Austrian record player and electronics manufacturer Pro-Ject presents an amazing device. Measuring just 10 centimeters on the side and 36 mm high, it has three functions. It's a DAC digital-to-analog converter, it's a preamp, and it's a headphone amp. Everything, with a superior quality and for a price of 350 euros . The front has the necessary controls and a color screen to access its functions.
The rear panel of the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 has three inputs, all digital . There are two SPDIF types, one coaxial and one optical, and one USB for computers or compatible digital sources. Through the latter, it is capable of receiving and converting files up to very high resolution. In PCM format, up to 32 bits and 768 kHz, and in DSD format up to DSD512. For any input it also has the novelty of being able to decode the MQA format (used by Tidal for example). With it you can receive music in high resolution through standard file streaming.
The Pro-Ject uses a Saber ESS9038Q2M converter chip, one of the most advanced on the market. Thanks to it, it supports these formats and we can select up to seven different digital filters. This allows slight nuance changes in the sound, to adapt it to the taste of each one or the type of music . The Saber DAC also internally recodes digital signals to synchronize them with a very low level of jitter. The resulting sound will thus be more analog.
Headphone and pre-out
After the digital-to-analog conversion circuitry, the circuitry is still very important. This Pro-Ject uses high quality passive components , including specific capacitors for each use. Highlights include organic polymer capacitors, miniMELF thin film resistors, and polypropylene capacitors. The printed circuit board is four-layer.
As its name suggests, the Pre Box is a preamplifier, that is, it sends sound from its stereo RCA outputs . We can do it towards an amplification stage that feeds some speakers. Or we can use it directly with active speakers (equipped with internal amplification). Also on the front we have a headphone output that has a dedicated internal amplifier.