Looking for intermediate-step Streamer: better than BS Node and not @ Bartok level pricing


I have a BS Node.  Yggy DAC.  BAT electronics, Shunayata PCs, AQ SC, and Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Grand Reference Speakers in a wonderful room. I also have a Linn, Shelter 901 MKII and top of the line BAT phono preamp. It all sounds lovely.  I borrowed a Bartok.  AMAZING!!!  And then I returned it, as I cannot afford that level of playback.  I am interested in upgrading my STREAMER -- I think.  (Yes, I know I could upgrade my fuses, room treatment, and everything else I own....)

I am curious to learn if there is a MID-POINT step that others suggest before I spend $25K on the ultimate STREAMER/DAC setup when I retire in a zillion years.  It seems absurd that my system is dependent upon a $550. piece of equipment.  


I am looking for natural sound.  3-D.  I listen to jazz, classical, and rock from the 60s-90s.  No club music/ insane bass.  When the Bartok was in my system, I felt like I was listening to vinyl.  What might be a good landing place for the next DECADE or so??

Thanks in advance.



@mitch2   Unfortunately I don’t have experience with the Pulse and not many do as it’s a relatively new model, and there are frustratingly few reviews of any of the Pulse-series streamers so they’re still a bit of an unknown but likely to share many sonic characteristics of the Zen and Zenith.  I recommended the Pulse due to Innuos’ reputation for good sound along with a really excellent app that some have even abandoned Roon for.  Frankly, in your price range I’d look at Innuos and Aurender and choose the one that offers the features/sound you’re looking for.  Sorry I can’t be more help. 



I really feel the Innuos Pulsar would be a very good option for you to consider. It is just a streamer and has an Integrated PhoenixUSB Lite Reclocker .



I was in a similar boat and wanted a streamer that sounded better than the RPi and Node. Was going to try the Primare NP5 but went with the Lindemann Bridge II.

It’s a German brand. Looks like a little box but don’t be fooled, high end engineering. Noticeably better sound. Lindemann also have one of the best apps in the streaming game.

I then upgraded the power supply to a price appropriate match, the Farad Super 3, which raised things again.

I don’t know how well this combo competes with expensive streamers. But it killed, for example, the streaming section of the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition, which was a shame because that product was so cool, but the Naim internal streamer could not even come close to the Lindemann/Farad combo.

@norust I wonder if you've had an opportunity to receive the N200 and give initial impressions. Inquiring minds and all. 


I have had the opportunity to listen to the Aurender A100 and A10. No doubt the A10 is better.

I found a local dealer to audition the Innuos. Will be working on that.

This discussion has been both VERY helpful and VERY confusing. I am becoming increasingly aware that the APP is critical to a good experience. I particularly appreciate those of you who have shared ideas about PURE streamers or apples to apples with a constant DAC.

I have reconsidered my budget -- to much less, as it seems like the answer to this question is very much still open. I know you each have found a Streamer/DAC you like. Reading the latest review of the new Bartok in TAS, describing it as a revelation, makes me realize how early we are in this process of getting the technology right. I am going to proceed with caution.

Thanks again for all your help and ideas!!