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Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B – Balanced phono preamp in dual mono design

Pro-Ject Audio Systems presents the new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B, a new phono preamplifier in the Pro-Ject Box Design Series, which not only relies on tubes, as the name suggests, but also features balanced inputs and outputs to match the dual mono design.

Story Highlights
  • With the new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B, Pro-Ject Audio Systems is once again expanding the Pro-Ject Box Design Series with a particularly outstanding phono preamplifier.

Once again, Pro-Ject Audio Systems presents a phono preamplifier as the latest addition to the Pro-Ject Box Design Series, this time the Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B is a solution that belongs to the Pro-Ject Box Design DS3 Series. The new solution follows a goal that Pro-Ject Audio Systems formulated some time ago as the so-called Pro-Ject Audio Systems Plan B, namely to make balanced signal transmission the industry standard for music playback from vinyl records. The Pro-Ject True Balanced Connection Series was initiated for this purpose.

As a result, the new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B is a phono preamp based on tube technology that is equipped for balanced signal processing with a dual mono design and balanced inputs and outputs.

New in the Pro-Ject Box Design DS Series

First of all, it should be noted that the new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B is, as already briefly mentioned, the latest addition to the Pro-Ject Box Design DS Series, in the latest generation of the Pro-Ject Box Design DS3 Series. In the broad product portfolio of hi-fi components, this product line is clearly a premium class. Only the Pro-Ject Box Design RS Series would be above it, and below it is the Pro-Ject Box Design S Series.

Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B – Tube phono preamp with dual mono design

The new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B is designed as a phono preamplifier for ambitious vinyl enthusiasts, as Pro-Ject Audio Systems states. It utilises a so-called dual mono design to guarantee the best possible separation between the channels.

At the centre of the signal processing are tubes, namely two of the type E88CC and 6922, as well as other particularly high-quality components, such as polypropylene capacitors, all of which were selected solely on the basis of audiophile criteria, which Pro-Ject Audio Systems promises.

Two turntables can be connected to the new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B, with a pair of RCA sockets and a pair of XLR sockets plus a 5-pin mini XLR available as inputs. This means that not only one of the two drives can actually be operated symmetrically, but always both, which should be noted at this point.

The new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B also offers not only a pair of RCA connections for unbalanced outputs, but also a pair of XLRs for balanced signal routing.

The balanced signal routing from the pickup via the phono preamp to the amplifier ensures above all that external influences that could damage the sound are prevented from the outset, thus guaranteeing the best possible performance at all times.

Flexible use for a wide variety of cartridge systems

A special feature of the new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B is that it can be flexibly adapted to a wide variety of cartridge systems, whereby the phono preamp is of course designed for both MM and MC systems. The gain can be set between 40 dB and 65 dB, the load impedance can be seamlessly adjusted during playback and, of course, the input capacitance can also be varied.

The input impedance can either be varied continuously between 10 Ohm and 1 kOhm or set at 47 kOhm. The input capacitance can be set to 50, 150, 300 or 400 pF, and the amplification can be selected in steps of 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 and 65 dB, whereby an additional 6 dB must be added for the balanced outputs.

All settings are conveniently made directly via controls on the front panel, where you can also switch between the two drives if necessary and activate a subsonic filter.

The new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B measures 206 x 70 x 194 mm and weighs in at 1.56 kg. This is due not least to the solid aluminium housing, which is available in either black or silver. Matching wooden side panels are available as an option, which are fixed in place using magnets.

Incidentally, the power supply is provided by an external power supply unit. For particularly demanding vinyl enthusiasts, an optional upgrade is available in the form of a linear power supply unit, as offered by Pro-Ject Audio Systems with the Pro-Ject Power Box DS3 Sources.

Prices and availability

The new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B is available immediately from specialist retailers, as Pro-Ject Audio Systems promises. The recommended retail price is listed at € 1.049,-.

Getting to the point

B, which of course stands for Balanced, means that the new Pro-Ject Tube Box DS3 B is fully in line with Pro-Ject Audio Systems‘ plan to make the signal transmission in record playback as symmetrical as possible and to establish this as a kind of industry standard. Vinyl enthusiasts will thus find a tube-based phono preamp of the premium class that can be flexibly adapted to a wide variety of cartridge systems.

Price€ 1.049,-
ManufacturerPro-Ject Audio Systems a division of Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
Distribution AustriaAudio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
Distribution GermanyAudio Trade Hi-Fi Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH
Distribution SwitzerlandLakeside Audio
More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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