Inexpensive streaming amplifier

My daughter, (not an audiophile), just moved into a small apartment in Brooklyn, and we want to buy her a streaming amp to connect to apple music, and her TV for movies.  She already has a pair of (hand me down from my son) Wharfdale 10.1 (small bookshelf) speakers to sit on either side of the TV.  Any suggestions?  Thank you.


In agreement with Bluesound Powernode. I owned one in my NYC Queens apartment about a decade ago, used with Wharfedale 10.2 at some point before upgrading to other speakers. 

The Powernode Edge is a slimmed down version and doesn’t have HDMI. If she can live without that, you could save a couple hundred, but the more costly Powernode has a better DAC. 

I will be the odd man out.  Old Sonos S1 connect amps can be had for around $100 +. The S1 app should still be available.  If TV does not have analog out throw in a Schiit Modi for $129 and you can do optical off the TV.   Way cheaper than a PowerNode.

Go with separates since the streaming part goes obsolete fairly quickly. WiiM Pro streamer for $150 and your favorite budget amplifier. Small class D amps like the Loxjie A30 or a full size amp like the Yamaha A-S301.

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An all in one unit is sometimes a preferred option because it's simple to use. When everything is controlled by an app on the smart phone... well every young person is comfortable with

I helped a friend set up a Cambridge Evo 75 with Focal Chora bookshelf speakers and I liked it so much I bought one (the Cambridge) for my tv set up and to stream Qobuz. Solid and reliable. Full disclosure: I run a Cambridge 851N with my main system so I am familiar with the user interface and app. Not exactly inexpensive but decent value for money and will keep pace as speakers are upgraded. 

Why not go with a modern day receiver from Sony, Marantz, Yamaha. They all have built in streaming capability. They will all work for the tv you mentioned, and they would allow for her to expand if she wants. Add a turn table, Apple TV. Pick up a used center channel snd she can run 3-1 for tv and drop down to 2-1 for music.

EBay has a new, latest version, powernode at a "buy it now" price of $750.

It has HDMI for the TV as well.

Link for Powernode

Different look, I'd recommend the Audiolab 6000A all in one unit.....but I haven't heard the Powernode to compare it with; though the 6000A is very nice around $1,000

SVS Prime Wireless Pro might be an ootion

Stream High-Resolution audio wirelessly via WiFi, Apple Airplay 2 for iPhones and iOS, and Chromecast for Android phones and other devices. Connects directly to your TV via HDMI and features ample connectivity and control options. 200-watt (50 watts x 4) amplifier and precision tuned electronic crossover deliver powerful dynamics, deep bass, and stunning clarity.

I think only one person gave the proper response. Go with an AVR from Marantz or similar. Way more functionality than a Powenode. In fact you get the Marantz NR1510 for $600 which gets you streaming capabilities across multiple platforms, multiple input options for HDMI, digital input, phono, CD, etc. The Marantz also has Audyssey room correction so she can fine tune her 2.1 system and be able to expand as she desires up to 5.1 for less than the Powenode. As you say, she's not an audiophile. And an AVR expands the experience to have a modest home theater set up by getting her a . The Powenode does one thing well. She needs more flexibility for an apartment dweller. 

Nokia Streaming Box 8000 (HDMI connection to TV) and a Denon PMA-50 amp (or a Marantz CR-611/612)

In addition to the various wired inputs, the Denon amp offers BT aptx. Could be a nice feature using a tablet or a smart phone when you are 'on the move'.

The Denon and Marantz amps will drive the Wharfdales with no issues, faire and square

I am using this combo as my second system.

Get a PS Audio Sprout 100 integrated with an external Apple TV 4K box and your system will sound better that the Powernode and the Apple TV 4K piece will give you more flexibility for streaming music and tv. This is the setup I use in my living room to stream (using Roon) and stream YouTube tv, paramount+, philio, Netflix, and more

I am shocked, no one mentioned SONOS Ray or Beam soundbars. For music streaming and TV watching, I haven’t found anything better. Add one of their wireless sub later for more impactful sound.

If daughter wants to stream Apple Music and hear TV audio through a pair of Diamond 10.1s in an apartment, the right solution is a Sonos Amp, with Powernode Edge a close second. Sonos fully integrates Apple Music, where BluOS uses Airplay to play it.  Other differences are irrelevant to a “non-audiophile”. Both have eARC for TV sound, both will drive speakers fine in an apartment.  The Sonos ecosystem has some outstanding role players for future expansion to other rooms, and their record of not obsoleting gear is impressive.

If non audiophile then any non expensive integrated amp or receiver with Bluetooth or Google Chromecast will work. 

