Noob question about streaming . . .

Okay, I’m not exactly a Luddite, but my audio journey started in the 70’s with Marantz separates, JBL speakers and a Dual turntable. Thaw about thirty years ago I got into home theater, with Parasound separates and four Bose 901s (no haters please — they work well for watching movies). 

Anyway, my Parasound AV preamp died, and I replaced it with a Marantz AV7706 preamp. I’m starting to explore its capabilities, which are light years beyond the old Parasound unit. I’m also exploring using it for music listening in addition to home theater, but streaming is new to me.  (I’m also exploring new speakers, but that’s a discussion for another day). 

So, with that background, here are my questions. I’m using the HEOS in the Marantz to stream music through Spotify, which I’ve used in my car for several years. Would a separate streamer be a significant improvement over what I have now?  My understanding is the Marantz’ built in DAC is good enough that I don’t need a separate DAC, unless I’m going to spend big money on one, which I’m not inclined to do right now (speakers first). Second, would a streaming service like Roon or Qubuz or Tidal provide significantly better music quality?  Spotify provides access to all the music I want, but I do realize that it’s limited in terms of sound quality. Help educate this old dinosaur. Thanks!


I’m looking for something that’s clear and crisp across the sound spectrum. I appreciate being able to pick out the individual drum beats, cymbal crashes and guitar strings being played. I have a sub I’m happy with, and I’m not looking to piss off the neighbors with something really heavy and bass forward.  Hopefully that helps. 

Yes, that helps a lot.  I’d highly recommend looking at the Usher Mini Two DMDs for several reasons.  First and foremost, they deliver the sound characteristics you’re looking for and look beautiful doing it.  Their build quality and components are very high for the price — they make their own drivers, and the Mini Twos use the same diamond tweeter as their flagship $40k speakers (try and find another speaker with a diamond tweeter anywhere near this price — check B&W804 D4 for comparison).  Their cabinets are not only beautiful with real wood veneer but they’re also very inert and way roughly double of the other speakers on your list, and their bass capabilities also far eclipse the others as well.  Frankly, I put these at a higher level than the others you mentioned, and although at $5290 they’re at the top of your price range you’re also getting a lot more.  And this seller offers a 10% discount putting it within your budget, free shipping, and a 30-day return policy (minus return shipping), which is a nice option to have.  For what you’re looking for and the value/quality on offer I’d be all over these, but if they’re a little too much there are the Mini Ones that offer the same build/sonic qualities but with less bass output and are $1200 cheaper.  Just another option to explore, and best of luck.

I wasn’t familiar with Usher, but the reviews are very positive and have certainly piqued my interest.  In fact, unless someone else here tells me otherwise, I think I’m going to order a pair.