Is there such a thing as a good medium priced music streamer?

OK, been using a Marantz ND8006 for 5 years or so for the infrequent times I stream music in my living room. (Infrequent cuz its a PIA) The unit is a better CDP than streamer as the HEOS app it uses is a pain in the ass in this configuration where it is resident on a separate tablet. It was a sound upgrade from a Logitech streamer I had for years which was easy to use and my wife liked but had lost support. She "dislikes to hates" the Marantz. It impacts the amount of time she listens to IR or Amazon or Spotify at home. Frankly does the same for me. So, I figured it is time for a step up to a better/dedicated streamer. I frankly was blown away by how many there are out there as well a how fragmented the functions are. I want something that will 1) stream from Tidal, Spotify, Amazon HD,etc 2) play FLAC or WAV files from my network NAS, 3) play IR like WBGO, etc. I am comfortable with spending say $2k new, maybe up to $3k if there is really a gain in sound or ease of use, reliability. I am assuming a dedicated unit will be superior to one embedded in an amp like the Marantz Model 40 or others like that. Am I "deluded", have a good enough understanding of the landscape technically (I question that frankly) and does this exist. BTW, I have heard a couple of the more costly units like 2 from Auralic and Aurender but they are out of my retiree price range. I have lurked/read alot of the posts on here on this topic and am frankly a little overwhelmed at the permutations and combinations. Im beginning to feel like a 66yo dinosaur...HELP!


Here, just buy this used Innuos Zen. Not only is it a great streamer, it also includes their excellent Sense app that’s not only easy to use but sounds great and is constantly being upgraded/supported by the company. And, oh yeah, you can just load all your CDs into it and have ALL your music available in any order you wish from your chair. And they also offer top-notch customer support if you ever need it. Seems to check all your boxes. You, and most importantly your wife, will be thrilled.  Best of luck.

I would consider adding a WiiM Pro ($169, link) if the streaming interface is the real pain point. You already have a NAS and a good sounding DAC in the Marantz. The WiiM Pro would replace the streaming function and can be connected to the coax digital input on the Marantz with the appropriate cable.


The WiiM Home app supports Amazon, Spotify, TIDAL and internet radio via TuneIn / vTuner / Radio Paradise / etc. However, it doesn’t support directly connecting to a network share at the moment. That means you’d need to enable the UPnP server on your NAS so the app can browse and playback your local music collection.


The best part is that you can buy the WiiM from Amazon direct and return it if you don’t like it.

I really like the Cambridge Audio CXN 60, so much so that I bought a second unit for a second system.  It is unclear to me if the OP requires a DAC, but it has a decent DAC.  It will directly stream Tidal , but for Amazon it has AirPlay, Chromecast, or Bluetooth.  The App is easy to use, and I think the OP will find it a big improvement in convenience over Marantz.  It easily recognized my NAS.




The OP could also do Bluesound.  I believe he can directly stream Amazon.  The app will blow away the Marantz

Yes the innuos mini zen very good with a SS HD 

land you absolutely should buy either the companion linear power supply or

even better  ,less money But not physically matching the Linear Tube Audio LPS 

you can buy on Audiogon $50 off for $700

I like my Bluesound streamer(s). However the recently released "upgrade" I find a little less intuitive than the previous. Still a pretty good app though.

The Bluesound Node N130 is $449 everywhere their software is surprisingly easy to use and it does Amazon, Tidal, Qobuz etc. it even unfolds MQA.

I have one and have been very happy with it.

All the best.

+1 on the Innuos Zen Mini Mk3.   It’s a streamer, it’s a CD ripper with SSD storage, it’s a DAC, and it can be a Roon Core.   And it also runs Sense.   I am a happy owner of one and can highly recommend it.   I’ve used it in all of the functions mentioned.   I have slowly upgraded around it so now it is only a streamer running Sense.   By far the best bang for buck device in this capacity.

I really like the Eversolo DMP-A6. Streamer and DAC for around $900. If you only need a streamer I’d go for the Wiim Pro or for another $50 the Wiim Pro Plus. Then you can compare its DAC )or the DAC in the Eversolo if you go that route) with the one in your Marantz. 

The Aurender N150 and Innuos Zen Mk 3 lists for around $3.5k and you should be able to cut a deal near your upper price range.  They both have excellent SQ and PRAT and give you most of what you get with the higher priced models.  I personally prefer the Aurender sound that is dense and dynamic compared to Innous sound, but that is a personal subjective observation.  Audition yourself.   The Innuos Zen Mini is less than your lower end or a used Aurender N100H or Innuos Zen Mk3 are below your lower goal. The used units will be an improvement. 

