HRT® HRT Microstreamer – Awesome clarity

Whilst the microstreamer may well be an excellent piece of kit, i was expecting a substantial improvement on my macbook pro’s headphone out, and this it certainly is not. It may be that the macbook has an underrated soundcard – i don’t know, but after several a/b tests with uncompressed audio files i have to listen pretty hard to pick out any differences. I should point out that while i may not have the finest ear but i can normally spot fairly small differences eg. This is after a week, so i don’t know if the microstreamer takes time to ‘break in’ as do some hifi items, but i will update if this happens. Also, at the moment i’m using quite a cheap audio lead (though not one of the very cheap nasty leads), which i will upgrade – and then maybe it will be easier to spot any improvement. However, it is not as though the sound from both the macbook pro’s soundcard nor the microstreamer is bad – in fact, it approaches the quality of my technics 1200 with a denon dl-301 mk11 cartridge through a musical fidelity phono stage (using the same tracks on vinyl).

I took a risk in buying this dac as i didn’t know how much benefit it would give, this obviously depends on how good your sound card is in the first place. But having heard music through the microstreamer my laptop output now sounds like listening to a very old mono recording after having experienced full hi-fi stereo. And this is a samsung laptop that boasts hd sound capability. I don’t know how it compares with other dacs but for the price i would recommend to anyone who listens to music on a pc or laptop. My only regret is not buying it a long time ago.

At first i didn’t really see what all the fuss was about, but over time i started to appreciate the clarity it gives the music especially if you listen with a good set of headphones. I love the fact it has 2 outputs, one is line-level so you can use your existing amplified speakers with it, and the other port is for headphones where you control the volume level on the pc. It’s very small and is usb powered so no worries about having an extra power socket.

Seriously improves the sound quality of an idevice without needing an external power source. No unsupported device / too much power required messages from apple when using this beauty. But if you are serious about streaming then buy a chord hugo at 8 times the price.

This works very well with my windows laptop, letting me connect it to my linn hifi and play streamed spotify tracks. Using the spotimote app from my android phone means i can remotely control spotify. So it’s super lazy, very convenient, and most importantly it sounds great. The only thing i’m disappointed about is that i couldn’t find an android device which would work directly with the microstreamer. But all in all i think this is a real bargain and i definitely recommend it. Being able to sit down with your phone and a beer and listen to (almost) whatever songs in the world you want to, nice and loud on a pukka stereo without having to leave your chair, is a music (and a beer) fan’s dream.

I replaced a seriously expensive soundcard with this device and was very much impressed with the difference in output quality. I listen exclusively with audiophile-grade headphones (stax electrostatic and fostex planar) and both the stax via my external valve amp and the fostex directly driven from the headphone socket of the microstreamer sound stunning: detailed, sweet and *very* dynamic. I had no choice except to award five stars.

Good delivery and a much smaller device than originally expected. Playing both 16 & 24 bit music is very good. The soundstage is clear and much better than playback without the hrt dac.

Very good sound quality but broke down in 6 months. Don’t plug it in when you are not using media applications since it gets overheated even in idle.

I’m using this with an acer iconia windows 8 tablet and the audio technica ath-m50 headphones and the clarity is outstanding. Frankly, i didn’t think it would make a significant difference given that the above headphones already sounded fantastic connected to my focusrite sapphire audio interface but it really does, detail across the entire frequency range is just so much crisper and clearer. Well worth the money if you’re into high quality audio. Best to also use flac files as opposed to mp3 if your device supports it as well, as flac files are lossless. I’d go as far as to say that this dac makes my cd rips sound as good as the cds used to sound on my arcam alpha cd player and highly rated rotel amp.

This is a great dac for the price and having read reviews comparing this device to those up to £300 i decided to purchase. I could instantly hear the difference when comparing it to the headphone output on my pc. I tried both 16bit and 24bit tracks and both sounded considerably better with the microstreamer. Would definitely recommended.

I bought this as a step-up from a xonar u3 dac, which was originally a step-up from my laptop’s internal sound card (which is awful) and i’m extremely happy with this dac. I bought the xonar u3 because i got electronic interference noise with my onboard laptop soundcard. A/b’ing the laptop soundard and the xonar u3 i could immediately tell the difference. I thought the xonar u3 sounded really good. After getting the hrt microstreamer. I of course a/b’ed the two and though the xonar sounded extremely flat and congested next to the hrt. (and i originally thought it sounded pretty good). I’ve been using a pair of shure se535 for a little over a year now and have never been too concerned about the signal source but i was really missing out.

I bought this from amazon ( very quick delivery) after seeing the front cover of what hifi which basically asked ‘do you listen to music via your computer?’. Read all the reviews and made the £179. Set the computer’s sound preferences to ‘microstreamer’ usb and then chose between the 3. 5mm headphone or line level outputs. The headphone output is controlled by the system’s volume controls but it’s the line out that has a fixed level. I did an a/b comparison between my laptop’s headphone socket and with the microstreamer. Although there is a volume boost ( which could give a wrong impression ), i concluded that this device is defiantly a major improvement on anything i’d ever heard, and that means every piece of expensive hifi i’ve ever had. I have ripped most of my cd collection initially at 320kbs mp3 but recently aac 320kbs or if i buy a remastered cd ( 4th time i’ve bought ‘the lamb lies down’), i have been trying out apple lossless. As for higher bit rates, then that’s for me to discover. When i registered the device, there was a free download of ‘the coachman’s dance’ by shostakovich at a bit rate of 2652 kbps sampled at 96khz which is the highest the unit can cope with. On listening to this via speakers or headphones i realised that it is my ears that will fail to deliver long before the hrt microstreamer does.

My first dac was the arcam rpac usb dac, which while good had an (occasional) annoying niggle. There was a double click as it dropped the connection at the end of a track then reconnected for the next track. So, it went back to the retailer from whom i bought it. They recommend the hrt microstreamer as a replacement. Immediately on the first track played i was sure it sounded even better than the arcam and the annoying clicks were gone. I’d like to mention just how small this is – it is tiny – and would be inimitably suitable for a portable setup – though i’m using it for a desktop setup. Oh, i should also say that the difference between playing audio through this and not is just simply amazing. I’ll not be getting rid of my cds just yet but the cd players will be getting much less use. Here are the specifications for the HRT® HRT Microstreamer:

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  • The microStreamer is an ultra high performance external sound card that connects between a computer, tablet, smartphone or any compliant host to your headphones or audio system
  • USB connected and powered, the microStreamer is simple to use and provides a level of improvement that has never before been possible
  • Machined from solid aluminum, the microStreamer is both durable and attractive.
  • With its high performance asynchronous USB transceiver, digitally controlled analog attenuator coupled to an OCL amplifier, the microStreamer provides a state-of-the-art listening experience
  • All power requirements for the microStreamer are supplied from the USB bus, operation is simple, just plug into any available USB port and in a matter of seconds, you will be ready to experience a level of sound that will astonish even the most discerning listener.

This little gadget has transformed my experience of listening to music off my pc. I have been running my sound card feed through an old hifi amp but the addition of this streamer has added detail, volume and enjoyment to the experience. Even the tracks i loaded off cd’s years ago into i tunes 7 sound clearer and as close to listening to a cd through the same amp as makes no difference to me. The streamer is plug & play, literally into the usb in the front of my pc. I changed my device settings to the max that the device takes and was ready to go. I have read reviews that recommend downloading a usb 2 driver from the product website. I haven’t found that driver yet but am more than happy with the sound i listening to.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • Great product
  • HRT Microstreamer
  • Highly recommended