Headphone Amplifier, Roon endpoint

I´m looking for a device to connect my T5P2 headphones when sitting at the desk and using the PC as a controller for roon. Right now I have a balanced cable in use for my Astell & Kern device at work. It would be great if there is no need to change the cable every time, when moving from work to home and vice versa.
In the first search I found the Pro ject pre Box s2 digital, which seems to be a nice product for the price. But it lacks an balanced out.
Do you have any recommandations? My price limit is about 600€. Thanks

Is the AK using the 2.5 balanced?

If so, check out the ifi xCAN it has 3.5 SE and 2.5 balanced inputs and outputs as well as SPDIF input. It is also bluetooth. So you can usd your phone as the source and to control Roon. Gets you monility, too.

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Ja es müsste 2.5 Se vorhanden sein. Der ifi sieht nicht schlecht aus aber ich bekomm den ja nicht ins Netz, oder gibt kein WLAN oder Netzanschluss. Nur analog, oder?

Whoops sorry. Wrong language. Yes you are right I’m looking for a device with a 2.5 connector. But I would like to connect it to the network so that I can use the pc to control roon and to stream from the nas.

I’m using a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital and an Aune X7s class A headphone amp.

The Pre Box S2 Digital is a great little DAC and pre-amp, but it has no network streaming capability, so you’d need an extra box to connect it to.

I’m using it with the ProJect Stream Box S2 Ultra and it works brilliantly with Roon (I use it the same way as you’re suggesting, controlled by PC, core and files on a NAS), but as far as I know you will need the Stream Box or an alternative to do what you want.

Depending on how much fuss you mind, I use a microRendu as the Roon “target”, connected to an iFi xDSD headphone amp / DAC. It’s powerful, sounds REALLY good, and is balanced.

Thanks. I would like to have a clean setup with not too many cables on the desk. I wasn’t aware that it is not possible to directly use the project digital. It has an ethernet jack, right? Unfortunately no 2.5 balanced port. Hmmm

Do you stream with the project? What is the need for the both devices? Just because the balanced port?

I stream with the Pro-Ject. I use the Aune as headphone amplifier. My MrSpeakers ETHER C Flow cans are not that hard to drive but the extra power improves the sound.
See my setup here.
The NUC has been moved to my server cabinet since these photo’s were taken.

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So it’s possible to stream with the pre box? All I heard now is that a streaming via ethernet is not possible, one would need the stream ultra s2 in addition.

If you connect the Xcan to your PC either wired (2.5 balanced or 3.5 SE or SPDIF) or by bluetooth then you then could control with the pc and use the xcan as the output from the pc. This gets you a very good heahphone amp and the 2.5 balanced you are lokking for.

I have a Raspberry Pi running Ropieee that is actually doing the streaming. The Pro-Ject is connected via USB to the RPi and the RCA outs go to the headphone amp.

But the xcan has no ethernet jack. I don’t want to connect it directly to the pc. I should be a standalone solution for the music. I think I need to go for the pre s2 and the corresponding stream s2 ultra. But still I don’t have a balanced output. I probably will have to go back to unbalanced. Or maybe the combination of stream box with xcan is possible?

No, xcan has no DAC it’s just an amp. The usb-c is for charging only. But xdsd would work however it does not have the 2.5 balanced. Back to no balanced…hmmm.

Does your AK work as a DAC? What model is it? My 380 functions as a DAC when connected to a PC. Not sure if it would work off of the stream s2 ultra.

Actually reading about the stream s2 ultra it has bluetooth so maybe the xcan would work…? Time email project guys and ask…

There’s is a head box ds2 b. It supports balanced out, but I would need to find an adapter from 2.5 to XLR. And it is pretty expensive. But the support said it should be possible to directly stream to the pre box with roon without the need for the stream box. I will try.

Sorry Stefan - I missed your reply until now.

It is only possible to stream directly to the Pre Box S2 Digital via USB from your PC or other streamer (for example the Stream Box S2 Ultra).

Have a look at the back of it here - there is no ethernet port, just USB, coax and optical: https://www.project-audio.com/en/product/pre-box-s2-digital/

The Pre Box is simply a DAC and a headphone preamp.

You are right. I must be blind. Strange that the support told me something else on the telephone. Maybe we were talking about different devices. Hmm… So I need the stream box. That will bring me up to 1000euros. Maybe there is another better solution for that price tag?

You can use a Raspberry Pi and RoPieee. I’m using 4 of these.
This will stream to the Pre Box S2 Digital for about € 60.

RPi starter kit


Thanks for the tip. Is there a special version of the pi that I need. There are many different configuration and some people seem to have heat issues.