A phenomenal new CD transport-Pro-Ject CD Box RS2 transport


I have had in-house for the last week Pro-Ject's new CD Box RS2 transport to review for the website Stereo Times. I was very curious to assess its performance because it uses the Pro 8 drive with the Blue Tiger CD-84 servo card. This drive was developed and built by StreamUnlimited a company started by the original Phillips designers that historically built the finest CD mechanisms. Only two other companies use the StreamUnlimited 8 drive and Blue Tiger CD-84 servo card, their pieces cost $16,000 and $39,000 compared to Pro-Ject's sane price of $3,000!

My reference for the last two years has been the excellent Jay's Audio MK-II transport that had out-performed much more expensive highly regarded transports in my system. Well, across every sonic parameter  (transparency/micro-details-overall dynamics/bottom-end extension/purity of tonality- a much more airy sound-stage with wonderful 3D imaging) compared to the Jay's Audio transport.

That's way I titled this thread a "phenomenal new CD transport" because while not inexpensive, it just might be a bargain based on its performance. Mind you, this superlative level of performance is based on using the switching power supply that Pro-Ject ships the transport with. I have shortly coming a custom 20 watt 3 amp linear power supply from Linear Tube Audio and Pro-Ject's own upgraded power supply to see if the RS2 transport performance will even go to a higher qualitative level of performance.

I'll be writing a full detailed review for Stereo Times in the near future. However, I wanted to share this information to GON members who still spin CDs. I have had numerous CD transports in for evaluation and this just might be the best sounding of all of them.

Teajay (Terry London)




amorstereo
Preaching to the choir.
Since I had no other high end CDT to compare it to, I did not feel that I could brag about how great it is. I’ve had it for 9 months and it makes Redbook sing like Renee Fleming.
Pro-Ject makes wonderful equipment, designed in Austria , made in Europe, AND respondsive T/S.
From what I read it equalled Jay’s. The truth comes out sooner or later.
I put a Power Box RS Uni on mine,  even better.
So timely to see this review! I am thinking about changing to separate CD transport and DAC. Can you compare/comment on Project CD Box RS2 vs. Rega Isis or Oppo BDP205?
Thanks,
Jack
Steve Guttenberg said as much on his YouTube site awhile back. He said it bettered his Jay's Audio CDT as well. I read, somewhere, that the ProJect CD box simply reads the CD better than any previous design due to it's new transport and servo drive in a way that the older styles just can't. 

If I had the dosh, I'd get one in a heartbeat.

Hey Terry, how do think the ProJect CD box would play feeding into a SPL Director (with the built in DAC)?

All the best,
Nonoise
Hey Jack,

I don't review CD players. Therefore, I can't comment on your question regarding either the Rega or Oppo CD players. However, I have written reviews on eight different DACs, a number of threads here on AudioGon contain information on these DACs, in different price ranges ($1000 to $14,000). My latest review, on the Audio Note UK 3.1 Balanced DAC, will be published at any minute now.

So, if you want information on stand alone DACs, not players, you will find the above mentioned reviews and threads helpful to you to see what you might want to go for. Regrading, a transport, if you can afford the cost, the Pro-Ject transport is a killer.
Hey Nonoise,

I have the SPL Director in-house for review. Yes, the Pro-Ject CD Box RS2 transport driving the Director's internal DAC delivers superlative results. So far, any DAC I have teamed with this transport increases the overall performance to a higher level then with my other transports.
I use mine with Sunlight. Giant killers.
Sounds like maybe the limiting factor in the old CD vs Streaming debate was the transport, and in most cases that I've read, the CD still won out. Now with this CDT that reads better than all that's come before it, will it lead to a revival of the CD and the simplification of the DAC to the point that just using the one in the preamp (or integrated) will suffice?

Just my usual, meandering thoughts....🤪

All the best,
Nonoise
I rip all my CDs for convenience but when I seriously want the best SQ I play them. Not a big enough diff with my old NAD to bother.
I fairly recently got a top notch streamer and am happily saying goodbye to my wall of 2,000 CDs. Also, over the decades CD transports have shown themselves to re pretty unreliable. Still have my 2,000 LPs and will continue to casually collect those.
Just to add a little meat/info to this thread the RS2 sells for $3K.

DeKay
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Never heard them either I just know what I like.
I guess I should pay a little attention to SG:
https://youtu.be/mcMw2TiPOP8.
This was out before I bought.
A year old is not exactly new.
Although all functions are clearly explained in the included print (!) manual. Maybe Steve doesn’t read.
Hey Jab,

The three transports that you mention I have had in-house over the course of time, along with Acoustic Arts, MBL, CEC, PS Audio and the Jay's Audio transport was better then them. Therefore, the Pro-Ject has bettered the Jay's audio piece which concludes that the Pro-Ject transport is a very special piece based on a new technology.
amorstereo

Thank You for the initial report. I look forward in reading more as the player settles in your room/system.

