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Customer Reviews

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Micro-sized digital stereo preamp with built-in headphone amp (Black)

MFR # PRBXS2D-BK

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Micro-sized digital stereo preamp with built-in headphone amp (Black)

MFR # PRBXS2D-BK

27 reviews
View this product

Pre box s2 digital

Crutchfield customer from Carol Stream, IL on 10/21/2021

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Verified employee purchase (What's this?)

There's a lot of good affordable dac's on the market and I haven't compared this to any of them. This pre box s2 digital has exactly the features I need, full MQA, variable output, usb, coax and optical input, headphone jack, screen display and full feature remote. If you're wondering if the step from to 24/192 is audible from 24/96 thru this box in my system the answer is yes. There's professional reviews out there that offer measurements and comparisons. I'm keeping this one and if you want to hear if full mqa is worth the upgrade listen to Queensryche Empire or supertramp crime of the century and decide for yourself. Use the usb input for hi rez and leave the power supply in the box.

Pros: Works as advertised.

Cons: Screen is small to read from listening seat

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Reference level MQA performance!

Matt from Milwaukee on 10/19/2021

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iFi Zen Stream feeding this Tidal MQA DAC equals the streaming performance of a 5K+ Lumin T2 with Sbooster Power supply. I've had this DAC 2 years now and tried to replace it with the T2, but once I heard the iFi streamer feeding the Project, I sold the T2. It's important to note that while non-MQA rendering is very good, it's really only the MQA performance that stands far above the rest. I was an MQA skeptic. This DAC and the iFi Zen Stream converted me. No brainer combo, imo.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Compact Performer

Clarence from CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA on 10/14/2021

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Solid value considering the dual-mono configuration with high-performance ESS SABRE DACs. Tested USB input with iFi Zen Stream (connected via AudioQuest Carbon USB & Cinnamon Ethernet). No issues streaming TIDAL MQA, Qobuz, or playing DSD64 .dsf files from connected USB HDD. With all content, the Pre Box S2 Digital produced big, impressive sound. Clean & dynamic with good bass definition. Wireless remote is also a nice touch.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Disappointed

Adam from EAST GREENWICH, RI on 2/27/2021

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Bought new received an open box with a broken plug.

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Crutchfield response on 3/15/2021
Adam contacted our Customer Support team and set up a return. Purchases from Crutchfield can be returned or exchanged within 60 days.

4 of 6 found this helpful

Clear and musical dac

Stephen J from Hendersonville, NC on 2/14/2021

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Purchased as an upgrade/alternative to the digital inputs on my NAD C328 integrated amp. I'm using all the inputs on the Pre Box (optical, coaxial, usb) and don't find any input of lesser sound quality than the others. The dac is clear and musical, very good especially with voices. I like the filters which are useful for different genres of music. (I use the optimal transient for classical music and slow rolloff for pop vocalists.) I also like the ability to decode MQA in the hardware; I find it an improvement over the Tidal app software. As for the headphone amp, I would be satisfied if using this on portable occasions. However, there is more space and separation when using headphones through the integrated amp. All in all, I'm very satisfied with the dac. It is indeed an upgrade and my NAD integrated is now used as a headphone and speaker amp. The musicality of the Pre Box and the accurate, neutral character of the NAD work very well together.

Pros: Sound quality using all digital inputs Hardware MQA decoding Small and portable flexible usage (with integrated or power amps, powered speakers)

Cons: headphone amp sound good, but not as spacious as when using a separate amplified unit

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Great DAC/headphone amp

Crutchfield customer from Baltimore, MD on 1/28/2021

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I bought this DAC/headphone amp combo to upgrade my TV/movie sound. (I had been using a Sennheiser Flex 5000 wireless system, and no longer needed the wireless functionality, and felt I could get better sound going this route - not that the Flex is a bad unit soundwise.) I use the optical out from my TV, so quite different than the more usual computer USB connection. I'm driving Audioquest Nighthawk headphones. The unit is quite small, but very solidly built. The sound is fantastic. Much has been made in online reviews elsewhere of the "puny" headphone amp. It is totally totally fine with my Nighthawks, but they are 25 ohm headphones. If you have significantly higher impedance/lower sensitivity phones, you may want to go another route if you need the headphone amp functionality.

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Crutchfield customer from Glen Burnie, MD on 1/20/2021

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Definitely worth the money life you want to listen to real 24 bit ad mqa

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Hi Fi DAC

Crutchfield customer from Ocean Isl Bch, NC on 12/19/2020

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This product Is made very well. It is easy to use as well. Graphics display is small, but it is a small unit. Not a setback. More importantly is the sound. I switched from a integrated amp with a built in DAC to a power amp/ pre amp. In combination with that, and this unit the sound is so much better. The sound is more "live", with a more air around the voices, and instruments. Imaging is greatly improved too.