I have a Aurender that I'm very happy with. You can get used for your price range and would be very happy with the sound performance and user interface. 

I have a BlueSound Node, and it's a very nice piece, but the app isn't a meaningful upgrade from the HEOS app. OTOH, a Marantz Model 40 can be integrated with an Amazon Echo to give you full voice control. That's a huge upgrade in usability over any streaming app I've seen. My wife can finally use the stereo, after 3 years of scowling at my VPI Prime Scout and even my CD player. As for the SQ, I really don't think there's much meaningful difference between devices at this level - and this level is very good indeed.

I recently upgraded from a Sonore Microrendu to an Innuos Pulse Mini which also utilizes the very good Sense app. Sounds great for the money. It’s strictly a streamer so very reasonably priced.

Oh, and it does have an internal DAC s well.  

I use a Bluesound Node 2i (never liked its DAC) into a Schiit Bifrost 2/64 DAC...sounds great

In Europe the Volumio Rivo is selling very well, is said to sound very good with Roon.

+1 on the Innuos Zen Mini Mk3.  I have been using one for the last 2 years and yes, the Innuos software is outstanding.  Very easy to use and sounds fantastic!

Strong recommendation for this streamer from SmallGreenComputer:

It’s on sale. I have and enjoy the UltraRendu as part of the basic bundle from Andrew at Small Green Computer. Excellent customer support. You get a no frills box that performs really well.

It is designed to work with Roon, which I also use and enjoy.

As good of streamers as the models from Aurender, Innuos and Lumin may be if the OP wants to stream Amazon natively that narrows the market down considerably.  In his price range that basically leaves the Aries G1.1 which is on sale for $2200 and the new Eversolo DMP-A8 at at $1998.  Yes the DMP-A6 is similar in function but the A8 has far superior twin power supplies and a better DAC section and if need be an analog preamp section. Both the Aries and Eversolo units have Amazon Music as part of their lineup.

The Music Room has a killer deal going on for PS Audio DirectStream DAC's Mk.I. $2K for what was recently selling for $6K, factory refurbished, and warranted for a year. Available  with or without the Bridge.

Know a couple of people who dipped their toes into the stream with an iFi Zen Stream.

I went the Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra route. Liked that is was designed by John Swenson. And I needed a small footprint. Highly recommended.

Maybe upgrade in the future, but fast approaching retirement and funds for my audio lunacy? have dried up.

I have the Marantz NR1510 and I use the HEOS app all the time for streaming Spotify and Tune-In radio. The interface isn't great but when I use Spotify to stream I'm using the Spotify app to control what I listen to. I only interface with the HEOS app to adjust speaker groupings and volume. I have the HEOS app set up to group the main speakers, remote kitchen speaker, and back patio speakers so when the wife and kids want to listen to music all she has to do is turn on the Marantz receiver and select HEOS. She controls everything through the Spotify app at that pont. She rarely opens HEOS app to adjust the individual speaker volumes in the group. 

As for a streamer upgrade...I bought the Cambridge Audio CXN V2 and I use that as my primary streamer for Radio Paradise and some select European electronic streaming channels and as the DAC for my CD transport. I've found that Spotify sounds different if I stream through the CXN first and then input into the Marantz vs streaming directly via the Marantz. Spotify sounds a bit choked on the CXN but Radio Paradise sounds great. Vice versa when I use the Marantz.

Anyway, there are ton of streamers out there that might be an improvement over the DAC in your Marantz but you might also find some streaming services sound different on either one. I do, but my wife doesn't notice at all.

Go to for PS Audio DSD. Trade-ins to PS Audio are tested and recertified. You can order them with or without the Bridge II. 

I am personally a great fan of Metronome DSS, for Metronome's house sound, analogue, sort-of. But it needs a DAC... It is one of the cheapest products in Metronome's lineup, but a great value soundwise for people who do not plan to play extremely high resolution files.

Personally I don't feel $2 to $3k is medium priced. In between that price range, considering new and used you could try out some streamers from company's with a proven track record of making better than average sounding streamers...Innous, Aurender,  to name a couple. The rest of your system (quality, resolution) should play a role into how much you should spend as well. 

Do you need a streamer with a built in Dac? Or just a streaming transport (no dac)Or do you already own a Dac/Amp/Speakers worthy of a $3k streamer? Built in Dac or not should be your first hurdle or question to ask yourself. 

