Our Schiit Saga S review offers all the essential details needed to know about the new pre-amplifiers from Schiit Audio.
The company has been delivering two-channel high-performance headphone hardware for ten years, without a sky-high price tag. To cater to the mid and low-range market, Schiit created the S and + versions of these. Also, the company released these versions to give a wider range of options for customers.
Schiit has continuously provided us with top-notch products and devices. But is their budget-friendly Saga S as competitive and efficient? Is it worth purchasing like their other products?
We’ll find out today in our Schiit Saga S review. But first, let’s check out its packaging and contents.
This part of our Schiit Saga S review deals with the product’s packaging and what’s inside the box.
The Schiit Saga S comes in a white cardboard box. On one of its sides, you’ll find the logo of Schiit written there. There aren’t much you can see on the box’s exterior. So once you have it, go straight to checking out what’s inside the package.
When you open the box, you’ll find the Schiit Saga S in clear plastic and surrounded with protective foam. With that, you can ensure that the preamp will safely arrive when you have it shipped out.
Aside from the Schiit Saga S, you’ll find the instruction manual, power cable, and the remote.
Schiit Saga S Review – Design and Functionality
Now in our Schiit Saga S review, we’ll talk about the pre-amplifiers’ design and functions.
The Saga S is similar to the Saga+ but without the tube. It provides you with all the excellent high-end features you’d need for a pre-amplifier. These include the real relay-switch volume controls, custom remote control, and an adaptable DC-coupled JFET buffer.
The only difference between the Saga S and the Saga+ is that the previous is a solid-state. Meaning, the Saga S doesn’t have a tube in it. Instead, the Saga S comes with the discrete JFET buffer stage. Plus, it’s definitely for people who don’t want to deal with any tubes.
Design and Build Quality of the Schiit Saga S
The Schiit Saga S is a compact box with a silver finish and has the same layout as the Saga. As mentioned, its only difference is the absence of the tube since it’s a solid-state preamp.
Aside from that, the Saga S also doesn’t have visible screws that hold the unit together. The only screws you’ll see are under the box. For its overall build quality, it’s still as solid as its more expensive version.
On the Schiit Saga S’ front, you’ll find the company’s logo on the leftmost portion followed by LED indicators. Next to the LED is the input selector, followed by the motorized volume knob.
The output selector is next to the volume knob, the IR window, mute button and buffer stage. The IR window or the remote indicator is where the remote communicates with the Saga S. Be sure that this isn’t blocked when you use the remote. Otherwise, the remote will not work.
On the rear portion of the Saga S, you’ll also see the same elements you’ll find on the Saga. There are five RCA inputs and two RCA outputs, a power switch, and a plug on the right-most portion.
For each input and output, you can connect two amplifiers, or an amp and subwoofer. If you want, you can also use a single output. Using both RCA ports is not necessary.
There are vent holes on the sides and at the top of the Schiit Saga S to keep it cool. Also, it prevents over-pressuring in the box to maintain high-quality audio.
The relay-stepped attenuator is a cool inclusion to the Schiit Saga S. Compared to the potentiometer, it offers excellent channel matching to the lowest level of its volume knob.
The knob at the front area of the preamp functions like your standard volume knob. It stops right at the bottom, then at the top when turning the knob. With that, you won’t have any endless spinning encoders here.
You’ll get your easy to use knob coupled with an excellent microprocessor control.
Remote of the Schiit Saga S
For the remote, it has the same controls as the preamp itself. You’ll find the input selector, volume up & down, output selector and mute buttons.
We liked the tactile feedback that we got every time we pressed each button since it felt durable and well-constructed.
If you want to change the remote’s battery, flip it over, and you’ll find a single hole at its back. Insert the end of an open paper clip into the hole, then push this firmly to open the remote.
Also, be sure to use the same type of battery when replacing this.
Magnets hold the remote’s parts together, so reassembling it will be easy. Just insert the clear LED in front then drop the panel down where its magnets match. Press it gently for the panel to pop in place, and be sure that you’ve reassembled this securely.
What is a Preamp?
The preamp is a product that works as a router and input selector between the power amplifier and the source. Generally, it will boost the overall volume level with ease.
A preamp can be one passive signal router without any power supply or active circuits. In either case, the preamp works similarly: acquires signal from one point to another. The difference is that it gets signal with as less sonic deterioration as possible.
Having the best preamp means that it has a straight wire with/without the gain.
Key Features of the Schiit Saga S
This time on our Schiit Saga S review, we will focus on the Saga S’ essential features.
The Solid-State Saga Preamp: Saga S
The Saga S is just like the Saga +, but instead of a tube stage, it features a JFET buffer stage. Since some people don’t want to deal with tubes, Schiit solved this issue and created a solid-state preamp.
