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HRT Music Streamer II High Resolution USB D/A Converter

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #21 in DACs

Posted

Pros: See review

Cons: small soundstage, too forward sounding and fatiguing with SOME headphones

I'm not really a fan of computer DACs and prefer full sized CD players mostly. I previously had a Nuforce Icon Mobile DAC and it's ok. I believe it's the same thing as the uDAC, but I might be wrong. It seemed to be a good match for only specific headphones and I did prefer it to the E7 by far. It's very good for bass and treble happy headphones. It's especially good for the M50 and D2000. Despite poor measurements it doesn't sound that bad.

 

Once I got my Q701 the first thing I wanted to do was get a good dac. Nothing overkill and something that's a good value for the money. I'm not so serious about music to need a $300+ DAC (yet). I actually figured there would be a very slight improvement in sound quality. Boy, was I ever wrong.

 

For me, this DAC has been a bigger improvement than upgrading Amps. No joke. This really seems to improve the level of detail from all my headphones. Pretty impressive. The bass was much improved on the Q701 (didn't really add quantity, maybe a tiny bit) and the soundstage seemed to get a little larger.

 

I've heard before that this DAC might have "edgy treble", but that couldn't be any further from the truth. The treble is perfectly smooth as long as the song isn't badly mastered and sounding like garbage to begin with. It won't suddenly make any treble happy headphone worse.

 

I didn't review this right away because I wanted to figure out it's entire sound signature. I do think it's pretty much close to being neutral and won't magically change a headphone's signature. I do think it is slightly warm. It won't suddenly turn a DT-880 into an HD-650, but it does help some thin sounding headphones or those lacking warmth. I've found it especially good for my SR-325is, Q701 and DJ100.

 

I do think it MIGHT have a very, very tiny peak in the upper mids somewhere. I noticed this only with the K601 and K400. Strangely enough I upgraded my firmware and it seems to have gone away. This would be impossible right? Probably placebo. Could be just revealing to me how bad some songs are, who knows.

 

This seems to really improve many, many headphones. It's kind of ridiculous. You'd be shocked to see what this does for the KRK KNS-8400. You think the KRKs are detail monsters from a portable player? Waiting until you hear it with this. It's as if it's trying to suck every last piece of detail out of your music file and send it to your KRK. With the KNS-8400 it seems to improve the soundstage size and level of detail. Kind of add a little bit of texture to the mids and make it a tiny bit warmer sounding. Overall, just a little bit more fun to listen to.

 

The absolute BEST match I've had was with the AKG K601. It doesn't need to be any warmer than it already is, but somehow this DAC seemed to breath new life into my K601 that's been in storage for months. Feels almost like I got my K601 upgraded.

 

Here's another crazy thing to annoy the science guys. I never could hear the difference between interconnect cables at all EVER. When I upgraded my DAC to this, it's stupid easy. No, not USB cables silly. I still use cheap cables, but it's funny hearing the difference between a Monoprice cable and a Canare cable. I actually prefer Monoprice, but only due to preferences.

 

Strangely enough I like this DAC less with my HD-598 than any of my other headphones. Not sure why. Maybe it's that my HD-598 is already as warm as I want it and it does not benefit as much. Who knows. I have a feeling this would be a bad match for say the HD-650, but I'm not sure.

 

I feel that it's totally worth the $150. I'm using it with a Headroom Micro Amp and it seems to be a perfect match.

 

8/15/2012 UPDATE:

 

I've decided to part with this DAC. It's still a good DAC, but too forward sounding with my Q701 and K601. Often a tad too fatiguing. I've even compared it vs full sized cd players and soundcards and those were much more neutral sounding. It's not a case of poor recordings.

 

The soundstage is also much too small. I blamed my amp at first, but was I ever wrong. Even my full sized CD player has a larger soundstage.

 

I'll probably use the funds to buy an ODAC or a good soundcard.

 

Posted

Pros: High value, very good performance

Cons: USB only inputs

This was my first venture into computer audio.  It has excellent plug and play simplicity, very good, smooth and dynamic sound, pretty good detail and only a little rolled off up high.

 

If USB is all you need, and you're a noob...start here, you won't regret it.

 

I'm looking to upgrade to a DAC with Toslink and Digital coax inputs...if HRT made one, I'd give it a try!

 

Revised 11-26-2012:I'm reviewing the new OppoBDP-105 now and A-B'ing it against the MSII+Audirvana+ and I'll be darned if their sounds aren't EXTREEEEEEEMLY similar, the MSII might be a little overdoing some of the transients but they are equivalent in 97% of the situations I've played them in.  The interesting part is that the more expensive DACs by HRT add detail, but this one sounds the most similar to a $1200 reference player.  Please, go out and try one of these before they discontinue them, rebadge, and charge twice as much!  Revised my rating to 5-stars for Audio and overall quality as I've never had a hiccup in 2 years!

Posted

Pros: Sound quality, size, plug and play

Cons: Unbalanced rca outputs

[This review is based on the older triangular-shaped version of the Hrt Music Streamer II (shown in the picture)]

The HRT Music Streamer II was my first external DAC purchase. I've been using it with my Behringer Truth B3030A near-field monitors since April and it really compliments them.

 

Before I bought the MS II, I was using a Creative Titanium Fatal1ty Pro PCI Express sound card. It got the job done and sounded pretty nice, but after a while I started craving for more detail in music. So after reading up on some reviews I ended up getting the MS II.

 

I can't compare the sound quality to +1000$ DAC's, never having owned one, but it's hard for me to imagine a better price/performance ratio.

To summarize: If sound quality is key and you don't care for blinking leds or lcd screens, or simply don't want a device with a big footprint, this might be it.

HRT Music Streamer II High Resolution USB D/A Converter
By:
Description:

The Streamer II is a high-performance music interface that allows a computer and a home entertainment system to become perfect partners. The Music Streamer II is a high performance audio interface that allows a computer and home entertainment system to become perfect partners. With is unique topology, the Music Streamer II provides a completely isolated path between the computer and audio system. No more audio contamination by the computer; your music will always sound its best. There are no external power supplies to worry about because the Music Streamer II derives its power from the USB buss while completely regenerating power for all its internal circuitry using a sophisticated set of proprietary circuits. Operation is simple, just plug the Music Streamer II into any USB port on your computer and the Music Streamer II will install itself and be ready in a matter of moments. Connect the other end of the Music Streamer II into any analog input and you are ready to stream high quality compter based music. The Music Streamer II provides full support for applications such as iTunesTM and Windows Media PlayerTM direct to your home entertainment system, with a level of quality never before possible. You can also use the Music Streamer II to listen to internet radio or other music subscription services such as RhapsodyTM, NapsterTM, PandoraTM, SpotifyTM and many more in high quality through your Home Entertainment System, Television or Stereo system.

Details:
DetailValue
BrandHRT
EAN0798304101539
FeatureFull support for iTunes and Windows Media Player
LabelHRT
List Price$149.00
ManufacturerHRT
ModelMusic Streamer II
MPNMusic Streamer II
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameCONSUMER_ELECTRONICS
PublisherHRT
StudioHRT
TitleHRT Music Streamer II High Resolution USB D/A Converter
UPC798304101539
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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