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Pro-Ject prepares for Compact Disc revival with precision CD transport

Pro-Ject prepares for Compact ...
CD sales are plummeting, so what better way to prepare for a comeback than with a high-end CD player?
CD sales are plummeting, so what better way to prepare for a comeback than with a high-end CD player?
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The CD Box RS2 T includes a CD clamp made from a new aluminum alloy to ensure "perfect contact between the disc and the drive, achieving smooth rotation and perfect disc reading"
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The CD Box RS2 T includes a CD clamp made from a new aluminum alloy to ensure "perfect contact between the disc and the drive, achieving smooth rotation and perfect disc reading"
The CD Box RS2 T can play CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW and Hybrid SACD discs
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The CD Box RS2 T can play CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW and Hybrid SACD discs
Pro-Ject is the first to use the new BlueTiger CD Pro 8 drive and CD-84 servo system from StreamUnlimited
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Pro-Ject is the first to use the new BlueTiger CD Pro 8 drive and CD-84 servo system from StreamUnlimited
The CD Box RS2 T comes with a stylish aluminum-housed remote
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The CD Box RS2 T comes with a stylish aluminum-housed remote
The top-loading CD Box RS2 T is described as a top class CD transport, meaning that the device has been designed for a single purpose – to read Compact Discs
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The top-loading CD Box RS2 T is described as a top class CD transport, meaning that the device has been designed for a single purpose – to read Compact Discs
CD sales are plummeting, so what better way to prepare for a comeback than with a high-end CD player?
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CD sales are plummeting, so what better way to prepare for a comeback than with a high-end CD player?
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When it comes to music consumption, streaming continues to be the music industry's biggest earner. Sales of physical formats like CD and vinyl are declining overall, though the latter has been clawing its way back slowly over the last few years. High-end audio brand Pro-Ject is clearly hoping that the Compact Disc will also enjoy an upturn in fortunes, as it releases the CD Box RS 2 T transport.

Though CDs still accounted for well over half a billion dollars in sales last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and generated over US$250 million more in revenue than vinyl, unit sales were still down by over 40 percent compared to 2017. So it may seem like precisely the wrong time to invest in a new CD player... but Pro-Ject doesn't think so.

"We have always been crazy and making products and investments which are not particularly mainstream," said Pro-Ject's Heinz Lichtenegger in a press release. "As everybody was going in CD, we were starting with turntables. Now as everybody goes in streaming, we invest in a new revolutionary CD-player."

The company recognizes that many music lovers may have relegated their CD collections to the basement, and now spend much of their daily listening streaming music. But some folks might keep treasured favorites to hand just in case the mood for physical playback grabs them. And Pro-Ject believes that such listeners should treat themselves to a "proper CD player."

The CD Box RS2 T can play CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW and Hybrid SACD discs
The CD Box RS2 T can play CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW and Hybrid SACD discs

The top-loading CD Box RS2 T is described as a top class CD transport, meaning that the device has been designed for a single purpose – to read Compact Discs – and relies on the digital-to-analog conversion prowess of the hi-fi system it's connected to rather than risk a built-in pre-amp and converter potentially interfering with operation.

This transport-only approach also means that users can choose to connect the device to a preferred high-end digital-to-analog converter, rather than have to make do with one selected by the manufacturer.

Pro-Ject is the first to use the new BlueTiger CD Pro 8 drive and CD-84 servo system from StreamUnlimited
Pro-Ject is the first to use the new BlueTiger CD Pro 8 drive and CD-84 servo system from StreamUnlimited

At its heart, the CD Box RS2 T features a BlueTiger CD Pro 8 drive and CD-84 servo system from StreamUnlimited. "The entire body is suspended on a proprietary anti-vibration system, which allows us to control the level of outside vibrations reaching the insides of the device," said Pro-Ject. "The CD mechanism is stabilized, unaffected by external influences."

Pro-Ject has included a CD clamp made from a new aluminum alloy to ensure "perfect contact between the disc and the drive, achieving smooth rotation and perfect disc reading." The system plays CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW and Hybrid SACD discs, and the promised jitter-free signals end up at digital outputs to the rear, which includes AES/EBU over XLR and I2S+ masterclock via HDMI.

The CD Box RS2 T suggested retail price of €2,499 (about US$2,825).

Source: Pro-Ject

5 comments
f8lee
This seems a little off the mark - the argument against CDs back when they first came out had nothing to do with the physical media but rather the "pureness" of the sound quality being degraded by sampling (at whatever rate) versus the analog approach of vinyl. So in its own way, this is kind of like building the most precise and perfect 8 track player ever - are that many people really going to care? And of them, are that many willing to spend $2500 plus? Sure, there are turntables selling for 10 times that amount but that's because the analog recording has that sought-after warmth (or whatever).
JweenyPwee
I like Pro-Ject, but this reeks a bit of snake oil. The reason analog formats are seeing a niche resurgence is the tactile experience of handling the medium, enjoying album art/notes (vinyl), and, while subject to personal taste, the satisfactory sonic "warmth" and "character" analog formats provide. If this CD player was below $500, I wouldn't even be typing this. As with anything digital, the sonic quality is at the mercy of the equipment and signal chain. You can only make 1's and 0's so clean...it's digital. I work in a radio station and have plenty of experience in recording studios. I studied audio engineering. I understand the importance of a wordclock, sampling, DAC's, etc... This product is for affluent purists willing to spend thousands of dollars for the last drips of diminishing return and bragging rights. 99.99% of the population, including audiophiles, won't hear one shred of difference between this and a decent $300 Sony deck with S/PDIF or lightpipe because there likely won't be any. It will boil down to the DAC, the amplifier, and the speakers. But do I want one? Yes. Just because I'm a nerd.
toyhouse
If this transport also recorded and played back at higher resolutions, it'd be more interesting, but then,...we already have that - audio interfaces plugged into p.c.'s. $2500 does seem silly, but I will say that converters/clocks can make a huge difference in the digital audio outcome. That's why most recording studios don't skimp in that area. It's funny - a lot material making it's way to vinyl, still goes through digital somewhere in the chain and most folks won't know or care. Will anyone care about this product? Who knows. Physical formats in general are making a comeback, even cassettes but I'm not sure about c.d.'s. It makes sense in an artistic way. Please though - no eight tracks! They were hated by everyone.
aksdad
A boutique CD player for the gullible. This line made me laugh: "The entire body is suspended on a proprietary anti-vibration system". Yeah, so is the CD player in my car, which cost me $139. I've driven over washboard dirt roads and had it play without skipping, which is the only reason you might need an "anti-vibration system". Laser tracking on discs has been refined dramatically since the early days of CD. The track spacing and "pits" on Blu-ray discs are much smaller than on CDs and they too can be played in cars over bumpy roads. Because the data is encoded digitally, reducing vibrations does absolutely nothing for audio fidelity. It just minimizes or eliminates skips. Unless you have a badly scratched CD, that's not a problem.
Thomas Turk
Strange. .some priced at 900GBP new some at 2200GBP new. So what's the price?? One just sold 2nd hand for 475GBP ,bought for 900. And by the way it's not 0s and 1s but 'molded' 3D pits.. according to PSAudio boss. McGovern.. who make their 6000$ job, reputed to continuously fail at their weak transport.