Happy Listening!
Hi @amorstereo (Terry),
Thanks for the insight. Interested in your assessment of the linear power supplies and their  subsequent effect.
Charles 
Does this transport operate like the PS Audio units? Laser reads disc, info put on a “digital lens,” info sent to dac. 
No, it's not applying the approach that is used by the PS Audio transport. This is a totally different/new device for spinning CDs.

Not In market for a cdt as I currently own both the audiolab cdt6000 and a Marantz hd cd-1 used as transport. However, I have no doubt the pro-ject is all you say it is, as they make some wonderful affordable stuff. Case in point would be the tube box ds2, and the classic sb and evo turntable. Unreal value for the money, and positively reviewed everywhere.
I've been looking to upgrade from my Oppo 105D for a long time.  I've considered transports, but there are only a few that will spin SACD's, like the new PS Audio PW SACD transport ($6500) and I believe that McIntosh has a SACD transport as well.  However, I think that I've found the answer for my needs-- but it doesn't come out until the end of this year: Esoteric K-05XD or the K-07XD SACD players.  The reviews on the K-01XD and the K-03XD are that they are leaps above previous Esoteric iterations, and are fantastic.  But they are pricey.  In a K-05XD or a K-07XD not only do you get a transport mechanism which might be considered the best on the planet-- but you also get a phenomenal DAC, and a SACD player.  With digital inputs including a USB to access the DAC.  For me it makes sense because I don't have a separate DAC.  So I get 2-in-1, a transport and a DAC-- at ~$7500, considering I don't have to have 2 boxes and the price is reasonable for both.  Just something to consider.  I am in no way connected to Esoteric-- just my own thoughts on my journey to my next CD transport/player.  BTW I did look at the Pro-Ject, but haven't auditioned.
@amorstereo,
Thanks for the heads up. I will be looking forward to your full review. I personally dig top loading players so kudos to Project for bringing out RS2 T at a reasonable price. When Gryphon’s Ethos (also uses Pro-8 transport) was announced, I got very excited but its price almost makes it impossible to obtain such a beauty.

I have yet to find a bargain like Raysonic CD128, mine is now 15 years old :-)
SACD play is not a concern. Ripped is close enough to a high tariff player SQ. Not to mention more convenient
Why in this day and age would you bother with a cd transport?

You will get far better sound ripping your cds to a dedicated server

When you rip you are storing a bit perfect copy normal errors from spinning a plastic disc do not occur

And you get the ability to stream new content like tidal and qubuzz

We have found the combination of a greatstored library plus streaming to be the ultimate digital music experience

We would love for you to Try one of our 432Evo music servers

https://youtu.be/m_sYbgFvUOg

Currently 432evo is taking over Europe


Their servers are dedicated roon cores

They use the most advanced low noise intel processor on the market

Comes standard 2 tb ssd

Higher end models have both a seperate clock board and sound card with independent low noise custom s booster power supplies

And models are upgradable you can start with a less expensive server and then upgrade later

The 7.5k aeon is considered a competitor to a 14k reference statement server

The line starts a t3.5k for the standard

Dave and troy
Audio intellect nj
Importers 432evo music servers








@fred60 

There's a OPPO 105 with EVS modes for sale. I upgraded my 105 power supply, and it transformed the stock player, but EVS mods might be all you need
TJ, a link would have been nice
In response to why are some of us still spinning discs

Im almost 73 and have ~ 300 discs. I would be dead before I could rip them, and then what? Wouldn't I need a laptop to file them in and then have to open the file, search through it then select cuts, and then repeat each session?
https://www.project-audio.com/en/product/cd-box-rs2-t/
I love my Rega Apollo2 a lot and for $1100 it’s a deal imo (and I love top-loaders). I’d be very interested in this Pro-ject if I wanted to spend more, but I have ripped all 600+ of my CDs and now stream them via a Roon server.

@lalitk

The most expensive thing I did was to sell my Raysonic 128, which I used the volume control direct into my amps with a matched set of Russian tubes. After a couple years, I replaced it with the Raysonic 228. Now, the 228 was an amazing 2 box beauty, and a big improvement (MSRP $4800) but it started skipping right at the time Raysonic was folding its tent

My player for the last 4 years is a Oppo 105, but about 2 years ago I upgraded the power supply to one I bought on ebay, plus a Rhodium IEC with pure silver tail conection to the power supply and a silver jumper to bypass the 110/220 switch. Tremendous improvement. There's one for sale that has EVS mods also

Gotta laugh at Audio Troy. If he was a MSB, Esoteric, Luxman, Gryphon dealer he would be telling you how wonderful all their Disc Spinners/Dac's are!!  Unfortunately he only carries MID-FI brands and is "selling his book" as usual.

