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

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Clearly the preferred solution in this thread is not MQB. It's Qobuz! 🙂

Blaming everything on MQA Ltd. is convenient for Pro-Ject, but then how have other small companies managed to create more robust solutions? Perhaps through better testing and better developer management?

 

Purists may not like Mytek's solution, but the fact remains that when several of us tested one of the worst possible situations (an unexpected upsampled monstrosity of an MQA CD on Qobuz), a Mytek DAC succeeded in locking on or falling back to 24/48 and remaining stable, while the Pro-Ject S2D failed.


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51 minutes ago, fgribas said:

 

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.

 

Everyone will have his or her own impressions in this regard. I listened to MQA doing the first unfold and upsampling in Audirvana, and I mostly preferred not only hi res but regular Redbook to the MQA versions. There were exceptions, but they were obviously different masters (instruments in different locations, for example). That's of course only my own experience.


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 -> 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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4 hours ago, left channel said:

Blaming everything on MQA Ltd. is convenient for Pro-Ject, but then how have other small companies managed to create more robust solutions? Perhaps through better testing and better developer management?

 

The "more robust" solution is to feed everything through MQA process, also non-MQA content and let it apply MQA's static upsampling filter to all that data? Which results in poor performance. And then the "more robust" option is left up to user to turn of and off the MQA altogether manually if they wish to avoid MQA from screwing up also non-MQA PCM content?

 

4 hours ago, left channel said:

Purists may not like Mytek's solution, but the fact remains that when several of us tested one of the worst possible situations (an unexpected upsampled monstrosity of an MQA CD on Qobuz), a Mytek DAC succeeded in locking on or falling back to 24/48 and remaining stable, while the Pro-Ject S2D failed.

 

Since MQA code has been found to be quite buggy, different companies may also have different versions of the MQA code, some more willing to issue regular firmware updates to deal with such updates too.

 

ALWAYS turn off MQA support from Mytek if you don't want your regular PCM content screwed up by it. Of course best way to avoid such problems with both DACs is just keep sending them always DSD and you won't have such problems.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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6 minutes ago, left channel said:

Thanks @Miska. Pro-Ject is not known for regular firmware updates, that's certain.

Anyway as agreed above, the best solution to these problems is... Qobuz!  🙂

 

Yes, if Qobuz is available. Unfortunately not here...

 

But I've never got that problem with Tidal and my S2D. Because my S2D doesn't ever see anything else than DSD512 (Roon unfolds MQA and HQPlayer upsamples).

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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8 hours ago, Jumpwire said:

I will be utilizing the MQB workaround while patiently waiting for the next firmware update.

 

The MQB solution to this issue isn’t any less of the “official” MQA experience btw...

 

Instead of DAC doing both 1st unfold + “rendering”, Audirvana will do the 1st unfold and the DAC will do just the “rendering” part.

 

 

 

 

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Allow me to ask something more basic than about MQA unfolding:  If I don't care about Qobuz, Tidal, Roon or MQA and just stream FLAC and DSD files from a NAS to a microRendu to the DAC, is this a good product for the money?

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1 hour ago, Mike Rubin said:

just stream FLAC and DSD files from a NAS to a microRendu to the DAC, is this a good product for the money?

 

Yes, very good DAC.

 

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5 hours ago, Mike Rubin said:

Allow me to ask something more basic than about MQA unfolding:  If I don't care about Qobuz, Tidal, Roon or MQA and just stream FLAC and DSD files from a NAS to a microRendu to the DAC, is this a good product for the money?

 

I think you might have a chance to listen for yourself if you would like.  😉


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 -> 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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1 hour ago, ambre said:

Have now the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital for a week. Use the standard SMPS with JS fix (=grounded the minus of the SMPS)

Sounds superb. 

 

Ps. Use the Allo Bridge as NAA for HQplayer and I am able to decode with ease Native DSD 256. Will try also later DSD 512 with a Mac mini I5 and/or I7.

 

(Much) More appealing DAC than my former  TEAC 501 and 503 DAC.

 

Perhaps you knew this was coming: In what respect(s) do you feel the Pro-Ject is much more appealing?  :) 


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 -> 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 3/16/2019 at 7:20 PM, Miska said:

 

Roon -> HQPlayer -> DAC. Or alternatively Tidal application -> HQPlayer -> DAC. Or A+ -> HQPlayer -> DAC.

 

If the DAC has hunch of MQA, you are screwed...

 

Usually I have something like DSD256 or DSD512 output after MQA decoding.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 7:20 PM, Miska said:

 

Miska: In your example you go from A+ to HQPlayer to DAC.  If I am correctly understanding what you wrote, it is possible to use HQ Player with Audirvana +.  If so, how do you do this?

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32 minutes ago, steveoat said:

Miska: In your example you go from A+ to HQPlayer to DAC.  If I am correctly understanding what you wrote, it is possible to use HQ Player with Audirvana +.  If so, how do you do this?

 

HQPlayer Embedded works as UPnP Renderer, and this is how A+ can work with it. So in A+ you just select wanted HQPlayer Embedded instance as audio output.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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34 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

HQPlayer Embedded works as UPnP Renderer, and this is how A+ can work with it. So in A+ you just select wanted HQPlayer Embedded instance as audio output.

 

So no way of implementing this with HQP desktop?


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On 6/6/2019 at 9:33 PM, Jud said:

 

Perhaps you knew this was coming: In what respect(s) do you feel the Pro-Ject is much more appealing?  :) 

 

Dear  Judd,

 

I always trust my own ears . 📢

 

At your request a concise summary with key words: 😁

  • a better definition in terms of voices and musical instruments 
  • more dynamics ....less laid back.... than the TEACs
  • a better stereo image and more depth resp.layers

PS. Music upsampled by HQplayer to native DSD 256 transported via Allo  USBridge, Uptone Regen (amber) => DAC

 

This Pro-dac Dac is a bargain compared to Dacs that cost a lot more money/

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After using the Pre Box S2 Digital for 6 months (24/7) the display shows problems. I use USB and have volume up (0 dB). All information is shown in 'white'. Two days ago this changed into 'brown'. When turning the volume knob ccw the digits shown are 'white', but the 0 dB and the USB icon in 'brown' stays. It looks as if the screen burnt in or something like that. Has anyone similar experience?

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Heard this and was impressed greatly, especially with the "heft" of the the delivery.  One question, though:  not a huge deal, but does this DAC support native DSD or are those impressive DSD specs for DoP? 

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