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Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital: MQA HW decoding at reasonable cost

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14 hours ago, Jud said:

Do you have a Rendu or one of the Regens? They will convert the voltage for you. So will an LPS-1, though that is not an inexpensive power supply compared to some non-ultracap LPSs, for example.

 

Thanks, unfortunately I have neither of them.

 

Matt

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3 hours ago, matthias said:

 

Thanks, unfortunately I have neither of them.

 

Matt

 

Then another solution can be less costly for you. 

 

Thanks for the DIY Audio link, I’m curious to have a look.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> eero Pro router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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On 9/24/2017 at 6:19 AM, arcman said:

When using as a dac only, can the volume be switched to fixed?

 

Just turn the volume to 0 dB.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> eero Pro router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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11 hours ago, Mark Dirac said:

Yes. Very easy, cheap and effective:

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4-8V-6V-Battery-Box-With-Switch-4-AA-Batteries-Stack-USB-Battery-Storage-Clip-Holder/32820217325.html

 

This is a simple battery box for four 1.2V NiMH cells, with a USB connector. £2 from AliExpress.

 

The fully-charged voltage is 5.45V, and falls immediately to 5.3V when connected (and under load), which I believe is only slightly above USB voltage specs. Anyway, the S2D doesn't complain or get warm at 5.3V. The box supplies power for about 2 hours using 2900mAh NiMH cells. The S2D misbehaves when the voltage falls to about 4.5V  This is such a cheap solution that I have two. When one runs out, I plug in the other and recharge. 

 

Simple, if inconvenient. No switching. No regulators. No mains noise. No common-mode noise.

 

In another thread discussing power supplies, someone who designs sophisticated digital circuits for a living had this to say about such battery supplies without regulators:

 

 


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> eero Pro router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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In a phone, laptop, etc you always have a switching regulator... The analog section chip in S2D uses built-in charge pump to create needed additional negative voltage rail, which is also kind of switching regulator.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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On 5/11/2019 at 11:09 AM, Em2016 said:

Hi @Miska , i see you're at the Munich Show.


Do you know what this new DAC is about? Is it there at the show?

 

93423184_ScreenShot2019-05-11at6_07_54pm.thumb.png.1ac25b4c338ed9cac4978ee486584121.png

 

I didn't notice it there, maybe it was powered down like most of the other Pro-Ject stuff that was just dead boxes on display.

 

Only on Sunday I had time to listen to some systems. Esoteric had pretty good sounding setup and seemed to have now moved to discrete DSD DACs as well instead of COTS DAC chips. On Saturday morning I listened through the demo of the new T+A DAC.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Is no one using MQA decoding with this DAC?

 

I based my purchase on this forum and another one. There was an earlier mention of the problem, but it seemed fixed.

 

The problem is NOT fixed in 2.12 Firmware update. The last promised update never came.

 

I am having constant MQA drop outs. 70$ USB Cable and LPS doesn't matter. 

 

There goes 500$. As much as I want to like this product, it feels totally half-baked with its broken MQA decoding.

 

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9 hours ago, Jumpwire said:

The problem is NOT fixed in 2.12 Firmware update.

 

Correct but you won't see the problem if you have your software perform the 1st unfold. In this mode, you'll see 'MQB' shown on the DAC's display.

 

The bug is only there when the DAC does the full MQA decode. What software are you using?

 

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11 hours ago, Jumpwire said:

I am having constant MQA drop outs. 70$ USB Cable and LPS doesn't matter. 

 

1 hour ago, Em2016 said:

 

Correct but you won't see the problem if you have your software perform the 1st unfold. In this mode, you'll see 'MQB' shown on the DAC's display.

 

The bug is only there when the DAC does the full MQA decode. What software are you using?

 

 

2.12 did reduce the number of drop-outs but did not completely solve the problem. This DAC is still known to be more sensitive than most to imperfections in an MQA signal, and for not falling back smoothly to an undecoded format when that happens. Having said that, @Jumpwire your situation seems worse than most and I'd be interested to hear if the above MQB suggestion helps. And a solution for getting full MQA unfolding from your system might be adding a USB clean-up accessory, with options ranging in price from a Jitterbug to a Wyrd to an ISO REGEN.


