Streamers under $1500

Any good streamers advice? I currently use Sonos Connect modded by Wyred4Sound. I am looking for better sound quality and good software like Sonos.

I was looking at the PS Audio Airlense when it was on sale, has anyone heard this one?


My take,

(1) think first about the ease of use and functionality of the digital app ….It will either make or break your audio performance enjoyment. Some options out there are either very limited or some can even suck the big one .

(2) At your stated $1500 current budget strata, think pre-owned player first IMO.. You’ll get a premium design and premium build resulting in premium performance in a pre-owned unit,  that is better than most new unit that $$ pricepoint..

Eg: Look for

- independent separate power supplies feeds for the analogue vs digital boards,

- a linear power supply included in the board design ,

- upgraded op amps,

- think superior design, build, and engineering, blah blah.….Its what separates the contenders from the pretenders,

Most of the above superior design and performance features are either grossly limited or even absent in many of the new MSRP dollar baileywick options at your pricepoint. 

my take: think MOON. by SIMAUDIO, and NAIM are two quality build and top performer digital players that immediately come to mind.



The Airlense needs some type of streaming server like ROON ,DLNA (e.g.Adirvana) ,Tidal Connect.

Bryston BDP-2 can be found for <$1k, BDP-3 for ~$1.8K But I doubt your gonna like the software interface as its purdy spartan.

Que the Blue Sound Node recommendations to start flowing in.

What ever you do let us know how it compares head to head with the W4S moded Sonos.


I am using Tidal for streaming, Sonos has good software that's why I have been using.  I hear the new Port from Sonos not as good as my Connect.

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If you can find it, grab a Holo Red streamer. I paid about $800 new and waited about a month for delivery, and far exceeds the streamer card in the PS Audio DSD I. What a steal!  NEAL

The Innuos Pulse Mini comes with their excellent Sense software, and adding a separate LPS (Teddy Pardo, etc.) down the road for not much more $$$ will give you a big performance boost.  Best of luck.

I still have and enjoy my Wyred4 Sonos in office system...main system has Airlens and I’m very happy with sonics and functionality ... I find I mostly use Tidal Connect, never really felt comfortable with Roon...when I had the Simaudio Mind, I found the app so horrible I sold it despite very good sonics...


I still have and enjoy my Wyred4 Sonos in office system

Yep I got an ancient ZP90 W4S moded unit on a secondary system as a ROON endpoint. Picked up a used Nordhost  Purple Flare  Power cord and Audioquest Carbon digital interconnect for it years ago. I think it sounds purdy good for what I have invested in it and I have got a bunch of milage out of it.

Just get a $200 Wiiim Pro and stop worrying neurotically about sound quality. If your ears are so golden that you can tell the difference between a $200 and a $1500 streamer go ahead and buy the costlier one. It's your money!

Smsl sd-9 works for me...glitchy at times but sounds good. More of a renderer than an actual streamer, but for what I use it for, fits the bill. Still use a grace digital streamer, less than 200 bucks, works very well.

I've been streaming Tidal through my Oppo 105 using mConnect for a few years now. Fantastic sound and presence. 

Not interested. It won't play USB.

I listen to files much more than Qobuz.

I am fully on board with Wiim Pro if it includes a USB port for local music. I know many users have requested this feature from Wiim, but so far they have only implemented it on the Wiim Amp. I hope it is on the road map for next version of Wiim Pro. I bought it anyway just to try it out. It does sound as well as ifi zs.

If my memory serves correctly, the WFS mod bypasses the Sonos DAC, right?  Sobwhat DAC are you using?

Get a BlueSound Node and a decent interconnect, listen to it for awhile, then add on a LPS, power cord, and maybe even the internal upgrades. You'll start with a very good unit, and finish with a great custom unit, all within your budget and (until you mod the innards) a warranty, and a strong 'ecosystem' to support you. 

I went through various stuff under 1000 and settled on Raspberry pi w Allo digione card or equivalent. And their LPS or Nirvana power supply.  Add an SSD for files. I use Volumio with it but there might be better. Small footprint, and I think sounds better than BlueSound which I also kept, and a lot of these all-in-one boxes. But the first reply about software you can live with is important. Not just sorting and other features but how quick does it respond with server unit from whatever remote device you use.

