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Pro-Ject Phono Box S

Phono preamplifier (Silver)

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  • Pro-Ject Phono Box S

    Silver

  • Pro-Ject Phono Box S

    Back (Silver)

  • Pro-Ject Phono Box S

    Bottom view showing input setting dip switches

Item #: 252PBSS
 

Review Summary

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Your price $199.99
 
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Our take on the Pro-Ject Phono Box S

by Dave Bar
Pro-Ject

Top-notch performance and flexibility

Pro-Ject's Phono Box S phono preamp serves up the warm, relaxed sound that vinyl is famous for while offering unique performance enhancements rarely seen at this price. Its carefully selected amplifier modules and audiophile-grade components make your treasured record collection shine. And no matter what kind of phono cartridge you mount on your turntable, this versatile preamp gives you a wide range of input settings to optimize its performance. A switchable subsonic filter protects your amplifier and speakers from power-wasting low-frequency rumble below 20Hz.

The Phono Box S phono preamp is compatible with both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, so you can count on proper matching with virtually any turntable and cartridge combination.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • compatible with moving magnet and moving coil phono cartridges
  • audiophile-grade polypropylene WIMA capacitors in the signal path
  • switchable input impedance and capacitance settings for proper cartridge loading
  • four adjustable gain levels to match phono cartridge output levels
  • front-panel power on/off switch
  • external power supply for reduced noise and interference
  • switchable subsonic filter (-12dB @ 20Hz)
  • dual-mono circuitry for optimal channel separation
  • small size allows placement near turntable
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 86dB (MM), 68dB (MC)
  • THD: less than 0.01% (MM); less than 0.05% (MC)
  • RIAA response accuracy: less than 0.4dB (20-20,000 Hz)
  • one pair of RCA inputs and outputs
  • 4-1/16"W x 1-7/16"H x 5-1/4""D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Phono (MM/MC) pre-amplifier
  • AC power adapter (with attached 58" DC cord)
  • Instructions

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Phono (MM/MC) Preamp: The Pro-Ject Phono Box S allows you to connect a turntable with either a MM (moving magnet) or MC (moving coil) cartridge to today's home receiver's and amplifier which do not offer a dedicated phono input. There is a button on the back of the unit which allows you to switch between MM or MC mode.

Metal Case: The Phono Box S's metal case shields the electronics from vibration and electromagnetic interference.

Audiophile-Grade Capacitors: Carefully selected amplifier modules and audiophile-grade polypropylene capacitors make it possible to enjoy your valuable vinyl collection like never before.

Dual-Mono Circuitry: The Phono Box S provides optimal channel separation through dual-mono circuitry and low-noise ICs.

RIAA Equalization: The Pro-Ject Phono Box S provides amplification and RIAA equalization for both MM and MC cartridges.

Controls: The Phono Box S features various controls to make sure your turntable sounds it best.

  • Gain Levels: The phono preamp's gain level (40/43/60/63dB) can be adjusted to match the level of your MM/MC turntable.
  • Input Impedance/Capacitance: You can adjust the phono preamp's input impedance (10/100/1000 Ohms) and input capacitance (100/200/320/420pF) to the setting that best suits your turntable. The input impedance is locked at 47k Ohms for MM turntables.
  • Subsonic Filter: A switchable subsonic filter prevents your amplifier and speakers of ultra low rumble below 20Hz (-12dB).

Connections: The Phono Box S features a stereo RCA input and output, as well as a ground terminal.

  • RCA: The phono preamp features gold-plated stereo RCA connections. A stereo RCA input connects your turntable, and a stereo RCA output connects your home receiver or amplifier. RCA cables sold separately.
  • Ground Terminal: The phone preamp also has a turntable ground, in case your turntable has a separate ground lead. This provides shielding to the tone-arm and the sensitive circuitry in the turntable.

Outboard Power Supply: The Pro-Ject Phono Box S operates off of standard household AC current, using the supplied AC power adapter. The external power adapter is separate from the phono preamp to further improve sound quality.

  • Input: 100-240V~50/60Hz, 0.6A
  • Output: 15V - 500mA (18V)
 
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Pro-Ject Phono Box S Reviews

Average Customer Review:

9 people say:

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5 out of 5

Very Nice

Written By JamesC, Lawrence, KS on Thursday, October 02, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Used between a Pro-Ject 6.1 and an Adcom GFP-815, the phono box gave terrific results.
Pros:
Ease of use/installation. Its small footprint allows placement near the turntable. Features are first rate.
Cons:
None
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5 out of 5

Great Peramp

Written By Dave, West Virginia on Thursday, August 28, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This preamp turned out to be another situation that proved to me that "Burn in" is real. When I first got this preamp I felt it was very dull sounding, compared to another one I own. I would run it for a couple days, then compare the two again and go back to my old pre amp because of the Pro-Jects "dull" sound. I had all but given up on this amp, when I again hooked it up last week and found it the same. I decided to give it one last chance to impress me, so after the listening session that day I decided to leave the unit powered up. I ended up leaving it on for 3 days without playing any music. I really didn't expect it to change. But on the 4th day when I decided to give it one last try, I was surprised at what I heard. I thought the preamp sounded much much better. But to make sure I switched back to my old preamp. WOW' they sounded nearly identical. I swapped them back and forth for several days to make sure of what I was hearing, and in this time the Pro-Ject actually started to sound much better than my old preamp. The biggest change was in the high frequencies. Gone was the dull lifeless sound. Replaced by crisp highs, a very musical mid range, along with thundering bass. Yep, I can now recommend this preamp, but give it awhile to burn in.
Pros:
Very musical sounding. Crisp highs, and lots of Bass.
Cons:
Took mine well over 100 hours to burn in, but my patience is being rewarded.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great outcome

