PRO-JECT BOX RS - Yay or Nay?

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
Think I’m just going to get it. The phono stage in my system is probably the last weak link. It’s a very good price so I’m sure I can get my money back if it doesn’t improve anything.

That is a good plan.

Only way you'll really know how it sounds is to listen in your own ststem and room.

It certainly looks like a quality phono preamp from an established company.
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
I'm a little hazy on the details now, but Erik brought a Pro-Ject Box RS over to my place for a listen a few years ago (along with the Rega table he had at the time). We had problems with with low-output MC input which ruled it out to try with my VPI/Zyx Airy setup, but we did spend a bunch of time listening to it on the Rega. Maybe Erik remembers what the problem was with MC input (I think it was something minor) and what the details of the Rega where.

I do remember liking the Pro-Ject a lot - dead quiet, great bass, good detail & big soundstage that was right up there with my favorite phono-stage, a modded Sonic-Frontiers SFP-1 (that we compared it to directly). I think the SFP-1 had a slight edge in the midrange (seductive tube goodness :) ) where I love what it does enough that I'm not looking at phono-stages anymore, but I sure would have liked to hear the Pro-Ject with the Zyx.

If it's a good price and you can try in your system (that is huge), it seems a nice opportunity - you might love it.
 
Thanks for the info Bill. Good to know about low output MCs. Mine is I think 0.15. So it’s super low. I have a head amp and can run it through the MM stage though if needed.

Pretty set on this then. Not heard a bad opinion so far.
 
Well I’ve just acquired this. It is a step up from the phono stage in the pre-amp. Quite pleased. It has so many settings and adjustments it will take time to dial it in.

The gentleman I acquired this from had some really nice gear including some Wilson speakers and a Technics Sp10. His new phono stage was audio research and was the size of an amp. I spent some time listening to his setup which sounded incredible. But if I’m honest I’m not sure it sounded better than what I have, although he played music I am unfamiliar with so it’s difficult to know for sure.

Very pleased so far.
 
Yeah this was a $500 well spent...
The MC stage is great. I wish I had just a little more volume from my low output MC. It’s very very far from a deal breaker as it sounds superb, but I’m starting to wonder what a set of KT120 might look like vs the 88s I have now. It might just give it that last little bit of oomph it maybe needs.

Last upgrade. Hahahhaah
 
The guy I bought it from had superb gear all the way. $$$$ big money. But he was using a mm cart... a top of the line shure MM. I suggested an MC but he liked what he had. I wonder how that affected the sound. I offered to lend him my Denon 103r to see if he liked it but he declined. I’m not sure it would have been a step up as his cart cost more.

His rig was absolutely stunning. One of the best rigs I’ve ever heard. If not the best.
 
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prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I've heard it being used at the front of about $50k in gear, and it sure did fine. Congrats on a great purchase.

The one area where you can improve on the performance is with the power supply. Pro-ject makes their own battery one, which is a delightful improvement, though not an inexpensive one. You can also get a lot of the way there by just improving the power supply. Lots of options online to help free you from your money.

Enjoy! You've got a great piece of gear there.
 

4-2-7

Smart Ass Member
Think I’m just going to get it. The phono stage in my system is probably the last weak link. It’s a very good price so I’m sure I can get my money back if it doesn’t improve anything.
This is what I did to settle on how I stage my tables. I kept buying many different used stages and head amps after I decided on the cartridges I wanted to use. I always had more than one at a time so I could side by side over time and what I liked best stayed. Also just because a phono stage is built into another unit like a preamp doesn't mean a stand alone will be better.

It is a step up from the phono stage in the pre-amp. Quite pleased. It has so many settings and adjustments it will take time to dial it in.
Take your time and listen over days and go back and forth with different music and records. Acclimate to the sounds and or difference your hearing in both stages and a combination with the head amp in the mix.

The MC stage is great. I wish I had just a little more volume from my low output MC.
Read below

I have a head amp and can run it through the MM stage though if needed.

