Wired Streamer Plus DAC for Under £1000

Hello All

I feel like I am going round in circles here and could do with a bit of help. I am looking to set up a streamer/ player plus DAC for input into an 82/180.

What I would like is a streamer that I can just plug in some kind of USB stick or drive to the back of and control through a simple app on a phone or iPod. I am happy to manually add tracks to the storage. I am not sure but I believe I could maybe attach the storage device to the wifi router, although again I am not sure if a streaming connection over wifi is not as good as wired?

I have looked at preconfigured Raspberry Pis (Allo), ifi Zens, SOTM, WiiM, Node etc etc… plus a myriad of standalone DACs and don’t really know which way to go. What would you recommend for under £1000? (not including storage device).

Any help appreciated. Note I have a basic understanding of ‘computer speak’ but don’t understand what all the acronyms mean!

Take a look at the Cambridge audio cxn v2 network player.
Or the bluesound node.

Models from Marantz, Denon or Technics may fit the bill.
I feel the quality of the controlling app is critical when choosing.
Here, in my view, the Bluesound app is hard to beat.

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An Innuos Zen Mini would be my choice. It can do everything you’re asking for and a lot more, and has storage built in so no need to use USB drives.

I would give strong consideration to the new iFi Neo Stream.

Thank you for the recommendations.

After considerable research and many coffees and taking into account budget considerations I have decided to try the iFi Zen Stream. Now to choose a DAC. Denafrips Ares/ Topping/ iFi Zen is my shortlist. Expect numerous cries for help shortly! :grin:

Ok I will take a third look at it. Good golly it’s ugly though.

Don’t discard the idea of a cheap streamer with a good dac. The Tibo Bond 3 with an optical output, plus the ability to connect to your music store via lan or wifi, plus the onboard radio feeds is a cheap product that when connected to a pre owned Chord Qutest will give you an excellent sound quality for your budget of under 1k.

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I have to say that the Primare NP5 MkI acting as a transport into the NDX is more resolving than the bare NDX - it’s really good and the difference is noticeable even through a (temporary) Vita Audio R4.

Ifi Zen Stream plus whatever DAC. Costs next to nothing. Does it all… unless you ask someone that disagrees :grin:


Have u considered a used N-Dac (about £900) in to which you can connect to your iPhone or Android which supplies propriety music files from Spotify/tidal etc.? Sq is brilliant and the n-dac is a top shelf digital hub

Just to add to the bewildering array of suggestions - Innuos have just released their first streamer/DAC - the Pulsemini for £899. Gets a very good write up in The Ear this week

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That’s on my interest list, but they don’t seem to be actually in any shops yet. Must be imminent, surely. Interesting that the two higher models are digital only.

Read a piece today on a site called Audio Appraisal where the reviewer had paired the Zen Stream with a Topping D90LE, to good effect. This combo would be slightly above your budget, but not much.

I can’t give an opinion of the Zen Stream, other than having seen plenty of good reviews, but I can say the D90LE is an amazing DAC, irrespective of the price. I was blown away when I heard it and for me it’s probably an end game DAC.

Thank you everybody.

The iFi Zen stream gets a huge amount of good press, if the internet is to be believed.

Am keeping an eye on eBay for DACs, Topping are certainly high on the list. I will report back with findings.

If you are UK based you can get Topping on home loan for evaluation purposes. I probably can’t say where on here, but shouldn’t be too difficult to find out.

I have a zen stream, is a good sounding streamer, just do not expect too much from ifi software. For roon is great.

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Primare NP5 and a mk1 Chord Hugo here. Great SQ and flexibility for << £1000.

The Hugo is a great DAC, that just happens to also be a fabulous headphone amp, and can be used on the move with music streamed from your phone. £500 is a total bargain for one IMO.

Delving further into this, confusion abounds… I wonder if anyone can cast any light on the following queries?

  • What is the difference between the iFi Zen Stream and the iFi Zen Blue?

  • Looking at the Topping M50 or 90 DACs, it appears some versions of these might not even need a separate streamer to play music?

Just had a look at this. It is an interesting design.

Mind you, IFI do make good products, comes with a decent PS as well.

I must admit that I find their products to be good, currently using four of their power supplies and two of the DC Blockers.