A Saga for you Sch!!t-heads

Since I know there's a Saga or two floatin' around here (and I continue to be curious about this dainty and relatively inexpensive little box)...
Strictly FYI & FWIW, a fellow at "Hifihaven" just got a Saga to play with.

http://www.hifihaven.org/index.php?threads/schiit-saga.3411/

4183m8e6yili.png
"It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

"Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

"Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
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Comments

  • woofiepawswoofiepaws Posts: 209
    Loving my Freya....
    MacBook Pro running Roon-Monoprice USB-Schiit Gungir Multibit-Audioquest Earth-Schiit Freya with Tung Sol 6SN7s-Audioquest Sky-Krell FPB 400cx-Audioquest Mont Blanc-1.2tls with all the mods.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    Nice, thanks for the heads up, enjoyed reading about his initial impressions.

    Anxious to get mine back in the mix!
    Got Dayens?
  • I've been enjoying my Schiit Saga for more than a year now. The stock Russian tube was decent, but swapping in a nice old Sylvania 6SN7GTA did improve the soundstage.
    A day without music is like a day without food.
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 4,054
    Poor Quicksilver someone actually did turn it up and ripped the knobs off like they would say on the radio!
    Lumin D1, KEF LS50 Wireless, Cayin scd-50T, LH Labs VI Dac, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9, HP I7 Laptop, Wireworld Eclipse 7, Wireworld Aurora, Wireworld Electra 7, Signal Magic Digital, Cardas Quadralink 5C, Velodyne SPL1200
    USB helpers: w4s Recovery

    HT: Elite SC27, Full Polk RTI setup.

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,646
    I think the poster in the Hifihaven thread used the husk of a Quicksilver something-or-other to house a DIY phono preamp.
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    In the Hifihaven thread, the Saga is described as a "passive pre with a tube buffer".

    Am I correct in assuming they are implying that it has a subtle and less "tubey influence" than the way that tubes are implemented in other types of preamp designs? The Freya for example, with one 6sn7 per channel on both the input gain and output stages?
    Got Dayens?
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 17,572
    Just gotta say... the name Schiit must be driving the Ken twins nuts.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with PS Audio NuWave Phono converter, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Stradivari v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X1 two channel preamplifier Signed by Poppa himself, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Krell Evolution 525a CD Player, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Oppo UDP-205 Blu-ray , Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,646
    edited February 26
    Clipdat wrote: »
    In the Hifihaven thread, the Saga is described as a "passive pre with a tube buffer".

    Am I correct in assuming they are implying that it has a subtle and less "tubey influence" than the way that tubes are implemented in other types of preamp designs? The Freya for example, with one 6sn7 per channel on both the input gain and output stages?

    I hope it wasn't me who said that there -- because I don't know if that is indeed the case! :p (i.e., I reckon that's the case, but I don't know)

    so, if it is a passive attenuator and source switch with a buffer, then...

    Yes, in principle, a tube buffer (e.g., a cathode follower) will have zero audible impact on sound -- except -- in that it will (should) improve performance if there is an impedance mismatch between source and load. The buffer will (should) also improve the source's ability to drive the load, especially if the cables between source and load are long. IN either of those latter cases (impedance matching or drive enhancement), of course, there should be (could be) audible improvement.

    It is certainly possible to deliberately color sound with a 'buffer', if the buffer is deliberately tuned to do so. It's my "belief" (suspicion) that is the case with many of those cheap, 1 or 2 tube Chinese-sourced "tube buffers" that some folks like to stick between digital sources and analog amplifiers. I'll defer further editorial comment ;)

    It would be really interesting to know the operating points of the 6SN7 in the Saga (particularly the plate voltage) -- my guess is that the Schiit boys behaved themselves, implemented a "proper" buffer and reap the benefits thereof.

    I am not curious enough to buy one just to measure the voltages and find out myself, though! :) I might still buy one to use it, though... no plans yet (for now, I'm happy to live vicariously & speculate liberally).

    :)
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    edited February 26
    Mr. H dropping knowledge bombs, per usual! Thank you for the informative post.

    I don't think they divulge what the plate voltage is, but they do mention "regulated +/-100V rails, plus 6.3VAC heaters", "Hybrid push-pull tube-BJT buffer stage with equalized transconductance", and "hybrid tube buffer—a serious buffer running on 200V rails with vanishingly low distortion."

    If I ever come across a second preamp, I will send you the Saga to play with for a few months.
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    It would be really interesting to know the operating points of the 6SN7 in the Saga (particularly the plate voltage) -- my guess is that the Schiit boys behaved themselves, implemented a "proper" buffer and reap the benefits thereof.

    I am not curious enough to buy one just to measure the voltages and find out myself, though! :) I might still buy one to use it, though... no plans yet (for now, I'm happy to live vicariously & speculate liberally).

    :)

    Got Dayens?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,646
    edited February 26
    too many kind folks here have sent too much too nice equipment into the black hole
    that is my hifi lair -- just ask, e.g., @mrbiron ;)

    The "real voltages" they mention is their way of saying that the tube is really doin' something in the circuit -- which is good. I must've read their ad copy at some point (but forgot)! :p

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mrbironmrbiron Posts: 4,716
    Coming up on the 3year anniversary....lmao!!! :D
    Zu Audio Omen MK-1B's, Peachtree Decco65, Bryston BDA-2, Cheap TT, PS Audio UPC200, PS Audio AC3's, Zu Mission SC's, HTPC, One, Bottlehead Reduction & Crack w/Speedball
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 15,608
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    too many kind folks here have sent too much too nice equipment into the black hole that is my hifi lair -- just ask, e.g., @mrbiron ;)

    Dual purpose... keeps him out of trouble with the wife, while allowing him to still "own" the gear lol.....

    Its like a mini Russ scenario.... gear stashed all over in case of a disaster in his area, he just calls in the backup gear lol..
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,646
    edited February 26
    Yeah, but Russ pays for his.

    I feel like Blanche DuBois sometimes :/
    (sort of, I mean -- you know? That "kindness of strangers" thing)

    @mrbiron, you know you oughta make the trek up sometime and you could actually see and hear your Reduction and it could then go home again. Think of how much better we'd all feel!

    :)

    Or, I could just pack it up & mail it back -- with an extra set of tubes for it as a meager kind of demurrage.

    Oh, and there's this Amp Camp Amp residing/visiting here, too... :p


    Finally...

    Speaking of Russ -- he has an amp here, too -- and he needs to wander by sometime -- too.

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • halohalo Posts: 4,016
    edited February 27
    @mhardy6647 , I do believe you are holding onto quite the vinyl collection for me. Whenever you grow tired of it, please feel free to send it my way. Of course, I'm happy to take a few rekkids off your hands at a time to make it easier to accomplish :wink:
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,646
    Tell you what -- c'mon up this summer and help me go through some of them.

    :)
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • RE: what does the Saga do?

    It has 5 inputs and 2 outputs. It is a relay switched attenuator. It has a remote control. It has two modes of operation: 1) passive; 2) tube buffer which may be necessary if you have a low input impedance amp or if you need to drive long ICs.

    The tube buffer does not significantly color the sound (to my ears), but I think I hear a slight improvement in sound stage (when using the old Sylvania tube, but not with the stock Russian tube).
    A day without music is like a day without food.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    Any comments on its sound quality or sound signature versus other preamps that you've used in the past?
    RE: what does the Saga do?

    It has 5 inputs and 2 outputs. It is a relay switched attenuator. It has a remote control. It has two modes of operation: 1) passive; 2) tube buffer which may be necessary if you have a low input impedance amp or if you need to drive long ICs.

    The tube buffer does not significantly color the sound (to my ears), but I think I hear a slight improvement in sound stage (when using the old Sylvania tube, but not with the stock Russian tube).

    Got Dayens?
  • Clipdat,

    To my ears, the sound quality of the Saga is excellent: transparent and uncolored. The tube buffer mode does NOT make for a 'tubey' sound, if that is what you are looking for, at least not as far as I can tell. As always: YMMV. We all hear things differently.

    One advantage of the resistor style attenuator is that even at low volume, there are no channel level problems which sometimes occur with variable potentiometers.

    I did not feel the need of moving up to the Freya, as I have no use for balanced connections, nor do I need the gain stage mode.



    A day without music is like a day without food.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    Thanks Jim for your feedback. I've only used my Saga in passive mode, haven't installed a tube yet! That'll be coming soon.

    I really like how the relay stepped attenuator was balanced at lower volumes, as I've had issues with traditional volume pots being imbalanced before. Also it's interesting that even when the volume knob is turned all the way down, music still is heard.

    I've only put 10 hours or less on mine, but I would echo what you are describing regarding it's sound signature, it seems to not impart any sonic signature or colorization onto the sound. To my ears, it sounds neutral.
    Clipdat,

    To my ears, the sound quality of the Saga is excellent: transparent and uncolored. The tube buffer mode does NOT make for a 'tubey' sound, if that is what you are looking for, at least not as far as I can tell. As always: YMMV. We all hear things differently.

    One advantage of the resistor style attenuator is that even at low volume, there are no channel level problems which sometimes occur with variable potentiometers.

    I did not feel the need of moving up to the Freya, as I have no use for balanced connections, nor do I need the gain stage mode.

    Got Dayens?
  • CoolJazzCoolJazz Posts: 501
    I found that a tube change in the Freya was not just good but really necessary. The stock Ruskie's were quickly exceeded with others...

    On the Freya, you have 3 different modes you can run in. Running balanced anyway, the levels differ enough to make comparisons require significant level adjustment. So mode changes, while interesting, wind up being a bit painful when in a play around mode.

