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HRT iStreamer DAC video review - a true iPod/iPhone/Ipad DAC!

post #1 of 119
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,

 

HRT has sent me their brand new HRT iStreamer DAC this week, which I think will be a pretty big deal for you Apple iDevice users. HRT has been working with Apple to gain data transfer rights to interface their new DAC with most of their iDevices. This is not a Wadia transport, but a true DAC. Yes, big news indeed. And here's even greater news (for me, at least), the iStreamer also charges your iDevice while in use! This was a nice surprise to hear. I own the value packed HRT MusicStreamer and use it exclusively in my home theater setup. It's a wonderful DAC and a deadly combo when streaming my FLAC files to my home theater PC. Based out of California, HRT's specialty is making quality DACs for pretty much any budget. Check them out at http://www.highresolutiontechnologies.com/products/.

 

 

I've been putting together a 2 part unbox-review of HRT's new iStreamer and would like to share it with all of you.

 

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziNBaEhQuRo

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpXOZNmkORo

 

And some glamour shots

IMG_0209 (2).jpg

 

IMG_0237.jpg

 

IMG_0250.jpg

 

IMG_0275.jpg

 

 

I haven't had much listening with it yet, so I am going to have some quiet time this weekend and sit down with my iPad, the iStreamer and some good albums. Will be glad to answer any questions ya'll have in the meantime.

 

Enjoy the vids! gs1000.gif

 

-Davy


Edited by mangamonster - 12/28/10 at 12:21pm
post #2 of 119

Davy, it will be interesting to see if your review gets a better reaction than the thread I posted a week or so ago - seems iPad users here aren't keen on a DAC that needs a wallwart and several have written it off before a single impression of the sound quality has been posted. I also felt the published UK price looked very high compared to the asynch USB Streamer II.

 

I am also enjoying my Music Streamer II, but I fear that HRT may not have done enough homework with this one - Kevin has surprised us before, and I will be happy if he does so again.

 

Good luck,

 

estreeter

post #3 of 119

Have not done their homework? First of all - this is the FIRST Apple Approved outboard full DAC for iDevices (which works in host mode, FAR superior in terms of jitter-reduction, compared to using a freakin camera kit).  AND - the people out there who think that using a 96k/24-bit DAC via the camera kit gives them hi-res playback through an iDevice are the ones NOT doing their homework! iDevices only support up to 48k, which is why the iStreamer is limited to 48k, and the HRT USB Music Streamer II is NOT (because that works with a computer, and is async).

 

It needs power because an iDevice does not have the power to drive the DAC properly in Host mode of operation

 

Why does Srajan at 6moons get what a jump this is, and people here hate on it????

HERE's a link to his report

 

makes NO sense to me

 

Kevin Halverson is a great engineer, and he knows what he's doing.

 

post #4 of 119

and its $199 US - which is only 50 bucks more than the MS II

post #5 of 119

Don't shoot the messenger Mike - I was only passing on the feedback I got re the wallwart and the form factor. As far as 6Moons is concerned, I know I'm not alone on this board when I say that I only look at the pictures, and never inhale. Srajan lives in a very privileged world, but he needs to be a whole lot more critical of the gear he reviews for mine. The iStreamer may well be the Silver Bullet that the world of portable audio has been waiting for, but you will have a tough time convincing many here that something without a battery pack is 'portable'. The MSII, by contrast, runs straight from my (battery-powered) netbook into my battery-powered amp : no ground loops etc. Party on. 

 

(I agree re Kevin's engineering ability, btw)

post #6 of 119
Thread Starter 

Good information here. Just one thing that I'd like to touch up on in regards to the iStreamer's functionality. I don't think it was ever marketed as a portable solution, but instead, as a full on DAC solution.

 

IMO, I feel that the iStreamer will indeed impact iPad users the most, as it makes the most sense. But, it is also nice to know that it works with almost every other iDevice that Apple carries, providing an option for everyone. My lifestyle doesn't demand me to carry around portable audio equipment in order to enjoy my music. That is something I rarely do. I spend most of my leisurely time at home. I'm in my mid-30's. My usual listening habits are comprised of driving home after work, choosing what flavor of gear to listen to that day and then relax with a cup of something nice to some great albums. I'm sure that this is the same for a lot of people here.

 

If HRT creates a completely portable solution for the iPhone users, such as a battery powered iStreamer, then sure, it would be an excellent option for those people who use usually pocket their source gear while on the go, but HRT isn't trying to fill that gap with the iStreamer they are offering today.