Written By SRE, LaPorte, IN on Saturday, March 01, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Wasn't happy thinking of having to purchase a phono preamp to operate my turntable. After buying it and seeing the resulting performance of my vintage Pioneer turntable, it was a blessing. This preamp in conjunction with the NAD C 725BEE receiver I bought at the same time, makes this vintage turntable rock. This may seem hard to believe, but it probably sounds better now than it even did originally. This purchase choice was a recommendation from an adviser at Crutchfield. He was dead right about the good results I've experienced with this unit. This is a new purchase, but the results so far are exceptional. Maybe small, but mighty......
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

A big step uo

Written By RichinCA, Saratoga, CA on Friday, January 24, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
My phono volume has been lagging since I upgraded the cartridge....clearly time for a new step-up preamp. The Phono Box solves the issue--and then some. With adjustable gain settings, I was able to match the output of my pickup to the other sources on my AV receiver. Moreover, the subsonic filter takes away the rumble from warped discs and helps clean up the overall sound stage. Setup was easy and performance is first-rate--a much fuller and wider sound stage than before, with details I am hearing for the first time.
Pros:
Compact size, adjustable output/gain and excellent performance--superior to my previous preamp.
Cons:
Tiny pins for adjusting the gain, capacitance and impendence settings--but only needed once...manual instructions a bit stilted in English, but diagrams helped.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Exceeds expectations

Written By James, Norfolk, VA on Monday, November 18, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The Pro-Ject Phono Box S might be small in size, but it is very solid and well constructed. I have been extremely pleased with the audio quality of this phono stage. One of my favorite features is the adjustable impedance and capacitance. I could not find any other phono stages in this price range that offer this feature. I adjusted the impedance and capacitance to match the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge on my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable (another excellent product).

I bought 4 other phono stages in the same price range from competing manufacturers and tested them against each other over several weeks of listening. Ultimately I chose the Pro-Ject Phono Box S for its balanced and detailed sound and solid build quality.
Pros:
excellent sound, good value, adjustable impedance and capacitance, solid build quality
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

A great add-on to my Debut Carbon (black)

Written By JohnA., Richmond, VA on Thursday, October 31, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The phono-preamp on my Adcom GFP-710 was at best serviceable. The Pro-Ject Phono Box S really open things up - it was a huge difference.
Pros:
Like lifting a burlap bag off the speakers. Adjustable gain, impedance and capacitance for any cartridge.
Cons:
None.
1 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Outstanding Phono Preamp

Written By Grigori, Granville, OH on Friday, July 05, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased this preamp along with the Pro-Ject Xpression III turntable. Previously I had been using a Yamaha C80 control preamp from the 1980's, but one of the channels had started to get a little flaky. When listening analog, the Phono Box is driving an Onkyo TX-NR808 receiver and Boston Acoustics T-1000 towers. In digital mode its is feeding an Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card, as I slowly digitize a large collection of classical, jazz and blues. In either case, my impression is that I am getting greater tonal clarity and hearing more detail in orchestral works. Highly recommended!
Pros:
Adjustable gain, impedance and capacitance. Small box fits right next to turntable. Power supply separate from unit. Noise levels are ridiculously low.
Cons:
None so far.
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

A Great Bargain

Written By Alan, Austin, TX on Wednesday, January 09, 2013
 
I've tried the "S" with a Denon DL-103 and a Grado Red1 Prestige. The Denon works best for me with 60dB of gain and 100 ohms impedance. The Grado sounds best at 43dB of gain and 20 pF of capacitance. VERY quiet phono stage and able to throw a meaty and convincing soundstage. I am impressed. It's about as good as VSPS (similar to 47 Labs' stage) and Cinemag transformers (which I've had). Better than the good DB Systems MM and MC stages I've owned.
Pros:
Quiet, detailed, highly configurable. Surprisingly heavy and seems to be well made.
Cons:
I have no complaints.
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great phono per-amp

Written By Gogman, Boston MA on Monday, January 07, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great Phono Pre-Amp with multiple setting adjustments.
Pros:
Easy hook up with multiple setting adjustments. Perfect sound
Cons:
None
5 out of 6 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 

1 question already asked

How difficult was it to set up this unit? I have a Grado cartridge, and that manufacturer tells me to confine my adjustments to increasing the gain and not to reset impedance or other options. Isa that possible? How do you reset the Gain? [ RinchinCA  Jan 06, 2014 ]
2 answers
  • Setup is very easy. I have not problems at all. This unit have 4 gain settings: 40 db, 43db, 60db and 63db in the bottom. It have 8 little switches. You set the gain with the first 3 of them(on/off). The diagrams are easy to follow. [ JORGE   Jan 09, 2014 ]
  • Setup is fairly simple. There are two banks of DIP switches on the bottom of the unit, one for each channel. Switches 1-3 control the gain, 4-6 the impedance, and 7-8 the capacitance. They all operate independently, and the settings are clearly given in the manual. For gain you can set 40 and 43db for moving magnet cartridges and 60 and 63 db for moving coil cartridges. On the back of the unit you have RCA inputs and outputs, a grounding lug, power connector, and push button to activate a subsonic filter. The unit uses 12v DC power, so there is an AC adaptor that keeps potential line noise away from the unit. I have been very pleased with my purchase. Sound quality is excellent. [ GREGORY   Jan 06, 2014 ]

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Pro-Ject Phono Box S, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_252PBSS/Pro-Ject-Phono-Box-S-Silver.html ).

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    • four adjustable gain levels to match phono cartridge output levels
    • switchable subsonic filter to eliminate turntable rumble
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