Pro-Ject DAC Box FL review

This minimalist box has a rich, layered midrange but it lacks the all-round skills to pick up all five stars Tested at £195

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The DAC Box FL is interesting technically, but it lacks the all-round skills to gain a firm recommendation


  • +

    A rich, fluid and layered midrange

  • +

    bass weight


  • -

    Lack of rhythmic precision

  • -

    lacks openness

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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.

Follow on Twitter

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test