Integrated Amp ideas for a very young audiophile

My 4yo son really loves listening to music. He routinely takes my phone or iPad and streams his favorite tunes from Spotify to our living room setup (Naim Star—> Sonus Faber Olympica I) or my office (Cambridge CXN—> Creek Evo100–> Kef LS50). He also loves asking Alexa to play music in his baby sister’s nursery and asks to listen to tunes in Mom & Dad’s bedroom (Naim Mu-so 2) before going to bed in his room for the night. As ecstatic as I am to have a budding audiophile, he asked me the other day why his room was the only one that didn’t have any speakers. I told him we could ask Santa to help us set something up in his room for Christmas but am now left with a conundrum of what to get. Originally I was thinking I’d just get him another Alexa style speaker, but he specifically then said the baby’s doesn’t sound as good and he wants “2 speakers like the living room, …but even better than the living room”. So while I have no intention of getting him the Kanta 3s he pointed to as I scrolled for ideas (kid has good but apparently way too expensive tastes), I do have a pair of B&W 685s2 that are barely ever getting used in the garage that I could pair to an integrated amp for his room. I’m in the Naim ecosystem so a Uniti Atom of course comes to mind, but would love some thoughts on how that would compare with Cambridge Evo series, NAD’s numerous all-in-ones, the Rotel S14 or anything else you guys might suggest. In particular I want something very easy to use and with volume and source control for streaming right on the front so he doesn’t NEED a phone or iPad to use it. He said he wants to wake up and be able to listen to music all day so reliability is also important with little hands not always being the most careful. My wife is also not super tech savvy so being able to turn it down or off without an app is definitely a requirement and eliminates things like a sonos amp or Bluesound Powernode/Powernode edge. Am I crazy for even considering a purchase like this for a 4yo?


If you get him a keyboard like toy Casio, he may like it better and will try to repeat some music. This "change of direction" can be extremely beneficial in the future.



Take a look at Vanatoo or similar maybe even lower cost. Whatever your budget, I would keep it as simple and cost effective as possible for a 4 year old.  If he tires of it before long then at least you have a nice sounding and flexible second system to play with moving forward.


As a point of reference, FWIW, when I was ~ that age, maybe a year or two older, in the mid 1960’s, I started to become interested in music and hifi and had my sisters portable Magnavox record player and records to listen to. SHe was in high school already at that time. I was as much interested in the record player as the music and I received a few electric shocks along the way as my curiosity went unchecked.

I often wonder if those electric shocks I received doing things with electric gadgets I probably should not have been doing at that age made me what I am today....... a big time hifi and music affectionado. YOu never know.... :)


A little kids keyboard is an interesting proposal. You never know what direction a kid at that age might go. So if it were me I would address his interests cost effectively but not go overboard at that age. and see what happens.

If he starts demanding high end hifi fuses before full adult hood then you know you might have a problem.


What do you need to stream?

The Sprout100 ($800) has plenty of power, an internal DAC, BT, MM phono stage and easy to use front panel controls.



Find an original Dynaco SCA-35. Sounds quite nice, low maintenance, pretty bullet-proof, simple operation. Tubes last a LOOONG time.

I’d recommend something with "shortcut" buttons - so you can set up some favorite playlists or internet radio stations that he can easily turn on with the push of a button.

My 5-year-old son really likes our AudioPro C3 speaker - very easy to use with 4 shortcut buttons. Also rechargeable battery allows it to go outside. It also has "two speakers" ;)

When i was that age i was jamming to my favorite James Taylor tape (JT) in my fisher-price tape player all day and night. 

And to answer your real question - yes you're crazy.  Love for children makes people do crazy things.


Best investment I ever made for my son was a keyboard teaching toy. Infinitely patient, he would play with it for hours a day then set it aside for a few weeks, then pick it up again. Highly recommended.

