that I get what you’re saying…though your preference for silver components is clearly wrong 😜 (jk, of course)….come to the darkside
 
Jul 19, 2022 at 9:38 PM Post #96,514 of 109,898

classfolkphile

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Posts
215
Likes
357
Help!

Has anyone compared a Yggdrasil (LIM?) to a Lampizator DAC? I have an Amber II that I love: except for the fact that its USB input is, shall we say, less than optimal and requires a USB-SPDIF converter to sound its best. I really want to simply my setup by getting rid of the converter but of course I want the same level of sound quality. At its best the Amber II has large, dense images in a large soundstage with a wonderfully rich and accurate tonality, and an analog like "continuousness". I cannot afford a new Lampizator and I'm leery of picking up a used one with service requiring a trip to Poland, particularly these days.

I own and enjoy several Schiit pieces in various secondary systems: a Modi 3, a Modi Multibit, a Bifrost Multibit with Unison USB, and an Asgard 3 (probably to be replaced by a Lyr 3). I've tried the Bifrost Multibit in my main system and although it proved the worth of the Unison USB interface (sounding better direct than through the Singxer SU-1), it was very small scaled and dry sounding compared to the Amber II. So how much of an improvement is the Yggdrasil? And in what ways? Again a comparison to a Lampi would be most appreciated.

PS: yes I know I can order one and return it if it doesn't work out but I'd prefer to have a fairly good idea it will likely satisfy before doing so. TIA
 
Last edited:
Jul 19, 2022 at 9:41 PM Post #96,515 of 109,898

bcowen

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Posts
12,958
Likes
40,788
Location
North Carolina
Considering the tube crises, it may be a buyers market coming up for tube amps...
Perhaps. But just as there are lots of substitutes for the 6922 as @Jason Stoddard noted, there are lots for the 6SN7 too. The 6CG7 is electrically equivalent to a 6SN7 but in a noval package. The 7N7 is the same in a loctal-base package. 6J5's are single triodes so two are needed, but otherwise they're exactly half a 6SN7. 7A4's are the loctal counterpart to the 6J5. Adapters needed to use these in an amp socketed for 6SN7's, but they have the same operating parameters and some flavors are still pretty cheap and plentiful as far as NOS tubes go. Obviously not a practical strategy for a manufacturer to adopt, but lots of options out there for tube heads.
 
Last edited:
Jul 19, 2022 at 10:03 PM Post #96,516 of 109,898

chronoso

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Posts
218
Likes
827
Location
MA
Nope. It keeps it from being a monolithic black slab. And, with the new matte finish knobs and buttons, I think it looks really good.
For whatever it's worth, I was assuming the FV would come with a shiny turned/chrome knob a la Asgard, but I really like the matte finish you went with. Really matches the semi-matte/satin finish of the brushed silver case. Well done!

Precisely.

Which is why I went with this:

66526387999__001DD505-9E71-4D15-9A09-84AEDBBA6AB1.fullsizerender.jpeg

It's rare that my wife and I are in complete alignment on anything color-wise, but we both think that Mazda's Soul Red Metallic is the best red on the market. I'd be hard pressed to get any other color if I was getting a new car from them. Somehow I've slowly progressed from an entirely red stable to BRG.

Lisa and I both hate colorful cars (LOL, riiiight).

IMG_2130.jpegIMG_2075.jpeg

So yeah, I get it.

I also like silver (on our products).

But we also need to make something that's reliably producible. Something even Apple is learning with the new Midnight-colored Airs: https://9to5mac.com/2022/07/19/midnight-macbook-air-easily-scratches/ -- full disclaimer, the same thing happened on my black Surface Pro.

As a 90s youth, I appreciate all the teal :wink:

As someone who work with anodized aluminum all day, yeah....dark anodize in a high-wear area was always going to get shiny fast. I look forward to alodine repairs for corrosion concerns at the genius bar. And now I'm considering a type III hardcoat anodized laptop. What a fingerprint magnet that would be.

Love the blue corvette @Jason Stoddard :heart_eyes:
Here is my blue car:
1658276937708.png
Not bad, nice and vibrant, but Audi will never beat Nogaro blue to my eyes. Though their Sonoma green is pretty excellent too. Wow, I really have gone full deep end on the green cars.
 
Jul 19, 2022 at 10:20 PM Post #96,517 of 109,898

dstrimbu

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Posts
351
Likes
2,403
Space would not be a problem for a FOLKVANGR on my recently constructed rack, if I move things around a little bit. It would look really great on the top shelf.

My real problem is getting it into France ... shipping, import duty, import handling fees and VAT.

