For 349 Euros (about $440) this looks like a WORLD beater DAC! The Price is Right! (said on that old Game Show!). Lookout all you multi-kilobuck DAC's (Wadia, EMM, Chord ...)!!! Project does it again, offering superb sound and features at a beer-budget price! DISCLAIMER: I have NO affiliation with Project! Just someone sick and tired of all the B.S. hype about uber-expensive DAC's!
Well, I have owned one for about 3 weeks. I'm very happy with it. But, I definitely don't qualify as a DAC aficionado. My only prior experience was with the Audioquest Dragonfly Red.
Truthfully, I didn't expect to hear much of a difference between the Dragonfly and the Pro-Ject...I'm very skeptical of all the hype related to the uber expensive DAC's as well.
But, I was wrong. There was a noticeable difference as soon as I first fired it up. More detail in the music. More transparency and I guess I would say better imaging?
I stream Tidal and listen to their Masters MQA files quite often. I wanted to stick my toe in the water so to speak with a little more expensive DAC with MQA decoding capabilities. Had my eyes on the Brooklyn DAC+ that was mentioned above, but being skeptical of the benefits of pouring more money into a DAC, went with a "cheaper" alternative. I guess my eyes have been opened a bit to the benefits of higher quality DAC's.
I'm now actually wondering if the Brooklyn DAC would make as much difference over the Pro-Ject as the Pro-Ject made over the Dragonfly Red. Geez this hobby will put you in the poor house! Haha.
For reference, I have an Arcam AV850, B&W 804d3's / 805d3's and McIntosh MC601's / MC301's. Don't know if that means a higher quality DAC would even benefit.
Anyway...the Pro-Ject is great. Would highly recommend.
This thing arrived last night. I am very impressed so far! I thought the DAC in my Marantz NA7004 was pretty good as it has its own "filter" in the M--DAX feature. (N/A these days on newer models BTW).
Streaming TIDAL-The Project S2 took my system to an immediate and instantly recognizable level of detail. Be aware that using the supplied 5v power adapter is not recommended with the USB connection. ( I did as purist seem to swear off USB power from a pc) The 7 filters on the Project are also not available when playing MQA files.
Either way this unit , as well as the addition of the Jolida Foz SS-X Tube buffer & sound stage expander, have given me unlimited options in screwing around with different tweaks and adjustments for my OCD listening habits. A+ for value.
Actually, others have found that using the supplied 5v power adapter improves the sound even when connected via USB.
The quote below is from a discussion on the Computer Audiophile forums...
"Everyone including the designer agrees the included external power adapter will improve the sound over USB power alone. Beyond that it's not at all certain you'll hear a difference after adding other products on those inputs, because everyone's ears and systems are different. But if you like to play with these things just because you can, then in my book that's a good enough reason to spend at least whatever you've saved over the US price. :-)"