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V-DAC vs. HRT Music Streamer II

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey,

A couple weeks ago I bought the HRT Music Streamer II for $150. I have it setup with Swan D1080MkII 08 speakers for my computer desktop.

I appreciate good sound, but I must say that I have limited experience and am somewhat a new-beginner in the audiophile arena.

I think that the sound is fine, but I wonder if it is worth it to send back the Music Streamer and get a V-DAC($300) instead? I use my speakers for music, games and movies. I am planning to buy a decent sub(maybe HSU?) sooner or later.

Suggestions and advices appreciated.
post #2 of 10
Very likely with your Swans you won't notice an improvement.

V-DAC is on par, if not superior, to >>$1000 CD players. It has USB, optical (toslink) and coaxial digital inputs and thus could serve as upgrade to old or cheap CD/DVD players, digital satellite or cable receivers.

Note that a MacBook in addition to USB has an optical digital output as well (Toslink), with potentially better SQ. Hence you are not restricted to USB DACs.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by zappp View Post
Very likely with your Swans you won't notice an improvement.

V-DAC is on par, if not superior, to >>$1000 CD players. It has USB, optical (toslink) and coaxial digital inputs and thus could serve as upgrade to old or cheap CD/DVD players, digital satellite or cable receivers.
But you haven't heard the Music Streamer II?

I would also like to read a comparison between the Music Streamer II and the V-dac. (But I am not so interested in guesswork...)
post #4 of 10

The HRT Streamer II is asynchronous, the V-DAC is adaptive, meaning that if you intend to use the usb entry of the v-dac you'll be restricted to 16bit/48Khz. So if you're only listening to red book quality, it's fine. But if you swap the HRT for the v-dac and you want to listen to high resolution files, you'll have to connect your computer through S/PDIF.

 

http://www.stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/musical_fidelity_v-dac_da_processor/index4.html

 

I can't give you any clue about their respective performance, I don't own them, but I'm looking for getting a dac too, and between the two I would stick with the HRT. Unless you can hear the v-dac and be sure that it's a big improvement on the HRT. They both use Burr Brown dac chips, PCM1792 for the v-dac and PCM 1793 for the HRT, I'm not sure there's so much difference between the two chips.

 

Also maybe, before changing your dac make sure that your setting is good, have a look at that page for example: 

 

http://www.usbdacs.com/Windows/Windows.html

 

cheers

post #5 of 10

 

Quote:
The HRT Streamer II is asynchronous, the V-DAC is adaptive, meaning that if you intend to use the usb entry of the v-dac you'll be restricted to 16bit/48Khz.

This is inaccurate.

They are both adaptive and based on the jittery, 16/48 only, PCM2706 chips.

 

The key differences are in favor of the V-DAC: upsampling with asynchronous reclocking, dedicated power supply and a higher spec DAC chip.

PCM1793 is actually lowest in the 179x line-up (although that alone doesn't matter much)

post #6 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post

 

This is inaccurate.

They are both adaptive and based on the jittery, 16/48 only, PCM2706 chips.

 

The key differences are in favor of the V-DAC: upsampling with asynchronous reclocking, dedicated power supply and a higher spec DAC chip.

PCM1793 is actually lowest in the 179x line-up (although that alone doesn't matter much)


HRT Streamer II is indeed asynchronous.

http://www.highresolutiontechnologies.com/streamer_ii.pdf

post #7 of 10

I stand corrected. The HRT Streamer II is indeed asynchronous.

 

I saw the innards of the version Streamer I and Streamer+ , both had PCM2706 inside.

 

Here is Streamer II ... naked :

 

HRTMSII_INT-Large.jpg


Edited by audiofil - 5/20/10 at 7:33pm
post #8 of 10

Theres two versions of the music streamer  one is 100 and is adaptive and the 150 one which is async and the higher end ones are async. Async is a much better implementation to get better sound from a computer than an adaptive dac.  The only thing I dont like about the MS is that it uses USB power. I havn't heard either but if I had to choose one I would choose the MS, you could also mod the usb cable so you can run the MS on battery Im sure this would really increase the sound quality.

post #9 of 10

In response to "Kawai_man" and specifically the comment "The only thing I dont like about the MS is that it uses USB power."  While true that all versions of our Streamer line don't use an external power supply, calling them USB powered is very inaccurate.  Let me attempt to explain.  All of our Streamers use a highly sophisticated and completely isolated power supply design.  The USB power is regenerated (not just filtered and regulated) via a completely isolated power stage.  There is no coupling mechanism between the computer (host) and the Streamer (device) side of the products.  In fact, there is isolation of both the power and the data to the DAC stage.  This isolation results in complete break in the conduction path.  Adding a battery (of for that matter, any other approach) would not result in any improvement as the device (Streamer) already provides this capability.

 

To go a step further, even if one did use a battery, but not our approach, the results would be considerably inferior as there would still be a connection between the computer and the audio sides of the product (as is the case in all other approaches).  If one is not inclined to simply accept the comment of a manufacturer, try this simple test.  Put a DVM or similar on the device and try to measure any conduction between the USB connector and the analog output.  We claim an isolation of greater then 20 Mega Ohm, which is true.  What isn't as obvious is how much greater than 20M this isolation is.  The fact is it is for all practical terms, infinite.  This is a significant performance advantage and one that is unique to our products. 

 

In conclusion, the closing statement by "Kwai_man", specifically "Im sure this would really increase the sound quality" would be true for any other USB DAC, but not for one of our Streamers.

 

Kevin Halverson

CTO

High Resolution Technologies, LLC

post #10 of 10

Hi kevin,

   nice marketing spin but a little incomplete for an answer, Yes a battery would be worthless because it would at best duplicate the existing power supply that uses the usb as a feed. However the USB  power itself is a limiting factor for the stability of the design...  like driving 85db efficiency loudspeakers with a 20 watt amp... works until you stress it with power reserve demand for power it doesn't have. Having rebuilt a DAC power supply and seen the audible improvements of a  beefier more stable power supply, I probably won't upgrade from the Music Streamer II to a better product in your line without an outboard DC power supply option. I am impressed with the Musicstreamer II, wonderful base, dynamics, clarity but it doesn't have quite the same solidity to tones as my older DAC separate with PSU upgrade ..Kudos for getting so much sound out of such a small cost, hope you take us the next step towards 96/24 nirvana.. 

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