Fantasy or reality? Inexpensive solid state preamps that get you 80% there?

Recently, I posted asking about solid state preamps in the $4k region. I got some really good suggestions. Much appreciated. I have that list saved in a folder and will consult it.

I'm still a bit shy about spending $4k. So, lately, I've found myself reading about Schiit Saga and Freya S preamps. Why? Well, the idea of a non-tube preamp still appeals to me but these are much, much less expensive. 

I'm wondering if anyone has done some comparing of Schiit's Saga and Freya solid state preamps? Have you tried either of these preamps and come to some conclusions about their sonic worth compared to other more expensive solid state preamps? Were they worth it? Were they just a waste of time for you?

In brief:

Schiit Saga S vs. Freya S?
Schiit Saga or Freya vs. more costly solid state preamps?

The ultimate reason for asking is that this is a hobby where it's easy to plunk down small amounts of money (relatively) thinking that one can get 80% of what they want only to find that there's really no free lunch. If that's the case, I'll just keep saving for something better (Pass, Ayre, etc.). If not, I might just try a Saga or Freya (or something else — Parasound used? Etc.)


@hilde45 Wrote:

The challenge is really $1k or less,

Ok. I get it! If you want new, then it's the Schiit Freya+ preamp $1049.Try, it you'll like it. Also, remember when you buy Schiit audio gear used there is no Warranty from the manufacturer. In my opinion forget about Conrad Johnson, too much gain 20dB. As I understand it, the Freya has a much better volume pot. 😎


+1 @barts excellent idea!

I would add to that…

Sell both preamps you have now, add few bucks and get yourself a Pass XP-12 to match with your XA25 amp and get all the gain, input sensitivity, impedance and other synergy related bull 💩 out of the way. 
Or take a schiit. And end up with one piece of schiit that isn’t much better than the one you already have. Just different. You’ll be tossing it in and out of the system why? To experience different sound? Neither will be better than the XP-12 (tough to beat).

Tube pre

SS pre (there is a new model wich is better)