Pro-Ject DBS1 review

The Pro-Ject DBS1 is a microsystem for your iPod Tested at £500

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

There’s much to like sonically – but there are better all-rounders out there


  • +

    Clean, clear midrange

  • +

    good detail

  • +

    a pleasingly open sound


  • -

    Bright treble

  • -

    light on bass

  • -

    finish could be better

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It doesn’t look much like an iPod dock, does it? Nevertheless, this two-box system, which is sporting separate speakers as well as a little stand for the individual dock and amplifier components, is Pro-ject’s idea of a microsystem for your iPod.

We have nothing against the idea in theory – if you don’t mind what is arguably a fussier solution than just plonking down a Zeppelin-esque machine on a desktop – but we have to say the execution could be a little smarter in this instance.

Supplying decent cabling is a positive move, it’s true; but the choice of such rigid cables makes it a fiddly business getting everything set up correctly.

It does mean, though, that you can upgrade your speakers, should you desire.

The boxes themselves have a few sharp edges that could have been smoothed, while the stand doesn’t overly inspire any feelings of style or panache.

Decent connectivity

Connectivity is fine, with a USB connection for updates, S-Video output for sending video and a dock that allows you to secure your iPod.

It’s not ‘Made for iPhone’ so, while it will play and charge your phone, you’ll need airplane mode on to avoid interference.

There’s a slim and small remote control to complete the package that gives full control, too.

A bright, lively sound

Expectations are high. The brand, design and price mean we expect big things from this system on sound.

A listen to Adele’s Someone Like You shows it’s capable of expressive vocals thanks to a detailed midrange.

Treble sounds are more forward in the mix than others, making for lively presentation – but one that can make you wince with an edgy recording played loud.

Foo Fighters’ Bridge Burning jumps along at a good pace, the Pro-ject sounding light on its feet. That pace is undoubtedly helped, however, by the absence of any real bass weight.

The new Kryptic Minds album really ought to have serious depth alongside room-filling atmospheres, but we don’t get the power or scale found on rival docks at this money.

The Pro-ject DBS1 is fast and detailed, and it certainly delivers open, natural vocals – it’s just lacking a little weight and poise at the top end.

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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.

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