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Project dac s2 Audio Interfaces
Old 11th September 2018
  #61
Gear Head
 

Hello everyone, I was able to test and compare Pro ject S2 against Fireface 800 and Lavry DA10 this weekend.

No blind test.. RL Geithain 906 and different DACs and recordings from Steely Dan Aja, Dire Straits to Stockfisch etc.

Those who have not tested Pro ject S2 do it if you can.
The Lavry DA10 has a sound that colors its way but when comparing it with S2 which is more 3D and what separation WOW.

For those money it's ridiculously cheap.


Minus - Can not drive my HD650 quite well and as soon as you connect the headphone to a headphone input speaker output turns off.

Does anyone know if you can mute it so that when the headphones are plugged in, the speaker output does not turn off?

I also noticed that when USB is on, the sound can be switched off when power nets are plugged into the mains when lighting is lit. You have to restart the S2 if you want the sound back. It does not happen often but it happens ..
The device was plugged into a laptop and power outlets are not grounded yet.

I have ordered one now

P.S
Any advice on headphone in/speaker cut off problem?

According to the manual, you can not have power adapter and USB at the same time. Can you use this rule and somehow remove 5v + from USB cable and feed the device with power adapter to prevent the sound from being switched off at regular intervals
?
Old 11th September 2018
  #62
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
Hello everyone, I was able to test and compare Pro ject S2 against Fireface 800 and Lavry DA10 this weekend.

No blind test.. RL Geithain 906 and different DACs and recordings from Steely Dan Aja, Dire Straits to Stockfisch etc.

Those who have not tested Pro ject S2 do it if you can.
The Lavry DA10 has a sound that colors its way but when comparing it with S2 which is more 3D and what separation WOW.

For those money it's ridiculously cheap.


Minus - Can not drive my HD650 quite well and as soon as you connect the headphone to a headphone input speaker output turns off.

Does anyone know if you can mute it so that when the headphones are plugged in, the speaker output does not turn off?

I also noticed that when USB is on, the sound can be switched off when power nets are plugged into the mains when lighting is lit. You have to restart the S2 if you want the sound back. It does not happen often but it happens ..
The device was plugged into a laptop and power outlets are not grounded yet.

I have ordered one now

P.S
Any advice on headphone in/speaker cut off problem?

According to the manual, you can not have power adapter and USB at the same time. Can you use this rule and somehow remove 5v + from USB cable and feed the device with power adapter to prevent the sound from being switched off at regular intervals
?
How did the Fireface 800 Compare?
Old 11th September 2018
  #63
Gear Head
 

There is a very big difference in audio resolution and separation between those three devices. When you have as good a speaker as Geithain you will hear every detail. In this case, S2 won and that's my subjective thought.

I grew up with Marantz in 2230 where it sounded best I thought ..it was coloring strongly and had a sound. Then I had to borrow the Harman Kardon HK430 Twin one day and then I got the impression that the LPs sounded even better with another amplifier / receiver. More bass more 3D etc..

It's good if you can borrow things and test and form your own opinion. If I didnt not borrow the HK430 once , I would never know there is something "better" in my opinion.

I still have 2230. It still has that the Hk430 do not have
Old 12th September 2018
  #64
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
There is a very big difference in audio resolution and separation between those three devices. When you have as good a speaker as Geithain you will hear every detail. In this case, S2 won and that's my subjective thought.

I grew up with Marantz in 2230 where it sounded best I thought ..it was coloring strongly and had a sound. Then I had to borrow the Harman Kardon HK430 Twin one day and then I got the impression that the LPs sounded even better with another amplifier / receiver. More bass more 3D etc..

It's good if you can borrow things and test and form your own opinion. If I didnt not borrow the HK430 once , I would never know there is something "better" in my opinion.

I still have 2230. It still has that the Hk430 do not have
Thanks for your thoughts. Which filter did you like best on the s2?
Old 12th September 2018
  #65
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I have since purchased the Topping DX7s as my new main DAC and I find it superior to the Pro Ject S2 in every way that I found the Pro Ject was lacking.

More slam and impact, bigger image, sharper tops, firm bass frequencies.

I've only been listening to it for a few weeks off and on but it fits me like an old friend, somehow.
Old 12th September 2018
  #66
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I have since purchased the Topping DX7s as my new main DAC and I find it superior to the Pro Ject S2 in every way that I found the Pro Ject was lacking.

