|Pro-Ject Pre Box SE Review|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers Stereo Preamps|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Tuesday, 18 October 2011|
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Pre Box and Head Box I previously reviewed, has been expanding their product line while keeping true to their mission. That mission is producing great sounding, well built, amazingly affordable audio products with a small foot print. I was tremendously impressed with both components I reviewed, and was eager to hear something from their Special Edition line.
Interestingly, one could easily call everything in their line, minus turntables, “micro” components. What amazes me is how they manage to do this without sacrificing sound quality. In the company’s literature, they maintain they are dedicated to short signal paths, eliminating unnecessary parts, low mass, attention to resonance control, and enclosure quality.
It is not surprising that Pro-Ject is distributed in virtually every country on the planet. Their product lines consist of everything from vinyl and digital source components, amplification, speakers, racks, cables, and accessories. It is also not surprising their products are small in comparison to most audio equipment. We in America enjoy the luxury of space. And we worship at the altar of big. Not so in most European and Asian households. Their cars and toys tend to be significantly slimmed down.
I received a sample of the Pre Box SE (Special Edition) in silver, priced at $499. It is available in black as well. Right out of the box I was impressed by the solid build quality. Even the external wal wart power supply was the best I have encountered. The Pre Box SE is also very attractive to my eyes. The Pre Box SE is a minimalist preamplifier in the best sense of the word. It has no balance control or mute button. However, one can mute, or put the unit into standby via the handy little remote, which is about the size of a pack of gum. Volume and input switching are done via small black rubber buttons on the front panel, or via said remote.
There are four line level inputs and, along with preamp output, additional outputs for recording and connecting a subwoofer. There is also a remote trigger option for powering on or off other components. The front display offers easy to see indications of which line is currently selected, and the volume setting, which offers 1 dB steps. The display can also be dimmed. I found myself thinking this was a pretty impressive package for around five hundred bucks.
Set Up & Listening:
After connecting the usual cables, in this case Kimber and Transparent, and powering on, it was time to get down to some listening. What I noticed first was a clean, precise, and low noise presentation that was quite unexpected considering the price point. At first the sound was a bit “tight” and cold right out of the box, but after about a week of continuous use the presentation became much more relaxed, with excellent musical flow. There was plenty of resolution and punch.