Pro-Ject Audio Systems presents the new Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 as a reference class D/A converter. This solution from the Pro-Ject Box Design RS2 Series is based on the same concept as the Pro-Ject Pre Box RS2, but also dispenses with its analogue input section, thus devoting itself entirely to the flawless processing of digital sources.
Digital sources are becoming more and more important, so that the category of so-called D/A converters has become a very important one in HiFi. They form the control centre that ultimately determines the quality of the entire hi-fi chain, so it is worthwhile to approach the selection with appropriate care.
With the so-called Pro-Ject Box Design Series, Pro-Ject Audio Systems can boast a wide range of highly specialised solutions, including the finest D/A converters for years. A particularly outstanding solution is the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, which is considered one of the most remarkable solutions on the market due to its features, flexibility and above all its excellent quality. It is therefore hardly surprising that Pro-Ject Audio Systems has adopted the concept and essential components of the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital in higher classes of the Pro-Ject Box Design Series, right up to the reference line, the Pro-Ject Box Design RS2 Series.
With the new Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2, the Pro-Ject Box Design RS2 Series has been expanded by a D/A converter based on the Pro-Ject Pre Box RS2 Digital, but without its analogue input section. The same outstanding DACs are responsible for signal conversion that caused a sensation in the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, and the concept with versatile interfaces was also adopted from its little brother. What is new is that a fully balanced output stage is used here, which can be operated either in solid state or tube mode.
Let’s start with the heart of the new Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2, the actual converter, which relies on ESS Sabre ESS9038Q2M DACs arranged in a dual-mono configuration. These are capable of processing signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 768 kHz, and also native DSD with up to DSD512. Eight filters are available to the user here, allowing him to adapt the sound to his individual requirements. Among them there is a special filter designed primarily for content encoded in MQA, the so-called proprietary Optimal Transient Digital Filter, which was designed directly by the developers of MQA Ltd. This makes it clear that the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 is capable of fully unfolding content in MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) and reproducing it in the best possible way through full implementation in hardware and software.
Of all the inputs provided by the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2, the USB 2.0 port is of course the most versatile, as it can be used to connect directly to a PC or Mac and uses the latest, powerful multi-core XMOS microcontrollers based on multi-core RISC architecture.
For re-clocking, the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 is equipped with an Altera CPLD MAX II chip (Complex Programmable Logic Device) in conjunction with the XMOS microcontroller.
When connected to a PC or Mac via USB, the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 is Roon Tested and can be used directly with the outstanding media management and multiroom audio streaming solution from Roon Labs LLC.
Another particularly interesting connection of the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 is an HDMI port, whereby an I2S is ultimately hidden behind it, which can be used to connect the Pro-Ject CD Box RS2T, i.e. the CD transport of the Pro-Ject Box Design RS2 Series. The signal transmission is carried out via the very reliable I2S differential bus, whereby the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 then also sets the clock via its master clock with 16.9344 MHz.
As additional interfaces, the new Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 has two optical and one coaxial S/PDIF interface, which process signals with up to 24 bits and 192 kHz in Linear PCM. An AES/EBU is also included, which is also designed for signals in Linear PCM with up to 24 bits and 192 kHz.
The developers at Pro-Ject Audio Systems paid special attention to the output section of the new Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2, whereby, as already described, the same concept as for the Pro-Ject Pre Box RS2 Digital is of course relied upon. As with the DAC itself, this is a fully balanced dual-mono design that is ultra-linear and extremely low-noise. The special feature is that the user can choose whether to use a transistor, i.e. solid state, or a tube. The output stage of the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 is equipped with four glass bulbs of the type 6922EH.
Analogue signals leave the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 either via an unbalanced pair of RCA sockets or balanced XLR sockets.
Trigger inputs and outputs for central control of several components are of course also included. Power is supplied via an external power supply unit, which is included in the scope of delivery. Optionally, the power supply can be upgraded using the Pro-Ject Power Box RS Uni 1-way or Pro-Ject Power Box Uni 4-way.
Of course, the new Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 DAC converter is completely in the style of the Pro-Ject Box Design RS2 Series, i.e. it is equipped with an elegant, solid aluminium housing, which is available in silver or black. The converter measures 206 mm in width, 72 mm in height, and 222 mm in depth.
First and foremost, a generously sized display is available at its front, which clearly shows all parameters. Four push buttons are sufficient for comfortable operation, the main switch is designed as a toggle switch. Of course, a matching infrared remote control should not be missing, whereby this is a system remote control which is made of aluminium and thus completely meets the high-end requirements also in this detail.
The new D/A converter of the Pro-Ject Box Design RS2 Series is already scheduled to be available at specialist dealers these days. The recommended retail price for the Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2 is € 1.699,-.
Getting to the point
With the new Pro-Ject DAC Box RS2, the Pro-Ject Box Design RS2 Series has been expanded by a D/A converter based on the Pro-Ject Pre Box RS2 Digital preamplifier, but without its analog input section. The same outstanding DACs are responsible for signal conversion that caused a sensation in the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, and the concept with versatile interfaces was also adopted from its little brother. What is new is that a fully balanced output stage is used here, which can be operated either in solid state or tube mode.