Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Pretty disappointed with the Pro-ject Speed Box mkII
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Pretty disappointed with the Pro-ject Speed Box mkII

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I recently ordered a Pro-ject Speed Box mkII for a cheap thrill, mainly because of all the amazing reviews floating around on the internets. In fact, I don't think I have seen one bad thing written about it. Everyone claims that it magically transforms the sound of your turntable, assisting with PRaT, clarifying detail, preventing rumble, and anything else under the sun that one could possibly want from a turntable tweak. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to temper these claims by offering my perspective.

I installed the weighty box, which includes a new 16V power supply, oddly less beefy than the stock wart, and ran it to my Xpression. The instruction manual called for me to switch from the 33 ring to the 45 ring, I did so. I let the Woo and the Bellari warm up for about a half hour, then popped on some Arcade Fire, put my record clamp on, used my trusty anti-static brush to wipe off any dust, cued the arm and whoa... what happened. It seemed like all the life was sucked out of the music. I adjusted the volume back and forth, wondering to myself, do records really sound this bad, was I tricking myself all along? I quickly replaced the stock unit and began listening to see if the new device was indeed the cause for disdain. As luck would have it, it was. All the weight and heft of the notes was returned, the bass more substantial, everything was much more lush and full. Personally I found the devise caused the music to be lifeless and sucked-out, strained and very hard to appreciate.

I don't know if this particular speed box was defective, or I am the antithesis of what all these reviewers were striving for all along. Thankfully, the reseller I purchased it from accepts refunds, so luckily all this experiment on my Xpression only cost me the price of shipping both ways.

I'd like to know what other members experienced when they swapped in the Speed Box (I know there aren't many here that use it). Did I just get a bum unit, or were the changes more subjective?
post #2 of 19
All reviews, both here and elsewhere on the net and even so called professional reviews should be taken with a huge monstrous grain of salt.

Glad that you can get a refund.
post #3 of 19
I'm using the Speed Box SE II with my Pro-ject RM10 and the result is very positive. The power transformer is considerably larger than stock.

Performance wise it's additive, not subtractive. You really notice the biggest difference with instruments like acoustic piano that have a steadier tone. It also adds impact to the bass.

I haven't heard the Speed Box, but it sounds like you should just get a refund. Ask the dealer to let you try another to make sure this one's not a lemon.

Do you have a stobe disk? It'd be interesting to see if the speed slowed down with the Speed Box. I wouldn't buy one just to find that out, but if you've got one laying around it might be informative.

Dave
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiGHFLYiN9 View Post
I'd like to know what other members experienced when they swapped in the Speed Box (I know there aren't many here that use it). Did I just get a bum unit, or were the changes more subjective?
Hi,

I use the Speedbox II with my RPM5. Though it doesn't make a massive difference, the improvement is still quite noticeable in terms of better speed stability (most noticable to me on piano and violin). It also - for want of a better term - "firms up" the sound. By that I mean that it almost sounds more digital in a way - the sound is a bit les soggy, more hard hitting and a tad brighter with more impact on transients. The bass also firms up and is a tad less muddy. These are all pretty subtle things though - noticeable on albums with which I was already pretty familiar.

I really only got it though because of the speed stability. Perhaps one suggestion I can make is to not listen to your turntable at all for a couple of days, then try it again with the Speedbox. It's possible your ears have not aclimatised to the arguably more "digital" sound you get from adding the box. I have a personal motto that I know a turntable setup has improved when it sounds more like high res digital than it did before.

Or it is indeed faulty.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
I have a personal motto that I know a turntable setup has improved when it sounds more like high res digital than it did before.

Veery interesting...my goal is exactly the opposite, to get my hi res digital to sound as good as my turntable setup. I'm constantly amazed often people listen to the same phenominum and reach exactly the opposite conclusion.

I'm betting that we have a major age difference. I'm 60 and have many decades seeking building good vinyl. I suspect that you started digital, expanded your digital horizons and then came to analog. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, it's just that we have different perspectives. Also, I think that digital is finally maturing as a hi rez format, quickly closing the gap with vinyl.

Dave
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
I have a personal motto that I know a turntable setup has improved when it sounds more like high res digital than it did before.
It's certainly good to know where your goal lies. I personally wouldn't want my vinyl setup to be going in this direction as I'm fond of the vintage sound of analog. I'll take warmer and fuller over analytical and detailed more often than not. If I can have both warmth and non-fatiguing detail, that's really where I want to be. I was really hoping the speed box would merely assist with PRaT but not bother anything else.

Thanks everyone for adding your personal experiences. Unfortunately I don't have a strobe disc to check for speed variations. If I don't immediately hear back from the retailer, I may pop it in again and have another listen.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
I suspect that you started digital, expanded your digital horizons and then came to analog.
Hi,

No I actually was purely analogue (1963 model Kreisler radiogram that had a in-built turntable, 2 watt valve amplifier and 12 inch speakers with whizzer cones!!) then went digital in the 80s as that was all one could buy in Australia. Went back to analogue last year.