More slam and impact, bigger image, sharper tops, firm bass frequencies.

I've only been listening to it for a few weeks off and on but it fits me like an old friend, somehow.
Interesting, I've been eyeing that as it has balanced outputs and more robust power supply. It currently is on Mass Drop for $379. So for mixing you think this thing would be good?
Old 13th September 2018
  #67
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by scandal View Post
Interesting, I've been eyeing that as it has balanced outputs and more robust power supply. It currently is on Mass Drop for $379. So for mixing you think this thing would be good?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I have already done some mixing on it.

One day of listening to reference albums was enough to convince me. Everything just sounded as good or better than it should on previous systems.

It's just a beautiful sounding DAC to my ears. I mean beautiful in the sense that music is emotional and involving on any level.
Old 13th September 2018
  #68
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Oh yeah, absolutely. I have already done some mixing on it.

One day of listening to reference albums was enough to convince me. Everything just sounded as good or better than it should on previous systems.

It's just a beautiful sounding DAC to my ears. I mean beautiful in the sense that music is emotional and involving on any level.
Thanks! I'm sold lol
Old 15th September 2018
  #69
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scandal View Post
Thanks for your thoughts. Which filter did you like best on the s2?
I do not remember exactly but I think distortion off and optimal transients.
Old 15th September 2018
  #70
Gear Head
 

Now I had a chance to test Project S2 against Mytek Liberty and now S2 is ordered . Liberty does not justify my needs and the price it has. You should try all DACS if you can and decide yourself.

Dx7s look good but had no chance of testing it.

DX7s Full Balanced DAC&Headphone Amp,TOPPING

Is there any page where they are tested against each other?

https://www.henleyaudio.co.uk/shop/p...&ProductId=741




Technical Specifications
Digital inputs 1x USB (B), 1x Co-axial (RCA), 1x Optical (TOSLink)
D/A-converter 2x ESS9038Q2M 32-bit
USB up to DSD512 (DSD1024), PCM up to 32b/768kHz
Optical PCM up to 24b/192kHz
Coaxial PCM up to 24b/192kHz
Filter settings 7 different selectable on front
Frequency response 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Analogue outputs 6.3mm Headphone (front), 1x Variable Out (RCA
Output voltage 2.05 Veff
Minimal recommended headphone impedance 8 Ohm
Headphone output power 6.6 mW / 600 Ohm; 68 mW / 32 Ohm
THD 0.0003% @ 0 dB, 2V RMS, 1 kHz
Dynamic range 124 dBA
Outboard Power supply 5V/1A DC (included)
Dimensions W x H x D 103 x 37 x 122 mm (including knob and connectors)
Weight 366 g (without power supply)


Features

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 (DoP, DSD512 native)
Up to 24bit/192kHz for optical & coax inputs
8 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
Full alu/metal sandwich casing in silver or black
Old 15th September 2018
  #71
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
Oh yeah, absolutely. I have already done some mixing on it.

One day of listening to reference albums was enough to convince me. Everything just sounded as good or better than it should on previous systems.

It's just a beautiful sounding DAC to my ears. I mean beautiful in the sense that music is emotional and involving on any level.


What was the biggest difference between s2 and dx7s ?

DX7Sis dual mono design ?

It drives HD600 better ?
Old 15th September 2018
  #72
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
What was the biggest difference between s2 and dx7s ?

DX7Sis dual mono design ?

It drives HD600 better ?
The DX7s headphone amp is pretty strong. I have to turn it down to -29 dB or so not to blast out my ears, that's a good amount of headroom. I am using AKG K702, haven't tried HD600.

Yes fully differential balanced design, whatever you choose to call it.

Most expensive Burr Brown op amps available driving the audio outputs.

In the Pro Ject it's an ESS chip doing the analog gain. Pro Ject is also unbalanced and a bit quiet on the outs compared to this gear. Topping offers a similar box to that one called the D50. The DX7s is top of their line, I think. I think Pro Ject has some interesting other models too like a tube version.

One major design difference is the DX7s is operating at a much higher peak to peak voltage on the amplifiers, it's got a "beefy" internal power supply.

It sounds more like what I'm used to than the Pro Ject, which was fascinating, yet bizarre, sounding to my ears.

They both have that big spacious thing going on but to me the Topping is a more solid, tangible sound.
Old 18th September 2018
  #73
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
The DX7s headphone amp is pretty strong. I have to turn it down to -29 dB or so not to blast out my ears, that's a good amount of headroom. I am using AKG K702, haven't tried HD600.

Yes fully differential balanced design, whatever you choose to call it.

Most expensive Burr Brown op amps available driving the audio outputs.

In the Pro Ject it's an ESS chip doing the analog gain. Pro Ject is also unbalanced and a bit quiet on the outs compared to this gear. Topping offers a similar box to that one called the D50. The DX7s is top of their line, I think. I think Pro Ject has some interesting other models too like a tube version.

One major design difference is the DX7s is operating at a much higher peak to peak voltage on the amplifiers, it's got a "beefy" internal power supply.

It sounds more like what I'm used to than the Pro Ject, which was fascinating, yet bizarre, sounding to my ears.

They both have that big spacious thing going on but to me the Topping is a more solid, tangible sound.

Is there any way to modify pro ject s2 so that when I plug in headphones, the sound keeps on my monitors as well ?

Is it the same with dx7s ?
Old 18th September 2018
  #74
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
Is there any way to modify pro ject s2 so that when I plug in headphones, the sound keeps on my monitors as well ?

Is it the same with dx7s ?
I did not spend much time with the Pro Ject so I don't remember all the details.

The stock setting on the DX7s is the headphones and monitors are on at the same time.

However you have the option to use either one, or both at the same time. I think you have to buy the remote control to use this feature (mine is en route.)

It is a little bit silly to me for the price that they did not include a remote, since some of the features depend on it. I think the filter option is also remote only.
Old 13th October 2018
  #75
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I did not spend much time with the Pro Ject so I don't remember all the details.

The stock setting on the DX7s is the headphones and monitors are on at the same time.

However you have the option to use either one, or both at the same time. I think you have to buy the remote control to use this feature (mine is en route.)

It is a little bit silly to me for the price that they did not include a remote, since some of the features depend on it. I think the filter option is also remote only.
Ended up getting the dx7s. I really like it a lot. You actually can control the filters without the remote. You need to press the wheel in while you are turning the unit on. I cant decided if I like mode 1 or mode 5 better.
Old 13th October 2018
  #76
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by scandal View Post
Ended up getting the dx7s. I really like it a lot. You actually can control the filters without the remote. You need to press the wheel in while you are turning the unit on. I cant decided if I like mode 1 or mode 5 better.
Cool! I haven't even really listened to the filters specifically, yet.

It's funny though cause you can hear little tiny shifts in sound flipping through them.

I was listening to filter 2.... I think 1 and 5 are sounding a little better than 2.

The remote is really nice in case you choose to get it. Solid little metal box.
Old 16th October 2018
  #77
I also bought a DX7S. It's a nice build. It has AES in plus XLR outs. The power supply is analog with a large molded toroid power transformer. The analog power rails are + - 12 volts. The manual is a mess but if you read Mandarin it's great. The remote is a needed accessory.

Sound wise, it's a good rock playback converter. Plenty of clean midrange slam. It lacks some deep bass energy and the top end sounds a bit like a blanket over the speakers. Cymbals and percussion are a bit filtered. The S2 doesn't have that issue in the top end. The DX7S has a familiar sound, the "brown sound" of BurrBrown's audio opamps. I do use those OPA1612 opamps for rock console rebuilds, it's a great choice for the genre.

Since this is a simple ESS DAC to opamp I/V and filter design I used some Chip-Quik and swapped the four OPA1612's to Analog Devices ADA4898-2's. The top end opened up nicely, like the super tweeter was switched back on. The ADA opamp slew rate is near 60V/us. The low end gained bass energy and depth, an attribute of that ADA high current opamp. Now the acoustic music tracks sound right. Bells and cymbals are water clear and lightning fast through AMT tweeters. This works much better now for me.
Old 16th October 2018
  #78
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I also bought a DX7S. It's a nice build. It has AES in plus XLR outs. The power supply is analog with a large molded toroid power transformer. The analog power rails are + - 12 volts. The manual is a mess but if you read Mandarin it's great. The remote is a needed accessory.

