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HRT - Music Streamer II

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  • Completely isolated path between the computer and audio system
  • Plug and play set-up and operation
  • Full support for iTunes and Windows Media Player
  • Full Scale output 2.25 Volts RMS
  • Frequency Response (20 Hz/20kHz)0dB/-.4dB
6 new from $210.32 5 used from $109.00

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Product Description

HRT Music Streamer II Now with 24bit/96k Asynchronous USB A 2009 The Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award Winner The Music Streamer turns your computer into a high-resolution audio source. A high performance USB DAC, the Music Streamer connects to your computer's USB output and streams audio from your computer directly to your audio system. Whether you use audio files already on your computer, streamed audio from the tens of thousands of online radio sources, play computer games or watch movies, the possibilities are endless. Simply connect a USB cable to the Music Streamer's input and use a pair of analog cables to connect the Music Streamer's output to your audio system and the hard part is over! You'll need a B-Style USB Cable to connect the Music Streamer to your system, find one here. "What if I told you that you could have a cheap USB DAC that delivers true high-end sound? If you don't believe me, try comparing it with your favorite high-priced USB DAC. After all, at this price you can afford to be daring!" - Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound, Golden Ear Award The Music Streamer II features a revised and improved audio DAC along with 24/96kHz compatibility and Asynchronous USB.  All this in a compact, solid lightweight aluminum chassis. With its unique topology, the Music Streamer II provides a completely isolated path between the computer and audio system. No more audio contamination by the computer; your music will always sound its best! There are no external power supplies to worry about, the Music Streamer II derives its power directly from the USB bus, completely regenerating the power for its internal circuitry using a sophisticated and extremely efficient power supply. The Music Streamer II provides full compatibility with iTunes and Windows Media Player as well as a large number of other programs. The Music Streamer II is compatible with 24Bit/96kHz tracks! Stream music, computer game audio, even movie soundt

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • ASIN: B0038O4UFQ
  • Item model number: 350
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,503 in Musical Instruments (See Top 100 in Musical Instruments)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: February 16, 2010

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Works great and is many steps above using a headphone jack to rca cable.
Supersport
Once I un-installed IDT, the device was immediately recognized and I was good to go.
Stephen Keleher
As for this DAC's improvement over an average sound card goes, it's quite good.
Linda Shollenberger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Nelson on June 29, 2010
Verified Purchase
The HRT Streamer II is not just another USB DAC. The following two attributes set the HRT Streamer II apart from the rest USB DACs except a few costing many times more.

1. The HRT Streamer II is based on the asynchronous USB mode.
2. The HRT Streamer II supports the 24-bit/96 KHz high resolution input natively using the OS USB driver.

The asynchronous USB mode frees the USB DAC from being the slave of the USB bus which helps to reduce the jitter. Most USB DACs are implemented in the adaptive mode which is a pretty hostile arrangement that is prone to jitter.

Until recently, the asynchronous USB DACs are rare and sold at much higher prices. Just google "async USB DAC" and see what I mean. The async USB DACs give a brand new life to the USB based DACs. Suddenly, the S/PDIF interface is no longer superior to the USB in getting the quality sound.

Note the original HRT Streamer only supports the adaptive USB mode. Only the second generation of the HRT Streamer products (II, II+ and II Pro) support the asynchronous USB mode. The II Pro can do both, async and adaptive. I am not sure why it needs to support both.

I compared the HRT Streamer II to the Music Fidelity's V-DAC, another fantastic product for its money. At $299, the MF's V-DAC has the sound of its big brothers costing many times more. I liked the sound of the V-DAC until I heard the HRT Streamer II. They are very close but the V-DAC is a bit lack in the excitement department. The HRT Streammer II has a fuller sound with clear highs and affirmtive lows.

I searched web sites for comparisons between the MF V-DAC and the HRT Streamer II but could not find any. So I ordered the HRT Streamer II and thought there was no way it could be any better than the V-DAC.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Linda Shollenberger on January 7, 2011
Verified Purchase
I'm going to keep this review short as best I can.

First off, I want to say that the improvement of this DAC over a NuForce Icon DAC is slight but noticeable. The main difference is in the sound stage and placement of the instruments. This DAC seems to be able to really open up even compressed recordings in MP3 formats. This is quite good, it makes MP3s bearable to listen to again!

As for this DAC's improvement over an average sound card goes, it's quite good. The improvement over an average sound card is far greater than that over a decent DAC. The basses are more taut and defined rather than boomy, and the midrange has a lot more texture to it. Overall, very good.

Improvement over on-board sound is phenomenal by all standards. On-Board sound simply cannot reproduce quality sound like this DAC (Or most other DACs for that matter) can. Everything is sharper and more defined throughout a song from it's bass lines to hi-hat taps.

Now that I got through the improvement that this DAC makes, I want to comment more on the DAC itself, starting with it's design. I like the minimal design quite a bit. There are no controls on the DAC at all, just an "In" and an "Out" for audio hookups. It looks quite good sitting at the back of my desk, and it also serves as a good conversation starter while myself and my friends are stuck in a loading screen on our latest PC game. That isn't the point however... overall, the design is understated and fits in well with your desk. There aren't any annoying flashing lights or bulky wall and cable warts to hide.

I'll go over some pros and cons of the DAC and finish up with some last words.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By thejazzdoctor on October 10, 2010
Verified Purchase
Okay, there's no other way to say this - this little red box is amazing. I had been running my system (Rotel Integrated Amp with B&W speakers) from the audio out of my laptop. Adding this to the system was THE BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT you can imagine, like being in a dark room and finding the light switch. I had enjoyed the clarity of the system before this but with the HRT the system sparkles. Worth every penny, if you have the components to warrant it. Trivial to install (you just plug it in) and it replaces the DAC on your computer. It's that simple.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Keleher on April 22, 2011
Verified Purchase
After seeing this product featured in a Rolling Stone sidebar about the audiophile products you can get for your laptop, I decided to try it. I ordered it and it came within a few days. When I plugged it in, my Dell did not recognize the unit and I could not find anything about it in the forums or in the documentation available on HRT's website. So I called the company and connected myself up with Michael Hobson, who explained that there must be something interfering with the installation. Sure enough, some Dell laptops come bundled with something called IDT Audio that sits on top of the audio driver. Once I un-installed IDT, the device was immediately recognized and I was good to go.

And I mean good to go! The sound is superb. I am hearing parts of the music I've never heard before. I set the player (Media Monkey) on random and listened to everything from rap to country to rock to folk to flamenco. A Tom Petty song came on and I couldn't believe it: there were some 2nd guitar parts and harmonies I either never heard before or they had been so muddied up in the mix that they were unintelligible.

I highly recommend this product. For $150, a good speaker system, so good quality connector cables you can have a fantastic music experience!

UPDATE: Over the past few months, my laptop has had some sound "burping" issues with the Streamer. When I emailed the company, I received an immediate response from the firm's CTO. I followed his recommendations and thought the problem was solved, but had further problems and re-contacted him.
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