Pro-Ject Stream Box DS Network player

As with so a lot of matters in the whole world these days, music is going virtual.

Add to this the entire fiasco surrounding DAB digital radio as well as the fact this is an alternative reason why a digital streaming device of some kind makes perfect sense, and that it's just as easy to locate a better choice of radio stations on the net at higher quality.

The newest piece to appear on the scene comes from Job and flings itself into the affray at a decently competitive GBP700 price point.

In link terms, there's not a whole lot to cause confusion to the unwary. An Ethernet socket on the rear panel provides link to your network as well as the unit also includes an aerial that plugs into the trunk panel for wireless use. Output signals can be found in analogue and digital format, the former through a coaxial phono plug instead of the choice that is optical. USB input signals are offered on both the front and rear panels, each alone selectable from within the menu of the unit.

The unit was created to be used featuring all file resolutions up covers all major formats including MP3, FLAC, AAC, WMA, WAX, LPCM, ASX and Ogg Vorbis, although it does not support Apple lossless.

An access code in the vTuner site might be gotten through the unit and this allows you to compile a record of favourite radio stations that may be saved on the unit for quick accessibility. Until this can be done, you're left with looking at a record of recently listened- to stations, or searching for the one you desire each time.

Other upgrades the site lists add a multiroom sound application that works with Windows Media Server 12 along with the facility of 'Jamcast' onto your PC or laptop that can make the Stream Box seem as a virtual soundcard and allow streaming in the PC direct to the Stream Box. Eventually, the unit will work with the iMediashare app for Android devices and iPhones to permit them to stream directly to it.

Setup of the Stream Box DS is fairly painless. On startup it's simply a matter of preparing the wireless network along with your password in the event of the latter specifying whether you'd like to connect via a wired or wireless connection, and then searching for your chosen media server in the network.

The Stream Box DS located my media server with no trouble and bound onto my network with nearly childish enthusiasm, so my favourite internet radio stations scribbled down, and with some high resolution sound delights loaded up, it was time to begin listening.


Starting off with radio and the web stream of KEXP 90.3 from Seattle, the Stream Box DS seemed neat and tidy enough. This stream is only a 128kbps item although stereo imagery and depth were noticeable by their absence and so I was not anticipating fireworks that are sonic, but the Pro-Ject did a job that is generally good, I felt.

One aspect in which it did fall down, however, was the seeming inability to show the bit rates of stations that I had been listening to (the KEXP station shows it in their logo) thereby making it impossible to discover how high quality a stream I had been listening to. I was also disappointed the Stream cannot be re wound or even paused - as somebody who is used to the TuneIn radio app on my iPhone that offers this facility, it appears a curious omission. Moving to Radio 3 and a greater bit rate stream (I suppose!) The Stream Box opened up better and offered a much better awareness of impact and detail to the performances on offer.

Moving to some source whose parameters I did understand, I played a selection of 24/192 downloads from through the front-mounted USB socket from Most of the time, both of these were substantially better, with the unit offering a superb sense of air and purity to the top end that's normally missing in CDs. By comparison, the CD copy seemed mechanical and quite clanky, revealing that the benefits wrought by the increase in resolution are much more than subtle. With easy instrumental music or some soft vocal jazz, the Pro-Ject is a joy to listen to, washing the operation over you like the bubbles in a hot bath.

Equally, the subtle support effects lurking in the depths of Phantom Limb's 'Do Not say a Word' came through very cleanly when played on the job and, thanks to the impressively silent backdrop I discovered that I was listening at a lower volume than I usually would - everything looked merely better etched and more brilliant within the performance.

In the low end, the Pro-ject was not liquid and, once again, nicely detailed, but appeared to lack punch and drive. Switching to something with more of a bass line that is kicking, the Stream Box DS didn't really desire to play, continuing to sound carried through and very tidy, but not actually digging into the heart of the stuff on offer. Whilst this could work wonders in making some noisy, thrashy stuff a bit more socially acceptable, a few of us enjoy our noise...well...noisy!

My other gripe with the Job, however was an inherent effect that appeared to be in place irrespective of what source or bitrate that is the undeniable proven fact the sound seemed very reluctant to escape from the proximity of my loudspeakers, and I selected. Together with the aforementioned Phantom Limb track, the vocals of vocalist Yolanda Quartey were locked in the loudspeakers and appeared unwilling to come out. Despite a generally open and airy nature, the Stream Box appeared to fight when it came to focusing the operation centrally.

I happen to possess the record that the track is taken on both CD and LP and transforming to either of these planted her right at the center of the soundstage (in fact right in the middle of the area on the LP) but going back to the high-res download pushed everything back into two places once again. Taking the digital output in the Stream Box DS into my Marantz CDA94 DAC helped things along somewhat but failed to ameliorate the problem absolutely, that was a disappointment, especially given the undeniable strengths of the unit in other places.


The Endeavor Stream Box DS is a versatile digital streaming alternative that comes in the form of commonly enticing bundle that we have begun to expect from Job.

The design is neat, it is simple to use and get running as well as the user interface is trouble free. The only problem is the fact that, listening and as measurement suggests supports, the sound quality of the unit is just not up with the greatest a little below the cost, or really, at.

Pleasant and pleasing to hear it most definitely is, and for a lot of folks I don't have any doubt that this will probably be enough, but sadly the Stream Box DS does not demonstrate what the digital format is really capable of when offered in high resolution. Feed it some noisy, material that is grungy and it appears to send it out the other side having a good sugar coating to take the bitterness away. The Stream Box DS deserves great credit for the overall bundle, its user-friendliness and its general 'niceness', but I would propose careful auditioning before purchase in case the ultimate in honest sound quality across all genres of music is everything you are after.

Pro-Ject Stream Box DS Network player photo