Choose from Active or Passive Modes
If you want a convenient preamp that you can control with a remote, run the Saga S in passive mode. You can also switch this to active mode if driving long cables is necessary. All you have to do is change it to the JFET buffer mode.
The Best Companion to Our DACs
Do you have the Schiit Bifrost or any of the company’s DAC’s? Pair it with the Saga S for a remote-controlled system with no compromise. With this, you can use your digital gear together with your entire system.
User-Friendly Relay-Switched Volume
The relay-switched stepped attenuator is one of the Saga S’ benefits. Unlike a potentiometer, the attenuator provides you with the best channel matching and almost unmeasurable distortion.
Since several preamps with relay-stepped attenuators only have screens and buttons, these can be confusing. The Saga S gives you a brand-new experience with its motorized volume knob which is easy to use. All you have to do is grab and turn since it works like an ordinary volume knob.
When you use the remote control, the motorized potentiometer adjusts to match the remote’s settings.
Designed and Created in California
Like all products from Schiit, the Saga S is designed and created in California. Most of the production of the Saga S goes to American companies for production and manufacturing. The chassis, boards, assembly, and transformers are all made in California.
For the PCB production, Schiit makes these from their facility or is done in Northern California.
5-Year Limited Warranty and Easy Return Policy
Schiit covers the Saga S with a limited warranty for five years from the date you’ve purchased the preamp. This warranty covers the preamp’s parts and labour.
In case you’re not satisfied with the Saga S, you can send it back within 15 days for a refund. You’ll get your money back, minus 5% for the restocking fee.
Not all companies selling similar products offer this, so we greatly appreciate Schiit for it.
This time on our Schiit Saga S review, we will talk about the pre-amplifier’s key specifications.
It comes with a frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz, -0.2db, 3Hz-400KHz, -3dB, and < 0.001% | 20Hz-20KHz, @ 1V RMS for THD.
IMD on active stage is <0.001%, CCIR while SNR is > 110db, A-weighted, and is referenced to 1V RMS. The pre-amplifier has 75 ohms for its output impedance, while > 5V RMS for its maximum output. For output impedance, it varies, yet has a maximum of 4.8 kOhms.
For both active/passive stage, the Schiit Saga S’ gain has about 1 (0dB) via passive or active stage. Its input impedance is 10 kohms with crosstalk of > -75dB | 20Hz-20KHz.
The Saga S has 5 RCA input pairs that are selectable via the front remote or switch. For its outputs, it has 2 RCA pairs that are selectable using the front switch or remote.
There are two discrete JFET buffers with DC offset corrections. Volume controls are relay-switch stepped attenuators that come with discrete thin film resistors plus 64 1dB steps.
The power supply used for the Saga S is a single 24VA transformer with a regulated +/- 18V rail. Plus, it uses a 5VDC for the microprocessor.
Total power consumption typically reaches 15W in total.
For its measurements, the Schiit Saga S is 9 x 6 x 2 inches (W x D x H), plus an extra 1.25″ for the tube. Its overall weight is 6 pounds.
Hands on with the Schiit Saga S
Now, we’ll get more hands-on with the Schiit Saga S here in our Schiit Saga S review.
We had the Saga S go through a performance test and compared to other similar products, it worked perfectly. During the test, the Saga S produces beautiful sound.
Everything was much louder with the Saga S than other preamps that we have used, but nothing sounded distorted in any way. All instruments could be heard clearly yet blended beautifully as audio played.
When it comes to its bass, it delivered clear, thumpy, natural bass that is true to its intended sound.
When it comes to the treble and high frequency, it’s one of the best qualities of the Schiit Saga S. Even when listening to a wide range of musical genres, the Saga S sounded great.
Overall, the Schiit Saga S performed well, and there were no instances when our audio sounded off nor distorted. It has a quality-made build that looks premium in all angles, plus it’s durable as well.
With that, we’d recommend the Saga S to everyone, especially for those who are searching for a cost-efficient pre-amplifier.
Schiit Saga S Review Summary
A solid-state preamp like the Schiit Saga S is an excellent gadget if you enjoy doing variations for your audio. It’s convenient since it doesn’t have a tube-like the Saga+, and it’s smaller compared to the original Saga. The Saga S’ compact design makes it easy to place and set up anywhere you want.
Of course, the most important factor to consider when choosing audio products like a preamp is its sound quality. To our surprise, the Saga S delivered more than we expected from a low-budget preamp.
The Saga S is also one of the cheapest options among the preamps that Schiit released. With its price and performance, it’s ideal for those who are on a budget. It delivered excellent audio quality, and with its features, it’s one of the best affordable preamps on the market.
To conclude our Schiit Saga S review, we highly recommend this preamp. If you want to purchase this product, it’s available from the company’s official website.