The Phono Box S2 Ultra is like no other phono stage available today. Punching well above its weight for sound quality, it replaces the popular Phono Box DS and DS+ models in the Pro-Ject range, and still manages to boast an array of features for easy pairing with any modern cartridge.
The Phono Box S2 Ultra utilises a fully discrete electronic layout without the use of operational amplifiers (op-amps). Op-amps are commonly used in phono stages to increase the quiet sound from a pick-up cartridge to a level that modern amplifiers can use. However, by shifting away from that technology, Pro-Ject are able to produce a device with a warm, harmonious sound. In addition, the use of polystyrene capacitors makes the Phono Box S2 Ultra almost unique on the market, as such components are normally reserved for far more expensive products. Elsewhere, the split RIAA equalisation circuit enables pin-point accuracy of the RIAA curve and the introduction of a subsonic filter ensures your music sounds right in any environment.
The Phono Box S2 Ultra delivers a true audiophile sound performance that belies its small form and attractive price. With a sonic signature that delivers the full beauty of a vinyl record, it also remains easy to set up. With a series of dip-switches on the bottom of the solid metal casework, there are multiple settings for impedance (MC), capacitance (MM) and gain – so any modern Moving Magnet or Moving Coil cartridge is easy to accommodate.
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- Audiophile phono stage in a compact chassis
- No Operational Amplifiers (op-amps) used
- Audiophile-grade polystyrene capacitors used inside
- Precise split RIAA equalisation
- Switchable Subsonic Filter
- Switchable input impedance, capacitance and gain
- Solid metal casing available in black or silver
||10 / 100 / 1k or 47kΩ
||100 / 220 pF
||40 / 43 / 50 / 53 / 60 / 63dB
||-18dB @ 20Hz
||89dB V (MM)
||<0.4dB / 20Hz - 20kHz
||1 pair RCA Connectors
||18V / 80mA
||18VDC / 500mA
||103 x 37 x 119mm
||570g (Without PSU)
What is a Phono Stage?
A phono stage takes the low-level electrical signal, generated by the pick-up cartridge on your turntable, and amplifies it to LINE level. When it's at LINE level, you can connect the outputs of your phono stage to any LINE or AUX input on your amplifier. If you do not have a phono stage, when you connect the turntable to your amplifier the signal will be very quiet, and if you turn it up to normal listening level it will sound distorted and noisy.
You do not need an external phono stage if...
- There is a phono stage already built-in to your turntable (for instance with our Phono USB or RecordMaster turntables from Pro-Ject)
- Your amplifier has a Phono input.
In both of these cases, the built-in phono stage needs to support your pick-up cartridge (see below).
Do I need a specific type of Phono Stage?
Yes. You need to buy a phono stage that suits your particular type of cartridge. If you have a Moving Magnet (MM) cartridge, you need an MM-compatible phono stage. If you have a Moving Coil (MC) cartridge, you need an MC-compatible phono stage. This is due to the different output levels of MM and MC cartridges (as MC cartridges are so quiet, they require more Gain).
What do all of the Setting adjustments mean?
Cartridges are complex micro-mechanical devices, and the way a phono stage treats the electrical signal they generate can dramatically impact the end sound quality. When setting adjustments are available, the one adjustment you always need to check, regardless of the cartridge, is Gain. The level of Gain directly affects all cartridges, as the ultimate task of a phono stage is to amplify the electrical signal.
After Gain, the type of Settings you need to adjust are dependent on the cartridge used...
- For Moving Magnet (MM) cartridges, you need to adjust the capacitance (measured in pF).
- For Moving Coil (MC) cartridges, you need to adjust the Impedance (measured in Ω).
Some phono stages have other Settings available, which are not cartridge dependent. For example...
- Curve Selection (most phono stages are designed with RIAA equalisation in mind, but there are other options available - such as DECCA)
- Sub-Sonic Filter (to attenuate the low-end out of a system where boom is a problem)
For more help and advice visit our Tech Support section