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.)


@kennyc Which of those are solid state amps? All of them? I hope so, because that’s what this thread is about. And how many are around $1k or less? Thanks for your relevant input.

The Rotel and Coda are SS, but I was answering your initial $4k or less new or used.  I didn’t follow this thread which seems that you are now looking for SS only at $1k or less.  Good luck.

Need to have my B and K pro 10mc recapped and new vol pot. 
bought new in Mid 90’s great pre. 
my best is the aging Onkyo p308, simply smooth, great house sound, has depth, and always works since bought used 10+ years ago. Has a house sound which is deep, rich, and gives recordings a nice warmer rich sound, the b and k, is very neutral.

 Saved for extra year and a half, to get the Sanders sound “the preamp” with MM/MC  card. This thing is fast, or it seems to push the sound, or something, ads ZERO, house sound, it is the textbook definition of wire with gain, I always use it in stock mode. Simple, no added tone, bass, highs, anything, just allows music to hit speakers as the recording is recorded. So good in,..etc etc. 

looks classy, no strange shape, or added large knobs, just a small unit which is flawless and passes recordings through as the recording intended. 

 Plus Roger is a gem in the audio world, his knowledge, and no BS approach is great. 

wanting to get the Onkyo rehabbed soon, and use for another 20 years (I hope)


  not a better house sound preamp than that p308.  She is my emerald.

makes most my metal demos sound full, and listenable. Sanders plays as it is, which for acoustic, and some rock/ Dylan, eagles, sound amazing. Speakers have zero “s” swerve sounds. Took me 35+ years to achieve what some get in a single paycheck, the journey was a blast, I’m done for a while.



Wait a second. I just purchased a used Dennis Had Inspire 3.1 tube preamp for $1k. So why would anyone purchase a SS preamp? A tube preamp is far more expressive. But then again, you’ve got to own both, I do.

Solid state preamps under $1K.

New:  Topping Pre90, Schiit Freya S (I have and like the Freya + but you said no tubes)

Used: Adcom GFP-750 — great preamp (I have one) by Nelson Pass that is either passive or active; Acurus RL11 or LS11 both punched well above their price point and are <$500; Forte Model 2