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Thanks for the review link.

 

However, Sterophile's review left me wondering.  Wondering how the contents of the review turned the Project into a class "A" rating?  Wondering if the Project actually bettered the AQ DragonFly Red, or whether overall they were equal with perhaps the AQ bettering the Project? 

 

The review revolved around using the Project with headphones.  While speakers seemed to be used, I found no listening comments specific to their use.   

 

I don't doubt that the Project at its price point is a superb DAC.  I just don't know how the review I read, translates into a Class A rating, unless of course the value-to-performance ratio skewed it in that direction?  

 

At any rate, the devil is always in the details and for me and for my 2-cents, Stereophile's review goes wanting.  

   

-Mike

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9 minutes ago, mrmb said:

Thanks for the review link.

 

However, Sterophile's review left me wondering.  Wondering how the contents of the review turned the Project into a class "A" rating?  Wondering if the Project actually bettered the AQ DragonFly Red, or whether overall they were equal with perhaps the AQ bettering the Project? 

 

The review revolved around using the Project with headphones.  While speakers seemed to be used, I found no listening comments specific to their use.   

 

I don't doubt that the Project at its price point is a superb DAC.  I just don't know how the review I read, translates into a Class A rating, unless of course the value-to-performance ratio skewed it in that direction?  

 

At any rate, the devil is always in the details and for me and for my 2-cents, Stereophile's review goes wanting.  

   

 

I found the main review rather incomplete and uninformed, but I think the Class A rating is based entirely on John Atkinson's measurements which probably far outclass the DragonFly as well as many higher-priced competitors. For the price those results are outstanding, but in other respects you still get what you pay for. You'll find a very long thread for the Pro-Ject S2D here on AS.

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I hope/believe that stereophile review and rating are based mainly on listening test, like with their other reviews. Measurement is just to reassure the basics. I also believe the price is not taken into consideration when giving it a Class A, which is what I regard their rating pretty highly - how do products compare to each other when prices are ignored.

Setup #1: GoldenEar Triton Reference --> Parasound Halo Integrated --> Allo DigiOne Signature

Setup #2: ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 --> Akitika GT-102 --> ???

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1 hour ago, Shangri-La said:

I hope/believe that stereophile review and rating are based mainly on listening test, like with their other reviews. Measurement is just to reassure the basics. I also believe the price is not taken into consideration when giving it a Class A, which is what I regard their rating pretty highly - how do products compare to each other when prices are ignored.

 

I would like to believe that too, but the review is incomplete, consisting of only headphone listening by a guy who says "I don't often listen to headphones", and it is not entirely positive either: he reports that in his comparisons other products (the DragonFly and the Tascam) sounded better to him. His conclusion is certainly similar to that of most of us here, in that it's an ambitious little unit offering an amazing number of features and performing well for its size, but the rating has got to be based on the measurements by John Atkinson, who commented that this "tiny, inexpensive box offers almost state-of-the-art measured digital performance".

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Assuming that the analog output stage of a DAC is as important to SQ as other analog circuits, the above is an important question.  IIRC, @jabbr has one o the Pro Ject  DACs, or is about to get one, so maybe he will chip in some listening tests or impressions.

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I can say that the Pro-Ject S2D sounds far better than any of the little wheat thin like DACs that I’ve heard... and I have a few that are laying around my desk and car etc but never call me back to listen. As opposed to the iFi Micro, the Pro-Ject seems to be sensitive to noise on the USB input, in that the UpTone ISO Regen actually makes a big difference (as opposed to the iFi Micro for which it didn’t). The Pro-Ject is far less annoying than the iFi which has too many knobs & switches and options that I can’t keep straight.

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22 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

jabbr, have you compared an expensive DAC with the Pro-Ject S2D?  Say thru a Nelson Paas chain... to speakers?

 

I myself can not endure all these reviews and listening impressions based purely on HP.

 

Matt

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58 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

jabbr, have you compared an expensive DAC with the Pro-Ject S2D?  Say thru a Nelson Paas chain... to speakers?

