If you listen to music on headphones via a computer and want better sound quality then HRT's HeadStreamer is the perfect solution. Technically, HeadStreamer is a USB-connected and powered dedicated headphone amplifier/sound card designed to seamlessly interface with PC, Linux, and Macintosh computers and directly decode the digital music data stream from the computer's hard drive into analog music for headphone listening.
Like other HRT products, set up and operation is super-easy: just use the included USB cable to hook the USB input of the HeadStreamer into any available USB port on the host computer. The HeadStreamer automatically performs an "electronic handshake" with the computer and tells it that the HeadStreamer 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 HeadStreamer, is in charge of all data-transfer timing instructions. Then just plug your headphones into the 1/8" analog output jack on HeadStreamer. Now you are ready to stream some 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 through headphones. 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 HeadStreamer 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 headphones. You can also listen to streaming Internet radio stations or music subscription services through the HeadStreamer in much better sound quality than from your computer's built-in DAC.
Utilizing a minimalistic but extremely high-performance circuit that includes strong power isolation from the host computer, HRT's proprietary asynchronous data transfer for lowest possible jitter, and a digitally controlled analog volume attenuator (the master digital volume slider on the host computer causes the analog circuit inside the HeadStreamer to adjust the volume up or down), the HeadStreamer allows a level of sonic performance that until now has been unobtainable in its price range. Although best suited to powering low impedance, high-sensitivity 'phones, the HeadStreamer, which is equipped with a 1/8" stereo mini-jack for its output, is able to drive higher impedance, less sensitive models as well, with the only compromise being a reasonable limit to ultimate volume level, not sonic performance. If used with a male 1/8" stereo plug-to-RCA adapter cable, HeadStreamer is also capable to act as a single-input, (analog) volume-controllable, line stage preamplifier that connects directly from a computer to your personal entertainment system or powered speakers.
Given an uncompressed, CD-quality 16/44.1k file, the HeadStreamer will allow your computer to sound like a very good CD player is connected directly to your headphones. If you have other higher-resolution files up to a max of 24/96k, the HeadStreamer will reveal them in all of their sonic splendor, as well.
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 the included USB cable, confirm that the HeadStreamer Is 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 HeadStreamer's mute circuit; you will always know at a glance your system's operating mode.
As firmware improvements become available, HRT's UpStream utility allows the HeadStreamer to be updated right from the computer's desktop in a matter of seconds.