This PHONO BOX DS + is the Austrian manufacturer's latest phono preamplifier. In terms of range, it comes between the already famous Phono Box DS and the amazing Phono Box RS.
It features the Box DS case except for the front panel that is adorned with a beautiful LCD blue screen displaying gain and charge information… Handy! The RIAA circuit is not truly a Pro-Ject design. It is based on the drawings and integrated circuits developed by Dr. Sykora. He had published many articles about his research and studies in specialist magazines. Having said that, it's not a problem because Pro-Ject has always been honest about it and pays tribute to the designer.
This design generates amazing distortion levels (0.005%) and a signal-to-noise ratio (>90 dB!). Another noteworthy feature is that the RIAA accuracy is in line with the specifications across the entire frequency response within a 0.3 dB range! The design only uses high quality components, low noise Op amp, polypropylene capacitors, etc. This preamplifier is the manufacturer's first and unique in this range to feature a display and to give access to all the parameters. These ergonomics make the 'refining' on playback very practical… An advantage that shows very soon and that makes the DIP switch adjustment of competitor products look outdated! It is possible to adapt the gain of 40 and 65 dB, the capacitive load for MM (47 to 357 pF) and input impedance (10 to 47 kOhm).
We tried it with two cartridges of a similar range, one MM and a good MC on a mid-range turntable. We naturally tried all the adjustments and we have to say the display helps a lot.
Playback is precise and detailed. The timbres seem clearer on the Tube Box DS without any harshness and with substance. The sound stage is precise and very authentic, although it does not have the depth and airiness of its counterparts worth twice the price… The dynamics are great without being too physical, making this preamp very versatile in terms of musical style.
With this Phono Box DS + Pro-Ject strikes again and shows that it is possible to be a benchmark in terms of turntables and a leader on the phono preamplifier market at the same time. Highly recommended!
Hi-Fi World - 2013 Franck
Compatible: MM and MC
Input impedance: 10/100/1000 ohms and 47 Kohms
Capacitive load (MM): 47pF/ 147pF/ 267 pF/ 367pF
Gain: High output MM and MC 40 dB and 45 dB
Gain: MC low output 60 and 65 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio: 90 dB
RIAA accuracy: 0.3 dB between 20 Hz-20 kHz
Input and output: RCA
Consumption: 200 mA DC
Dimensions: 103 x 72 x 156 mm
Weight: 1100 g