    Haven't actually played with the Freya much, as it wasn't able to unseat an Atma Sphere pre and had pulled it for going to a group get together. Need to get it back in rotation again.

    CJ
    A so called science type proudly says... "I do realize that I would fool myself all the time, about listening conclusions and many other observations, if I did listen before buying. That’s why I don’t, I bought all of my current gear based on technical parameters alone, such as specs and measurements."
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    I've heard the same regarding the Freya, that the stock tubes are pretty much garbage and should be discarded sooner rather than later.

    What tubes did you go with to replace them?
    CoolJazz wrote: »
    I found that a tube change in the Freya was not just good but really necessary. The stock Ruskie's were quickly exceeded with others...

    Got Dayens?
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    I tried out this tube in the Saga yesterday: https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collections/preamp-tubes/products/early-russian-6h8c-6sn7?variant=21829016965

    I flipped back and forth between passive and tube mode and I could not hear any discernible difference between the modes.

    Perhaps it's because the tube is not yet broken in? Not sure.
    Got Dayens?
  • Jim ShearerJim Shearer Posts: 350
    Clipdat,

    THe 6H8C that came w/ my Saga was supposed to be a NOS Russian tube, so what you list may not be significantly different. The stock tube sounded fine to me, but as you say, there wasn't any significant difference between passive & buffered mode when feeding into my ST-35. The ACAs, however, did better in buffer mode due to impedance input of the ACA. Changing to the Sylvania 6SN7-GTA did result in a small improvement in sound stage--or at least I THINK it did; can't rule out placebo effect. I think the effects of tube rolling in a buffer are much less than you would see than in the Freya where the tubes are used for active amplification.
    A day without music is like a day without food.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    Nailed it. I think this is spot on. Even in the YouTube demos I watched of tube rolling in the Freya, it was very subtle (yet noticeable) there.

    Next up to try is @mhardy6647's Sylvania that he sent me.

    Also, I noticed something unusual/different from when I was using it previously without a tube installed. I put my ear close to the speaker and adjusted the volume with nothing playing, and I could actually hear the relay clicks and electrical noises coming through the speaker.

    Not sure if this is because of the tube picking up the noises and transferring them out, or because my Saga is now right next to my power amps and it wasn't previously.

    I'll try running it without a tube again and see if the relay clicks can still be heard through the speakers.

    Either way, it's not a real "issue", just something I noticed.
    I think the effects of tube rolling in a buffer are much less than you would see than in the Freya where the tubes are used for active amplification.

    Got Dayens?
  • Jim ShearerJim Shearer Posts: 350
    I'm eager to hear your impressions of the Sylvania tube vs. the Russian.
    A day without music is like a day without food.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    Haven't forgotten about this, just haven't been able to log a ton of hours on the system.

    I wanted to get until about 10 hours on the Russian tube so I would have a general idea of it's sound, before switching to the Sylvania that @mhardy6647 gave me.

    Should hit that this week so swapping tubes should happen soon! Although it's supposed to be raining all week, so you know that extra white noise of the rain hitting the roof is not good for a "low noise floor"! :)
    I'm eager to hear your impressions of the Sylvania tube vs. the Russian.

    Got Dayens?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,646
    ... just be glad you don't have a northern New England style "standing seam" (metal) roof! You wanna talk about white noise when it rains. :p

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    @mhardy6647's chrome top Sylvania has officially been swapped in.

    After letting it get up to temp and toggling between passive and tube mode, I can hear an ever so slight shifting outward of the horizontal soundstage with it engaged. It's super subtle, but there is also a slight increase in the richness or fullness of the sound. Again, minuscule changes, just barley detectable.

    Maybe there's a specific genre of music where it would be more noticeable than others. I'll try some jazz SACDs here shortly.

    Got Dayens?
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,546
    Tried it out with the jazz SACD and then back to downbeat/chillout music. Tried switching it back and forth a few more times and now I don't hear any difference between passive/tube mode at all. Whatever the tube is adding must be super subtle.

    Perhaps a better way to use this thing is just to insert a nice 6SN7 tube, leave it in tube mode, and just enjoy the sound. I guess it's just not a very "tubey" preamp!

    To me it sounds super accurate and musically engaging, with a "flat" presentation that doesn't accentuate any frequencies. Very clear and coherent sound.
    Got Dayens?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,646
    edited March 18
    Those results suggest that the active circuit in the Saga is in fact operating as a buffer, which is impressive, actually. If so, there are certainly cases in which it could improve performance, but only if there were a substantial impedance mismatch between source and load.

    The ol' rule of thumb (which is no more, nor less, than just that). Input impedance of the load should be at least ten times the output impedance of the source.
    https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/46948/the-10x-rule-for-impedance-bridging

    EDIT: A proper buffer should be inaudible (except in cases where it improves the ability of the source to drive the load). Those little Asian-sourced "tube buffers", AFAIK, are typically designed to add a little color rather than to operate as proper buffers. I'll avoid further editorial content ;)
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
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