Everyone wants to date my avatar.

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I would like the DAC to do full MQA decoding as its supposed to. I took a look at all three USB clean-up accessories you mentioned, and according to Audio Science Review they seem like snake oil. It seems stupid to keep throwing money at this DAC when most people report these issues without any guaranteed fix. I wonder if the Bluesound Node 2 has the same MQA issues? I might as well sell this thing and add 50$ to get a Node instead of spending another 200$ on another cable and USB plugin.

 

If I had the to burn I would try these products, but at this point it seems like I should just get a better DAC.

I was looking to buy a Pro-ject turntable in the near future, not anymore this company is totally black balled in my books.

 

 

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7 hours ago, left channel said:

This DAC is still known to be more sensitive than most to imperfections in an MQA signal, and for not falling back smoothly to an undecoded format when that happens.

 

I haven’t seen any reports of people having issues with the DAC in “MQB” mode... ie software does the 1st unfold and the DAC does “the rest” (rendering).

 

One of the software companies that offer the 1st unfold/decode mentioned this solution to me... the bug only shows up when the DAC has to do the full monty.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jumpwire said:

I was looking to buy a Pro-ject turntable in the near future, not anymore this company is totally black balled in my books.

 

They've been making turntables for decades. Computer audio is a relatively new thing for them.

 

 


Everyone wants to date my avatar.

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14 hours ago, Jumpwire said:

I would like the DAC to do full MQA decoding as its supposed to. I took a look at all three USB clean-up accessories you mentioned, and according to Audio Science Review they seem like snake oil. It seems stupid to keep throwing money at this DAC when most people report these issues without any guaranteed fix. I wonder if the Bluesound Node 2 has the same MQA issues? I might as well sell this thing and add 50$ to get a Node instead of spending another 200$ on another cable and USB plugin.

 

If I had the to burn I would try these products, but at this point it seems like I should just get a better DAC.

I was looking to buy a Pro-ject turntable in the near future, not anymore this company is totally black balled in my books.

 

Look at Miska's response in a little more detail. He's telling you getting DACs to keep a lock on MQA input is sufficiently difficult that many manufacturers simply use the MQA filters (which let certain kinds of distortion through - though in most cases it shouldn't be audible) on all content, even non-MQA.  

 

Now this might be desirable for you in order to get reliable MQA performance, but for me, since I don't listen to music processed via MQA, it's not. I think this is less an indication of unreliability on the part of Pro-Ject, and more an indication that they've chosen to make their DAC operate reliably with the bulk of available music.  

 

All that being said, I do understand it's very frustrating to purchase a product that doesn't do the thing it was advertised to do that you bought it for.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> eero Pro router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I enjoyed listening to MQA from Tidal without difficulty for months - until I switched to Qobuz. I didn't switch to Qobuz because of bugs affecting MQA playback, but because I became jaded with trying to penetrate the obfuscation surrounding MQA.

 

MQA for me is an extra level of complexity in an already-complex process of reproducing digitally-streamed music well. And MQA the organisation are too duplicitous in their explanations of what's going on. They have made an abstruse technology even more awkward to embrace.

 

So, whilst my comment doesn't assist Jumpwire's with his MQA hassle, I am answering his original question "Is no one using MQA decoding with this DAC?".

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51 minutes ago, Jud said:

I don't suppose we could convince you that non-MQA-encoded material (for example, downloads, Qobuz) actually sounds better, eh?  😉

 

MQA discussion is a long long story 😄

 

But in a nutshell, MQA is better than redbook when you only do the 1st unfold by software and then upsample with good filters (with HQPlayer for example). Pure MQA (1st unfold + MQA own filter) can sound better than redbook, or the same, or even worse.

 

Qobuz and every other real hi-res source is better than MQA, no doubt about it. I currently have Tidal and Qobuz subscription, both used on Roon. And I'm very happy with it and my S2D.

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