Pro-Ject MaiA S3, this is the latest generation of the solution that Pro-Ject Audio Systems recommends as the optimal product for beginners, a stereo integrated amplifier that is characterised by a particularly high degree of flexibility and at the same time a particularly slim form factor, and which ultimately offers almost everything that is needed as the central interface of a compact yet versatile hi-fi chain. MaiA, this abbreviation stands for nothing else than My Audiophile Integrated Amplifier and thus perfectly sums up the developers’ intention through the product name alone.
All the experience of the Pro-Ject Box Design Series in one product.
Ultimately, it can be described as follows: with the Pro-Ject MaiA, Pro-Ject Audio Systems packs all the experience gained over many years in the development of electronic components of the Pro-Ject Box Design Series into a compact, versatile product.
This solution is, as already mentioned, first of all a stereo integrated amplifier, whereby this is not a performance miracle, but always offers more than enough power to be used with the most diverse speaker systems without any problems.
The Pro-Ject MaiA has never been lacking in options for integrating various sources in any of the versions available so far, because the spectrum has always ranged from analogue sources, including a phono preamplifier, to digital sources and Bluetooth, in order to enable streaming, at least directly from a smartphone or tablet, without any problems.
Of course, all this applies in the same proven way to the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3, which Pro-Ject Audio Systems has now announced and which once again relies on the proven concept, but has been further developed in quite essential areas.
New form factor of the Pro-Ject Box Design S3 Series
As the name suggests, the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 is of course presented in the new form factor that Pro-Ject Audio Systems introduced with the Pro-Ject Box Design S3 Series. The background for this decision is clearly that this slightly larger form factor offers the developers more leeway to rely even more than before on optimised circuit designs and higher-quality components, but also to expand the functionality of the solutions. All of this, especially the latter, of course, applies to the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3.
The new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 presents itself in the proven manner with an elegant housing made of aluminium, which is optionally available in black or silver. It now measures 206 mm in width, 55 mm in height and 176 mm in depth, including the connection panel. Without the external power supply, the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 weighs just over one kilogram, or 1,070 g to be exact.
A stereo integrated amplifier in a particularly compact form
The new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 is, of course, also a stereo integrated amplifier, but in a particularly compact form. This tiny device, if you’ll pardon the expression, delivers two times 40 watts to speaker systems with an impedance of 4 ohms. For connecting the speakers, there are small but nevertheless quite solid screw terminals on the back, which not only offer a reliable connection for bare cable ends, but also accept ready-made cables with bananas.
For the analogue world
Especially in times when manufacturers are sometimes quite stingy when it comes to the interfaces of their amplifier systems, it is all the more astonishing that Pro-Ject Audio System does not do this with such a compact solution as the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3.
Three analogue inputs are available here, all of them as a pair of cinch sockets. In addition, there is another pair of RCA sockets at the rear, behind which is the integrated phono preamplifier of the Pro-Ject MaiA S3, which is designed for drives equipped with MM cartridge systems. To complete the “analogue spectrum” of the Pro-Ject MaiA S3, there is also a preamplifier output, also designed as a pair of cinch sockets. Since this is a variable level output, a subwoofer can be integrated, which is highly recommended in combination with compact bookshelf speaker systems, as it gives the system even more sovereignty in the lowest frequency range.
Directly at the front, a headphone jack is available; surprisingly, this is not designed as a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, but actually as a 6.3 mm jack and is thus intended to show that it is more than just a simple addition and can control even high-quality headphones without any problems and operate them with sufficient dynamics and richness of detail free of distortion.
For digital sources
If you want to connect digital sources to the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3, you can do so via one coaxial and two optical S/PDIF interfaces. This allows you to connect streaming clients as well as TV sets, game consoles or, of course, CD players such as the perfectly matching Pro-Ject CD Box S3.
Bluetooth 5.0 for “wireless” signal transmission
As already mentioned, the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 does not offer network streaming, but it does offer Bluetooth via a Bluetooth 5.0 module that not only supports AAC and SBC, but also aptX and aptX HD and thus hi-res audio up to 24 bit and 48 kHz. For optimal reception, the developers rely on an external antenna on the back.
If you use a smartphone, for example, the entire online world is of course open to you, because all you need is the appropriate app on your smartphone to be able to use the most diverse streaming services directly.
Signal conversion with 24 bit and 192 kHz
The new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 relies on a Cirrus Logic CS4344 DAC for signal conversion, which can process audio data with up to 24 bits and 192 kHz.
As already mentioned, the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 is to be characterised by an optimised circuit as well as high-quality components, up to the volume control, which is carried out by means of a motorised potentiometer.
Speaking of operation, it is deliberately kept simple, so that in addition to the aforementioned potentiometer for volume control and the standby button, there are only two more buttons on the front, with the help of which you can switch between the inputs, whereby the active input is indicated by a status LED.
Of course, a matching infrared remote control is included in the scope of delivery, and this should not be forgotten either.
Prices and availability
The new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 will be available in specialist shops in the near future. As already mentioned, you can choose between black and silver for the latest generation of the versatile stereo integrated amplifier. The recommended retail price is € 599.
It should be explicitly mentioned that the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 is also manufactured entirely in Europe, a fact that has always been particularly important to Pro-Ject Audio Systems.
Getting to the point
The latest generation of the highly integrated amplifier solution from Pro-Ject Audio Systems in the Pro-Ject Box Design Series, the Pro-Ject MaiA S3, will soon be available. Despite its compact dimensions, the developers have again focused on maximum flexibility and equipped the new Pro-Ject MaiA S3 with numerous analogue and digital interfaces, neither Bluetooth nor an integrated phono preamplifier are missing, and even high-quality headphones can be connected and operated without any problems.
|PRODUCT||PRO-JECT MAIA S3|
|Manufacturer||Pro-Ject Audio Systems|
|Distribution Austria||Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH|
|Distribution Germany||Audio Trade Hi-Fi Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH|
|Distribution Switzerland||Marlex GmbH – Audiophile Produkte|
|More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG|