Pro-Ject took us by surprise with the release of this new Phono Box RS that is definitely aiming for the top end level! This is Pro-Ject's first product to enter the realm of high-end electronics. This unit with impressive and exclusive dimensions epitomises the manufacturer's expertise. This phono preamplifier is naturally compatible with the commercially-available MM and MC Hi-Fi cartridges. To help their combination, the gain is adjustable depending on the Hi-Fi cartridges and connectors used between 40 and 66 dB, via a front-mounted selector. The impedance is adjustable on the front panel with a beautiful graduated potentiometer, which makes it possible to fine-tune the adjustment by ear. With this switch, you can also precisely adjust the capacitive load from 100 to 520 pF for high output MM and MC cartridges.
The back of the device features the usual RCA input and output connectors. An exclusive feature in this price range is that the connectors are doubled by switchable XLR with a push button. Besides it is the activation of the subsonic filter. Also note that a front panel switch enables the selection between RIAA and DECCA curve! As far as we know, no phono preamplifier for less than €5,000 provides this kind of fancy feature! The internal architecture is entirely symmetrical and dual mono.
It features state-of-the-art components that guarantee low distortion and noise levels. The equalisation is entirely passive to retain the cleanest and most neutral signal possible. Even the chassis and front panel, available in a black or natural finish, have been specifically designed to minimise electromagnetic interference and prevent microphonics. Like all of Pro-Ject's new projects, the PHONO BOX RS is fitted with a +/-18VDC power supply unit. It guarantees a good quality current and a stability that exceeds that of conventional power supplies. These performances are mind-blowing and are well above what can be expected from a product below €1,000!
The sound is punchy and transparent with a balanced and broad frequency response. Listening to a 1952 recording according to the DECCA curve is quite an interesting and surprising experience. We realized that we had never heard it sound like this before! A great product that will no doubt change the pecking order around somewhat…
HiFi Choice Recommended - 2013 Franck
Input impedance: fixed 10 Ohms or 47 KOhms, variable between 10 and 1200 Ohms
Load capacitance: 100 uF, 120 uF, 200 uF
Output impedance: 50 ohms
RCA MM/MC gain: 40, 43, 60 dB
XLR MM/MC gain: 45, 56, 66 dB
S/N ratio: MM 89 dB, MC 83 dB
Distortion: MM 0.01%, MC 0.05%
RIAA and DECCA curve: 20 Hz/20 kHz in 0.3 dB
Sub filter: 24 dB per octave at 18 Hz
Inputs: RCA and XLR
Outputs: RCA and XLR
Power supply: outboard +/-18v DC
Dimensions: 200x72x200 mm
Weight: 2.2 kg