The Pro-Ject DAC Box DS2 Ultra DAC is the Austrian manufacturer’s latest digital device. For many years, Pro-Ject has been active in the field of digital music and digital audio.
PRO-JECT DAC BOX DS2 ULTRA: FRONT AND BACK PANEL
The aluminium brushed casing is of excellent manufacturing. The front panel is very simple, just like with the majority of Pro-Ject products. It includes an input selector (6), a filter selector, and a Sound Mode selector. This Sound Mode selector modifies the sound restitution based on the file used.
On the back of the device, there are digital inputs. The DAC Box DS2 Ultra has one USB B input, three optical S/PDIF inputs, and two coaxial S/PDIF inputs. Even the most demanding music lover has everything he needs to fulfil his digital needs!
The decoded analogue signals are available at 0dB but can be increased +6dB by pushing in the “Gain” button located on the back panel of the device. The back panel also has 2 trigger plugs : one In and one Out that enable to turn on or off compatible devices.
There is also a 18V DC external power supply.
PRO-JECT DAC BOX DS2 ULTRA: CIRCUIT
Inside the DAC Box DS2 Ultra DAC is a D/A AK4137EQ converter. This high quality chip, also found on other Pro-Ject products, provides a DSD256 processing and an upsampling of all signals up to 768 kHz coming from USB, coaxial, and optical inputs.
This device is capable of decoding all (or almost?!) types of signals that currently exist. This DAC also has a DSD playback but it is possible to maintain an original processing of the signals, for those who prefer (like us!) the originals.
PRO-JECT DAC BOX DS2 ULTRA: TESTING AND LISTENING
Via the USB of a Macbook Air, we listened to this DAC on Qobuz with WAV, HD, and Hi-Res files. We did not activate any filter or sound mode (position n°3).
We strongly appreciated the sound restitution that favours balance and neutrality. The DAC Box DS2 Ultra is very transparent and defined, even on the most complex musical pieces.
The bass response is excellent. It gives a perfect balance and a nice depth to the music.
The timbre is rich and varied for a device of this range. The voices are present and do not show any aggressiveness or excessive projections.
The treble, just like with multiple converters, varies based on the original quality of the file or of the digital source used. The higher the sampling frequency, the “smoother” and more nuanced are the high frequencies. On a Hi-Res file, this part of the spectrum is near perfect, without reaching the same result as with a nice turntable… but this is another debate!
This Pro-Ject DAC Box DS2 Ultra DAC is a nice surprise technically and musically. Highly recommended!
Converter: 1 x AK4490 32 bits PCM 768kHz / DSD256
Oversampling: AK4137EQ upsampling at 768kHz
Sampling rate: 32 / 44,1 / 48 / 88,2 / 96 / 176,2 / 192 / 352,8 / 384/768 kHz
DSD playback: DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
Filter settings: 5 (natural Tone, Acoustic Tone, traditional Tone, Acoustic and traditional)
Coaxial digital inputs: 2 x S/PDIF
Optical digital inputs: 3 x Toslink
USB digital inputs: 1 x USB B
Coaxial digital output: 1 x S/PDIF
Frequency response: 20Hz - 50kHz (+ 0 / -1dB)
Analogue output: 1 x RCA
Output voltage: 2,2 Veff
Gain: + 6dB switchable (4,4 Veff)
Dynamic range: >120 dBA
Crosstalk: -117dB (10kHz @ 0dB)
Signal-to-noise ratio: 113dB (20 - 20.000 kHz)
Power supply: 18V / 1000mA DC (included)
Dimensions (W x H x D): 206 x 72 x 200 (220mm including sockets)
Weight: 1010g without power supply