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

General Information

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.

Latest reviews


Lives in Liebesträume No. 3
Pros: Portability at its finest, Native detection by Windows, Engaging Sound
Cons: Slightly strident treble, Mid-range bleed, Cannot drive full-size headphones well
*This review comes from my Portable Amp / Dac Shootout.
Posted as a reference for users. For the full review, see:

Manufacturer: HRT
Model: microStreamer
Price: $169 at

Volume Control: Digitally-activated analog attenuator, no volume control on unit itself.

Power Connector: USB, mini B

Battery Life: Plug-in-USB operation only.

Inputs: 1x USB Mini B

Outputs: 1x line-level 3.5mm stereo output

1x 3.5mm headphone jack



From (

-Asynchronous Mode Operation eliminates timing errors (jitter).
-24 Bit operation.
-Plug and play using standard audio class 1.0 Drivers.

-Supports 32k, 44k1, 48k, 88k2 & 96K sample rates.

Build and Finish: Tiny two-piece aluminum housing. Precision-machined and finished off with an anodized silver exterior. Should last forever.
Accessories: The Microstreamer is shipped with a tiny pop-out cardboard box. Inside is the unit itself, a black carrying pouch, and a generic white Mini USB to USB cable. Short and sweet.
Technology and Design: While ahead of its time upon release, the Microstreamer offers fairly standard features in today’s market. Asynch USB transfer mode, 24 bit/96k playback, line-level out, LED sample rate indicators, all come standard on the Microstreamer.

Sound / Comparisons:
The Microstreamer was one of my original forays into the portable amp/dac market.
It goes to show that I’ve enjoyed owning them--I’ve had them since 2013.
They represented one of the best values in terms of performance relative to size.
How do they stack up to the newer products?
When you utilize the Microstreamer for the first time, you’re in for a surprise.
It offers a surprisingly full-bodied response with above-average imaging and instrumental placement. While it lacks definition and details compared to the more pricier models, the Microstreamer makes up for it with its energy and engaging sound. While I wouldn’t call the Microstreamer superbly musical, it does the job for both analytical and casual listening.
Vocals are sweetly layered and textured, especially female vocals. Bass definition and micro-details can be easily heard on a headphone like the Ethers, which has excellent bass dynamics and extension.
Treble response is something lower-tier amp/dacs fail at.
The original AQ Dragonfly and Schiit Fulla both suffer from somewhat strident and sibilant treble.
The Microstreamer improves on these units, but it doesn’t stay completely clean when it comes to certain recordings. This gives certain songs an odd tonality that is a tad harsh to my ears.
Other than the minor treble issue and slight mid-range bleed, the Microstreamer is an outstanding purchase.
It offers so much for the price, is solidly built, and is tiny enough to fit anywhere.
I can definitely see why they’ve received so much positive reviews over the years.
If you want to take a step up from the Microstreamer, I highly recommend the Resonessence Herus. It’s not much bigger physically, but offers an even more enjoyable and robust sound.
The iDAC2 is also a solid choice. It provides a slight step up from the Microstreamer in terms of driveability with full-size cans and a larger step up for ultimate transparency and playback options..
Overall Score: 7.8
    -Bass: 8
    -Mids: 9
    -Treble: 7
    -Transparency: 8
    -Dynamics/Transients: 8
    -Resolution/Details: 7
    -Soundstage/Presentation: 8
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Headphoneus Supremus
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.
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
 And what does that mean 

It holds onto a fine edge:
  1. Engaging, but not overbearing.
  2. Detailed, but not etched.
  3. Enunciating bass lines, but not boosting them or adding a delayed decay.
  4. 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 

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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 
I used an external amplifier only briefly - would be much more interesting to me today, now that I am more into desktop amps. Please post your results! I have read very good things from those who have used this in front of speaker systems, costing a lot more than the mS.
Well, the thing is I'm using Sony MA900 headphone which is quite sensitive (12 oHm). Sounds really good, just not sure where to go next... Would you advice any amp to try, or start with upgrading to something like Apogee Groove?
I highly recommend the jump to desktop simply because you'll get a cleaner power source during the amplification, which will, I think, make the biggest audible gain. You've got a portable DAC/AMP, and can use it as the audio source for your desktop. What to look for - you're going to want something with good volume control for your easy to drive headphones. Some amplifiers are great at high volume-only, and harder to control into something easy to drive, like your Sony. My Grado and Audeze EL-8C have been good at testing this. But short answer, there are many good mid-priced options with variable gain or just great volume control. I'd read some reviews and see if something makes sense for you and your price range.


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