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HRT MusicStreamer+ Amateur Review

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Hi, I hope my VERY AMATEUR review of this DAC helps anyone considering this product! Any questions and comments are more than welcome.



-Ascend Sierra-1 bookshelf speakers

-Rythmik F12SE subwoofer

-Denon AVR-2809 receiver (PCM-1803)

-Oppo 980H universal player

-MacBook Pro (USB and toslink)

-HRT MusicStreamer+ (PCM-1794)



Very plain looking box on the outside. Inside, you find a fine satin red jewelry-like box containing the unit, rubber feet, and simple instructions. No cables provided. The DAC itself is a rather utilitarian looking, matte grey with a USB plug on one end and RCA plugs on the other.

Setup was a breeze, almost plug and play. I used a cheap GigaWorks USB cable from MacBook Pro to DAC and RadioShack Digital Coaxial RCA Cables from the DAC to my Denon receiver. Cheap Steren Toslink cable direct from MacBook Pro to receiver for comparison.



I tested 3 possible configurations. My goal was not only to improve the sound coming directly from my computer (easy job), but to replace my Oppo 980H as a CD player, leaving it to DVD, SACD and DVD-A tasks only.


MacBookPro-Toslink-Denon 2809 sound:

-Rather flat, very little soundstage width or depth. A bit bright high frequencies, cold sounding midrange, unimpressive bass.


Oppo 980H-HDMI-Denon 2809 sound:

-Good soundstage, very detailed, still rather cold sounding. Not harsh at all, clear midrange, good bass resolution.


MacBookPro-USB-HRT MusicStreamer+-RCA-Denon 2809 sound:

-Good soundstage, very "rounded" and warm sound. Maybe a tad less detailed than the Oppo, but definitely richer sounding. Bass was more prominent, midrange and treble were sweeter.



I really liked the sound coming from the little grey box. To my ears, music sounds a little more musical and less clinical than with the Oppo. Both sound very good, but I prefer the MusicStreamer+ flavor. Square vs Round.

On the other hand, the difference with the direct toslink connection was huge. Lifeless vs Organic.

While I find the MusicStreamer+ very enjoyable, it obviously isn't perfect. Bass, though rich, could be a little better defined. Imaging and soundstage were not the best I've heard in a system. It didn't turn my Denon into Classé Monoblocks, and my Sierras into Wilson Speakers. Diana Krall didn't haul her piano into my listening room and started playing.

But to my "not so golden" ears, the MusicStreamer+ provides a VERY enjoyable experience and makes my system sound better.

Time to start ripping CDs! :)






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Let's hear it for the Budget Hi-End crowd products! I bought a Music Streamer (the red one) as a first step toward getting better sound from my Mac. Definitely a step up from the audio out of the Airport Express. This little units definitely give a lot of bang on the buck. Enjoy the music!





A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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I also like the little Streamer. I'm using it with a Mac Mini and a pair of Audioengine 5's for a family desktop system off the kitchen. It gets a lot of use and sounds really nice. As do the these dynamite little speakers.




Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

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Thanks Rascal and Bryan for your comments.

I did try the red one prior to the Plus, and it was indeed very good.

I've been listening for a couple of hours more today, and definitely like its sound more than the Oppo. In fact, using the Amarra Mini Demo together with the Musicstreamer+ brings out much more detail and expands the soundstage a lot IMHO. I think you should give it a try!

I always thought speakers were responsible for 80% od the sound quality... but this little dac is actually making me reconsider that statement.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Yeah fellow hrt ms+ users...isn't it a great bargain and a fantastic little high-end product?!

I'm from germany and nu in da use of computer-music equipment like usb dac's...I read a superb test in the german magazine "Stereo" last year and ordered a hrt ms+ to check out, how good it was when I listening to ripped cd's, downloads and internet-radio and man, how good it was...I usually listening to digital media/CD's thru my Resolution Audio cd-50 and yes it get's real close to the performance of such a great high-end cd-player, not soo much audiophile but it's highly enjoyable and much fun 2 listen to!

My system is an good ole epos es 14, bi-amped with heed audio obelisk i + xps + obelisk power and it's a real groovy and dynamic set up...now with a new and nearly endless music source...the www...enhanced by that ultragood hrt streamer...you won't regret to get music out of your computer when U use this little "wonder"...anybody who's been listening here in my room to notebook-music can't believe how good it was...a strong must have - 4 shure!

A warm hello to the "hrt community" ;-)



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