Cambridge Audio streamers use their own proprietary interface called Stream Magic that is very easy to use. Links up to smartphones and tablets and comes preloaded with Qobuz, Tidal, and the others. They look great, have excellent sound, and most will accept external drives and also link up to any other digital sources already on your system. I use the CXNV2 and have been very satisfied with it. It was recently updated with their newer CXN100 that runs $1099 msrp. 

@rcm1203   +1


  I liked my CXN so much that I bought another for my second system.  They have just changed the DAC and I have not heard it but I generally get on with ESS Sabre based DACs.

Slightly above your price point but might look at new Auralic S1 streamer or S1Vega.

Both at 1999. Vega has streamer plus latest DAC.

Has own App-Lightening DS. Stable, functional and reliable.

Will put you way ahead of field in a new as opposed to a used vehicle.

Good luck!



Given all the positive raved review, I am inclined to try Cambridge CXN 10 or AXN 10 too but it does not offer USB output. Even the higher end model such as CXN 100 (cxn v2) does not have it either. Without it, how can the streamer spins out high rez file above 24/192 or dsd for external DAC if one intends in lieu of its internal dac. I just don’t get the rationale behind omitting such a seemingly simple implementation that could elevate the capabilities of the streamer.

I too support the WiiM Pro Plus as  a great, easy to use way to start streaming. I went from an Amazon device to these and really noticed a difference in sound quality. The app is easy to use and quickly links to Amazon, Tidal or Qobuz so I can access about any type of high resolution music that I want. I know they are better units out there but again, for me at least this has been a great way to get started. 

Check out Small Green Computer and their selection of Sonare streamers.  Excellent sound at reasonable prices, IMHO.

I agree with the last several posts.  The Cambridge CXN100 is excellent.  Easy set up and sounds terrific. Whether wifi or ethernet.  I use Qobuz.  

I will have to chime in again. Although I don’t have any direct experience with the Cambridge Audio streaming solution, I did recommend the CA integrated to a friend. He can bluetooth to it and use a hard wired usb from his iPAD. I sold him a pair of B&W 600 series speakers to go along with it. He was so pleased with the sound he ordered a CA CD player to go along with it.  So I think their gear is solid and right up there with the best buck bang solutions in the industry.


Frankly I dont get the Wiim recommendations. I can see it for entry level or secondary systems but that is not what the OP ask for. He already has a purdy solid streaming device and he ask to move up.

I second the Innuos Pulse Mini, this will be a significant upgrade in sound, and has well liked software. But, you will also need a DAC. Watch for good used deals. 


Cambridge streamers don't get much love on this forum for some reason even though they are highly rated. While the newer CXN100 has an upgraded  DAC, a recent review on What HI-FI stated that they preferred the warmer sound of it's predecessor, the CXNV2. I considered upgrading to the 100, but I really have no complaints with my V2 that would compel me to do so. 

I have the Wiim Pro and then upgrade to a Silent Angel  M1T. Sounds way better (software is nice) and is in your price range.

I agree with old Sonos sound. My Sonos amp and speakers are perfect. I switched to BlueSound since it has extra features, a really nice app, and power supply can be upgraded. I use my OPPO uhd 205 as my DAC and have a purple flare power cord and a Nordost coax. Instead of the Nordost just buy the upgraded linear power supply from Teddy Pardo. Ask around, it really makes a difference. Sometimes you can find people selling the older Node 2i with the upgrade for $600 which is a killer deal. After a few hundred spent. Take the rest and upgrade the DAC. It makes way more of a difference. Infact, I say keep your Sonos for now and buy a used DAC of your sound flavor. Once you have your digital foundation then test new streamers. If you do find the BSN with a linear power supply for $600 or less. The best part is if you upgrade to the newest NODE later you can still use the LPS. You will need the guts for the NODE/X which will run you about $150. If you are still hung up on a new streamer for less than $1k. A lot of my friends like the EverSolo A6. Great value for money but the NODE does have a few more features that the EverSolo does not have. I hope this helped. 

In my opinion,  the operating system and which music services it supports is extremely important for your enjoyment of a streamer.  I listen to Amazon HD and Idagio.  None of the high end streamers support both of these services.  Therefore,  I'm using a Bluesound Node as it does support the greatest number of streaming services including those two.  I did upgrade the Node with a TeddyPardo LPS,  which made a significant improvement in the SQ.  I'm using the digital out into my PS Audio Directstream DAC Mk1.  I  have to say that it sounds great,  with a wide and deep sound stage,  and great imaging. 

