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Looking for a prospective Dac/Amp. Advice appreciated.

  1. Fors10
    Looking for a new Dac/Amp for my desktop speakers (2.1) and headphones since my current dac broke. I have tracked down 2 possible replacements that provide me with difficulties on which one to choose. Fact is, I want to have everything connected to the same unit along with topnotch sound quality. Price bracket is < 400 eur.

    These two products are similarly priced, both with pros and cons. I feel the Pro-Ject would succeed better in sound, but Klipsch hits back at better connectivity and therefore better longevity. I do have a sub-out in my active speakers but having a dedicated output in the pre-amp will probably do wonders for sub's quality nonetheless.

    Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital Pre-amp (379 Eur)

    - Dual mono construction
    - High end ESS Sabre ESS9038 dual DAC
    - Proprietary clock circuity design
    - Organic polymer capacitors and thin film miniMELF resistors
    - MQA hardware decoding
    - DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 & DSD512 (DSD over PCM)
    - Up to 24bit/192kHz for optical & coax inputs
    - 7 selectable digital filter characteristics
    - 1 proprietary optimum transient digital filter
    - Headphone output on the front (6.3mm)
    - Synchronization of all internal oscillators
    - Jitter as low as 100 Femtoseconds
    - Gold plated four layer PCB

    This device would grant me 6.3mm HP output which I prefer for my K712. Also the dual-dac with ESS flagship chips interest me a lot. However its' outputs are a bit basic and limit the possibilities with speaker setups. Still, seems like a lot of bang for the money. In summary, (presumably) amazing SQ, but primitive(yet just about sufficient) connections.

    Klipsch Powergate (599 Eur, but currently on sale for 399)

    - 2 x 100 watt class D amplifier
    - Wi-Fi connectivity for Klipsch Stream wireless multi-room audio integration
    - USB Audio (Type B Connection)
    - Bluetooth® wireless connectivity with AAC and apt-X decoding
    - Phono pre-amp / RCA analog audio
    - Optical (TOSLINK)
    - Remote control
    - 192kHz / 24-bit D/A Converter
    - Headphone Output (3.5mm)
    - Subwoofer Output
    - Line level Pre-amp output (RCA analog)

    With powergate I'd obtain a lot more in- and outputs. It has a dedicated sub out for low frequencies with power controller. The HP output is only 3.5mm which will damage the wire in the long run. I feel this units' price is higher only because of the multiroom function. This though feels more suitable for speaker setups on top of the HP amp. Also it has a remote controller. In summary, satisfactory SQ(?)with a lot of power and versatile connections, however costs more.

    Which one would you choose? Given the fact that I use speakers 70% of time compared to HP's.
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
  3. Fors10
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Great clarity, I use the NFB-11.28 with all my headphones.
    It's the thrid DAC/amp, I have bought from Audio-GD, no regrets.
  5. Fors10
    You get double ESS9038 instead of a single 9028 in the Pro-Ject with MQA decoding which is great for Tidal. Also would get domestic warranty for it... I know the quality of the circuitry plays a big role and not just the components, but the S2 seems to outplay that NFB-11.28 in every aspect.
  6. kukkurovaca
    IIRC there were a lot of complaints about the S2 popping and clicking with the mute relays when changing sample rates? I would suggest looking at the threads for each and reading reviews. One product may win on features but not sound as good.
  7. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Unless you're going to put it in a cramped shelf, what's the problem with having the power switch in the back?
  8. Fors10
    A matter of convenience, having a large desk makes it crumbersome... I'd actually prefer a remote control or ultimately auto on/off.
  9. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Just how inconvenient is it to reach over? It's not like it will cost you 500calories to do that.

    You're not going to find remote control for power on the cheap either, much less auto on/off which is more common on separates on a speaker system, ie, you hook up that terminal via a wire to the trigger output on the preamp and everything goes on delay power on when it does.
  10. Fors10
    Actually the Pre Box S2 does communicate with a remote controller, Project just doesn't include one in the box. As for the inconvenience, I like simplicity. Having things work as smoothly as they can makes everyday life more enjoyable.

    Do you have any other dac/amp in mind other than the Audio-GD that I could look into? As @kukkurovaca said the S2 seems to have some minor issues in the firmware I believe... If those problems didn't exist I wouldn't hesitate 2 seconds to purchase it.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  11. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    It not only doesn't come with the remote (which increases the price), but if the price of the original run of that series of small boxes are indicative, it's not much in the way of value for money even without adding the remote's price.

    And as much as that counts for some added convenience, I just think it's such a miniscule addition to convenience for a headphone system that will have the headphone cable (and in most cases, a computer as source) determining how far you'd sit fromm the DAC-HPamp unlike with speakers where the electronics have to be out in front near the speakers and you have to sit far away to get the full effect of speaker imaging.

    Basically it's kind of like going into a forum looking for a sports car, but you end up going for the heavier, automatic transmission, more expensive sports car with a less powerful engine designed for convenience like the entry level Jaguar coupe with a V6 instead of, say, a Lotus Evora that can dance circles around it without making a chiropractor as necessary as an Exige or Elise would.

    Not for that kind of money, much less when a remote is needed. There's the NFB-28 which has an optional remote but it's around $700.

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