I appreciate the best of both the analogue and digital worlds. I have enough experience to be intimately acquainted with the capabilities of both. If the great recording engineers from the 50s and 60s came back today to use high resolution digital equipment and could supervise the whole production process through to the delivery of DVD-As, high res downloads or SACD, then I am sure the results would actually be better than if we were listening to analogue records. But since that isn't the case, I still feel analogue records are best.

I think digital is more capable, just that it is never realised in 99.99% of cases. For me, to say my analogue setup is approaching digital quality is the biggest accolade I could pay it. If only people could really hear what digital can do, maybe others would agree.
post #8 of 19
I think that this will become again another digital versus analog war...my two cents, one thing is digital versus analog, and another very different is digital versus LP...

Analog is not an LP, analog is the sound of the master analog tape, that is what the audiophiles are after, and should be after, not after the sound of an LP....IMHO the LP is one of the worst analog formats, not sure why they chose that media to keep alive the analog format...
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller View Post
I think that this will become again another digital versus analog war...
I don't think so, everyone seems pretty calm spirited about their opinions. That and I didn't put this is the tweaks section
post #10 of 19
I just finished a great pure analog vs. hi rez digital comparison. Some of you may be interested in this.

Stockfish Records of Germany recently issued a D2D recording of The Bassface Swing Trio, which is a surprisingly good piano trio playing standards. The piano, bass and drum sounds are as good as it gets. The kicker is that they include an SACD, made by taking the D2D two-channel mix straight to 2.8MHz DSD, which is then down-converted to SACD. So you get the same feeds in a great recording in both analog and hi-rez digital format.

I highly recommend this LP/SACD to anyone interested in an analog to digital comparison.

I had both discs (disks?) out because I wanted to compare my newly burnt-in, fully modded Pioneer Elite DV-58AV universal to my best reference, my Pro-ject RM10 TT with Sumiko Blackbird cartridge analog front end.

You'll have to read that full review when I post it, but I'll say that the mids and highs were equal. This LP and SACD have some really heavy double bass, recorded closely. My $4000 LP front end handled it well, but the modded Pioneer was a clear winner here. Of course, when I pushed the SPL up near 100dB, then universal player showed it's almost total immunity to feedback, when the cartridge howled "uncle" just over 100dB, despite being isolated in an armoire and sitting on top of two very good isolation devices (I think airborne sound got to the cartridge, given the high frequency of the howl).

This Pioneer has none of the digital glare that I hear in some lesser machines, like my old Oppo 981HD (a very fine unit at $229, but not offering the last bit of transparency). The high keys of the piano can reveal glare. I listened to other CDs, SACDs and DVD-A containing a lot of high frequemcy content and didn't hear a bit of glare in any musical sample.

So, $1500 digital is now up to the standard of $4000 and beyond analog, IMHO. Check out Ric Schultz mods to the Pioneer at:
Pioneer DV-58AV mods

Dave
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
I have a personal motto that I know a turntable setup has improved when it sounds more like high res digital than it did before.
My personal motto is that the main difference between a $1,000 and a $20,000 turntable is $19,000.

But seriously, it sounds like the OP has a defective product...

--Jerome
post #12 of 19
Pro-ject turntables tend to err on the warm & fuzzy side, the speedbox moves the sound a bit closer to neutral while tightening up the mid & upper bass overhang. Depending on the balance of the rest of your system, this may indeed sound like "sucking the life out of music". If you don't like it, don't use it, and enjoy the stock turntable sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller View Post
I think that this will become again another digital versus analog war...my two cents, one thing is digital versus analog, and another very different is digital versus LP...
The thread was going just fine until you came in here and shot off your fat mouth. Threadcrapper, thy name is Sovkiller.
post #13 of 19
Here we go, again the G and Co. Zealots attacking again.

Thanks God the ignore list works like a charm, it is a real shame though, that unfortunatelly we still get the emails while one of those ass post!!!
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiGHFLYiN9 View Post
That and I didn't put this is the tweaks section
LOL! Anyway, as Roam says, just enjoy the Xpression as it is. All the Project turntables with the carbon fibre arms are great. I just love listening to my RPM5.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
LOL! Anyway, as Roam says, just enjoy the Xpression as it is. All the Project turntables with the carbon fibre arms are great. I just love listening to my RPM5.
Indeed, I couldn't be more happy with it at the moment. I replaced the stock Oyster with a Denon DL-160 a few weeks ago and the music it is producing is gorgeous. The Pearl might be tolerable for people brand new to vinyl on a low budget, but it really holds back the table and really doesn't belong with it at all imho. It's dull and not very involving. When passages begin to get complicated, the Oyster simply responds with rough distortion. It also is pretty good at picking up noise. The Denon DL-160 is much more forgiving with surface noise, offers tons more detail (without brightness, thankfully), and provides a larger than life house sound that really lets you drift into the music. I'm very happy with it and will likely be having it re-tipped whenever it wears out.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Pretty disappointed with the Pro-ject Speed Box mkII