Not getting good audio using HRT DAC w/JRiver to play FLAC files.

Discussion in 'DACs' started by futureman, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. futureman

    futureman If not now, whenever. Subscriber

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    Maybe someone here can help me.

    As described in my signature, I use JRiver Media to play FLAC files. My DAC is an HRT Streamer+ (the predecessor to the MS II+) fed into a vintage Kenwood preamp. The Kenwood has a very good phone stage, so it's not surprising that vinyl sounds superior to digital playback (at least in my system). But the difference is vast. I've had CD players produce better sound than what I'm currently hearing. Perhaps I've missed something?

    Digital files are FLAC 16-bit/44.1 khz. My preamp was recapped a few years ago, so I doubt the problem is in the line stage. Maybe I haven't calibrated playback settings correctly in JRiver, or I need a different DAC. Any ideas?

    TL/DR: digital file playback sounds less than ideal. Not sure where the problem/weak link is.
     

     

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  2. gvl

    gvl Super Member

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    Make sure the output in JRiver is set to the HRT as a WASAPI audio device, or maybe ASIO if it's available. Avoid Direct Sound entries. Being an older USB device it may be affected by dirty USB power and jitter, you can try a USB cleaner/reclocker with external PSU and see if it helps but it is a gamble and odds are not in your favor. Given the HRT is getting long in the tooth a newer DAC isn't that bad of an idea.

    2018-08-25 11_36_23-Options.png
     
  3. futureman

    futureman If not now, whenever. Subscriber

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    Yep. It’s been set to HRT WASAPI. Thanks for the help.
     
  4. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

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    In JRiver, go to Player > DSP Studio and make sure Output Format has no checked boxes. That way all files will play in their native format and encoding.
     
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  5. olson_jr

    olson_jr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I ran into that issue many times. Would fiddle around getting the system set up for headphones, or for low-level late night listening, and then forget I had fiddled about the next time I was using it.

    I also use an Audioquest USB Jitterbug with my HRT iStreamer and it helps somewhat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  6. futureman

    futureman If not now, whenever. Subscriber

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    Thanks all. I had already “checked the boxes” many of you mentioned. It appears the dac is not performing as it should. That, or something is not quite right in the line stage of my preamp, (but I doubt it).
     

     

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  7. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

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    I would eliminate things and try different configurations to try and figure out where the weak link is.

    For instance
    Go from laptop headphone jack to preamp - eliminate JRiver and DAC.
    Try some files with Windows Media Player
     
  8. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

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    One basic thing I failed to mention is to check and make sure all connections are secure.
     
  9. olson_jr

    olson_jr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Did you try a different input on the pre? I assume this era Kenwood L-07C II has tuner/aux/tape inputs you could try.
     
  10. BigElCat

    BigElCat Mmm Hmm Subscriber

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    They said DO NOT check the boxes.

    Just trying to help.

    :biggrin:
     
  11. futureman

    futureman If not now, whenever. Subscriber

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    That's cute. ;)

    Doing some experimenting as olsen and rqwartner suggested. Sometimes it's hard to judge audio quality over audio difference. Switching inputs doesn't result in a noticeable change. Music played through the iPhone is softer, less harsh. I might pick up a Topping d30 (or something similar) and compare with what I have on hand. The CNC build interests me, but I need to determine whether the dac is the weak link before putting in the required effort.

    For me, this is (in part) what makes audio fun. :beerchug:
     

     

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  12. olson_jr

    olson_jr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Too bad you are not local, I could loan you a DAC to compare to the HRT.
     

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