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 


"There reaches a point where spending more money may yield only marginal or imperceptible improvements in audio quality, hence the concept of diminishing returns."

"My previous set up was pretty good even using a computer as the source. The difference with the $12k of equipment isn’t that big. Now there is some break in and I can hear that the sound is more open and seems to be improving a bit as it is breaking in but I’m not sure I would do this upgrade again for the money. Maybe my system is good but not good enough to justify the new units. Sometimes being happy with what you got is the best bet."

We all know over 3/4 of the population would much rather go on a trip to _______ than spend 12K on their hifi. Life choices. 

I am in a similar position with my desire to upgrade.

Currently have a Project Stream Box S2 Ultra streamer, run on a Teddy Pardo MiniTeddy LPS. Mad Scientist Black Magic Ultra power cable, and SR Orange fuse.

Will be looking on the used market, around the $750-$1500 mark. Smaller footprint a advantage. Certainly would like a step up, rather than a step sideways.

The Innuos Pulse Mini looks a decent candidate. The Aurender a bit too pricey to import for me. I have no need for an inbuilt Dac, so probably not the Eversolo. Anything else you know of?

At some stage I'll get to using Roon.

Reporting back here on this thread that I started a few months ago.

I 'upgraded' from an Ifi Zen Stream streamer to the Innuos Pulse_Mini streamer.

I had been experiencing really annoying user interface issues with the Ifi and although it sounded good to my ears within my relatively modest system, I assumed and expected another streamer up the chain to bring audible improvements as well.  
Regarding the user interface issues, I tried various solutions, including the JPLAY app...which is a really good product btw.

After getting the Innuos, I committed to just spending time with it and getting to know it ...and the Sense app.

After spending 3 months with it, I will say this.  Yes there is a different sound, a different presentation...and most would probably say it's 'better' than the Ifi, but I guess I'd chalk it up to more of a flavor.

There is a density and darkness to the Innuos that is rounder and deeper....I think it's probably more natural sounding than the Ifi....although maybe less incisive or spicy.  I've grown used to it and now that I'm living in 2 places, I have two set ups... One has the Ifi Zen Stream and the other has the Innuos Pulse mini.  

The systems are impossible do a direct comparison ..but I will say that in my apartment in the city, I'm now very much enjoying my original Ifi Zen Stream hooked up to a Border Patrol se-i DAC going into a Belles Audio Aria pre/power combo feeding Falcon ls3/5a's.  Pretty compelling fidelity that is both direct and detailed and dynamic but also relaxed and natural.

The Ifi is being controlled by the JPLAY app and accessing Qobuz.

The Pulse Mini is feeding a Van Alstine tube pre / s.s. power amp combo driving Fritz Carbon's .  There's more meat on the bones in that system. I feel you can reach in deeper to the stereo image being presenting and there is more texture with this set up...I assume a lot of that has to do with the Innuos but also the Fritz speakers.

This is all to say, that system matching can really help balance things out and right now enjoying both setups. 

I'm not 100% into the Sense app.  It's good but I find it a little laggy sometimes and I think the JPLAY app is a slightly better interface.  That said, the Sense app is written specifically for Innuos products.


Thanks for posting your impressions. The streamer quality does matters and most folks here would be open to exploring better sound experience just like you did! 

I agree with you on JPLAY app, it’s a really nice app, well laid out and offers seamless Qobuz integration. Your assessment of Innuous is also spot on, while I enjoyed Innuos well rounded sound, I found it to be bit on darker side for my preferences. 

The Innuos Pulse Mini looks a decent candidate.

@jerrybj  I agree, especially as you already have a Pardo LPS.  I’ve seen a few reports where owners said the Zen Mini with an external LPS rivals the sound of the Zen, and it’s likely the Pulse Mini will sound even better.  Best of luck.