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HRT iStreamer DAC video review - a true iPod/iPhone/Ipad DAC! - Page 8

post #106 of 124

One of these works (for a couple of hours anyway):


(5 volts/500mA output)

post #107 of 124
Originally Posted by ericfarrell85 View Post

Actually no. The istreamer is driven by the 5 volt USB output. I'm using the 19 volt regulated down to 15 volts to drive the Stepdance. At the moment I dont have a clean setup (lengthy wires) but when I put it together properly I'll post pics.



I am wondering how long is the battery life of the XP8000 powering the iStreamer alone, and powering both the iStreamer and the Stepdance.


The Stepdance should work well with your headphones HD650 / K701. How about with your IEM SM3?



post #108 of 124
I don't use the Stepance for either the HD650's or the K701's as I have a more powerful desktop setup for that purpose. I generally found every IEM responsive to the gains of the Stepdance, especially when it's driven at 12 volts.. Of all my IEM's, the SM3 probably benefit least from an amp, but still the benefits of increased voltage are there: better transients, more air, more focus and clarity and possibly a tighter soundstage.

The XP8000 was a terrific purchase and probably cost-effective in my case. The Stepdance runs through a generic 9 volt battery (on low gain) in less than 10 hours. The Stepdance, although I haven't actually monitored this, somewhere between 25-35 hours. With the istreamer I could only make a guess, never having done any extended battery trials, but it's only using 5 volts so...

I recommend the istreamer wholeheartedly. I'd say since I began this hobby there have been 3 major periods of SQ gain. The first was going from CX300's to RE0's, the second was acquiring my first amp, the Corda Headsix, and the third, now is the istreamer. The istreamer brings the SQ to another level, with changes greater than say going from a Tier 2 IEM to a Tier 1 (RE0 to say an CK10 or Fischer Eterna to Monster Miles).

What I don't like, however, about the istreamer is how cumbersome it feels. I've yet to really figure out how to make this a portable setup. One would have to, firstly, get a short (6 inches) RCA to 3.5 and then a short apple USB cable. Assuming the amp is attached to the idevice, one still has to manage the istreamer, the XP8000 (plus the regulator in my case) plus all the wires. Sometimes it's easier to just use the additional PSU's, both for the istreamer and the Stepdance - but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Edited by ericfarrell85 - 8/27/11 at 4:27am
post #109 of 124
I feel compelled to share one bit of info regarding iStreamer which ultimately made me to return it. With iPhone or iPad, it can have popping noise which caused by fragmented file system according to my email exchange with HRT. It can be fixed by soft feasting the iPhone, but didn't like the fact that I gotta do it every once in a while. It was my OCD speaking, still the volume control with click wheel if you have iPod classic or EQ setting from iPhone were neat features that I don't think you can get with ipod and anything else.
post #110 of 124

Does anybody know if you can power the iStreamer off any ordinary USB hub or port?

post #111 of 124
I've noticed that when the istreamer is connected to an ipad2 and an Earmax Anniversary it induces a slight hum in the Earmax,this does not happen when it's connected to an iPhone only an ipad2.I've tried it with two iPad 2's
post #112 of 124


Hear is my situation:  I have a Grado RA-1 Headphone Amplifier, and a pair of Grado HP-1's that have functioned flawlessly for 19 years, with only one exception.  After about 10 or 15 years, one of my drivers went out.  For repair, my headphones, aka “cans,” were sent directly to Joseph Grado, who was retired and living in South Carolina.  I had the honor of speaking to him directly after he had diagnosed the problem.


So, now, five or ten years later, I have had no problem at all with my Grado cans.  But now here is my first question:  Of those of you who know your way around this issue, what do you think about me mating this DAC with my Grado HP-1's and my Grado RA-1 amplifier?


A totally portable system is tempting, because I opted for the completely DC version of the Grado RA-1 Amplifier (note that this amp has never given me any problems during the 17 years I have owned it).  I chose this version because according to Grado, it is slightly superior to the the AC version of the amp.  However, Grado mentioned that almost no one would be able to notice the very subtle difference.  I listened to both and, as one might expect, I could not knot ice the difference, no matter how hard I tried.


But still, in the end, I decided to buy the DC version of the amp, thereby sentencing myself to a lifetime of buying two nine-volt batteries every month or so.  Still, I am happy with my decision because, even though my decision was silly when I made it, it turned out that, after a decade or so later, new technology was invented that allowed me to carry my entire music collection around with me.    So, with just my iPod, along with my Grado amp/headphones combo, I can walk down to the beach here in Honolulu, and listen to a Mozart concerto as if the Cleveland Orchestra were right there, performing in front of me, playing while suspended over the waves.


After buying my first iPod, I was amazed at the quality of the sound I received from the combination of my iPod, plugged into my Grado HA-1 Headphone Amplifier, with my Grado HP-1's plugged into the amp.  All of this is totally portable, yet gives excellent sound.  I suspect that, if I were to add this DAC, along with a battery or whatever is necessary to power it without A/C, I could retain this ability to walk to beautiful places and listen to beautiful music.  I also suspect that the quality of my sound would be significantly improved.