As for amps & speakers, nothing you list will really be suitable for several years, until he can read and has a phone, so get an Amazon Echo Show 8 and connect to a pair of powered speakers via the aux out port and a Y-cable. Maybe a pair of Audio Engine A2 or A3 or Kantu YU4 or YU6 You should be able to wrap it all up for under $500, and he’ll have quality music, voice control, lyrics on screen, parental controls (more important than you think!), and a bunch more. And you or your wife can shut it off from anywhere with an Echo, or from your phones.

Parasound  makes a decent one call Anthony perrotta consultants 

good service and deal and highly recommend Wireworld Eclipse cables excellent value per $$ dollar spent.

What's the financial sense of getting him a cheaper 'starter system' only to spend more to upgrade in a few years? (Especially given his ability to hear the differences in audio quality.) IMO the Atom is a strong solution in that it is compact, has the streaming and control features you want while being very musical with great detail. 

I haven't heard Rotel or Cambridge stuff in many years so I can't help with that part.

Good Luck! 


For the sake of your wife and to make it easy for the kid, I would be looking at something entry level but fully competent unit like the Yamaha R-N303.  The Music Cast app is nice.  The system works with Alexa.  It is fully networked so he can play local files or one of the streaming services.  It has decent power. It has a power button and a remote for the wife.

I will second the Vanatoo suggestion.  The Vanatoo Zero is a full system in two powered speakers with Bluetooth for streaming or can be feed by analogue or usb.  I use the Vanatoo One system in my office and the Zero around the house as it is smaller and easily moved.

Fosi Audio BL20A 200W Bluetooth 5.0 Home Audio Stereo Amplifier Hi-Fi Mini Class D Integrated Amp with U-Disk/3.5MM AUX/RCA Input (on Amazon); very inexpensive, indestructible and works with Bluetooth.  It's very adequate on the sound side; something you use anywhere and not worry about.

A 4 year old?? Get him something cute dude....

Bluetooth boombox from Santa - Price 48 USD


Never too young..... I was only about 6 or 7 when I learned from my Dad how to create echo and feedback on his Reel-to-Reel tape deck.  It was hours of fun playing with echo, and re-threading the tape machine to playback music.  50 years later, I'm still recording and playing music in my home studio.  

4K unity Atom for a 4 year old… lol. Twice what my 1st car cost. Bluesound maybe. Plenty good enough for those B&Ws. 

I like the keyboard idea. My daughter started playing songs she like by ear at 3 yo. Now almost 8. 

If you’re seriously thinking of spending that much maybe break up the budget and spend on an integrated and better speakers. 

Usually high-end audio is not catered to the young, I surmised most in this hobby usually started later in life for adults with more disposable income, therefore nothing targeted as “kid friendly”.  I guess one can teach the kid to use it, but powered Bluetooth speaker may be much easier for kid to use.

I bet you that Santa Boombox, left under the tree by Santa, hand picked by the fat guy himself "because you were such a good boy!" would absolutely slay it, Lol.

I would personally save something a lil more serious from the age of maybe 8 or 10 up, because it would mean a lil ore to him by then. OK, maybe 6      : )

My personal suggestion, there, since you have such great taste in the ecosphere why not give him the Atom?

Him being able to use their cool app from an old phone of yours or from your Room Core would be convenient.

You're a seriously cool Dad, by the way. And, for what it's worth, I was just having a conversation with my elderly Mom the other day about how she helped shape my love of music from early on and throughout my entire childhood. So yeah, it's very relevant, what you're doing, imo.

Oh! ... and it looks like you can stream from a usb stick, there's a port right there on the front. So you could create playlists of his favorite tunes for him. 

I think it's awesome that your boy loves music....   years ago I offered my son a pair of PSB M2 and told him I'd buy him a nice Integrated Amp and CD player.    He held his phone up and said "no thanks, my music is all in here...."    

I almost cried,   anyway hopefully you can show him all about NAS storage and or music files and he doesn't have a phone yet so ...      

My vote would be for a Bluesound power node and a cheap tablet.