You can still use the head amp in conjunction with a stand alone RIAA phono stage, just like you did with the built in RIAA stage in the
Prologue 3. Your head amp most likely has a couple gain setting as dose the project. You also can use the head amp into a MC setting on the project, not just the MM setting. You can play with loading of each and gain to see what combination works well for you.

With these two units together there is no reason to have a low volume input of your cartridge/table. It can be equal and or surpass any other line level input you have, so much so you can push it into distortion. But you can also play your records louder than say a CDP or digital source. Digital and Records are mastered and EQed differently. With digital in my system the speakers can start distorting far far sooner than with a record playing just because of the loudness/bass boost inherent in digital. I can put a record on and just keep going up in SPL and not have distortion stopping me and my system for over all performance output.
 

4-2-7

Smart Ass Member
This reminds me of a story of adding gain in the phono stage, overall system output between digital and records. When I first got my MC501 mono blocks to replace my MC402 that are driving my JBL L250s, it was late afternoon on a monday.

IMG_0545.JPG IMG_0546.JPG

By the time I got all the SOTA power/vacuum supplies moved to where the MC402 was and the 501s in place it was pretty late. The amps sounded better and listening that night at low volume I was very happy. However I wasn't able to stretch it's legs out as it was late, damn I thought about blasting it all day at work.

When I got home I booted the computer and turned the system on and loaded up Money For Nothing. Boy the precessions sounded fantastic, the slap of the snare drum just cracked with reality. Now lets start cranking it and see what these babies do!!!! Well with a estimated SPL in the room of about 85-90dbs or less, the power guards started flashing, WTF, is that it!! I expected a hell of a lot more and was very disappointed for a minute.

I then decided to get the same Bernie Grundman remastered copy of a record out and put that on. Well my staging is the same today with a head amp going into a built in MC RIAA stage for two of my tables, the other is going in the MM and has the head amp gain a bit higher. I was able to turn the system up higher and higher and higher pushing SPLs past 100+dbs in my room before ever seeing the power guards flashing. This is what I expected with these amps all along. It goes to show you it just may not be the system that has issues, could be the media, and or are you leaving overall system performance on the table with your front end falling flat.
 
I've heard it being used at the front of about $50k in gear, and it sure did fine. Congrats on a great purchase.

The one area where you can improve on the performance is with the power supply. Pro-ject makes their own battery one, which is a delightful improvement, though not an inexpensive one. You can also get a lot of the way there by just improving the power supply. Lots of options online to help free you from your money.

Enjoy! You've got a great piece of gear there.

I do know about this and it does look appealing but like you said quite a bit of money. I think a better wal wart might provide a decent stop gap until funds permit.
 
This is what I did to settle on how I stage my tables. I kept buying many different used stages and head amps after I decided on the cartridges I wanted to use. I always had more than one at a time so I could side by side over time and what I liked best stayed. Also just because a phono stage is built into another unit like a preamp doesn't mean a stand alone will be better.


Take your time and listen over days and go back and forth with different music and records. Acclimate to the sounds and or difference your hearing in both stages and a combination with the head amp in the mix.


Read below



You can still use the head amp in conjunction with a stand alone RIAA phono stage, just like you did with the built in RIAA stage in the
Prologue 3. Your head amp most likely has a couple gain setting as dose the project. You also can use the head amp into a MC setting on the project, not just the MM setting. You can play with loading of each and gain to see what combination works well for you.

With these two units together there is no reason to have a low volume input of your cartridge/table. It can be equal and or surpass any other line level input you have, so much so you can push it into distortion. But you can also play your records louder than say a CDP or digital source. Digital and Records are mastered and EQed differently. With digital in my system the speakers can start distorting far far sooner than with a record playing just because of the loudness/bass boost inherent in digital. I can put a record on and just keep going up in SPL and not have distortion stopping me and my system for over all performance output.

There is a lot of gain with my head amp. I think when I've grown a little more accustomed to the sound I will add it to the mix and see.

Are you saying you could crank the volume higher with having more gain at the start or not as high before it distorted?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
That's a great price for that..I had that on my short list but went with a used Primare R32. I'd not bother with another wall wart and would just put all my beans in the external battery power supply or an aftermarket linear power supply.