 

I’m not doing blinded or even sighted A/B comparisons on my NP amps, at least not in the near future. I’m using it with my Cavalli Tube Hybrid (Massdrop version) headphone amp, and it’s quite good. 

 

Frankly there are are so many variables that I find it tedious to do accurate SQ testing on equipment. @Superdad had sent me an ISO Regen for review and I finally bought it — after keeping it for 6 months! — but was still really struggling to hear a difference with the iFi — when I initially used the S2D it frankly sucked until I intervened with the ISO Regen and now I love it — that’s my impression....

 

Im currently in the midst of tuning my server for HQPe — and ultimately will probably give up on the dual E5 and get a faster clocked chip eg i9 ... there are so many many many variables it’s really really hard to control them all.

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Yeah the designer has stated that the Pro-Ject S2D will benefit from a linear power supply.

Setup #1: GoldenEar Triton Reference --> Parasound Halo Integrated --> Allo DigiOne Signature

Setup #2: ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 --> Akitika GT-102 --> ???

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32 minutes ago, Shangri-La said:

Yeah the designer has stated that the Pro-Ject S2D will benefit from a linear power supply.

Yeah so the ISO Regen powered by LPS1.1 which is what I’m doing now works just great. 

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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4 hours ago, jabbr said:

I can say that the Pro-Ject S2D sounds far better than any of the little wheat thin like DACs that I’ve heard... and I have a few that are laying around my desk and car etc but never call me back to listen. As opposed to the iFi Micro, the Pro-Ject seems to be sensitive to noise on the USB input, in that the UpTone ISO Regen actually makes a big difference (as opposed to the iFi Micro for which it didn’t). The Pro-Ject is far less annoying than the iFi which has too many knobs & switches and options that I can’t keep straight.

 

I don't know if it was what Miska was referring to when he mentioned aggravations with the iFi firmware, but for me there are very often times when I have to unplug and replug power to ISO Regen or micro-Rendu to get the iFi to show up as NAA or UPnP/DLNA endpoint.  If it is the DAC, I'd certainly be happier with one that reliably connected for streaming.  (Once it is connected, there's no trouble maintaining that, but it's a PITA having to play with it to get it to show up in the first place.)

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 -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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2 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

I don't know if it was what Miska was referring to when he mentioned aggravations with the iFi firmware, but for me there are very often times when I have to unplug and replug power to ISO Regen or micro-Rendu to get the iFi to show up as NAA or UPnP/DLNA endpoint.  If it is the DAC, I'd certainly be happier with one that reliably connected for streaming.  (Once it is connected, there's no trouble maintaining that, but it's a PITA having to play with it to get it to show up in the first place.)

 

Yeah so there is this overloading weirdness ... by overloading I mean that unplugging external power switches the device into battery mode, and so you then need to turn on and off to get it back to bus powered mode ... I think the battery then dies and it obviously shiuts off ...  ugghhhhh!

 

The iFi sounds fantastic but its UI is awful. The Pro-ject, I can sit down, hit Room on my iPhone and listen to the music streaming at DSD512 without turning everything on and off 10 times first.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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5 hours ago, jabbr said:

As opposed to the iFi Micro, the Pro-Ject seems to be sensitive to noise on the USB input, in that the UpTone ISO Regen actually makes a big difference (as opposed to the iFi Micro for which it didn’t).

 

I wonder if the Pro-Ject measures better (better than 19 bits resolution?) than the iFi and that's why you can hear differences better with the Pro-Ject?

 

We may never know because I doubt JA will measure an iFi micro iDSD now.

 

He has measured the PRO iDSD but that's apples and oranges of course: "Increasing the bit depth from 16 to 24 with a dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS lowered the noise floor by 12dB or so (fig.12)"

 

For Pro-Ject S2 DAC: "Increasing the bit depth from 16 to 24 with a dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS lowered the noise floor by almost 20dB (fig.13)"

 

You would expect Pro iDSD to have better resolution than micro iDSD though? Reasonable assumption?

