D3 DAC-plus-Headphone-Amp – guest review by Dale Thorn
Company: Audioengine
Price: $189


Sources and gear: Dell PC with Win7-64 and Foobar2000; MacBook Pro Retina with OSX v10.8.5 and iTunes; Shure SRH-1540, B&W P7, and B&O H6 headphones; various music tracks in 96k/24-bit WAV format.

When the Audioengine D3 DAC arrived, I ran it for a few hours just to keep it honest, although I didn’t expect a significant change with a burn-in period. When I finally got around to listening later that evening, I thought the sound was as good as anything I’ve ever heard. In fact, having spent a great deal of time with the HRT Microstreamer and v-moda Verza recently, the first thing that I became aware of was an impression of analog-like sound.

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Company: HRT

Price: $199.99

I must admit it, I am a big cynic. I have seen so many advertising and marketing claims about self-proclaimed great products that turn out to be just outright lies and misrepresentations, I have a hard time believing such pitches any more. So when HRT (High Resolution Technologies, Los Angeles, CA.) talked about their iStreamer at the last Macworld | iWorld conference, I just rolled my eyes in disbelief.

I connect my iPhone and iPodTouch to my rather high-end audio system all the time with a simple headphone jack to RCA stereo cable, and for the most part, it sounds fine. Yet, here was this company telling me that I was not getting the full experience of my music from my iOS device. Really? Just how so? So when I was given the chance to borrow an iStreamer unit and test it, I jumped at the chance. I was ready to prove them wrong.

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