Recommendations for good sounding streamer

I am looking for a decent sounding streamer without breaking the bank. My daughter has Spotify premium and it would be nice to connect up to my audio system (de Havilland UltraVerve tube preamp, McCormack DNA-1 amp, Martin Logan SL3s).

I mostly listen to vinyl (Pro-ject RPM5) and CDs (Ultech UCD100) using the internal DAC. I do have a V90 DAC however that I used for playing digital from my phone. 

I don't really have the money any more for expensive digital playback. So what a recommendations for bang for the buck system. Could include using my V90 DAC. 

Reading through the forum here it seems that Spotify is not the best quality digital (Tidal seems to come up a lot). But for now we have tons of Spotify playlists - just looking for an affordable way. 

Some considerations:

Bluesound NODE 3

iFi Zen Stream

Any others? Pros/cons?


Don’t know where your budget would land, but the Pi2design Mercury streamer is outstanding. I’ve got the first iteration at $600, but the version 2 has some additional improvements at $800. Blows my Allo Digione out of the water. It is a bit fiddly at the start. But definitely worth it. 

I love my Bluesound Node2, sounds great, takes all music services, decent app plays everything, I connected my TV (EArc to Node). It is perfect and sounds good as is. You can upgrade sound quality with an external DAC, then you have music nirvana. 

@soix Uh, no.  Just…no.  It’s complete shite. There’s a reason they don’t make them anymore.  RIP Chromecast Audio.

Can you mention that reason, and why it’s “complete shite” for streaming non Hi-Res files?

Google's official reason when they discontinued the Chromecast Audio was that they already had a few devices that could do the same job that it did.

If you're just going to listen to Spotify and if your DAC has a toslink optical connection, just get the WIIM Mini for under $100 (I bought mine when it was on sale for $79) and connect it to your DAC. If you are concerned about it's low price, just go listen to the Darko Audio reviews of WIIM Mini and the new WIIM Pro. Darko says the WIIM Mini is his "favorite Network Streamer of 2022".

Seriously, the WIIM Mini is fantastic for $79/$99. Not saying it's "the Best" in any capacity. But it is good enough, especially if you are only streaming Spotify, and you can use an external DAC. And if you decide you love streaming, and want to invest in a higher-end streamer, you're not out much money. Oh, and the WIIM Mini works fantastically with Spotify Connect. 

As others mentioned, Spotify is quite low-rez.

I felt tied to it because of playlists and album lists like you and your daughter, only to find, during a Tidal trial, that when switching to Tidal, they offer links to online utilities that can import playlists and favorite album lists between the different streaming services. In a couple hours, my 8000 tracks were all available to me in Tidal.

I tried Qobuz as well, but on my Node, I did not hear an appreciable difference and more importantly, Qobuz on Node did not compare, in functionality and ease of use to Tidal Connect on Node.

CD quality music is available on Tidal for $9.95/month... no more than Spotify Premium. It’s much better sounding. For $20/month you get "Tidal Masters"...MQA. I was not thrilled with MQA and saw no point to paying extra for it.

The higher quality streaming was especially noticeable using a higher quality external DAC, as well.

Dump’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner!