Streamer Fidelity: Aurender N200 vs A200 and Lumin U2 vs T3

Has anyone compared the streamer fidelity of an Aurender N200 vs A200, and/or Lumin U2 vs T3? I am interested in knowing how close or how far are the streamers only, in terms of audio fidelity, for these two sets of units. Based on price alone one would think the pure streamers have better fidelity, and that's why I was hoping to hear from users who have done actual comparisons in their own systems. I know comparisons will be subjective and system/room/ear dependent, and I am still interested :) One of the reasons for asking is that the streamer/dac units have better prices in the used market. Of course Aurender and Lumin are different types of products, and the purpose of this thread is not to compare the differences between them.

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Hi @audiotroy, I appreciate your recommendation. Unfortunately my budget is around $3K, and that's why I am targeting the Aurender and Lumin models I mentioned above (used market). I am sure the 432evo units are awesome!

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I preferred the U2 i demoed over the Aurender A10 i had ($6k), the Aurender was a disappointment in my system, and that app is just acceptable at best.

The U2 was more lively, detailed and over all felt like music more. the A10 was just boring ( not the same as the ones your looking at but all i have to go on). I use an external DAC and I recommend this route as well the DAC is the most important part is this chain and will effect the sound the most IMO, so do not lock yourself into an internal DAC in a streamer. 

Yes I'm not an Aurender fan after owning the A10 I don't think I could bring myself to buy another. They are nice looking but performance was not what I expected for the price new. Oh you need an apple tablet to operate it as well, a phone works as a remote but you cannot set them up on the phone only the tablet. potentially they have changed this now. 

Hi @glennewdick, thanks for sharing your experience. Looks like I posted my latest question before seeing your post. So when you compared both units, you used the USB out of the A10 to the same DAC you used with the U2?

Yes I used USB on both, if I remember correctly. but I have also used the optical as well,. My DAC is the Chord Dave used with both. If I was honest I had the A10 prior to me getting the Chord and the DAC in my Mac C2700 (DAC2 board) was better IMO then the A10’s internal DAC. I found the internal DAC in the A10 to be dull and lacked detail specially in the top end. impressive low noise floor but that’s about all i could say i liked about the internal DAC. not sure what the newer ones sound like but i would not venture to try again.

As a streamer it’s really no better then the much cheaper U2 and in the end i preferred the U2. that said i didn’t buy the U2 either. I ended up with a Chord Streamer because it uses what ever native app in your phone/tablet so it lets me use the tidal app native. Its a temp streamer as I’m now looking at streamers like the Hi-Fi rose with the display that lets you use it with out a phone or tablet.

In the end i feel the DAC is more important specially if its well implemented with good isolation and data handling. Its really hard now to tell the difference between all these good Streamers with the Dave.


my streamer experience is now: Optimized PC, Blue sound node, Roon Nucleus (very disappointing), Aurender A10, Chord 2go/2yu combo.

I also use an Apple tv 4k box (Tidal app ) and its probably the easies streamer to use if your TV is in the same system, but only red book CD output. Its surprisingly good actually, perfect for non critical listening or family members,  really nice having a 77" screen showing your tracks too, your size may very lol. 

@glennewdick  Thanks for providing more information. Just to make sure, are you referring to the full blown Lumin U2 or the U2 mini? I ask because you mentioned the U2 was way cheaper, but MSRP is $5K for the U2 vs $6.5K for either Aurender A200 or N200.

I am on a search for a better streamer, and maybe streamer/server combo. I am fairly new at this hobby, and after using various RPI4 based streamers (MoOde by the way is excellent software), my ears were opened when I heard the built in streamer in my Marantz SACD 30n player (I now use it more as a streamer than a disc player). Even though the Marantz/Denon HEOS software is not the best, I control the SACD through my favorite Logitech Media Server controller app which works great IMHO (I run LMS as my music server). So for me, as the search for a better fidelity (and dedicated) streamer continues, bonus points are awarded to those units that support LMS/Squeeze. I know Aurender is a closed system and does not support LMS/Squeeze, and have read some users have had luck with Lumin. Have read Bryston BDP-3 may still support it, and of course Innous and Sotm.

Innuos supports squeeze if I’m not mistaking.
Also, you’re more likely to get a higher quality streamer as a dedicated unit and not a streamer/dac combo. Keep it separated

@audphile1 I agree that dedicated is better. My thinking behind this thread was that if the streamer/dac units were "close enough" (which of course is very subjective) to the streamer only units, then maybe due to the lower used prices of the former I could find something that would work well with my budget.

It was the U2 mini i believe, it was i think $3500ish Canadian$ so around $2500USD if my memory serves, great for for the money bested the Aurender from my perspective at half the cost. Easier App to use as well.

In store demo did not overly justify the upgrade to the more expensive Lumin’s IMO, that was on a Chord electronics and Focal Sopra system. Not my cup of tea the Focal’s, but reveling none the less.

But really we are splitting hairs here they all sound similar specially if your DAC is good. This is why I’m recommending people find a streamer they like the operation/app/etc as that seems to be the over riding long term satisfaction parameter. Sound is subjective and minimum from my experience, once you get above the entry level streamers anyway.

@glennewdick Good to hear that the U2 mini is no slouch - used prices are not crazy, good feature set, and external power supply could be a good future update. Good point that for streamer fidelity, once you get to a certain level, diminishing returns kick in. Of course, this applies to all audio equipment :) And once I find that, also good point that it makes sense to pick the one that has the best software and usability. On this forum member's systems go from the most basic to the incredibly expensive, so that "certain level" of fidelity is different for all of us.