NEWSTech

Pro-Ject’s new tiny amp is the ultimate hi-fi upgrade for the Bluetooth age

Pro-Ject Maia DS3 on black background

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Pro-Ject Audio Systems has unveiled the latest iteration of its super-flexible MaiA integrated amplifier series, with the compact new DS3 model bringing high-resolution Bluetooth connectivity to the party.

Describing the MaiA DS3 as “the Swiss army knife for your stereo system”, the Austrian audio specialist claims the new amp has all analog and digital bases covered for even the most discerning hi-fi fanatic, with the unit boasting a hefty nine separate inputs.

Despite its deceptively small footprint, the latest MaiA (an acronym of ‘My Audiophile Integrated Amplifier’) has a clean sweep of digital input options, with coax S/PDIF, two optical S/PDIF plus an USB input for the onboard 32bit/192kHz Delta-Sigma DAC. Crucially, there’s now also Bluetooth 5.0 AptX HD support for connecting up a mobile device for high-resolution audio streaming.

Vinyl heads will meanwhile also be pleased to see that the DS3’s phono preamp supports both moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) cartridges for connecting up to any of the best turntables out there.

Pro-Ject MaiA DS3 product image

(Image credit: Pro-Ject)

A further three additional analog line inputs make up the rest of the connectivity options. 

The DS3 also boasts a beefier output over previous iterations, with the amp capable of a massive 140 watts per channel at 4 ohms making it a perfect match for many of the best stereo speakers, while there’s also a dedicated subwoofer output for those looking for even more intense low end.

At the front there’s a 6.3mm headphone socket for private listening with the minimalistic control panel featuring a central analogue volume control with a motor-driven potentiometer.

The MaiA DS3 is out now, priced at £1,049 / $1,599 (no Australian price is confirmed as yet).

Pro-Ject has also taken the wraps off a new version of its entry-level Stereo Box integrated amp.

Priced at £359.00 / £499 and available later this month, the Stereo Box S3 BT is capable of 40W per channel at 4 ohms and allows two devices to be connected to its rear RCA jacks. 

You can also send your tunes from your mobile device to the unit via a third Bluetooth input that supports AptX HD, while a 3.5mm variable jack at the rear can meanwhile be used to connect a powered subwoofer.

Pro-Ject Stereo Box S3 BT product image

(Image credit: Pro-Ject)

Analysis: Beefed up new Pro-Ject amps look set to punch above their weight

Lack of space isn’t often a factor for anyone putting together a decks-based hi-fi setup, but if that living room console table of yours is looking a little dinky for a full-sized amp once you’ve placed your turntable, then these space-saving new options from Pro-Ject should allow you to get audiophile sound without compromise.

Previous iterations of the MaiA have been well received overall, but have been criticised for perhaps lacking a little bit of life and dynamism, so we’ll be looking forward to finding out if the boosted new 140-watt output addresses those concerns.

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