High Resolution Technologies iStreamer Reviewed

By |


HRT_iStreamer_DAC_review_side.gif

All of High Resolution Technologies previous products have been USB digital-to-analog-converters (DACs) under the MusicStreamer moniker. Their latest is a slight departure, it's called an iStreamer, and as you've probably guessed by now, it's for iPods and iPads only. The list of acceptable units include all generations of iPod, the iPod Classic, all generations of iPod Nano, all generations of and both the iPad and iPad 3G, iPod Photo, Video, Color, and other earlier units won't work with the iStreamer.

Additional Resources
• Find high quality headphones to pair with the iStreamer.
• Read more reviews of audiophile source components.

Visually the iStreamer is the most elegant looking HRT product so far. It's a shame that its clean lines are slightly obscured by all the wires and cables that must be connected for it to operate in most audiophile systems. When I first heard of the iStreamer I had visions of a double/duty unit that could be part of a portable as well as home system. But the iStreamer is completely home bound by its multiple cables and power cords. I was also hoping the iStreamer would supply a digital output so it could be paired with any DAC, but it only has analog outputs. Too bad about that.

I used several high-end headphone rigs for evaluating the iStreamer. First I hooked it up to my venerable Stax Lambda Nova earspeakers driven by the Stax SRM-1/Mk2 amplifier. I also listened to the iStreamer through the new Musical Fidelity M1 HPA Headphone amplifier driving Grado RS-1s, Sennheiser HD 580s and the new Audez'e LCD-2 headphones. In every case the sonic superiority of the iStreamer over both the iPod Touch 4G and iPod Classic 160's built-in DACs and headphone amplifiers was obvious. There wasn't a single sonic parameter where the iStreamer wasn't sonically superior. The iStreamer had superior resolving capabilities, greater macro dynamics, actual dimensionality, more bass extension, less electronic grain, and a far quieter background. Unlike the stock headphone amp, which gets muddy anytime the dynamics exceed a medium volume level, through both the Stax and Musical Fidelity rigs the music remained clean regardless of the volume levels.

Read The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2

HTR Product Rating for High Resolution Technologies iStreamer

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

5

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


Latest Audio Player Reviews

Jun 29
Andover Model-One Turntable Music System Reviewed Andrew says that while the Andover Model-One music system may be a niche product aimed at a very specific customer, its design and ease-of-use make it one of his favorite record players.
Andover Model-One Turntable Music System Reviewed

Jun 22
NAD M10 BluOS Enabled Integrated Amplifier Reviewed NAD's new M10 BluOS Enabled Integrated Amplifier ($2,749) is a very exciting product. And I don't just mean for NAD,...
NAD M10 BluOS Enabled Integrated Amplifier Reviewed

May 06
Astell&Kern SA700 Portable High-Resolution Audio Player Reviewed Astell&Kern practically invented the high-end portable music player market in 2012. I remember reading Steven Stone's review of the AK120...
Astell&Kern SA700 Portable High-Resolution Audio Player Reviewed

Feb 17
Sonos Connect Wireless Home Audio Receiver Reviewed (A Little Too Late) In 24 years of publishing and writing specialty audio/video content, I have never come across a situation like I have...
Sonos Connect Wireless Home Audio Receiver Reviewed (A Little Too Late)

Jan 22
Denon DP-450USB Turntable Reviewed The turntable market has been on absolute fire lately, and no segment within that market has been hotter than offerings...
Denon DP-450USB Turntable Reviewed
HRT_iStreamer_DAC_review_inputs.gifHigh Points
• The High Resolution Technology iStreamer offers excellent, audiophile grade sound for a very reasonable price as compared to other DACs and digital iPod devices on the market today.
• The HRT iStreamer has a simple elegant design that gives that audio jewelry luxury feel to an affordable audio component.
• Setup is a snap. The iStreamer offers truly plug and play operation for even the newbie audiophile.

Low Points
• Despite the fact that the iStreamer plugs into portable devices like iPads and iPhones - the component itself is not really portable.
• Oddly, there is no digital output, only analog present on the iStreamer.
• The iStreamer will not work with older "classic" Apple iPods.

Conclusion
The iStreamer is an extremely good sounding plug and play unit that can bring many iPod and iPad owners a far higher level of musical fidelity than they ever thought possible. Its unintimidating form factor and plug and play usability also makes it an ideal "first DAC" for those who are just beginning down the road of high-quality digital music from their iPods. Advanced computer audiophiles may be disappointed by the iStreamer's lack of digital outputs, and unruly cables, but as an entry-level product, the iStreamer accomplishes its goal - high-quality music for the masses.

Additional Resources
• Find high quality headphones to pair with the iStreamer.
• Read more reviews of audiophile source components.

  • Comment on this article

Post a Comment
comments powered by Disqus