Think of the Music Streamer III as a product that makes the music coming out of your computer sound as good as possible. Technically, the MS III is an external sound card for computers. To improve your computer's sound quality the MS III takes over the job of processing the digital music stream from the computer that is critical to producing great sound. While its cost is quite low, its performance is anything but.
With its high performance asynchronous USB transceiver, differential mode conversion and a differential signal path, the Music Streamer III provides the perfect topology for high resolution digital to analog conversion. Like other HRT products, set up and operation is super-easy: just take a good quality USB cable and hook the USB input of the MS III into any available USB port on the host computer. The MS III automatically performs an "electronic handshake" with the computer and tells it that the MS III is here, that it is to get all audio signals sent to it instead of the Digital-to-Analog converter (DAC) that is built into the computer, and that it, the MS III, is in charge of all data-transfer timing instructions. Then just use a good quality set of RCA interconnects to attach the output side of the MS III to any available line-level analog input on your integrated amplifier, preamp, receiver, or powered loudspeakers, which gives you a volume control. The MS III connected to a computer is the equivalent of a high quality CD player with a fixed 2.25V output that connects into a music system just like a CD player would through the right and left analog output jacks.Now you are ready to stream music, either directly by playing a disc through the computers optical drive, or read as a digital file from your computer's hard drive. You will literally never need a stand-alone CD player again to enjoy all the music in your CD collection in high quality sound. If you happen to have other higher-resolution files (up to 24bit/96k) stored on your HD, you can also play them in their full native resolution (no up-sampling).The MS III provides full support for playback applications such as iTunes and Windows Media Player, as well as numerous others, allowing a direct, great-sounding connection between your computer and your entertainment system. You can also listen to streaming Internet radio stations or music subscription services through the MS III in much better sound quality than from your computer's built-in DAC.Powered by and connected to a host computer's USB bus, the MS III's circuit design and execution is on par with the more expensive Music Streamers, all of which boast a unique topology that, in totally isolating their power supplies from those of the host computers, allows an unprecedented degree of electronic isolation and quieting from these machines, so that having to listen to your computer's nasty background noise and other sonic grunge along with your music is now a thing of the past. Digital-to-Analog processing inside the MS III is given a big helping hand by HRT's proprietary asynchronous-mode data transfer software, which allows the MS III to take control of the transfer of digital information away from the computer and onto itself, effectively eliminating jitter in the digital data stream, further enhancing the MS III's sonic performance; all of the subtle timing cues that help to get the music's timbres and colors correct are preserved without degradation or distortion Utilizing native Audio Class 1.0 drivers (present in all modern PC, Mac, and Linux computers) there are no extra drivers or software to install. Simply connect it to your computer via a USB cable (not included), confirm that the MS III the chosen device in the computer's preferences area, and you are ready to go. LED indicators show the current sample rate (32k, 44k1, 48k, 88k2 & 96k), as well as the state of the MS III's mute circuit; you will always know at a glance your system's operating mode.As with other HRT products, as firmware improvements become available, HRT's UpStream utility allows the Music Streamer III to be updated right from the computer's desktop in a matter of seconds.
USB Powered.High performance Analogue Stage.Asynchronous Mode Operation eliminates timing errors (jitter).Galvanic isolation of digital and analog stages.Line-Level analog output.Plug and play using standard audio class 1.0 drivers.24 Bit operation.Supports 32k, 44.1k, 48k, 88.2k & 96k sample rates.Endplate LED lights identify sample rate.Designed and manufactured in Southern California
I'm using mine to play music off my computer (mainly CD quality and just a few higher quality files so far) into a modest hi-fi via decent cables. Construction feels chunky and solid and I like the small size; it sits neatly out of view behind the computer - fit and forget. It doesn't come with a manual or instructions but it's simple to get up and running and all the info you might need is available on the HRT website if required. It seemed a little over bright at first but it has mellowed to give a highly musical performance. Quite beguiling. 5* at the price.
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