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HRT - MicroStreamer - High Performance External USB Soundcard and Headphone Amplifier

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #134 in Amp/DACs

Posted

Pros: Great value DAC and DAC/AMP. This thing is musical!

Cons: Sensitivity to poor USB source. DAC will drop-out due to repeated timing issues.

Intro

 

HRT microStreamer is a small silver box, powered by and fed audio via USB input, with separate 3.5mm outputs - one output to feed headphones directly using an internal amplifier and a second output for exclusive line-level to feed an external amplifier. It uses USB Audio Class 1.0, meaning the microStreamer has no drivers for Windows, yet is capable of audio playback up to 24-bit at 96kHz.

 

But none of this is what I want to write about - this thing is musical man :gs1000smile: And what does that mean :blink:

 

It holds onto a fine edge:

 

  • Engaging, but not overbearing.
  • Detailed, but not etched.
  • Enunciating bass lines, but not boosting them or adding a delayed decay.
  • Allowing for the airy high frequency details, but not throwing them at you like icy blades.

 

Plug in your USB, plug in your headphones, set your volume, and hit play. Music streams out of the microStreamer - it is just that simple. The microStreamer seems like a box that someone took care to design, build, listen to for a while, and tweak, tweak, tweak until they got it right. It is not uber-anything, yet it does everything just about right :D

 

Comparisons

 

And...the above is pretty much all I wanted to say. I apologize for having such a short review - more just a personal preference, insight, whatever you wish to call it. I'll quickly run through a few other USB AMP/DAC for at least a brief comparison:

 

  • CEntrance DACport HD - these two DAC/AMP choices are quite close in sonic quality. I would estimate the CEntrance simply has better parts, with less grain - less aural strain. Though the delta is ever so slight.
  • Geek Out V2 (output through 4-pin XLR) - much more detail retrieval, but also more scientific, microscopic. Less alive in its presentation of the music.
  • Meridian Explorer 2 - more 3-dimensional, less harsh. Also what I would call less detail-obsessed with regards to any grit in the recording. For me, sometimes it works - and sometimes I need more grit to feel the musical intent.
  • Schiit Fulla - similarly musical, just sharper - this one comes with teeth. The Fulla has a little less compromise for things like large impedance variation or inherent headphone treble emphases. The microStreamer smooths these issues over, just a little. I like the Fulla on a balanced headphone, like the AKG K7XX. The musical detail in the microStreamer is present, and less pronounced - more subtle goodness for you to seek, when your ears are ready to listen.

 

And now I normally add upgrade options. To my ears the (twice the cost) Apogee Groove and (four times the cost) Chord Mojo both have easily heard upgraded sound. Each keeps what I feel is the best attribute of the microStreamer - a musical and balanced sound with at least a similar level of detail. There is particularly more detail with the Mojo, yet it retains the musical value more so than the GOV2. By moving from the microStreamer to either the Groove or Mojo, I am allowed to dive even further into the music, likely due to what I am certain are better parts. I can listen louder (not usually my preference) or longer (this is what I like) without tiring.

 

Outro

 

If you own the microStreamer, would I advocate you upgrade to those - depends on your wallet. And - no, in that there is nothing either of the two upgrades I have listed does that makes it twice the goodness of the microStreamer. My final thoughts - do not discount this older DAC/AMP. It is still a good choice even when compared to the modern onslaught of DAC/AMP options.

 

Just my brief thoughts - and always, YMMV :o 

HRT - MicroStreamer - High Performance External USB Soundcard and Headphone Amplifier
Description:

Introducing the microStreamer. A revolution in the HRT product line... The microStreamer brings you all the best features of our groundbreaking Music Streamer product with the addition of headphone capabilities all in a miniature sized box that fits easily in your palm or pocket.Hardly bigger than a couple of packs of gum stacked atop each other and housed in an aluminum enclosure precision-machined from solid billets, the durable and beautiful-to-behold MicroStreamer is a thoroughly modern, sleek, and compact dual-purpose-built, USB-powered and connected, ultra high-performance external sound card for computers, tablets, smart-phones, or any compliant host. It combines a 140 mV headphone amplifier with an analog attenuator (just like the HeadStreamer Mobile) with a fixed 2.25V line-level output (50 ohms output impedance), each of which operates independently from the other, so that the user can elect to listen to the MicroStreamer via headphones or through a stereo system, or even have both live at the same time. Each output uses a 1/8" stereo female mini-jack, very common for today's headphones and easily adaptable to standard stereo rigs via a mini-plug-to-RCA adapter cable or an all-mini-plug cable for going into many powered desktop speakers. With sonic performance that places it squarely between the MS II and the MS II+, HRT has, with the MicroStreamer, ensured that there is a suitable device for just about any listener.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandHRT
EAN7898304245448
FeatureFull Scale Output: 2.25 V RMS (line), 1.4V (headphone) Output Impedance: 50 Ohm (line), .5 Ohm (headphone) Frequency Response (20 Hz/20 kHz): +0db / -.4dB Output Power: up to 140 mW (headphone) Noise Floor (DC to 30 kHz): 18 uV RMS
LabelHigh Resolution Technologies
ManufacturerHigh Resolution Technologies
MPNMicroStreamer
PublisherHigh Resolution Technologies
StudioHigh Resolution Technologies
TitleHRT - MicroStreamer - High Performance External USB Soundcard and Headphone Amplifier
PartNumberMicroStreamer
ProductGroupCE
ProductTypeNameHEADPHONES
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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