 

-davy

post #7 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Davy, it will be interesting to see if your review gets a better reaction than the thread I posted a week or so ago - seems iPad users here aren't keen on a DAC that needs a wallwart and several have written it off before a single impression of the sound quality has been posted. I also felt the published UK price looked very high compared to the asynch USB Streamer II.

 

I am also enjoying my Music Streamer II, but I fear that HRT may not have done enough homework with this one - Kevin has surprised us before, and I will be happy if he does so again.

 

Good luck,

 

estreeter


Thanks, estreeter. I have a feeling that this isn't their only iDevice solution that they plan to implement. I wouldn't be suprised if HRT releases future iDevice solutions because of the digital rights they now have with Apple. With that said, both you and I are assured that their products will be consistent in audio and hardware quality, as we are both HRT users...I've been using the Music Streamer (1st gen) in my entertainment system for a couple years now, and it is pretty damn sweet.

 

-DD


Edited by mangamonster - 1/7/11 at 9:00am
post #8 of 119

 

Functionally speaking the only difference between this and the Wadia is that this outputs to an amp and the Wadia outputs to a DAC right? If so it seems like they really cut the balls off of this little guy.


Edited by dsissitka - 12/20/10 at 7:06am
post #9 of 119

Functionality speaking: NOT REALLY (in terms of the difference and the way you described it).  The difference is: The Wadia is a DOCK (that, admittedly, opened the door to all these products, as it was the first Apple Approved dock to access the digital data-stream off our iPods, allowing us to use our own beloved legacy DACs and I LOVE my Wadia, and I love the company too) - the iStreamr is a full DAC, also Apple Approved, for $199.95. -

 

I'm so sorry if it seemed like I was shooting the messenger @estreeter!!

That was NOT my intent, I was merely trying to make some things clear, and admittedly, I get a little defensive because I've worked my whole life in both the music and Hifi industries, and worked my tail off, and some nu-jacks here have come at me with insane things sometimes - so I aologize.

 

This product was NOT designed as a portable solution (believe me, I would love for HRT to come out with a battery-operated unit!!!!!!!) - it was designed as a way to take an iDevice, and instead of just supllying a dock, it gives you the ability to turn your iDevice into a high fidelity source, ALL in one package (no camera kit needed, no outboard DAC) at an affordable price.

 

You are exactly right, and believe me - I've been pushing for a portable unit - but remember - the iStreamer also charges the iDevice too - which other DACs that work with camera kits won't do.  Plus this works in host mode, which has FAR superior, low-jitter operation advantages.

 

Hope this helps, and by the way - we (I am the director of marketing for HRT's US Distributor in my 9-5, but I still do my writing, at nights and on the weekends) got the iStreamer into USA Today this morning!  The website, I'm hoping to get it into print there soon.  I'm VERY proud of this, and have been workin my tail off to get the buzz humming around this thing!!!

 

 

 

post #10 of 119

OH - and to make an IMPORTANT CORRECTION:

HRT does NOT have exclusive rights to build a full function, outboard DAC for Apple iDevices, they were just the first to do it!!

 

I should have told DeckhandDavy that.

 

post #11 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsissitka View Post

 

Functionally speaking the only difference between this and the Wadia is that this outputs to an amp and the Wadia outputs to a DAC right? If so it seems like they really cut the balls off of this little guy.


The 'issue' with the Wadia and Onkyo docks, from day one, has been that they are --only-- a transport : you need a DAC. For those who already own a dedicated DAC or a CDP that will function as one, this wasnt an issue - for those who didnt, it seemed like you were being saddled with the cost of the dock, a DAC and an amp, simply to improve the sound that comes out of your iDevice. 

 

As Srajan pointed out in his preview, you could hook your iPad up to a pair of powered speakers (and their are some very good nearfield monitors priced at well under a thousand USD new) via the iStreamer and have a very good hi-fi solution on your desktop. Whether the sound meets your criteria for 'hi-fi' (the Onkyo didnt when What Hi-Fi tested it, but Vinnie from Redwine Audio said it did the job for him), being able to bypass the internal DAC has to be a win. I guess we wont know until someone actually reviews the thing. 

post #12 of 119

i really want to hear more on this istreamer...

better wait for more reviews.

post #13 of 119

just appear to be off-topic..but what camera lens did u use for these auwsome pics? Look, the color of istreamer is EPIC there.

post #14 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by donkeywalker View Post

just appear to be off-topic..but what camera lens did u use for these auwsome pics? Look, the color of istreamer is EPIC there.



Thanks! I used a Pentax Super Takumar 50mm f/1,4 prime. Good ol' nifty fifty.

post #15 of 119

I so want one of these. Will have to get one before the next Seattle Meet. Will be reading everything I can find on this. Very cool gear.

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