 

Maybe the lower noise floor helps with noticing USB source differences with the S2 DAC. Who knows.

 

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4 hours ago, Shangri-La said:

Yeah the designer has stated that the Pro-Ject S2D will benefit from a linear power supply.

 

 

Audio Advisor carries them....   https://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PRBXPOW1

 

 

prbxpow1_sil.jpg

 

 

 

 

It all depends upon in what dimension of life one finds themselves living in.  For, one man's music is another man's noise. 

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2 hours ago, jabbr said:

 

Yeah so there is this overloading weirdness ... by overloading I mean that unplugging external power switches the device into battery mode, and so you then need to turn on and off to get it back to bus powered mode ... I think the battery then dies and it obviously shiuts off ...  ugghhhhh!

 

The iFi sounds fantastic but its UI is awful. The Pro-ject, I can sit down, hit Room on my iPhone and listen to the music streaming at DSD512 without turning everything on and off 10 times first.

 

None of those problems here with me, either with the original iDSD NaNO, or with an iDSD Micro BL. I leave them on USB power all the time though. You should just have to turn it on one time, with it connected to USB. Then it will work like, forever? The battery will never die, etc. 

 

Unless of course, you guys are letting the music player machine go to sleep. If you do that, the iFi will switch to battery power and die off after 10 or so hours. So the answer is, just don't do *that*. Leave the music machine powered on 24x7.  It will extend the computer's life span anyway. :)

 

-Paul 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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2 hours ago, Em2016 said:

I wonder if the Pro-Ject measures better (better than 19 bits resolution?) than the iFi and that's why you can hear differences better with the Pro-Ject?

 

"Measuring" with my ears, I am saying that the iFi sounds terrific with or without the Regen. It is the Pro-ject that, for me in this specific setup, has a fairly dramatic improvement with the Regen. So, the Espressobin with its cheap wallwart usb power supply, powering the S2D sounds like crap, and the ISO Regen + LPS 1.1 cleans that up. The iFi Micro doesn't care, its great regardless.

 

Frankly I see this as the problem with anyone listening to something for 30 seconds and then drawing eternal conclusions. 

 

I am all in favor of measurements when they exist, but this difference is dramatic enough that I don't need measurements. What can I say? YMMV

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21 minutes ago, Paul R said:

Unless of course, you guys are letting the music player machine go to sleep. If you do that, the iFi will switch to battery power and die off after 10 or so hours. So the answer is, just don't do *that*. Leave the music machine powered on 24x7.  It will extend the computer's life span anyway. :)

 

 

In my case I'm using ARM devices for which I often have to custom compile a linux kernel, so yeah who knows? At some point I just want to plug it in and have it work and not worry about these details. ... I'm of the philosophy that I probably put up with more glitchiness than 99% of people out there (other than the other Phasure customers 😂 -- sorry not sorry @PeterSt) and so there's a lot to be said for simple plug and play -- the S2D wins big in this category ;) 

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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5 minutes ago, jabbr said:

I'm of the philosophy that I probably put up with more glitchiness than 99% of people out there (other than the other Phasure customers 😂 -- sorry not sorry @PeterSt) and so there's a lot to be said for simple plug and play -- the S2D wins big in this category ;)

 

If you rephrase that a little I might be able to understand what you are saying there ... :)

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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11 minutes ago, jabbr said:

 

In my case I'm using ARM devices for which I often have to custom compile a linux kernel, so yeah who knows? At some point I just want to plug it in and have it work and not worry about these details. ... I'm of the philosophy that I probably put up with more glitchiness than 99% of people out there (other than the other Phasure customers 😂 -- sorry not sorry @PeterSt) and so there's a lot to be said for simple plug and play -- the S2D wins big in this category ;) 

 

LOL!, Well , that is actually fun. You do know five minutes with an exacto knife and any spare USB charger would eliminate that issue though, right?  :).  Or an iFi iUSB, or any other power source that would be uninterrupted. ;)

 

-Paul 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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36 minutes ago, jabbr said:

Frankly I see this as the problem with anyone listening to something for 30 seconds and then drawing eternal conclusions.