IMG_0401.jpeg
ohhhh I see some of my favorite words there... "Saint-Emilion Grand Cru"!
 
Jul 19, 2022 at 10:45 PM Post #96,519 of 109,898

inmytaxi

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Posts
1,527
Likes
2,378
Location
Sunshine, America
Thanks!
Audi call this color "Turbo Blue". Gotta love marketing names... :laughing:
Porsche calls it Miami blue or Florida blue.
Considering the tube crises, it may be a buyers market coming up for tube amps...
There is no tube crisis. Prices are fine. Some are charging more, but mostly people are just hoarding.
Perhaps.... some flavors are still pretty cheap and plentiful as far as NOS tubes go. Obviously not a practical strategy for a manufacturer to adopt, but lots of options out there for tube heads.
Looks to me that the 'increase' in prices has capitalistically brought out hidden supply and prices are back down.

6n1p tubes and 6n6p tubes are so cheap I could buy a lifetime supply ... unless I want 8 from every year, factory, etc.
 
Jul 19, 2022 at 11:07 PM Post #96,520 of 109,898

Plautus001

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 27, 2019
Posts
1,233
Likes
5,683
Location
Vancouver, BC
For whatever it's worth, I was assuming the FV would come with a shiny turned/chrome knob a la Asgard, but I really like the matte finish you went with. Really matches the semi-matte/satin finish of the brushed silver case. Well done!



It's rare that my wife and I are in complete alignment on anything color-wise, but we both think that Mazda's Soul Red Metallic is the best red on the market. I'd be hard pressed to get any other color if I was getting a new car from them. Somehow I've slowly progressed from an entirely red stable to BRG.



As a 90s youth, I appreciate all the teal :wink:

As someone who work with anodized aluminum all day, yeah....dark anodize in a high-wear area was always going to get shiny fast. I look forward to alodine repairs for corrosion concerns at the genius bar. And now I'm considering a type III hardcoat anodized laptop. What a fingerprint magnet that would be.


Not bad, nice and vibrant, but Audi will never beat Nogaro blue to my eyes. Though their Sonoma green is pretty excellent too. Wow, I really have gone full deep end on the green cars.
+1 BRG
 
Jul 19, 2022 at 11:20 PM Post #96,521 of 109,898

tin-ear

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Posts
229
Likes
919
Location
South Pasadena, CA
Parking lots in my 'hood are filled with mostly grey-scale cars. My red Wrangler is pretty easy to spot in most lots. :L3000:
Yeah.... I have a Hyundai grey car. I really need to get a Union 76 Antenna ball.

..okay whippersnappers [old guy speak for younger people] Explanation: In the early 1960's a brand of gasoline in the USA, became known as Union 76. The stations sign was a an orange ball, 7 or 12 feet in diameter, don't ask me, with "76" painted on it.
Then, a marketing genius invented the antenna ball. It was an orange ball with 76 painted on it, about 2" is diameter. You stuck it on the end of your radio antenna, and it made it easy to find your car in a parking lot or row of cars parked on the street. In a week everyone knew what they were! Union Gas Stations got name recognition.
Oh, in those days antenna stuck up in the air several feet above the top of the vehicle.
It was the bees-knees. [1920's flapper speak for.. groovey. Far out. ..]

One of these...
 
Last edited:
Jul 19, 2022 at 11:40 PM Post #96,522 of 109,898

rkw

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 7, 2001
Posts
2,842
Likes
4,097
Location
San Francisco
Indeed car colors are so bland and boring these days.
"these days"? People have been saying it for decades. Cars in the US are mostly sold off dealer lots. Dealers stock up on generic colors that sell steadily, and manufacturers drop slower selling colors. It's a feedback loop.
 
Jul 20, 2022 at 12:05 AM Post #96,523 of 109,898

dstrimbu

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Posts
351
Likes
2,403
Jul 20, 2022 at 12:46 AM Post #96,524 of 109,898

ThatCameraGuy

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 16, 2022
Posts
2
Likes
53
Location
California
Long-time lurker turned member that has been lurking on this journey since the Jotunheim was announced, oh I don't know maybe 2k+ pages ago?! Started my Schiit journey with a Modi Multibit and a Jotunheim, and have since collected a LYR, Valhalla, Bifrost 2, and Freya+. All the Folkvangr shots inspired me to share a classic shot of my Valhalla to introduce myself.

8I0_6592-2.jpg
 
Jul 20, 2022 at 12:47 AM Post #96,525 of 109,898

dstrimbu

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Posts
351
Likes
2,403
Yeah, I keep putting Tyr in my cart and then the urge to not go into debt takes over and I close the tab. *sigh*
Best audio money I ever spent. No exaggeration!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top