Pro-ject USB Box review

There are plenty of good points about this Pro-ject USB toting DAC, but it's still on the pedestrian side for us Tested at £100

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It's certainly got its plus points, but this Pro-ject is a little too pedestrian for us

Pros

  • +

    Solidly built

  • +

    lots of detail and precision

  • +

    transparent sound

Cons

  • -

    Lack of cohesiveness

  • -

    pedestrian delivery

  • -

    lacks some dynamics

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If weight was the only measure of quality, this Pro-ject would romp home with five stars: this tiny unit feels like a brick.

But it’s sound that matters to us, and it’s here that the USB Box is lacking.

Connect your computer to the USB (the single input) and the Pro-ject will draw power and convert 16-bit, 44.1kHz tracks before outputting them through the stereo RCA outputs.

Play Nick Cave’s soundtrack to The Road and the USB Box digs up plenty of detail and precision, and has a tonal transparency that means instruments have a convincing timbre, which is a rarer quality than it sounds.

The problem is that notes don’t link with each other as well as they might, resulting in a slight lack of cohesiveness.

This combines with a surprising lack of dynamics to create a delivery that’s a little pedestrian – and that’s a shame, because with more drama and bite sitting alongside that tonal sweetness, it could’ve been great.

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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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