10 Best Audio Streamers and Players
10 Best Audio Streamers and Players
10 Best Audio Streamers and Players

10 Top Audio Streamers and Players you should consider

The massive introduction of digital technologies dictates its own norms – now an audio streamer or network player is becoming as important a part of a Hi-Fi/High End system as a DAC or pre-amplifier. Technology of this type is developing not even quickly, but very quickly, so it’s easy to get lost in the sea of ​​new technologies.

Well, we have prepared for you an ultimate guide to streamers you should consider buying.

 

10. iFi Audio Zen Stream

10. iFi Audio Zen Stream

The compact iFi Audio Zen Stream surprises not only with its futuristic design, but also with crystal clear sound, which you wouldn’t expect from components in this price category. The device works both via wire (Ethernet) and via Wi-Fi, the signal outputs via USB-A or S/PDIF, and “under the hood” there is a powerful quad-core ARM Cortex processor. The rest of the hardware is just as impressive (ceramic capacitors, Taiyo Yuden TDK C0G inductors, PSRR stabilizers and other audiophile delights), and the list of formats is simply gorgeous – PCM 32/384 and DSD256 are supported; Roon Ready is also available.

+Natural and harmonious sound
-Complete external power supply – switching mode

Verdict: iFi Audio Zen Stream is very good for its price

 

9. Chord 2go / Chord 2yu

9. Chord 2go / Chord 2yu

We really liked the little Chord 2go / Chord 2yu – the assembly of a streamer with an interface module screwed onto it is a star from the sky in terms of playback quality. The inclusion of this set in the path is heard instantly – the sound picture becomes coherent, perfectly synchronized and demonstrates a reference sense of rhythm. The system can be paired with a Chord Hugo digital-to-analog converter, as well as other digital-to-analog converters; operation is allowed both in wireless mode (in this case, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.1 modules are used) and in wired mode – via a gigabit Ethernet network . Chord 2go supports most modern streaming audio formats, “understands” PCM up to 32/768 and DSD up to DSD256. And, of course, there are built-in clients for modern music streaming services such as Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify. The device is fully Roon certified.

+Amazing sound quality
-Battery power can only be used in conjunction with Chord Hugo

Verdict: Chord 2go / Chord 2yu – application for leadership

 

8.NAD C658

8. NAD C658

This BluOS Enabled system offers a staggering amount of digital capabilities. The NAD C658 streamer supports twenty streaming services and easily connects up to 250,000 tracks over a local network – that is, it can handle media libraries of any complexity. As a hub, the device can distribute data to 64 (!) zones and supports all major smart home controllers. The device supports Hi-Res 24/192, MQA, is equipped with a Bluetooth aptX HD wireless module and is easily installed in any room thanks to the Dirac Live Room Correction calibration system. The NAD C658 weighs over 10kg and its delivery feels very confident and fundamental.

+Large-scale sound, the widest streaming capabilities
-For the full version of Dirac Live Room Correction you will have to pay an extra $99

Verdict: NAD C658 – a jack of all trades

 

7. Cambridge EVO75

7. Cambridge EVO75

The beauty blows away with its design, and after switching on it completely puts many competitors to shame, offering a rich and voluminous sound canvas with chic localization of instruments. StreamMagic network platform, built-in clients Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, 32/384 ESS Saber converter, Bluetooth aptX HD module, and even the “cherry on the cake” in the form of digital amplification Hypex NCore – the device’s capabilities are endless.

+Stylish design, excellent localization
-Hard rock lacks a little aggression

Verdict: the new Cambridge EVO75 platform grabs the stars from the sky

 

6. HiFi Rose RS201E

6. HiFi Rose RS201E

Another “combine” – although the HiFi Rose RS201E is positioned by the manufacturer as a professional streamer operating with Ultra High Pixel Stream, there is also an amplifier “under the hood” (however, to reveal all the talents of the device it should be used as a source). HiFi Rose RS201E boasts excellent performance characteristics (“signal-to-noise” reaches 122 dB, and dynamic range – 132 dB, frequency response ranges from 16 to 80,000 Hz, and THD does not exceed 0.006%), uses an ESS Saber ES9018K2M chip (PCM 32 /384, DSD256), supports MQA and sounds obscenely great for its price. It is especially worth noting the excellent separation of sound images, as well as the rhythmic and punchy presentation of the musical picture.

+Lots of possibilities, muscular sound
-The amplifier was most likely added “for show”

Verdict: HiFi Rose RS201E knows how to surprise in the good sense of the word

 

5. SIM Audio Moon Neo ACE 2-Tone

5. SIM Audio Moon Neo ACE 2-Tone

High-end all-in-one device (including an amplifier) ​​- for full operation, you only need to add speakers to the SIM Audio Moon Neo ACE 2-Tone and provide the component with Internet access. The MiND streaming module works via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Ethernet, has a built-in Tidal client, the DAC provides decoding of streams up to PCM 32/384 and DSD256, and other options even include a built-in MM/MS-type phono stage. An 11-kilogram mastodon sounds extremely impressive – literally stunning with the density of the bass.

+Textured bass, effective presentation of material
-Considering the price and capabilities – nothing significant

Verdict: organic interweaving of new technologies

 

4.AURALiC Altair G2.1

4. AURALiC Altair G2.1

The central processor of the latest AURALiC Altair G2.1 streamer is the most powerful in the Tesla series, in addition, it is complemented by a dual Femto clock generator. Of course, the system is Roon Ready certified and boasts a scattering of built-in clients, including Qobuz, Tidal and Spotify Connect. It is worth noting the pre-amplifier, which here is designed on the basis of an analog volume control with a resistive matrix. The sound of the AURALiC Altair G2.1 features excellent macro- and microdynamic characteristics.

+Dynamics at an incredible level
-Quite expensive

Verdict: AURALiC Altair G2.1 – the model of tomorrow

 

3. Ayre EX-8 Full

3. Ayre EX-8 Full

Ayre EX-8 Full is both a streamer with a digital-to-analog converter (it’s not for nothing that the company calls the device a hub), and a very high-quality amplifier that delivers 2 x 100 W to 8-ohm speakers. The device works with signals up to PCM 24/384 and DSD128, its operating range extends from 0 to 250,000 Hz. The sound of the device is open, clear and most similar to an open window.

+The purest sound
-Not the most modern DAC characteristics

Verdict: You’ll definitely like the presentation of the Ayre EX-8 Full

 

2. Lumin P1

2. Lumin P1

It’s not for nothing that Lumin P1 is called a universal network player – in addition to traditional digital audio streaming, it also has a 4K video transmission system via HDMI with ARC support. The DAC is made in a “dual mono” configuration based on ES9028PRO chips from ESS Technology, and the clock uses an FPGA matrix. The player’s performance is incredible – the Lumin P1 easily handles DSD512 and PCM 32/384 streams, is Roon certified and uses a quality 32-bit Leedh volume control. The sound of the device already demonstrates a diamond, which all connoisseurs of high-end equipment are chasing.

+Reference sound
-As always – price…

Verdict: Lumin P1 is very good

 

1. Aurender A30

1. Aurender A30

Finally, the top of the pyramid. The sound of the Aurender A30 can easily be confused with a live performance by musicians – the proprietary system based on caching with an SSD disk of the server and streamer-converter works exceptionally well. AKM AK4497 chipset with linear power supplies for each channel, dual mono circuit, FPGA-based clock generator, jitter below 100 fs, built-in 10 TB disk, support for PCM 32/768 signals – everything is perfect here.

+A lot of possibilities, the sound of which cannot be made a single complaint
-Extremely high price

Verdict: everything you dream of – and even more

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