HT | OMEGA CLARO II 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card on New Egg Shell Shocker today - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 17 Old 09-14-2012, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Starting a HTPC build. Saw this sound card on New Egg for $149 today. Anyone know anything about it? Is it good or is there a better card for $149?

http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?cm_sp=ShellShocker-_-29-271-007-_-09142012_4
Bullitt5094 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 Old 09-14-2012, 06:07 PM
AVS Special Member
 
almostinsane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,027
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 23
The question is - why do you need a sound card? Not using HDMI?
almostinsane is offline  
post #3 of 17 Old 09-14-2012, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Because I'm using an amp that does not accept hdmi that I absolutely love. I'm only using this as a music server. Not as a true HTPC and I'm looking for a clean D/A converter installed in the PC. I actually don't even need anything but a two channel D/A.
Bullitt5094 is offline  
post #4 of 17 Old 09-14-2012, 09:56 PM
AVS Special Member
 
jdcrox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Cape Cod, MA
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked: 61
Grab an HRT Music Streamer II. It connects via USB to your computer, with analog outs. It will be far better than almost any sound card you install in your computer for 2-channel audio.
jdcrox is offline  
post #5 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post

Grab an HRT Music Streamer II. It connects via USB to your computer, with analog outs. It will be far better than almost any sound card you install in your computer for 2-channel audio.

This is exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks for the lead.

Is there significantly better performance from the Plus or Pro units to justify the x2 price tags? I'll be feeding a B&K AVR-307 and B&W 804s which aren't the ultimate in equipment, but are pretty good devices. Just want to feed them well...
Bullitt5094 is offline  
post #6 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 08:55 AM
AVS Special Member
 
joeydrunk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: WA state
Posts: 1,752
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt5094 View Post

Starting a HTPC build. Saw this sound card on New Egg for $149 today. Anyone know anything about it? Is it good or is there a better card for $149?
http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?cm_sp=ShellShocker-_-29-271-007-_-09142012_4

I think you posted the wrong link

Pioneer Kuro...your time is up...mwahahhahhha
joeydrunk is offline  
post #7 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
It's a link to a daily deal. It's a different item today.
Bullitt5094 is offline  
post #8 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 09:27 PM
AVS Special Member
 
jdcrox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Cape Cod, MA
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt5094 View Post

This is exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks for the lead.
Is there significantly better performance from the Plus or Pro units to justify the x2 price tags? I'll be feeding a B&K AVR-307 and B&W 804s which aren't the ultimate in equipment, but are pretty good devices. Just want to feed them well...
I just have the regular Streamer II. It works great, sounds really nice. Currently it just feeds my modest computer rig, but I have had on my HTPC feeding a Cambridge Audio A740 and Green Mountain Audio Europa speakers, sounded outstanding. There are a bunch of reviews out there for it. tongue.gif
jdcrox is offline  
post #9 of 17 Old 09-18-2012, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Going with the Streamer II. Just ordered it from Amazon. I really appreciate the guidance and information. Reviews seem exceptional. Now on to the HTPC build itself.
Bullitt5094 is offline  
post #10 of 17 Old 09-18-2012, 08:06 PM
AVS Special Member
 
hdkhang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post

Grab an HRT Music Streamer II. It connects via USB to your computer, with analog outs. It will be far better than almost any sound card you install in your computer for 2-channel audio.

Any reviews? The specs look rather average to be honest. The marketing on the website is also rather dubious.
hdkhang is offline  
post #11 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Google search for HRT Music Streamer brought up numerous reviews including some from major magazines that loved it.
Bullitt5094 is offline  
post #12 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 06:20 PM
AVS Special Member
 
hdkhang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt5094 View Post

Google search for HRT Music Streamer brought up numerous reviews including some from major magazines that loved it.

Stereophile aren't very trustworthy, they are driven by advertising dollars more than anything else. WhatHiFi almost always give everything high marks. The first post I found on Head-Fi the OP liked the DAC, but found the sound quality not all that great, worse so through the laptop USB port vs. his desktop USB port.

In any case, since sound quality is subjective, poorer specs may be a good sign since I've seen many people love love love the highly distorted audio of some players as it presented itself as "warmth" to the listener and at the end of the day, so long as you are happy that is all.