Innuos had a streamer hard drive that 

Starts at  afound $1500 it comes with a decent 

Smps power supply, they make a matching 

Linear power supply that make it sound much better stil

As a later ad on for $1500 thats the best quality option

I have seen , also there library app is very solid and sounds 

Very good ,better then Roon in sonics.

I have two questions for you:

1) As others have asked, what DAC are you running?

2) How much do you value listening to music on the go?


If you have a decent external DAC (and even better, a separate DDC feeding said DAC), and you’re interested in having good quality music while you’re on the go, might I provide a different kind of suggestion than what has been mentioned so far? I shopped streamers for quite a while before deciding on a different route that has worked out wonderfully for me--using a DAP (portable, digital audio player) as my streamer. Specifically I sought out a DAP that has remote control and digital audio outputs so that it can be hooked up to my DDC/DAC and then controlled from my listening sweet spot. As long as your streaming source can send digital audio bit-perfect to your DDC/DAC, then the quality of the analog output stage of your streamer/source is of little to no importance. Then the key thing is streaming service/storage format/file format support and easy of playback management.

Specifically, I would recommend a HiBy R6 Pro II portable audio player for these reasons:

1) supports both, USB and S/PDIF (optical as well as coax) digital output to external DDC/DAC

2) supports remote control via phone or tablet using the HiBy Cast app (it is a screen cloning/casting app with full touch-screen translation)

3) Android OS-based system, so any streaming app that is available on Android platform can be installed. I use Apple Music lossless, but of course there is full support for all the other major platforms (Qobuz, Tidal, Amazon Music, etc.)

4) CRITICAL: Global bit-perfect output by bypassing Android OS’ built-in resampling. Without this feature, a DAP isn’t worth crap as a streamer. This particular DAP does have this (well, most DAPs do, nowadays, especially mid- and high-end models).

5) Global parametric EQ and plug-ins. Extremely useful DSP functionality that is critical for room-correcting your system. I use the parametric EQ to room-correct bass response and I use the balance plug-in to room correct for asymmetrical room layout.

All that said, I output audio bit-perfect digitally to an external DDC, which then sends audio via I2S to my DAC. My system has never sounded so good!

It then goes without saying that, because it is a portable audio player, I am able to take all my listening with me on the go. I commute into the office twice a week, and I used to listen to music using my phone and AirPods Pro. Now I use the DAP with proper audiophile IEMs which I further enhanced by using the global EQ to optimize the sound of the IEMs. The listening experience is leagues better than just playing through the Apple buds.


Another vote for the Wiim Pro (not sure you need the DAC in the plus version).

I don't think you'd need more than this. Honestly. 

Eversolo or the Cambridge are both within your budget and get overall good review. I personally like the Eversolo DMP-A6 interface over the Cambridge 

Update - I am using W4S Anniversary DAC I changed some settings and it took my modded W4S Connect streamer to a whole new level. I am happy with this streamer now. EJ says he tweaked the Sonos Port and now sounds really good.

I may move to Port down the road but right now the sound is really good.

Thanks for all the comments


Nice that you got satisfaction out of the Sonos device.   They dont get the consideration they deserve around here. 

If you decide to tinker and have yet to check out ROON fire up a server on a PC/Mac. Should see the SONOS strait away on your network.  Don't worry about SQ just check on the interface and see what you think. 

Just want to chime in and say the world needs more streamers in the <$1500 category with either USB or I2S OUTPUTS. I see the Silent Angel M1T streamer/transport has a USB output. Their MU Streamer/DAC has I2S output. Wish more manufacturers would add one or the other or both. Good luck with whatever streamer you choose, whether a WiiM Pro, Cambridge MXN10, their new CXN100, the Innuos Pulse Mini, a Node, the Eversolo A6, or maybe that nice Lumin U2.  

Volumio Rivo + upgrade power supply is superb. Easily beats out most options up to $1500 👍🏼


I use an Audio MAtrix for my streamer.  It took out my Lumin U1 mini with an S-Booster.

I can recommended the iFi Stream. For $399 it is a giant killer. Then go on eBay and order a 12v linear power supply for $95. You will be 100% happy with the performance and the $500 total investment.

Check out Volumio Rivo - about $1,100.  WiFi enabled and sound better with external LPS.

How about an old iPhone streaming to a good DAC?

@bivhopkins I started that way because it was cheap/easy.  It’s functional but even a cheap streamer sounds much better.