Pro-Ject Audio DAC Box E Entry Level DAC Black - Reviews
Pros: Price, up to 24/192 khz conversion.
Cons: No USB
Bought one of these to keep me going while I save for a replacement dac for my bedside rig. My previous Dac's have all been in the lower to mid end so this review is based on that level- Arcam, Cambridge Audio, Beresford etc. 
 
What would you expect for approx $80 (I paid £60 so look around rather than just Amazon) for any audio product? Well these days it seems that you can expect more and more... Technology and price wars is giving us audiophiles with shallow wallets lots more options. This little Dac made in Austria comes very well packaged and is about the size of two cigarette packs stuck together. A standard cheap wall wart is supplied and no other cables included. No USB, which is fine for me as I prefer to use spdif converters for PC use. So what you get inside the dac is nothing that doesn't need to be in - just the D/A conversion. Inside there is the Texas Instruments TLV320DAC23 and Cirrus Logic CS4344. Although you can use 24/192 khz with the coaxial input, I personally don't see any need. It is indeed impressive for such a cheap component but in my experience with pc audio 16 bit is all you need, unless you have a collection of HD tracks. Otherwise all you are doing is putting extra strain on your pc and slowing it down. 
 
Streaming music from Spotify premium and the sound is nice, I'm struggling to find negatives... The low end goes deep and is nicely pronounced. The top end sparkles. The mid range is smooth and voices sound natural. The smoothness goes right to the top and the sound is not grainy at all. (which I have heard before in cheap dacs and older machines) The soundstage is neither wowing me nor making me want more. 
 
Now to the nitty gritty and fickle side of me :) The bass could be tighter, there is very slight blurring when the music gets complicated and there could be more space between the instruments. But!, this is compared to much more expensive machines. 
 
But lets get serious folks, for $80 - $100 you are going to be very happy. If this is your first Dac to upgrade your pc soundcard then you are going to be blown away! Second more, it looks and feels well made. Sits very neatly on your desktop or placed on top of your hifi. Its also small enough to be hidden away
 
Perfect for noobs wanting to spend more of their budget on the amp and headphones, or anyone wanting a little dac for a bedside rig or such-like.
 
Edit. A month later and this little Dac has kept me from upgrading... If you have a nice spdif converter this dac is as good as it gets before you are willing to fork out loadsa wonga. And even then make sure you've got enough resolving transducer at the ready :)
whitemass
whitemass
One comment, without rude intention.
You were aware this didn't support USB right? 
This company didn't include USB until about the time of the iPhone.
LugBug1
LugBug1
Yes, I was aware :) 
Top