Good quality music from your PC, Mac or NAS: Music Streamer

If you think music sounds good from your PC audio outputs, you are wrong*.

Most PCs come with onboard audio circuits that, at best, sound weak. As if you’re listening to your music through balls of cotton in your ears while the neighbor’s kid is marching up and down your living room shaking a bowl full of glass shards in rhythm with the music.

But there’s a cheap way out of that. The Music Streamer by High Resolution Technologies. It’s an external USB sound interface with a very good D/A converter. This is a semi-audiophile device, several levels above consumer-grade stuff from e.g. Creative. Yet it costs only about the same as your average USB audio interface these days.

This isn’t made for 5.1 surround sound gaming, it only has two analog RCA (Cinch) outputs to hook up to your amp. Of course you can also play games in stereo on it and watch films. Both sounds crystal clear.

I’ve hooked mine up to my Synology NAS (it’s plug and play) and I’m running mpd on it, so now I can listen to my collection of FLAC audio without even switching on the PC, and I can remote control it from any Android phone, a web interface or dedicated clients like Ario or ncmpcpp.

Best purchase of the year! I’m yet again discovering new aspects of albums I’ve bought 15 years ago and have heard over a thousand times. This thing reveals more detail in my music than my CD player. It’s nearly the same sensation as I had going from shitty speakers to semi-audiophile shit.

I bought the small version for CHF 120.00 (around USD 120.00), but if your ears are good enough to hear it and your equipment is good enough to reproduce it, you can go up to USD 900.00 on one of the higher-end models.

(*Okay: If you’ve hooked up some external D/A converter via S/P-DIF or TOSLINK you can get as good or better quality. But then you wouldn’t be reading this, would you?)

2 thoughts on “Good quality music from your PC, Mac or NAS: Music Streamer”

  1. he. thx for the nice article. as I understood it – it is an external usb sound interface. what about kernel drivers on linux? is it running plug and play – like you describe it? thx, h

    Like

  2. Yes, it’s absolutely plug and play, my NAS runs some older Linux kernel (can’t be bothered to check right now), but ALSA’s USB audio device support recognizes the device just fine.

    Really a very nice piece of engineering.

    Like

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