Another post about a streamer upgrade


I’ve read a lot of the threads here about streamers and moving up the chain.

However, it seems there’s not a ton of info for relatively modestly priced streamers … most threads focus on the Bluesound / Ifi Zen range or the Aurender N200 range.

I have an Ifi Zen Stream with an LPS fronted by an Ether Regen and would like to move on to something better… mainly from a usability and app standpoint but would like to spend significantly less than $2k.

I think the writing is on the wall with the Innuos Pulse Mini but curious if others have a suggestion that would be a sq improvement from the Ifi and a much better user experience for around $1500 give or take.

I currently use the JPLAY app to access Qobuz to stream DLNA to the Ifi but it’s frustrating and connectivity isn’t great. 

I don’t use Roon so the Sense app from Innuos is probably the best bet from what I gather.   I’d also be interested in the Aurender system but according to many the N200 is where to start there and that’s significant higher priced than where I want to go at this point.

Are there any other options with great usability and sound that I’m not thinking of.

I typically run Spdif coax out to my dacs but could also run usb.

thanks in advance 


Oh one additional detail..,Auralic Aries G1 wasn’t hardwired to network. 


5,843 posts



I’m glad you are curious. But we are not working on graduate degrees here (which btw I have). Those of us with lots of experience are trying to help those with less to effectively navigate this extremely complex landscape and avoid wasting enormous amount of time and money. 

Okay @ghdprentice . Thread’s yours, bud. 🤣

Care to oblige OP as to whether quality of streamer OS / user apps also scale predictably with unit price? Software was supposed to be the lion’s share of this topic.


Thanks a lot for all who have responded 

Seems like some of this thread has taken the predictable turn of people stating digital is all the same and those who feel that improvements come with better engineering.

I’m personally in the latter camp but also believe that ones system and room need to be resolving enough to give the benefits of a better streamer.

My system is pretty modest and I’m not looking for the last percentage points of detail when I listen to music.  But, there’s no harm in wanting the best sounding stereo for one’s particular budget.

for those who have asked me what I’m missing with my current streamer…. It’s not really a fair question.  The Ifi Zen Stream with a lps and some network filtering can sound pretty good.  I haven’t been suffering through listening to streamed music. But I also suspect it can be a bit better.  I’ve compared a decent cd transport and dac to the Ifi zen stream and same dac and felt that sometime one was better than the other.. and vice versa.  That said, in general, broad strokes… I tend to perceive more density and solidity when listening to the cd transport.

I also don’t believe the people on this board who’ve listened to a lot of digi gear are all convincing themselves that a more expensive piece sounds better than a cheap one … so seeking some collective wisdom is one part of my gathering information.

I’ve mentioned the user interface is important for me… I wouldn’t say that is trumping sound quality but certainly should be right up there with it in terms of importance … for instance, I can’t use M-connect … it’s maddening.  And definitely can’t use the Ifi interface.

Since starting this thread, I’ve purchased a previously owned Innuos PulseMini.  Seems like the logical step up from the Ifi. I’ll experiment with putting a good lps on it and listening to it through three different dacs. (Border Patrol se-i, Ares ii and a 30-year old CAL sigma ii)

Really looking forward to getting into the Sense app.  But, given my desire for more info on the recordings and quality liner notes, my next step may be a Roon trial. We’ll see how Sense goes first.

lastly , if anyone is looking for a quality interface which works with a lot, but not all, streaming setups, the JPLAY app is a very nice experience.




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Sounds like you will really enjoy Roon. Give it a whirl. And congrats on the streamer purchase!!!