Of course, as surprisingly good as it sounds, my existing portable system is far from perfect.  The slight harshness of jitter is audible, even though its presence detracts very little from the amazingly good sound of my set-up, as is.  Never-the-less, I cannot stand the fact that I could be hearing significantly better sound by including a good DAC.


I am sure that there are DACs out there that are far superior to the DAC within my computers and iPods.  So, it seems like this particular DAC would be a large step upward in sound quality, should I insert it between my Grado HA-1 Headphone Amplifier, and whatever digital sound source I might be using.


My next question is, is this above assumption on my part correct, or would I not notice the difference of including a DAC?  I am pretty sure everyone will agree with the former, but I feel compelled to include the latter, because maybe I have become so enamored with what I have read about DACs, I have subconsciously eliminated the possibility that a DAC would not improve my sound as much as I think it would.


My next question is:  Would this DAC be sufficient to improve the music heard through my Grados to the point where any additional money spent on costlier DACs would be wasted because I would be unable to detect any improvement over this DAC?  On one hand, while I am willing to pay for quality, I am also not so gullible that I would be willing to waste money paying for theoretical  "improvements" in sound that are undetectable to me or any other person whose career is not spent comparing the tiniest differences between six-figure audio systems.


My final question is:  If I am willing to pay for improvements in sound quality, even if those improvements are small, but audible, would I be wasting money by paying for other, more costly DACs, or are there other DACs out there that produce sound of a quality so much higher than this DAC that it would be worthwhile to buy them instead of this DAC?  In other words, is this DAC good enough so that one could make a logical argument that this DAC represents "the point of diminishing returns?"


Thank you to those who have waded through this long, long post.  And thank you even more to anyone who is willing to respond to this long post and give me some guidance in my impending purchase of a DAC that, hopefully, represents a logical, but not excessive, addition to my existing equipment (as you might be able to tell, virtually all of my listening is done through headphones).

post #113 of 124

but it needs to be powered?

post #114 of 124

Does anyone know if the power supply is 120V only or international 120-240V?

post #115 of 124
Originally Posted by Mauricio View Post

Does anyone know if the power supply is 120V only or international 120-240V?


The power supply is international 120-240V.

Edited by Mauricio - 6/6/12 at 1:03am
post #116 of 124
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

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.


I am quite confused here... blink.gif   I am myself trying to assemble the best portable solution based on an iPAD and my custom IEM (Westone ES3x), so I need help to find the very BEST sounding set-up. (price this time is not an issue):


1-  In this forum, sometime I read that the CCK + DAC/AMP combo is a really good solution, and sometime like here that the CCK is a "freaking" solution that provide more jitter and les resolution.  ??  so what is the true ?   is SOLO+AMP really better than CCK + DAC/AMP ??


2 - Also, above it is stated that "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)."... ??  So OK, if a USB device offer 96k while the CCK or iDevice (SOLO, Fostex, iStreamer) only provide 48k, then... how do you connect at REAL 96k an iPhone or an iPad in you can't use an " i-connection" but an USB connection ??? confused_face_2.gif confused_face.gif

post #117 of 124
I cannot hear any difference between CCK > DAC or Onkyo digital dock > DAC
post #118 of 124

I have an istreamer-12v on order and this is how my car audio system is currently configured:


Seagate Goflex Satellite NAS, modded to 1.5TB and using 'hackgoflexsatellite.com' firmware, is a portable wifi access point in my car and holds my entire music collection in lossless flac.


The Goflex wifi currently streams to my iphone 4S (with the 8player app, since apple won't support flac natively) and I use an LOD to the AUX IN of my Kenwood 9990HD in the car's dash.  Pre-amp out of the Kenwood goes to Focal amps that drive 3 way Morel speakers installed in the front of the car.


This give very nice sound but I want to see how far I can push it (cost effectively!).


I tried bluetooth from iphone to Kenwood, but the iphone's DAC sounds better than the Kenwood, so bypassing the AUX IN is not an option.


From what I've read, the HRT istreamer-12V looks like a good bet for improving on the iphone's DAC.


Any thoughts or suggestions?

post #119 of 124

17 months late to this thread, but I have a picture that shows my battery powered iStreamer set-up.


HRT iStreamer rig with DIY interconnect cable, ADL Stride, AKG K 420, AQ Carbon 30 pin dock cable, IOGEAR 2.1 amp USB battery, and McIntosh music player app for iPad.

post #120 of 124

I wonder if this is still worth getting now days with the newer DACs in the newer iDevices. Some people tend to think the internal DACs are great and dont need to be touched.   I am really up in the air between this or just getting something like the FiiO X1.  


this would be used for a more stationary setup at work. i cant connect to my work computer though but am curious to see if there would be a difference in SQ with this iStreamer. Ive got a variety of headphones powered by a Project Ember amp.


could anybody help shed some light on this and give me any suggestions?


thank you very much :)

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