SQ question re: HRT Music Streamer II USB DAC

MajorFubar

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This is probably another question which has no straightforward answer.

Here’s the background.

I’m thinking of persuading The Boss to let me buy the above. It would probably be for an Xmas present. I’m drawn specifically to this particular DAC because it’s small, discrete and self-contained (no power supply) and it’s not ridiculously expensive (£150ish). I could use it both upstairs on my Windows PC in my little studio and also on the Mac Mini downstairs, onto which I’ve loaded Spotify Unlimited.

My question is...

How well do you think its sound compares to the native sound of my Marantz CD63 mkII KI?
Would I be expecting too much for a £150 DAC to match the sound of a 1990s midrange CDP?
Also...what is its musical signature, ie: bit bright and forward (which wouldn’t gel well with my amp and speakers at all), warm and round, or somewhere in the middle?

TYVM :)
 
Hi MF,

While you're waiting for the others, I have a few observations which I hope will help. Firstly, I've not heard this exact model, but I did hear the newer + (plus) model recently, which unfortunately lists at £289 rather than £159. It was at an Audiofreaks (the importer) demo along with some £7900 Avalon Idea speakers and Conrad Johnson amplification.

That might seem somewhat irrelevant to our less exalted systems, but the point is that it was straight off a MacBook and sounded fabulous. That system would surely have exposed anything undesirable. I can only conclude it is an exceptionally fine product, and quite a bargain at its price. No way was it a weak link.

For your USB use it would seem an ideal configuation, though I would also be checking out the Musical Fidelity V-DACII at £199, if powering it up was not an issue. Reading a review of the + model which was compared to the original, the suggestion was the + was smoother and more analogue, with 'an increased sense of ease' and less digital edge. That does make me wonder if the original may be on the bright side of neutral, though to what extent that would be a distraction in your system I obviously cannot say.

I suggest searching it out to hear in your system, which I'm sure a dealer would allow (and if not I'd go straight to the importer to ask!). I suspect it may sound a bit more exciting than your Marantz CDP, but whether that is welcome greater detail or just too forward will be down to yours ears and system.
 

MajorFubar

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Thanks nopiano. Since typing my query I've been doing a bit of hunting around the web and while there's a lot of praise in favour of the £150 Streamer II, it seems everyone just about stops short of calling it forward. I don't know whether it's my speakers or my room acoustics (probably a bit of both) but at times they can already sound a bit too forward. Something which exaggerates that would not gel well.Thanks for the recommendation of the MF V-DAC II. The only thing which puts me off is it's not bus-powered, but I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker.Hmmm...the HRT+. For something with an RRP of twice the 'street price' of the basic HRT II, you'd have every right to expect it to pull some punches, and the smoother sound is most definitely what my system would relish. But suggesting a £289 Xmas present I think would be too much of a strain on my marriage!

Thanks nopiano. Since typing my query I've been doing a bit of hunting around the web and while there's a lot of praise in favour of the £150 Streamer II, it seems everyone just about stops short of calling it forward. I don't know whether it's my speakers or my room acoustics (probably a bit of both) but at times they can already sound a bit too forward. Something which exaggerates that would not gel well.

Thanks for the recommendation of the MF V-DAC II. The only thing which puts me off is it's not bus-powered, but I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker.

Hmmm...the HRT+. For something with an RRP of twice the 'street price' of the basic HRT II, you'd have every right to expect it to pull some punches, and the smoother sound is most definitely what my system would relish. But suggesting a £289 Xmas present I think would be too much of a strain on my marriage!
 
MajorFubar said:
Thanks nopiano. Since typing my query I've been doing a bit of hunting around the web and while there's a lot of praise in favour of the £150 Streamer II, it seems everyone just about stops short of calling it forward. I don't know whether it's my speakers or my room acoustics (probably a bit of both) but at times they can already sound a bit too forward. Something which exaggerates that would not gel well.Thanks for the recommendation of the MF V-DAC II. The only thing which puts me off is it's not bus-powered, but I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker.Hmmm...the HRT+. For something with an RRP of twice the 'street price' of the basic HRT II, you'd have every right to expect it to pull some punches, and the smoother sound is most definitely what my system would relish. But suggesting a £289 Xmas present I think would be too much of a strain on my marriage!
But suggesting a £289 Xmas present I think would be too much of a strain on my marriage!

Christmas and birthday, then!
 

albireo

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Hi I own the HRT Music Streamer II, which is wonderful imo. I used to listen to music using a Marantz CD6000OSE player and my HRT setup beats it in every respect: full sounding, exceptional spatial positioning and dynamics. Also the form factor is an incredible benefit: no power adapter, no additional interfaces I wouldn't use etc. This device has basically changed the way I listen to music. Hope it helps!
 

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