Lots of streamers out there to choose from..many different prices. I've tried a bunch of the more budget one's looking for that best SQ for cheap. Never tried the Eversolo's or Pro-jects but i have tried the rest of the usual suspects. The Wiim's, Node's, Cambridge CXN2 and their newest AXN model. Tried the Ifi, Arcam, B&W, and Pi. Some of those I kept for a little while, some not long at all. Most of these more budget models sound mostly the same (some will argue all transports sound the same), so the software becomes important. Currently I use a Primare Prisma, it's a transport only and sounds good to me. I use Chromecast to connect from most my music apps and for whatever reason Chromecast sounds great thru the Primare. The Halo Red is another streaming transport that gets good user reviews but I haven't heard that one either. 

If you want to step up your game the Innous models and their software seem like a real winner. I've heard one of their higher models and it was good..but so was the rest of the system. You could start of with something much cheaper with a return window and see how that works for you. A WiiM Pro Plus might be all you will ever need. I've experienced streaming thru Heos on a Denon product. The WiiM is a step up in my opinion. That new Eversolo 8 has a lot of capabilities if you need all that. Can speak for their software though. 

Yes I have a cocktail audio x45 it is 2800 new and it dose so streams it plays and rips cd's it has a full digital recording unit in it it has a analog input and output allowing you to hook it in the tape loop of your preamp. It has 4 USB inputs a coax input a toslink input even a mm phono stage and can be used as a preamp if you want. I dont. Go to cocktail audio .com and check them out if interested .I really like the piece. Michael.

I ran a Zen Stream with an external linear power supply for maybe a couple of years. I really enjoyed it, There is room for improvement in the app. On 12/04/23 my new Volumio Rivo showed up. I was told it needed 200 hours burn in by the seller. I got a black friday deal with the linear power supply. Right out of the box, I wasn’t happy. Sound was bass heavy with a loss of highs. On day 4 I did an A-B using RCA SPDIF, and AES/EBU. The Zen Stream had a haze to it, the Rivo was very smooth, open, with a well defined bass with weight that I found convincing. I now have approx 225 hours on the unit. I run the unit output AES/EBU to a Gustard R26, into a Luxman L-550AXll, feeding Dynaudio Contour S 1.4. Delighted. It seems like I had more songs displayed (Tidal in Rivo app) on the Zen app that I do on the Rivo app.Perhaps not acclimated with app yet. Internet radio is awesome.

I can recommend the Bluesound Node or the Sonos Port. Sonos has the best app interface. Both of these devices will require an app interface. I can’t tell whether the use of the HEOS App is the source of your frustration with the Marantz ND8006 or if it is something else.  I have one in my living room now for 5 years, it is used only as a streamer anymore as I rarely use the transport and I use the DACs on my preamp. I get some of the complaint about the Marantz, for a time it kept requiring me to sign in with a password which for a non-keyboard device got old very fast. If I were replacing it today, I would buy a standalone streamer and separate transport and run each separately to the preamp. You could relieve the Marantz for transport duty only and get a streamer and DAC as separates if you don’t mind the extra power cabling.

Biggest problem for me with some of the higher end streamers is the limited support for streaming services; many don't support Amazon,  and very few support Idagio,  which are the two that I use the most, along with Internet Radio.  Innuos support says they are working towards support for both services,  but don’t know when they'll get there.  So I'm using a Bluesound Node as it supports a very wide range of streaming services,  including the two I use.  I  upgraded it with a linear power supply and the sq improved significantly.  I  use the coaxial out into my PS Audio Directstream DAC.  I  have a pretty resolving system,  and I think the results are really good.  And the new BlueOS operating system is very intuitive. Some think it's crazy to spend almost as much on the lps upgrade as the unit itself,  but the improvement was really worth it,  imo!! BTW,  I  am beta testing the upcoming PS Audio Stellar Gold Preamp,  and it is a fantastic unit. I  think it's as good or better than the BHK Signature Preamp at two thirds the cost. 

I veer wildly from day to day between ASR-style skepticism regarding streamers and the view that everything matters.  As a result, I have not invested heavily in any of my streamers, but have made careful choices. I have the iFi Zen Stream in one system; have been happy with the performance using Roon - some who use the app are not as happy.  In another system, I’m about to replace acRaspberry Pi with something a little more upscale; two contenders are Primare NP5 and Pro-Ject S2 Stream Ultra.   

Eversolo DMP-A6.  

It has a DAC but I go USB out to my Benchmark DAC3 L.

Excellent product.  It's a giant killer in my opinion.

As has already been commented on, your complaint seems to be about the software control interface, not sound quality. I'd second the suggestion that you try the WiiM Pro first since it has a great software control interface that you can run on your smartphone or iPad. It also has its own DAC or you can output it via optical or coax to your current DAC. The WiiM Pro is the easiest to setup and use online streaming option I've come across.