+1 for the idea of a sub-$1000 AVR that has streaming capabilities (i.e. Airplay for Apple Music). Having a few HDMI inputs would allow for growth (Blu-ray, Gaming console, Firestick, Apple TV, etc.) Even better with eArc for the TV. Heck, she might even enjoy local FM radio LOL. NYC has some great stations in various genres, and they are free.  Not a knock against the Bluesound Powernode, but as you stated, she's not an audiophile.  View her use cases through her eyes, not yours.

@jbuhl ​​​ as @carlsbad2 said, in NYC, a dinner cost a $1000, so around that? Add desert and a glass of wine, and you are Parasound territory.

I would recommend for a budget streaming system a wiim pro and a Allo volt+D

It looks like a science project but if you have a upgraded power supply it will punch well above the price point. I think the power supply is 19v not the one that is recommended by Allo . It is available in many places for @$129 plus @$25 for the power supply. 

@grislybutter  I guess that could calibrate the budget.  I know I went down to Sunday Vinyl in Denver the other day and sat in front of a $200K Mcintosh Sonus Faber rig and dinner for 2 was only ~$200.  Maybe I should get a cheaper amp :) for my house.

My young daughter just moved into an apt too.  She went with an "open box" Powernode ($750 with factory warranty) to drive her KEF LS50s.  She's VERY happy with her setup.  

Since it's for a girl, go with an all in one solution, smaller footprint, and it will power everything on when she points music at it with her phone.  Little known feature about the Node is the presets on the top of the box.  For example, touch one of the presets and it will power up and play her favorite XM channel at the volume level last used.

The Powenode has a Sub output that can be used for a future upgrade.  ;D  Cheers

@jbuhl  I am in the same boat, setting up a system for my daughter. My budget is way lower than a $1000. 

(Yes, I am paying 100s of 1000s for her college which is why my budget for my own amp is way below a $1000)

I also like the idea of the PSA Sprout.  Space conscious little Class D to power the speakers and the TV and Blue Tooth Apple music with the interface she is already accustomed to. 


Or really go hog wild and do A Wadia 151 DAC/AMP with a Blue Tooth transmitter .  Couple of 151s over on TMR for less than $500.

Sell the Wharfedales and get a pair of SVS Prime Wireless Pro. Self-contained speaker/amps/streamer they won't crowd a NYC apartment and they will rock if asked. They offer just about every kind of connectivity available including HDMI ARC/eARC. In addition to the phone app they also have an IR remote, voice support and good old knobs on the front. Or, keep the Wharfdales and use the 150W/Channel SVS Soundbase. It features the same kind of capability and flexibility as the PWPs for only $699, Both have a list of positive reviews and awards as long as your arm from all over the world. 

I am feeling "uniquely" qualified to chime in here, for a.) having had first hand experience with many recommendations here (I own a Powernode, PS Sprout, Wiim, Apple TV, among higher end stuff) and b.) living in Brooklyn myself and c.) having set up other non-audiophiles (both kids & parents) with similar needs with limited budget.

My guess is that size is important and that smaller (in this case) is better than any of the suggested full-size solutions such as AV receivers/Cambridge/Audiolab units, regardless of brand and functionality. With a budget around $750 from what has been recommended thus far, the Powernode Edge would get my vote also as a clean, compact and proven solution.

However, as others have mentioned, that is not necessarily inexpensive by everyone’s definition, including myself. And for the record, we had dinner last night 2 people including 2 Margaritas and spent just under $90 incl. 20% tip. Just sayin’…

So for the less fortunate on a tighter budget, I have the following suggestions:

1.) A one box solution I bought to set up my in-laws with, the Arylic A50+ on Amazon for $220
Has Airplay to stream from her devices. TV can be connected either via optical or RCA in - no HDMI so you would need to make sure her TV has one or the other out.

2) A two unit solution, but still VERY compact for $235. The newer Arylic B50, with HDMI Arc and better connectivity all around (aptX HD, 2 analog in incl. phono (!), proper binding posts for her speakers) for only $150 - PLUS the astounding Wiim mini for streamer capability ($85)  

3) The even cheaper ”two very small unit” solution that I have going myself: The aforementioned Wiim mini + the Ayima 07 that currently sells for $60 after $20 coupon on Amazon that can drive more demanding speakers. The total comes out to a whopping $145. Again, the TV can be connected either via optical or RCA to the Wiim which allows remote control incl. volume via the Wiim app.


Daddy day sale over on Arylic site and you can get the H50 for 20% off and that unit has optical, HDMI (ARC) and an ESS DAC I do believe.   

I'd like to thank everyone for their responses; I should have been more specific about budget, because we were hoping to keep it under $300.  I just bought the Arylic A50+ (thank you @nkphoto), which should work well for her (Apple music and TV).  Thanks again!


Thanks again!

No need for thanks.  Nothing gets the Goners more excited than telling other people how to spend their money 😎.