I'm curious what the previous owner's top of the line Shure was. Ultra 500? I'd LOVE one of those. It's sort of a fancy V-15vmr in a better body. I like that he was running a Shure with all that gear. The man has good ears and a confident audio ego.
 
That's a great price for that..I had that on my short list but went with a used Primare R32. I'd not bother with another wall wart and would just put all my beans in the external battery power supply or an aftermarket linear power supply.

I'm curious what the previous owner's top of the line Shure was. Ultra 500? I'd LOVE one of those. It's sort of a fancy V-15vmr in a better body. I like that he was running a Shure with all that gear. The man has good ears and a confident audio ego.

I do believe it was a Shure 500. He had a Technics SP10 Mk2 and a SME 3009 tonearm... So it was some pretty good stuff. I wish I'd paid a little more attention to it but I was just focused on his Wilson speakers! He put a live jazz album on and it sounded very realistic.

One of the reasons I offered to lend him the Denon was so I could go and listen to it. As good as his equipment is I have a hard time imagining an MM is worthy (But most likely that is my ignorance of some of the truly great ones). His Shure sounded marvelous... But was it the system? Was his cart the choke point? I've no idea. The Best MM i had before I switched to MC was an Ortofon Super OM40 which was utterly trounced by the Denon 103R. Sometimes you wish for some reference points when trying to make these comparisons.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
MMs have been given a bad name because a lot of lower end carts are MM, but the better MMs can keep with with LOMCs depending, really, only one what you prefer. And it took me awhile to be comfortable saying that because of the going consensus but I was basing my opinion on lower end MMs run through non-optimal setups. Steve Hoffman, mastering engineer, is known to use a Shure V-15vmr, which is basically an Ultra 500 in a different casing, to check pressings even though he'd use anything else if it was closer to the master-tape sound to his ears. I personally run a Nagaoka MP-500 over all of the LOMCs I have here, even though I really like some of them. If I had to choose, I'd run the Nagaoka. Currently I'm listening to an AT OC-9 LOMC, but it's more for a change of pace than me thinking its better, because I don't.

Ok, I'll get off my MM soap box :). But it doesn't surprise me to hear a guy is running an Ultra 500 with Wilsons, etc. I have two V-15vmrs, and nothing I've heard sounds more neutral to my ears.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Anything Shure V15 V related is the self assured audiophiles cartridge. Though I don't run nine every day (my Grado TLZ is my fave), I'll never be without a V15 V. It doesn't do anything but play back precisely what is in the groove. And sounds just lovely, but it also sounds incredibly true to what's there. Warts and all.

One funny thing is that you can hear it tracking better then pretty well anything else. How can you hear that? It's easy once you do.

Of course, the Shure benefits greatly from a quality phono preamp. Your typical 70s SS reciever won't get the best out of it.
 
Very interesting. I thought once you’d got to better gear your obvious choice was to get an MC cart. Now this gentleman was very polite once I’d offered this to him but no doubt he was shaking his head..Oh no.

Pretty shure this ones out of production right? Maybe I’ll have to check out the 15 though. I trust Steve Hoffman obviously and he did give a glowing review of my preamp. I guess there’s no absolutes in audio. Thanks.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Very interesting. I thought once you’d got to better gear your obvious choice was to get an MC cart. Now this gentleman was very polite once I’d offered this to him but no doubt he was shaking his head..Oh no.

Pretty shure this ones out of production right? Maybe I’ll have to check out the 15 though. I trust Steve Hoffman obviously and he did give a glowing review of my preamp. I guess there’s no absolutes in audio. Thanks.

Yeah, that's pretty well audiophile orthodoxy. But play a good MM in a great system, with a well matched, high quality phono preamp, and you will be surprised at what you hear.

I have the pleasure of listening to a very well put together, $50k + system about 3-4 times a month. We have varied back and forth between MC and MM, and the differences can be shockingly small. And where the MMs always do so well, is musicality. Maybe not the last word in detail, but amazing at conveying the the feeling of the performance.
 
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