Visually the stream box DS (735 euros) is quite simple. Phonetically but she boasts contagious joy of playing.
Is the analog bastion of Pro-Ject a network player on the market? On closer inspection, this is not so surprising as it first seems. Finally, Heinz Lichtenegger in recent years has left a considerable fleet of electronics from the stack with the Box series. There were CD players like the CD box SE the stereoplay in issue 10/10 was a highlight. Not least because its drive from the renowned Viennese specialist StreamUnlimited came.
Because affordable network player are rather rare, it seemed that Lambert used his good contacts to build a player to an application by Stream Unlimited. The result is the Stream Box DS, which changes hands for 735 euros.
The main component is the Client module stream 700. On the basis of BridgeCo chips DM 860, it processed high-resolution 24/192-data, which can arrive via an Ethernet cable and wirelessly via the WiFi interface. In addition, the stream box offers the possibility and co. via the USB ports on the front and back digital to play iPod DS. Even external hard drives or memory sticks are recognized, but it must be formatted as FAT16 or FAT32.
As data formats, the stream box accepts DS LPCM, FLAC, AIFF, WAV, AAC and of course MP3. Kindly she understands more exotic data rates since a software update how to own approximately 24/174 and uncompressed Linn FLAC192- files, a bit rate of 9000 Kbps. Also the cover art by AIFF or AAC tracks will appear on the large 3.5-inch display. It must be said that the cover only for the titles, do not appear on the albums.
Control you have the stream box DS via the supplied remote control, because there are no buttons on the front. Alternatively offered appropriate apps for iPod touch, iPhone or iPad. Such programs allow as well the appearance of covers, a comfortable browsing in your music folders and putting together playlists.
The stream box DS, but this has one disadvantage. Because apps individually download the streamer title for title, no breaks-free (gapless-) playback is possible with them. Continuous playback without disturbing gaps within contiguous pieces of music, which are further subdivided into tracks – such as mix-CDs or classical works, is therefore only when called by the corresponding albums via the remote control and the internal data management.
There’s glad that navigate in the folders is pretty fast and the presentation is very logical. On top of that you can see the folder structure of the devices connected to the USB connectors externally and can control them via the DS’s stream box. Less well: In any mode, the user has the option to rewind or fast-forward within the current track.
Such comfort didn’t matter but in the listening room. There were only the tonal properties of the tray from Austria. And they were immediately obvious. Because the stream box DS tied at the first bars with their lively and expressive playing style. So the tester had about the guitar lick in Donald Fagens “Brite Nitegown” (“morph the cat”, Warner) to present only rarely perceived by a player – even over this price class. The rhythm of the drums was very exciting, and the keyboard chords were so wonderfully vivid in the room that the listener instinctively began to bounce in their chairs.
Could such a joy of playing even a seasoned network players like the Musical Fidelity M1 Clic (1600 euro, test in issue 4/11) do not convey. Although he is truly a child of sorrow, he had compared almost already sluggish and chubby, while the Pro-Ject much more agile, impulsive presented itself. A further example was about the “Finish Line” by Lou Reed (“Set The Twilight Reeling”, Warner). Here, smoothing the M1 Clic the guitar riffs and some softened the blows of the bass drum. The box, however, gave the performance not only more drive. The audience won also the feeling that the musicians closer in time and more striking came over Reed’s voice.
For the musical fidelity revealed the Achilles heel of the stream box DS. Because she not only something to slim played in the bass, but painted with transparent paler colors. She were also back slightly cramped and subtly squeezed in Forte passages large Orchestra. There, kept track of the musical fidelity more aggressively and turned lush occupations in large recording rooms.
Prolonged listening but the stream box DS showed a so contagious joy of playing that we quickly forgave her little weaknesses. Compared to the much more expensive M1 Clic, the Pro-Ject reached while no tie, but she found a way in the heart of the testers with their vibrant musicality.
HiFi fans who have a homogeneous chain and call music fun as most important purchase criterion, should new stereoplay highlight strongly take this into consideration.
Pro-Ject stream box DS