 

Not sure... I have owned both for 6+ months...

 

36 minutes ago, jabbr said:

What can I say? YMMV

 

Yup always the case

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2 hours ago, Paul R said:

 

None of those problems here with me, either with the original iDSD NaNO, or with an iDSD Micro BL. I leave them on USB power all the time though. You should just have to turn it on one time, with it connected to USB. Then it will work like, forever? The battery will never die, etc. 

 

Unless of course, you guys are letting the music player machine go to sleep. If you do that, the iFi will switch to battery power and die off after 10 or so hours. So the answer is, just don't do *that*. Leave the music machine powered on 24x7.  It will extend the computer's life span anyway.

 

-Paul 

 

 

Ah ah ah, pay attention - what is directly connected to the DAC is the ISO Regen, which is indeed always on (and from which the DAC takes its power), and what is connected behind that is the microRendu, also always on.  I'm streaming to the mR in the living room from my desktop machine in the office, and no, I am not leaving the desktop running 24/7.

 

So in essence I've got the situation you describe, Paul, with the DAC always connected to power (though not always charging, as the firmware stops the charging circuit when the battery is sufficiently charged).  But it still frequently drops off the radar of Audirvana+ (UPnP/DLNA) and HQP (NAA).  (I also like XXHighEnd very much, but @PeterSt doesn't recommend or AFAIK configure the software for situations where the computer running XXHE is located remotely from a DAC connected to a microRendu.)

 

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 -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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1 hour ago, jabbr said:

 

In my case I'm using ARM devices for which I often have to custom compile a linux kernel, so yeah who knows? At some point I just want to plug it in and have it work and not worry about these details. ... I'm of the philosophy that I probably put up with more glitchiness than 99% of people out there (other than the other Phasure customers 😂 -- sorry not sorry @PeterSt) and so there's a lot to be said for simple plug and play -- the S2D wins big in this category ;) 

 

I haven't felt that XXHE is glitchy.  With all its various controls for things most people aren't very familiar with, it can feel a little daunting.  Somewhat counterintuitively, the insanely detailed and thorough context-sensitive help (right-click or hover over the various controls) can also leave an intimidating first impression.  But I've always found that once I understood it, everything worked as it should.

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 -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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20 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

Ah ah ah, pay attention - what is directly connected to the DAC is the ISO Regen, which is indeed always on (and from which the DAC takes its power), and what is connected behind that is the microRendu, also always on.  I'm streaming to the mR in the living room from my desktop machine in the office, and no, I am not leaving the desktop running 24/7.

 

So in essence I've got the situation you describe, Paul, with the DAC always connected to power (though not always charging, as the firmware stops the charging circuit when the battery is sufficiently charged).  But it still frequently drops off the radar of Audirvana+ (UPnP/DLNA) and HQP (NAA).  (I also like XXHighEnd very much, but @PeterSt doesn't recommend or AFAIK configure the software for situations where the computer running XXHE is located remotely from a DAC connected to a microRendu.)

 

 

MMm- I have one directly connected to a uRendu, and from there into an amp which is regularly shut off. 

 

Difference is I am running the uRendu as Roon Ready. Has never failed so far. I suspect it is the software looking for something that causes the drop off the network. The only situation I can think of that causes the iFi to discharge it's battery though, is a loss of power over the USB port. Ah, I see - you have the drop-offs and Jabber has the battery drain. 

 

Those are both great audio programs, but both a a trifle sensitive. 

 

I have also ran the uRendu attached to a Peachtree Nova 150, which literally shuts down the USB when you switch off that particular input, or shut down the power. Roon is smart enough to recognize when the DAC comes back online and make it available. 

 

I know that ain't what you want to hear.  

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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