I just don't subscribe to the claims on the HRT website, simply because PC sound cards can and do sound fantastic. Afterall, if PCs were so noisy, why aren't our CDs (which were likely mixed on PCs) crappy sounding? If the sound from your PC is noisy, chances are you have cheap components (crappy PSU and motherboard are primary culprits), otherwise, there is no reason to suggest that a PC is not a good environment for a PC sound card as even modern AVRs/Pre-Pros are basically specialised PCs and they pack heaps of stuff in the same chassis.
hdkhang is offline  
post #13 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
I'm thinking professionals that have actually touched and auditioned something are a better source of information then those who just read specifications on the internet and decide they are false. But that's just me. Not saying the professionals are always right, but certainly actually using something gives a better basis for opinion than just reading about it. I also really don't think the majority of CDs are mixed on PCs. If you love your sound card, that cool. If this piece of equipment gets here and it preforms poorly, I'll send it back.
Bullitt5094 is offline  
post #14 of 17 Old 09-20-2012, 05:41 AM
AVS Special Member
 
bryan_chow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,026
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Sorry you should have gotten something like an Asus Essence ST or STX.

Just compare the specs:

http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essence_ST/
http://highresolutiontechnologies.com/music-streamer-ii#prods

SNR of 124dB vs 99dB (HUGE difference)
THD 0.0003% vs 0.002%

The Asus uses Burr-Brown PCM 1792A DACs, the best in the business.

I have an Asus D2X which is similar but not as good as the Essence series for stereo music (I need it for 5.1) and the sound is phenomenal (from the sound card straight to my Bryston 4B SST and MartinLogan Prodigies). Incredibly revealing and detailed.
bryan_chow is offline  
post #15 of 17 Old 09-23-2012, 05:25 PM
AVS Special Member
 
hdkhang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt5094 View Post

I'm thinking professionals that have actually touched and auditioned something are a better source of information then those who just read specifications on the internet and decide they are false. But that's just me. Not saying the professionals are always right, but certainly actually using something gives a better basis for opinion than just reading about it. I also really don't think the majority of CDs are mixed on PCs. If you love your sound card, that cool. If this piece of equipment gets here and it preforms poorly, I'll send it back.

Do you also subscribe to the notion that expensive power cords can significantly improve the quality of your audio? Or that special rocks placed atop your CD player can reduce jitter? There are many of those so called professional reviewers that believe in that snake oil.

In the world of audio, you have to always be careful about claims. As I mentioned before, many many people were enamoured by the Sony PS1 with analogue outputs at the back (as opposed to the one with a dongle), claiming that it sounded better than mega thousand dollar CD players. When tested, the unit produced such a ridiculous amount of distortion that it wasn't that the device produced better sound, but that the distortion produced a less clear sound resulting in some people believing it to be a warmer more analogue sounding unit and thus proclaiming it to be better than very expensive devices.

I have nothing against USB dacs, but the point is, the claims made on the website don't hold true. It's fine to advertise your product as being XX compared to YY, but more clarity is needed when making the claim.

As for CDs mixed on PCs, I'm pretty sure a while back this was the case as was mentioned by many industry experts right here on AVS (back when more industry experts participated on these fora), whether that has changed or not I can't confirm since I am not in the industry.

Also, no need to get defensive about your purchase, nowhere did I state that I "love" soundcards. Merely that there is a lot of FUD about regarding them all based upon the state of soundcards some 20 years back. A lot has changed and yet the same claims are still bandied about as fact.
hdkhang is offline  
post #16 of 17 Old 09-25-2012, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Bullitt5094's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Received the HRT Streamer II today. I am very impressed with it's functionality and sound. I've never had anything that came close to the redbook performance of my Modded Sony 9000es, but I seriously can't tell the difference between the 9000 and the HRT unit being fed a lossless file. S/N is great, Detail, imaging and dynamics seem spot-on. Don't claim to be a reviewer and don't own the end-all system, but I can tell you I'm very impressed with this device, especially given my familiarity with my systems performance with other high-end input devices. For $150 it is especially a great value. And talk about plug and play. That's all you do. Not even a power cord. All USB powered little black box.
Bullitt5094 is offline  
post #17 of 17 Old 09-25-2012, 09:54 PM
AVS Special Member
 
hdkhang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 19
Glad to hear you are happy. It is far better to be happy with what you have. In the world of audio, chasing nirvana is painful (but sometimes fun and educational).

Just an FYI, the Sony 9000ES states a S/N ratio on CD playback of 99dB, the HRT Streamer II also states a S/N of 99dB... happy coincidence that you can't tell them apart.

Edit: Just to clarify, the above was in no way meant to suggest that S/N measures are an indicator of sound quality, it is just a single spec in the grand scheme of things. But it is something that can be measured and can and does correlate to the integrity of the signal. Everything after that is subjective and personal.
hdkhang is offline  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off