Hard to go wrong for about $150 on Amazon, along with a hassle-free return if you don't like it.

+1 for BlueSound. You can always add a nice external DAC down the road and still be on budget.

Innuos is highly regarded but I believe you need an external DAC.


*Innuous has on on-board DAC. Given your budget I'd go with Innuous.

I will likely buy a Pulse at some point.  

Hell yes.  
if you separate the streamer from the DAC.

blue sound node is super popular for good reason.

i also have the WiiM and it is excellent.  

no need to spend much on a streamer unless you want a lot of bells and whistles like lcd touchscreen etc.

Non dac streaming is way down the list of things that affect your sound.

I’d spend for components and cables.

Purely in terms of features and functionality, the BlueSound Node must be one of the best values in HiFi. The newer Nodes have HDMI eArc (for integration with your TV) and apparently better DAC chips than earlier versions.  Another possibility is the Matrix Mini-I 4 or Mini-I  Pro 4.  The feature sets of these streamers are similar to the BS Node's, but they have touchscreens with front panel LCD album art displays.  The Node and the Matrix units all sell for under $1K USD.


The Lindemann Limetree Streamers offer excellent sound quality, the ability to attach a USB drive to store files, With the addition of a Plixir Linear Power Supply it becomes a very fine value. There are two models - the Limetree Bridge 2 (without built-in DAC) and the Network 2 with DAC.

They also have a full system Streaming Pre-Amo call the Lindemann Source 2 and an all in one Streaming Integrated called the Lindemann COMBO.

Great German company with great products.

@joekapahulu You are getting some interesting advice here most of it not really addressing your primary concern...practically no music service availabilty limit, modest cost and something Momma can enjoy without asking you for assistance everytime she wants to listen to music. Hopefully I got that right. I’ve been in your shoes and what I use in my system is the Sonos Port and a Sonos Connect (gen 2) in two of the systems in my home.The Sonos Port has decent sound fidelity is it the best no, but it will surpass the Marantz ND8006 sonically. I cannot think of a music service it does not have on offer,world wide radio and is a roon endpoint and can access your music libary on a desktop or server.When my kids and grandkids come to visit they can use our audio gear via Sonos and listen to thier own music they all know how to use it even my youngest grand. Another thing or question not mentioned by anyone thus far is do have you easy access to ethernet or does the streaming need to be wireless?, as is the case for me yes it does and Sonos checks that box. If not most of what is being suggested to you is going to another PITA for you, running lan wires and remote modules for example etc. (you get the picture) ie another possible pain point.

If your system is not high end (no mention of the other gear in the chain) a 2k+ streamer is a waste of money (you will not likely hear great distinctions) unless you plan to upgrade your system in the future and possibly be back to square one with your wife being hands off if she is like mine. If you read the between the lines there is a lot of rah rah for my purchase here not really addressing the question you actually asked which is often the case, a lot of folks go outta space quick here.

Go the simple route get a Sonos port it will check almost all your boxes for the family and services available, not break the bank and the app is very easy to use.If high quality sound is important to you you can still go the high end streamer route and have two boxes down the road like I have in one of my rooms. the Port is small enough that you’ll hardly even notice it is there set it as the default in your setup for your family and the better streamer for "deep" listening when you want to do that and there will be peace in your valley.

Been there done that...

Bluesound node and get a DAC of your choice.  The node does Amazon, and has a great interface. 

Lots of good suggestions, and I’ve tried many. Stay away from Bluesound and HiFi Rose. The Bluesound sound quality (yes, even the Node X) is pretty bad. HiFi Roses sounds good, but the app is a nightmare. 

Eversolo DMP-A6 and DMP-A8 are really fantastic overall, and then exceptional when price is considered. 

Agree with many others that if you are keeping the Marantz, the Wiim Pro would be a great choice to just use as a transport.

I haven’t had the Sonos Port, but the Sonos software is really good  


Best of luck!


Update - the latest HEOS version is a huge improvement over any other streaming app I've seen. I expect BluOS and others to take notice and revamp their mediocre-at-best User Interfaces sooner rather than later. In addition to the visual improvements in the UI, the integration with voice services like Alexa is so far flawless, as evidenced by my wife now listening to music on our HEOS-equipped system for the first time.

I went with "convenience."  After extensive research and auditioning of numerous different types of streamers and combinations of steamers and DACs, etc, I ended up going with the a very high end DAC/streamer combo that works phenomenally well for me. My streaming DAC is an Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty.  Now, I believe that you can achieve very high end sound quality with a streaming DAC that's within your price range as well.