Pros: Size. Sound. Price

Cons: Smallish display, but the unit is small!

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Customer review photo

0 of 0 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Crutchfield customer from Charleston, SC on 12/13/2020

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The Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital made an impressive improvement of the sound quality coming out of my cheap CD player. I bypassed the CD player's DAC by using an AudioQuest Forest OptiLink cable. Listening from my MacBook Pro with the Pro-Ject DAC made the music come alive. I bypassed the MacBook Pro's DAC by using an AudioQuest Forest USB-C to USB-B cable. The Pro-Ject's remote control is very useful with features including volume adjustment, back/pause/forward selection, and filter selection.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Nice Addition

Crutchfield customer from Old Hickory, TN on 10/10/2020

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Crutchfield delivered the unit before schedule and it arrived as described. I haven't had enough time to truly evaluate it, but so far so good, I am using as a D/A for my system. I have been trying to see what settings i like and don't, which take long repetitive sessions, that I have only just begun... But as I said so far I am pleased with the sound.

Pros: Quality built, sound quality, remote

Cons: Display is too hard to read from any distance. could be better informative manual.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Crutchfield customer from Fremont, CA on 7/30/2020

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Bought this DAC/Preamp in order to support Tidal's MQA offering.Seamless integration with my Mac mini via USB, it's clean, articulate and very transparent. MQA sounds really good but also enjoy listening to non-MQA but high resolution streamed music. I also have this DAC via pre-out to my KEF LS50W for mains.

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Crutchfield response on

0 of 0 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

William from RALEIGH, NC on 7/20/2020

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Verified employee purchase (What's this?)

Very pleased with this DAC/preamp with or without MQA. It's size and functionality along with the remote and display checked all the right boxes for me, and it provided an audible upgrade over my last DAC (Audioengine D1). As others have mentioned getting MQA to work was unnecessarily painful but I finally nailed it after spending way too much time researching around the web. If clear instructions had accompanied the unit I would have cheerfully given it 5 stars. I haven't encountered the MQA dropouts others have mentioned, but I may not be listening to some of the problematic tracks. To help others with configuration, here are my notes. Missing any one of these on your Windows PC, Pre Box S2 or Tidal may prevent MQA from operating * Tidal: - Settings/Streaming --- Disable Loudness normalization --- Select Master Streaming Audio Quality - Setting/Streaming/Sound Output (More Settings) --- Enable Use Exclusive Mode --- Enable Force Volume --- Enable Passthrough MQA (DAC will say MQB if disabled) * Windows 10 PC - Install Windows driver from Pro ject web site - Connect via USB (Optical and Coax don't support MQA) - Make sure Speakers is set to Pre-Box S2 Digital - Ensure volume is at 100% on PC, only control via Pre Box S2 * Pre Box S2: - Use USB Input (Optical and Coax don't support MQA) - Check for latest firmware - (optional) Use Mini USB port to power DAC as that isolates power away from audio

Pros: - Audio quality - Features - Form Factor

Cons: - Missing configuration documentation

Crutchfield response on
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13 of 13 found this helpful

MQA takes work, and still isn't perfect

Jonathan from Houston on 6/18/2020

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The sound quality is, in fact, better than what your computer will generate by itself. I use it to play music through headphones and my hifi, as well as listen to audio output from PC games. As concerns MQA unfolding: it took a lot of troubleshooting with Crutchfield, Tidal, and Project Audio distributor (Sumiko) to get MQA files to unfold on the device with Tidal. Sumiko was the only one able to provide the right answer. Once I finally got it working, it noticed that MQA playback is very unstable when the MQA passthrough is enabled (when you let the DAC unfold the file). Songs constantly drop and stutter. At first I thought my 30 mbps internet connection somehow wasn't fast enough to buffer MQA. But after reading around online, I found that other people had the same problem as me. Strangely, the newer the song, the worse the stuttering. I can play Art Blakey and Duke Ellington all night with no problem, but the DAC can't play Lady Gaga's new album without dropping each song seven or eight times. It's unlistenable. So here's the workaround I'm now using: if the DAC drops MQA files too often, I'll disable passthrough, letting my Macbook unfold the file and the DAC render it. This will result in an "MQB" rather than an MQA. To my ears, I think MQB and MQA sound the same. MQB will play without hiccups. But when you pay money for a product for the express purpose of getting MQA playback, don't you want it to work properly? I'm not perfectly happy.

Pros: great sound quality

Cons: MQA playback stutters. MQA requires troubleshooting.

