Simplicity is often the best way in audio. Short signal paths and minimal controls are usually seen as prerequisites for top-class sound. Pro-ject has taken this approach to heart with its latest DAC, the DAC Box FL.
This compact unit is all about minimalism. There's no power switch or light, and you'll look in vain for an input selector for the co-ax and optical input, too. The only option is to use one at a time.
This purism extends to the internal circuitry where the usual approach to digital-to-analogue conversion using oversampling and digital filtering is bypassed.
A fluid-sounding DAC
The Pro-ject is a fluid-sounding unit, with a beautifully layered midrange. Listen to Islands by The XX and it's hard not to be impressed by the subtlety and detail. There's a fullness to voices, while the low-end is rich.
Shortcomings? This isn't the most open digital product you'll ever hear, and rhythmically it could do with greater precision.
The DAC Box FL is an interesting product, but there are rivals such as Cambridge Audio's DAC Magic, that offer a superior performance for similar money.