Have you upgraded from a Freya?

I have had a Freya+ for a few years and like it a lot, but still get to thinking what another notch up the ladder might bring. Looking for feedback and impressions from folks who have upgraded from the Freya.  I mainly use the solid state buffered mode, my listening sessions tend to be shorter and I don't turn on the tubes very often. The rest of the chain past the preamp is Coda #8 -> LS50's.


@zlone I have owned the CODA 07x (for 1 year), the Benchmark HPA4+LA4, Schitt Freya+, Topping pre90, and the Holo Serene. I have decided to keep only the LA4 and Serene.

The 07x is warm, fairly detailed, and slightly noisy. In the end that noise was bugging me to no end, so I sold it. I only really heard it on very quiet passages but once I knew it was there it was always on my mind.

The Freya+ was good (especially for the price) but not as good as the 07x and not as detailed as the LA4. So sold that.

Both the Holo and LA4 are 2 of the quietest preamps around (along with the pre90). Being quiet leads to amazing low volume listening. That was the main reason I bought the HPA4 about 8 years ago. I had to listen late at night at low levels as the baby was sleeping. It was great when I added the HPA4, compared to going DAC direct to amp. Direct to amp at low levels tends to be the weakness of digital volume controls in DACs. At low volume the sound is all there with the LA4 and Holo. It is just lower in dB. With other noiser preamps you can lose some of the sound like bass at low volume.

I am using the LA4 with a CODA #16 and I think CODA amps and Benchmark preamps are a perfect match for my tastes. I moved the CODA #16 to my office this morning to keep it safe from visitors (next 4 weeks) and listening to it with the Holo is another pleasure. Just amazing.

My preamp shopping days are done. I think the Holo and LA4 are perfect for what I want in my system.



@yyzsantabarbara Thanks, it sounds like the LA4 is what I am looking for and I will take the next step.

I sold mine. I like the matching pre amps that are made for the amp. The synergy is the best imo.

Following up as promised. I am really enjoying the Benchmark LA4, it is quiet, exceedingly neutral, offers great detail and is good for low volume listening. But of course I want more! "Exceedingly neutral" might be the highest compliment for preamplifier purists, but I remain curious about the sound of other preamps. The other preamp I have on my list is the Holo Serene and I would be interested to hear from others that have had this preamp in their stack, and ideally from those that have compared it to the LA4. ( @yyzsantabarbara  🙂)

The Serene is also know to be dead silent and very neutral, but I have seen hints that it might add a little tinge of flavor or musicality. The latter term is hard to define, but one of those things that you know it when your hear or feel it. I am also interested in other options in the solid state space, I am not interested in tubes at this time. Any Schiit Kara owners yet? I am very curious about that one as well.