Crutchfield response on

5 of 6 found this helpful

Very Happy

Crutchfield customer from Mound, MN on 4/28/2020

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I've had this DAC/Amp for a month and am very happy with the output and sound quality. Very clean and functions extremely well on my iMac.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Crutchfield customer from Portland, OR on 4/27/2020

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Verified employee purchase (What's this?)

Small but mighty. This replaced an aging Benchmark DAC1 with a newer and improved chipset, USB input and MQA unfolding. Still assessing if the latter is worthwhile over lossless format, but overall a great upgrade with a well made piece of hardware. Set up was a breeze, and firmware was already updated to the most current. The only snag was getting MQA unfolding to work which ended up being just needing to make sure my PC volume was at 100%. Based on personal experience, a linear power supply is worth investing in for this unit even when using the USB input despite what the manual says - unit auto switches power from USB to the DC input when detected.

Pros: High quality, dual-mono chipset Small form factor LCD screen Remote MQA

Cons: Low-quality switching power supply

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Crutchfield customer from East Rockaway, NY on 4/23/2020

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Terrific product, sounds terrific given price point. Quite a capable piece, using it to feed my Audioengine A5+ speakers from my PC.

Pros: USB, SPDIF inputs.

Cons: No network connectivity to serve as DLNA endpoint vs USB,etc. inputs. And no ability to control via web interface on PC.

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0 of 1 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Crutchfield customer from Columbus, OH on 4/18/2020

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I finally took the leap to try streaming and now I am hooked. I needed a DAC and was looking for a well rated and reasonably priced DAC. I also wanted a DAC that could play MQA files. The Pre Box S2 works great with my laptop. I am enjoying Tidal. The MQA versions of albums that I am familiar with are outstanding! I had an issue getting MQA to work, but Crutchfield put me in touch with the Pre Box distributor and they were able to walk me through the needed steps. The headphone amp is excellent. This little box is also able to work as a preamp and drive my power amplifier. It is powered by the USB connection from the laptop and is very easy to move to different listening places via headphone anywhere in the house or to the connect to my stereo equipment.

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Crutchfield response on

1 of 1 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Crutchfield customer from Miami, FL on 3/2/2020

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Good DAC, may be a little on the bright side, however gets better sounding as you listen to it. Maybe a little less detailed than the Mojo.

Pros:

Cons:

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Comments on Pro-Ject Pre Box S2

Crutchfield customer from Ozark, MO on 12/2/2019

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Verified employee purchase (What's this?)

FIrst, I would like to comment that the Crutchfield Customer Service is great. I like that I can call and get input on what is the best equipment for me and they are extremely responsive. I got an open box unit and the remote was missing. I called and with no questions asked they sent me another remote. (Thanks Crutchfield!) Second, the Pre Box. For the money it would be hard to beat. I was really surprised how small the unit was when I opened the box. It is amazing how much functionality they put in the unit. I am setting up Roon endpoints in my house. First I tried the unit with Chromecast Audio Disc with optical out. I was disappointed with the sound. Next I tried the unit with hooked to Sonos Connect with Coaxial out and the sound was very good. Please note that the pre-amp would not drive my two 60 watt mono block tube amps (they seem to need a good pre-amp signal to help drive the amps). So far I am pleased with the unit. I looked at other units with similar functionality and could not find any units close to this price range.

Pros: Loaded a great deal of functionality for the price.

Cons: Preamp was unable to drive my 60 watt mono block tube amps (however i have found they hard to drive with certain preamps).

Crutchfield response on

2 of 2 found this helpful

Excellent PRE

Crutchfield customer from Solon, OH on 9/19/2019

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Crystal clear sound, this preamp definitely does not get in the way. Solid build, outstanding I/O, and the sound is extraordinary for a component of any size, much less this sturdy little box! I'm using it with a dedicated AV Linux setup and could not be happier.

Pros: Clarity of Sound Transparency Precise Constructoin

Cons:

Crutchfield response on

2 of 2 found this helpful

DAC that Produces a Real Improvement

Roy from Kansas on 5/19/2019

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Excellent DAC with performance that rivals the best modern architectures. This DAC/Preamp doesn't put all music through a rosy warm filter. It plays what you feed it with exceptional accuracy and practically zero distortion. If you've owned multiple upsampling DACs around the $300 and found they mostly sound the same, be prepared for a real improvement with this unit. Better channel separation and articulation are the most notable strengths over units of similar price. If you want a DAC that imparts warmth to all your digital sources, get the DAC Box S FL instead.

Pros: -Real tangible improvement - actually sounds better than other inexpensive units. -Small size -Price -Can be used as high-quality digital preamp or stand-alone DAC

Cons: -Remote could be nicer -Buttons feel somewhat cheap -Linear power supply an expensive option.