Sound wise, it's a good rock playback converter. Plenty of clean midrange slam. It lacks some deep bass energy and the top end sounds a bit like a blanket over the speakers. Cymbals and percussion are a bit filtered. The S2 doesn't have that issue in the top end. The DX7S has a familiar sound, the "brown sound" of BurrBrown's audio opamps. I do use those OPA1612 opamps for rock console rebuilds, it's a great choice for the genre.

Since this is a simple ESS DAC to opamp I/V and filter design I used some Chip-Quik and swapped the four OPA1612's to Analog Devices ADA4898-2's. The top end opened up nicely, like the super tweeter was switched back on. The ADA opamp slew rate is near 60V/us. The low end gained bass energy and depth, an attribute of that ADA high current opamp. Now the acoustic music tracks sound right. Bells and cymbals are water clear and lightning fast through AMT tweeters. This works much better now for me.
That's a cool mod.

I do hear the slight softening in the high end.

I guess that it's a sound that I like or is fine with me.

Last edited by monkeyxx; 16th October 2018 at 01:55 PM..
Old 16th October 2018
  #79
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I also bought a DX7S. It's a nice build. It has AES in plus XLR outs. The power supply is analog with a large molded toroid power transformer. The analog power rails are + - 12 volts. The manual is a mess but if you read Mandarin it's great. The remote is a needed accessory.

Sound wise, it's a good rock playback converter. Plenty of clean midrange slam. It lacks some deep bass energy and the top end sounds a bit like a blanket over the speakers. Cymbals and percussion are a bit filtered. The S2 doesn't have that issue in the top end. The DX7S has a familiar sound, the "brown sound" of BurrBrown's audio opamps. I do use those OPA1612 opamps for rock console rebuilds, it's a great choice for the genre.

Since this is a simple ESS DAC to opamp I/V and filter design I used some Chip-Quik and swapped the four OPA1612's to Analog Devices ADA4898-2's. The top end opened up nicely, like the super tweeter was switched back on. The ADA opamp slew rate is near 60V/us. The low end gained bass energy and depth, an attribute of that ADA high current opamp. Now the acoustic music tracks sound right. Bells and cymbals are water clear and lightning fast through AMT tweeters. This works much better now for me.
How hard would you say this mod is? Can I mess anything up easily? lol
Old 16th October 2018
  #80
The opamps are rather easy to access. There is space around them. It took me about 45 minutes with some Chip-Quik. It's pretty easy to mess up a tiny SOIC circuit board. There are also repair shops that will do this surface mount rework, I might also add it to the mod list here. Mouser and Digi-Key sell the Analog Devices chips, about the same cost as the BurrBrown OPA1612's.

I did some more A/B tests with the S2. The S2 beat the stock DX7S in the top end. The modified DX7S easily beats the S2. More separation, greater depth, faster transients and better defined bells and cymbals. The low end is huge with the AD chips, I use them in consoles a lot. It's also much easier to hear EQ and mix mistakes. In that regard some older favorite records sounded a bit harsh next to the more forgiving S2.

S2 wins for the TV room. The modified DX7S wins in the studio.
Old 17th October 2018
  #81
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
The opamps are rather easy to access. There is space around them. It took me about 45 minutes with some Chip-Quik. It's pretty easy to mess up a tiny SOIC circuit board. There are also repair shops that will do this surface mount rework, I might also add it to the mod list here. Mouser and Digi-Key sell the Analog Devices chips, about the same cost as the BurrBrown OPA1612's.

I did some more A/B tests with the S2. The S2 beat the stock DX7S in the top end. The modified DX7S easily beats the S2. More separation, greater depth, faster transients and better defined bells and cymbals. The low end is huge with the AD chips, I use them in consoles a lot. It's also much easier to hear EQ and mix mistakes. In that regard some older favorite records sounded a bit harsh next to the more forgiving S2.

S2 wins for the TV room. The modified DX7S wins in the studio.
I sent you an email via your audio upgrades website, inquiring about the Dx7s upgrade. Hopefully this is something you can offer, cause if so you have your first customer
Old 26th October 2018
  #82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
The opamps are rather easy to access. There is space around them. It took me about 45 minutes with some Chip-Quik. It's pretty easy to mess up a tiny SOIC circuit board. There are also repair shops that will do this surface mount rework, I might also add it to the mod list here. Mouser and Digi-Key sell the Analog Devices chips, about the same cost as the BurrBrown OPA1612's.

