Screamin' Streamers

I've always maintained that whatever the mass market selects, audiophiles then perfect. Meaning that we make silk purses out of the format sow's ears thrown our way.

Leave it to Muse's Kevin Halverson and Classic Records' Mike Hobson to flip the idea on its head and bring audiophiledom to the masses. They've formed a new venture called High Resolution Technologies to market products that don't quite fit in line with their own company's offerings.

First up are two USB to analog converters called the Music Streamer ($89) and Music Streamer Plus ($249). Both products hook up to the USB port on a typical computer and convert the digital audio data to a stereo analog signal. Handy for using a PC or Mac as a music server or streaming web radio etc.

Both devices are similar inside except for the DAC, which in the Plus, according to Halverson, "is comparable to what you would find in a $2,000 CD player." Both products are also built in North America and Halverson claims they electronically de-couple the power supply from the USB output and all data paths from your computer to your preamp. The products should be available at dealers shortly. Go to hirestech.com for more info.

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COMMENTS
Jerry's picture

This is a product that I can actually consider buying. I am rolling my own music server, with used LP’s purchased locally via charity thrift stores and my CD collection. May not be the super system that you are convinced that is needed, but with come work on my part it is enjoyable none-the- less.

Snoopkoira's picture

Considering majority of people these days liston to Katy Perry on computer-speakers, you are not so far off. :) I will get something like this too, MacBook is just not good enough for Rega...

Steve K's picture

What is the warranty for HRT's line of music streamer products? Why isn't product warranty information specified on HRT's web site? The music streamer products are apparently manufactured to ROHS-compliant specifications. Why isn't this information provided on HRT's web site? Why isn't your company's web site more advanced, in terms of providing more information about the product design; product photos (internal and external); company history and personnel; emphasis on eco-friendly features: "compact, light-weight, energy-efficient, green design" etc? When will the Music Streamer Pro be available for purchase? What will be this product's resolving capacity or bit depth be? 16 or 24? Will it ever be possible to offer the kind of resolving capacity and jitter reduction or elimination offered by a product like Benchmark Media Systems DAC1 USB in a form factor like the Music Streamer? When I enter "High Resolution Technology" in Google, w

Steve K - complete's picture

When I enter "High Resolution Technology" in Google, why doesn't a link to your company's web sit appear in the first, second, or third entry of the search results list?

LB's picture

If I recall Muse's web literature was always amateurish looking and incomplete. And their website was never that great either. Not kept up to date. But their products seem to get good reviews. I wonder what else they are working on? Higher sampling rate or asynchronous USB so you don't need a $500 usb cable.

Leo's picture

The HRT Music Streamer has made a bigger difference than any other upgrade I have ever done to my system.My system consists of a Dynaco ST70 Amplifier, Dynaco PAS 3 Pre-Amplifier, Dahlquist DQ10 speakers, Audioquest cables, and the latest edition of I-tunes. I was listening to WAV lossless files recorded off the original CDs.Adding the DAC was like removing a veil from my audio system. Instruments and backup singers were heard that had never been heard before. Piano, guitar, violin, and organs were heard with greater detail than I had ever heard before. The piano was heard with detail, depth, and presence I had never heard before on my system. I am a former professional drummer and the cymbals, chimes, and tambourine just sound right with the this DAC. This DAC provides a wide and deep soundstage.Artist like Carol King, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Carpenters become magical.I use to experience fatigue listening to a regular CD player, but not with the HRT DAC.This HRT DAC is addictive.

Mark MacAllister's picture

Installed basic streamer between an old Mac G3 laptop and an old Yamaha receiver using decent but not great USB and RCA cables. Fired up iTunes. Played great for 60 seconds, followed by wild distortion, followed by absolute silence. I think the receiver is cooked, though the input switch had been bad previously.Can anyone help me figure out what might have happened? I know computers but obviously don't know jack about audio. I followed the brief instructions included with the HRT device, including the recommendation to put the Mac's audio output to 100% and control the final speaker volume via the receiver.Am willing to buy a new receiver but don't want to if I'm just going to repeat this path.Thanks for any help.Mark MacAllisterPittsboro NC

DR's picture

What's the big deal? The MS version is just a USB>S/PDIF Converter. Like HagTech and others have done. And the "Plus" is just another USB DAC with all the others. I've tried a few of the USB converters a couple years ago. They sounded terrible. I imagine in a low-fi system it would be tolerable though. And as far as the "Plus" USB w/ DAC version; "comparable to what you would find in a $2,000 CD player." Are you kidding? I tried USB DAC's from cheap $100< computer types, on up to $3500 units (Wavelength Cosecant V2) and none of them did it for me. Nothing matched my last CDP (Accustic Arts CDP-1) until I tried the SB3 w/ digital out to a Reimyo DAP-777. I ultimately ended up with an iTransport/iPod as source (digital out of course). These USB Converter/DAC's are specifically for low-end sonics, nothing more. Don't expect to hook up your laptop or computer to your high-end system and embarrassing your CDP. When they make a USB>Digital Coax then I'll get excited.Note: Music ripped from CD's in Apple Lossless

PSS's picture

I picked up an HRT + last year to link my laptop to my Roksan amp & Proac speakers. I'm extremely happy with both the sound and "idiot proof" ease of use. It tucks away behind your gear and is easy to move around if you're taking your music with you. It doesn't look like much, so you're not buying gear to show off (for you gear snobs)- but for the price, it's the best thing out there.

calypso jimmy's picture

Might the person (Posted Thu Jan21,2010, 5:57 PM — By DR) who wrote "... Note: Music ripped from CD's in Apple Lossless..." ... finish that thought on this blog?? I am really interested in it. Thanks!

Ed Falis's picture
Quote:

When they make a USB>Digital Coax then I'll get excited.

Like this? [html]http://www.audio-magus.com/PC_Digital_Transport_II_p/109405.htm[/html]I think there are a few others on the market too.- Ed

Timoteo's picture

DR said:>>>I tried USB DAC's from cheap $100< computer '>>>types, on up to $3500 units... and none of>>>them did it for me. Nothing matched my last >>>CDP. Don't expect to hook up your laptop or >>>computer to your high-end system and embarrass>>>your CDP.Finally! I am vindicated! I bought a $99 nuforce icon USB DAC, thinking, foolishly, that I had found the deal of the century. I hooked it up to my PC at work, plugged in my headphones, and listened. After all the hype, all the great reviews by "professional reviewers", etc., what did I find? It made no difference. There was a slight change in tonal balance - a little warmer sound, but that's it. No "wonderful soundstage", no "incredible detail", etc, etc. described by the reviewers. I returned it for a refund. There's way too much audio b.s. floating around the internet, and some of it is generated by "golden eared" audio reviewers seemingly being paid to give glowing reviews to everything. Bah, humbug!

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