Crutchfield response on

7 of 9 found this helpful

More Stone-Cold (dead) than Steve Austin

Shane from Atlanta, GA on 1/9/2019

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Well, right out of the box it was DOA. Terrible quality control from Pro-Ject. I'll see if the second one is any better. To be continued!

Pros:

Cons: DOA our of the box

Crutchfield response on

11 of 35 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

padmakumar from Peachtree City, GA on 12/7/2018

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I will say the best DAC you can buy not just on its price but even with twice or thrice its price even. Dual mono design with Sabre 9038 is unmatched quality. I sold my Yamaha CXA5100 after experiencing MQA streams from Tidal. The remote that comes with this is the game changer. You can change the track even the Tidal player in PC playing MQA files. Anyone need to experience MQA and or high-resolution audio this is the ultimate unless you have a super high budget. I tried with Parasound JC5, Mcintosh MC152, Emotiva XPADR2, and every amp sounded fantastic with this preamp. To me for ultimate 2 channel experience, all you need is Pro-Ject PreBox S2 Digital, PC/streamer, good AMP and a good speaker. Enjoy music

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Crutchfield response on

3 of 4 found this helpful

Impossibly beautiful!

Drummer from mountains of northwest nj on 10/21/2018

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Impossibly beautiful! What a great time to be an audiophile. I am going to use two terms I have read in hi fi reviews for years but never really experienced for myself. Weight and presence. Had to do it. These describe the startling (to me) experience I am enjoying. Openness, transparency, oh man, I am sounding like the reviews I like to read but you know what? These are the words that really do best describe the sound of the S2. I am a 2 channel guy. Connected gear: MacBook Pro (late 2012) > Tidal Hi Fi subscription (16 bit and MQA files) > the great Audirvana App (connects to Tidal replaces audio path in Mac) > Audioquest Carbon USB ($ but try it) . Listening on my trusty old (but still strong) Grado SR 80 headphones. I sincerely hope my enthusiasm for this product might inspire you to give it a listen. And Crutchfield's continued excellent customer support is exemplary. (PS- I have read that upgrading the power supply yields a bit of improvement. Hard to imagine, but worth mentioning)

Pros: Sound, build quality, value. professional reviews cite EISA awards and say the device compares to previous generations of DACs costing significantly more.

Cons: I'd appreciate documentation about the filter types the device offers. I am relatively technically aware, and would like to learn more about this aspect of the DAC. Again, not a flaw on the device, but a preference for the documentation.

Crutchfield response on

3 of 4 found this helpful

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Bill from Vancouver, WA on 7/29/2018

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I purchased this recently and am on the third unit, which each one having issues - I am glad Crutchfield has such great customer service. On this third unit, I have reached out to Project to see what they have to say about the problems. The problems are always with the higher data rates - the PCM at 768k periodically looses sync and comes out as loud garbled noise - the DSD at all data rates (worst at 256 and 512) have significant dropouts - the third unit seemed to be O.K. when I received it for a few days, then it began experiencing the same problems - I am using this on a 64bit Win7 system, but tried it on a Win10 system to see if the problem went away (and it was still there) - I have not tried the MQA function, but everything else works great and it sounds wonderful - I looked around to see if I could find anyone else experiencing the same problem and there was nothing I cold find online - I wondered if this was similar to other products implementing the same chipset, but again, I found nothing online - hopefully the vendor can help, otherwise, I will be returning this unit in the next week or so. :( All settings are set to the most conservative to minimize any latency and dpc latency shows the PC is working perfectly. The ASIO control panel shows the output latency is greater than the input latency in all PCM modes and the other way around on all DSD modes???!!! Hopefully they have updated drivers or firmware that will address this problem.

Pros: sounds great (in most modes)

Cons: fast modes have issues

Crutchfield response on

13 of 22 found this helpful

TV audio option

Dave from NY on 4/30/2018

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Wonderful unit used to convert my optical 4k TV audio feed to my Bryston integrated. Sound is great!

Pros: Conversion and build quality.

Cons: none

Crutchfield response on

2 of 2 found this helpful

had to buy.

roberto from longmont, co. on 4/26/2018

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Verified employee purchase (What's this?)

needed money for my car n sold my AYRE cd player, thought i could live with my tascam recorder , no way, so i took some of the money from the sale n bought open box s2, wow that really helped. not as good but no cd player is like the AYRE. at this price it should be a killer. this came with a remote n saber dacs. very happy over all.

Pros: great sound for the price. remote. filters to chose from.

Cons: little shy on bass. needs real power cord.

Crutchfield response on

9 of 14 found this helpful

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