  Not everybody wants/needs to have a Laptop connected to their audio system.  Most of your streaming services use Highly Compressed/Loudness War mixes from the 90's to present that they are supplied by the labels. Usually...not always...the ORIGINAL Digital Masters used to make the Compact Discs back in the 80's have the best fidelity by far.  Thats why the original pressings cost so much money to obtain now in many instances.  REMASTERED rarely means better for the past 30 years.  Just means Louder, Harder and Compressed.  Why spend 50-100K on an Audio System and then Feed it Sub Par Recordings?? 
riaa_award_collectors_on_facebook

“Not everybody wants/needs to have a Laptop connected to their audio system.”

Well said. Spot on. 
Tweak there are tons of ripping companies that will rip your cds for .80 cents a disc you box up the discs and send rhem the discs

You dont have to file them roon Dr oes that for you
georgehifi

which player(s) does a SF-HD850 fit?

Happy Listening!
audiotroy

thanks for the 411
@tweak1 EVS doesn't do Oppo 105 mods anymore, and no way I'm buying another 105 (modded).  I do get the idea of burning CD's and putting them on a server, there are many folks who say that it does sound better vs just spinning the disc on a player.  Issue is that you can't burn SACD's (except with a 105!). I eventually may go that route.  But I do have an issue with buying a server that has non-removable internal storage (HDD or SSD).  That's why I prefer the Roon Nucleus (don't own one yet).  You can swap in and out your own storage.  What happens if a drive fails on an Innuos?  Not sure about 432Evo, if it is removable or not.  Both are based in Europe, so if you have an issue maybe you have to send the units to Europe?  Sorta like my thoughts on active speakers vs passive.  Would never buy and active speaker again after my experience with a Paradigm sub.  $2500 for a Studio 12 Sub, a great sub when it worked.  It died after 12 years, was never moved, was on protected circuits so no issue with power surges, etc.  Totally pampered environment for its entire life.  And it just died.  12 years is not long enough-- it should last 20+ at least.  And Paradigm says it would cost $1750 just for replacement parts.  Insane.  Getting off topic-- sorry.
fred
I hear you on active speakers. I might have some good news pertaining to your powered sub. Ebay has lots of listings for plate amps (cheap too!). Maybe one will drop right in.

Technics has a newish SACD player that interests me when my 1105 kicks it

https://www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/technics-sl-g700
Fred,
Dont believe everything you read (Server vs CD player). Might be true in some cases if your using low quality players like an Oppo/Cambridge etc Definitely is NOT True if you have something like an Esoteric/MSB/DCS/Luxman player/Dac at your disposal...and thats without the option of adding a Master Clock into the equation. (Cant add Clock to Luxman)
@tweak1 

Thanks for your recommendation on Oppo player. Personally I am unlikely to consider a CD player with average sounding internal DAC (even with mods by EVS or Modwright). I am now spoiled by two very sublime sounding DAC’s :-) 
Terry nice review on the Audio Note Dac-3 balanced, I own it's great great grandfather the Dac-3 Signature circa 1995 and love it.
jafant13,452 posts05-16-2021 9:49pmgeorgehifi

which player(s) does a SF-HD850 fit?

Happy Listening!

Looking at this it’s just the cheap Sanyo SF-HD850 slot loader mech, in a fancy aluminum housing
https://ibb.co/JHcCdFN

https://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313&_nkw=Sf-hd850&_...

There’s 34 other cd transport/players here that use it, press control F and type in HD850
http://vasiltech.narod.ru/CD-Player-DAC-Transport.htm


Cheers George
Why the modified wall wart?
Is there a better power supply available?
There are only a few cd transport manufactures. The high end companies buy those and shield, isolate from vibration and my modify them. I have hear Audio Research just discontinued their manufacture of REF CD9se because the manufacturer stopped making their transports. They tend to be fairly reliable and need to keep a lot in stock for repairs.
I have the Pro-Ject DS2T which is brilliant for me ripping CDs to minidisc on one of my high end Sony minidisc players.

@riaa award:  That is why I'm first getting an Esoteric to replace my Oppo 105.  Server can wait!  K-05XD and K-07XD will be out later this year.
I have an Oppo 205 also and is is great for all discs. Unfortunately, this model got a bad name for 'skipping' - having blank non-playing passages at random intervals. Although not figured about by Oppo and their distributors, the cause was not the player as such but the interface with some TVs with them trying to 'shake hands'. The cure was to switch off (do not leave in standby) or disconnect the TV and set the player to "Pure Audio".
I use a $29 cd player to shovel data to my DAC, what does  a $3k version do more/better?
gochurchgo
I use a $29 cd player to shovel data to my DAC, what does a $3k version do more/better?
Probably nothing if you're also using a $29 DAC.
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Hey gochurchgo,

I'm not really trying to be a peacemaker, but I think Cleeds was not going after you personally. He was just trying to point out if your DAC is not at a high level of performance you would be wasting your money to buy a reference level transport. 

If you read my brief description of what this transport provided in my system you would understand what a better transport can provide, if the receiving DAC and the rest of the system is up to it.