Pro-Ject was on site demonstrating the EISA-award-winning combination of Roon-enabled network endpoint (StreamBox S2 Ultra) and MQA capable DAC (PreBox S2 Digital) with two sets on hand for listening. In addition to the streaming and digital products, they were showing their higher performance RPM-series turntable, and Sonus Faber Sonetto II loudspeakers.
For myself it’s the PreBox S2 Digital that is and should be all the rage. A small, 5V driven stereo DAC / Preamplifier box, with a built-in headphone amplifier. It’s spec’d out in ways, that I almost consider it a portable device as well, despite its intended design for desktop or audiophile rack based systems. The ability of the PreBox to be an entire front end for headphones, powered speakers or an amplifier is just too much versatility to pass up at $399 USD.
The PreBox S2 Digital is a dual-mono design, with with two high-performance ESS Sabre DACs handling all of the high-res DSD decoding, along with hardware support for MQA files and streaming, such as with Tidal. Inputs are one each of the optical, coax, and USB variety. Included is a remote control (which I didn’t use), and selectable digital filters that I did.
Also of instantly remarkable impression, were the slew of turntables on hand (even though as passive pieces during my visit) The high-tech Pro-Ject Classic with classic looks, is anything but classic in its technical design. The use of TPE damping material runs throughout. The heavy aluminum platter is designed with a ring of TPE material running it’s under-hung circumference. Six TPE spheres isolate the all-wood sub-chassis from the all-aluminum floating chassis above. The carbon / aluminum tonearm is mounted to the floating chassis as well, ensuring that it takes on minimal structure and room vibrations. Adjustable feet? Damped.
And then there was Juke Box S2 Stereo Set. a turntable / integrated all-in-one — wrap your mind around that slice of wonderment. Comes with speakers!
So much sound, such little boxes. Okay, I admit, the Sonus Faber Sonetto II speakers I’ve heard before, and know they are not going to sound little. However in this system, I didn’t expect the small boxes from Pro-Ject to propel the loudspeakers as they did. Bass authority and speed was the first thing I noticed. After a few minutes, and a few tracks, it was the refinement that stood proud. The PreBox S2 Digital is a little beast of a preamplifier and DAC. It’s high level of detail and noise-free interaction with the rest of the system is thrilling.
– 6Perspex SB Acrylic Turntable – $1,799 USD
– Sumiko Songbird Moving Coil Cartridge – $899 USD
– Pre Box DS2 Analog – $549 USD
– DAC Box DS2 Ultra – $849 USD
– Tube Box DS2 – $799 USD
– StreamBox S2 Ultra – $849 USD
– Pre Box S2 Digital – $399 USD
– Pro-Ject RS Mono Amplifiers – $1,299 USD
– Sonnetto II loudspeakers – $2,299 pr USD
(with Italian made Carbon Fiber stands +$500 USD)
Carbon Fiber finish rack provided by Pangea Audio