I did some more A/B tests with the S2. The S2 beat the stock DX7S in the top end. The modified DX7S easily beats the S2. More separation, greater depth, faster transients and better defined bells and cymbals. The low end is huge with the AD chips, I use them in consoles a lot. It's also much easier to hear EQ and mix mistakes. In that regard some older favorite records sounded a bit harsh next to the more forgiving S2.

S2 wins for the TV room. The modified DX7S wins in the studio.
Nice. I might have to try this.

Looks like a nice unit and if its just an op amp swap thats simple enough.
Old 26th October 2018
  #83
I'm loving mine. The older Sony 1630 non-squashed CD's sound pretty good, much better than the newer stuff. Electric Ladyland is a great example. The old Reprise version sounds wonderful, the cymbal definition of 1983 is stunning for 1968. The 1990's and 2000 MCA versions sound horrible, squashed to sh*t and a blanket over the top end. Who masters this stuff, deaf people?

Now I know why the mastering credits are missing on those.
Old 26th October 2018
  #84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I'm loving mine. The older Sony 1630 non-squashed CD's sound pretty good, much better than the newer stuff. Electric Ladyland is a great example. The old Reprise version sounds wonderful, the cymbal definition of 1983 is stunning for 1968. The 1990's and 2000 MCA versions sound horrible, squashed to sh*t and a blanket over the top end. Who masters this stuff, deaf people?

Now I know why the mastering credits are missing on those.
Cool. Might have to get a pair of these and mod them. Bet it would be sweet to use one to send to analog gear and then the other for the main speakers.
Old 1st November 2018
  #85
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I have since purchased the Topping DX7s as my new main DAC and I find it superior to the Pro Ject S2 in every way that I found the Pro Ject was lacking.

More slam and impact, bigger image, sharper tops, firm bass frequencies.

I've only been listening to it for a few weeks off and on but it fits me like an old friend, somehow.

Hi have you compared these two/ ? Mytek DSD 192 Stereo and Topping maybe ?

It uses older ESS Sabre ES9018

https://mytekdigital.com/download_li..._july_2011.pdf

Stereo 192 DSD-DAC – Mytek Digital

- audiophile quality conversion, 128dB, 192 kHz, DSD, 128xDSD
- 32 bit Sabre DAC
- USB2.0 (async) and Firewire interfaces
- Standard AES, SPDIF, SDIF, WCK, optical ins/outs
- Audiophile quality high current headphone amplifier
- Precision programmable analog 1dB step attenuator
- Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs
- Built in upsampling to 192k feature w/ jitter reduction
- RCA unbalanced Preamp. Analog thru

Good DAC ?

THX
Old 1st November 2018
  #86
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
Hi have you compared these two/ ? Mytek DSD 192 Stereo and Topping maybe ?

It uses older ESS Sabre ES9018

https://mytekdigital.com/download_li..._july_2011.pdf

Stereo 192 DSD-DAC – Mytek Digital

- audiophile quality conversion, 128dB, 192 kHz, DSD, 128xDSD
- 32 bit Sabre DAC
- USB2.0 (async) and Firewire interfaces
- Standard AES, SPDIF, SDIF, WCK, optical ins/outs
- Audiophile quality high current headphone amplifier
- Precision programmable analog 1dB step attenuator
- Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs
- Built in upsampling to 192k feature w/ jitter reduction
- RCA unbalanced Preamp. Analog thru

Good DAC ?

THX
I'm afraid that Mytek and things like that are beyond my price range. That would be a fun test though!
Old 1st November 2018
  #87
The Mytek Manhattan II is the better comparison. It uses the 9038 Sabre chips and is top rated. It's only $6000.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #88
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
The Mytek Manhattan II is the better comparison. It uses the 9038 Sabre chips and is top rated. It's only $6000.
Very affordable
Old 2nd November 2018
  #89
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I'm afraid that Mytek and things like that are beyond my price range. That would be a fun test though!
They are no longer for sale what I know and it is an older design, which does not mean it's worse for that. One I talked to says that the Mytek 192 DSD Stereo has a bigger bottom.


I would have liked that the Pro ject S2 does not turn off loudspeakers when using headphones at the same time.
Any cure for that?


Is it the same with Dx7s?

Otherwise I'm happy

Dx7s would be interesting to test
Old 2nd November 2018
  #90
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
DX7s has buttons on the remote. You can toggle between line out, and headphone out. Pretty handy.
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