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HRT - MICROSTREAMER

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List Price: $189.95
Price: $169.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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  • Asynchronous Mode Operation eliminates timing errors (jitter)
  • USB Powered
  • 24-Bit operation
  • Plug and play using standard audio class 1.0 Drivers
  • Supports 32k, 44k1, 48k, 88k2 & 96K sample rates
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HRT - MICROSTREAMER + Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (MD821ZM/A)
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Technical Details

  • HRT - MICROSTREAMER

Product Details

  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • ASIN: B00B4YE5BG
  • Item model number: 348
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: January 23, 2013

Product Description

HRT MicroStreamer USB DAC/Headphone Amp Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and light enough to carry in a shirt pocket, the HRT MicroSreamer was designed with portability in mind. The MicroStreamer is a USB connected and powered, ultra high-performance external sound card for computers, tablets, smart-phones or any compliant host. Dual purpose built, it incorporates both a high-performance headphone amplifier with an analog volume control that allows you to connect the MicroStreamer between your computer and headphones; and a fixed-level, low impedance 2.25V line output that allows you to connect between your computer and home stereo, other entertainment system or to powered loudspeakers. "The HRT microStreamer has raised the bar so high in its category I hope it gets all the accolades it deserves. In uber-portable headphone amp/DAC combo solutions for the computer I can't think of another component outside the Audioquest Dragonfly, which to my ears doesn't have quite the dynamic punch of the microStreamer that even approaches the sonic performance of this miraculous little aluminum brick. It's like an audiophile's reference-system-in-a-box. You have to hear it to believe it." - Michael Mercer, Positive Feedback Features: Compact and portable. Asynchronous Mode Operation eliminates timing errors (jitter). USB Powered 24-Bit operation. Plug and play using standard audio class 1.0 Drivers. Supports 32k, 44k1, 48k, 88k2 & 96K sample rates. Line level 1/8th inch stereo output. 1/8th inch variable output headphone jack. Digitally activated analog volume control of headphone output. Endplate LED lights identify sample rate. Upstream Utility for fast firmware upgrades. Designed and manufactured in Southern California. Housed in an aluminum enclosure precision-machined from solid billets, the durable and beautiful MicroStreamer is modern, sleek and compact. It is simple to use and provides a level of improvement in

Customer Reviews

Even my SACD rips, recorded very quietly, play loud enough for me.
Person
It works great when connected to my computer, but it really shines when connected to my iPad (via a Lightning to USB Camera adapter).
Big Six
It's sound is smoother, perfect in tone, and has great detail retrieval.
Lauras Husband

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Person on July 11, 2013
Verified Purchase
[I'm raising my review score from 4 to 5 stars, even though 5-star reviews are often uncritical. This tiny thing, and its creator Kevin Halverson, deserve it]

It should go without saying that the Microstreamer will sound better than a built-in PC (or even Mac) DAC, so the fact that so many reviewers use that as their point of comparison says that they're taking a first step toward computer hi-fi. They took a big step with the Microstreamer, actually, and those folks shouldn't go chasing better too quickly, because it'll be hard to find (note that this only applies if you have made an investment in your headphones: probably anything under $100 that I know of won't benefit). A better question for me was, how does it compare with the USB/DAC/headphone amp path built into my integrated amp? On first listen, short answer was that it makes my integrated amp sound like it was playing from inside a sack. Not a thick sack, maybe, but still. It's really a surprise to be so used to "emaculate" sound on good headphones (Grado SR-225i, then later Beyer DT-880 and HifiMan HE-400), and then after 1 minute with another...ummm... "rig"... go back and never be able to hear one's old amp the same way again. The best thing I've done with this doohickey so far is play "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" (24/88.2, Michael Stern & Kansas City Symphony). The initial boom of bass drum brought out a literal "oh, wow," and the sense of space thereafter was really impressive. I felt like I was hearing music more clearly than I've ever done. This may actually be as detailed as you can hear music. If there's room to put any more detail onto tape or hard drive in the studio, I don't know where.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dougm12 on April 29, 2013
Verified Purchase
I was skeptical about whether I would really hear a noticeable difference but read too many good reviews about this HRT and DACs in general.I have a Windows 7 PC with Bose Companion 20 speakers (I think very good two hundred dollar or so PC speakers). I have a middle of the road sound card in the PC. I thought I was getting good sound when I played back my 1960s and 1970s music - the source either being ITUNES Apple lossless or YouTube videos.

From the very first song I listened to after connecting with the HRT (less than 10 seconds to connect, and really NO special drivers or software to install) I was blown away, simply amazed. The sounds are so clear and natural. I am shocked it could improve the sound quality THAT much. I don't listen with headphones so I can't commnent on that, but for a PC with good PC speakers the improvement and increased enjoyment I am getting is sensational.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CBMusika on February 7, 2014
Verified Purchase
After hearing my first dac some time ago and understanding more about what is involved with converting digital bits to analog sound, I have a nice home setup with a dac (not something one travels with!) I also have Dragonfly (which I do like) for my laptop. I'm not an audiophile, but I really love great music that sounds fantastic.

But- what to do when you drive or travel a lot...that's the question. If you've spent any time at all listening to music on your iPhone (even with really good headphones), you'll know that the sound quality is pretty terrible. You can slap a few EQ apps on it, but at best, it drowns out the sounds of the airport. And plugging it into the audio jack in the car? Forget it. It makes even good speakers sound bad.
Since I already own the latest Dragonfly, I gave that a go on my phone. The Dragonfly must require a lot from the system that it's connecting to because it won't even flicker when paired with a phone. So, that option is out.

However, the Microstreamer is the perfect solution. You can use it with your iPhone and it works! You'll need to pick up the camera connector from Apple to create a USB to lightning connection. They'll tell you at the Apple store that it won't work for anything but a camera, but what they really mean is that the iPhone doesn't handle external devices that require a lot of power very well. Now that the firmware was updated on the Microstreamer to address that issue, it's all good. Mine shipped with the latest firmware (Out of curiosity, I checked. There are instructions on their site). Of course, the fact that it worked should have been answer enough. I didn't have to do anything to make it work.

As someone mentioned, it's smaller than a Zippo lighter and you can just throw it in your bag and go.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Alexander V on December 6, 2013
Verified Purchase
Sound quality: did extensive blind listening comparisons with well-regarded ODAC+O2 amplifier combo, and could not hear any differences. That, combined with the measurements (trusting the manufacturer on those) means this device is sonically transparent -- it's not adding to or removing anything from the sound, and you're hearing it as it was recorded. Noise floor is not audible even with very sensitive Etymotic MC5, which made them usable with MacBook Pro (whose own noise floor is audible and bothers me at low volumes).

Convenience: small enough to carry in my pocket. Does not require charging or batteries.

Versatility: works with all my computers, iPad Retina (requires camera connection kit), iPhone 5 (requires camera connection kit & iOS 7).

Customer service: I contacted High Resolution Technologies via their web form asking for more detailed specs regarding power output for various headphone impedances, and got an exact answer from the CTO in about an hour. Asked a follow-up question and got an answer almost instantaneously. This is much better than my typical experience with other companies' tech support, as usually first-level reps are not technical and can't help with anything that's not in their script.

Specs: Most impressive is .5 Ohm output impedance. This means you can drive low-impedance headphones (like above mentioned Etymotic MC5 at 16 Ohms) without changing frequency response and providing sufficient damping factor to provide tight bass.
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