The Music Streamer Pro is HRT's top-of-the-line interface. A more sophisticated sibling to the Music Streamer II and MS II+, the MS Pro makes the music coming out of your computer sound as good as possible. A professional-level external sound card for computers, MS Pro takes over the job of processing the digital music stream from the computer that is critical to producing great sound.
It uses the same DAC chip as the MS II+, but, unlike other offerings in the line, the MS Pro features a fully balanced analog output section with a 4.5V output via miniature (Switchcraft Tiny-Q) male XLR sockets, whereas the MS II and MS II+ utilize a single-ended output topology, sending 2.25V out through standard RCA jacks. What the MS II+ does better than the MS II is magnified in the MS Pro, resulting in music gaining even more solidity, presence, and a convincing sense of space. Bass pitch definition and power are at an all-time high here, along with glorious midrange and detail all of which the MS Pro makes easy to hear. When you are listening to music through the MS Pro, it is the next-best thing to listening live, so convincingly right is its sound.
Like the MS II and MS II+, the MS Pro is powered by and connected to a host computer's USB bus and boasts HRT's unique topology that, in totally isolating the power supply from that of the host computer, allows an unprecedented degree of electronic isolation and quieting, 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 Pro is, as always, audibly enhanced by HRT's proprietary asynchronous-mode data transfer software, which allows the MS Pro 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 II+ '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.
Just like with the other HRT Music Streamers, set up and operation is super-easy: just take a good quality USB cable and hook the USB input of the MS Pro into any available USB port on the host computer. The MS Pro then automatically performs an "electronic handshake" with the computer and tells it that the MS Pro is here, that it is to get all audio signals sent to it instead of the computer's built-in DAC, and that it, the MS Pro, is in charge of all data-transfer timing instructions. To get music from the MS Pro requires using either a set of mini-to-standard-sized XLR adapters that are then connected to a standard XLR balanced cable, or a custom cable made with female Tiny-Q XLR fittings on one end and standard-sized XLR fittings on the other, for connection to a balanced input on the integrated amplifier, preamp, receiver, or powered speaker system that is in use, which gives you a volume control (the MS Pro, like the MS II and MS II+, has a fixed output, so it needs to be used with some type of analog attenuation). The MS Pro can also be used in conjunction with a set of mini XLR-to-RCA adapters, with a consequent drop to 2.25V output, and it sounds great, but the true glory of the MS Pro is only realized when run in balanced mode.
Now you are ready to stream some music, either by playing a disc directly through the computers optical drive, or read as a digital file from your computer's hard drive. Having the MS Pro in your system means truly never needing a stand-alone CD player again to enjoy your entire CD collection in high quality sound. If you happen to have higher-resolution files (up to 24/96k) stored on your HD, you can also play them in their full native resolution (no up-sampling).
The MS Pro 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 Pro in much better sound quality than from your computer's built-in DAC.
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 Pro 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 MS Pro'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 Pro to be updated right from the computer's desktop in a matter of seconds.