What's the best non-DAC streamer?

I've already got a great DAC (an Yggy) but have never auditioned any streamers.  The rest of my system is all Schiit Audio with the 400W monoblocks and Tekton speakers.  Have just been using an iPad as a streaming source for Tidal and Spotify.
What streamer under $3k would give me the most bang for the buck?
I would look into Aurender N100H, Auralic Aries G1 and Lumin U1 Mini. Personally, I have experienced N100H in my system and it’s a solid performer with outstanding iOS app.
just based on feature set lumin wins. ofcourse sound quality, ease of use and reliability are obviously great.

aurender does not support roon
auralic does not support mqa
lumin supports roon,mqa and has all the required native integration with tidal,qbouz,spotify,airplay etc.
doug are you looking for a truly wireless streamer or are you ok with one that would need to be bound by ethernet connection?  The above suggestions seem good, but not clear to me whether they all operating "wireless"
Thanks for the recommendations.
I can do either wireless or wired.
Anyone else have experience with SOtM?  I've never heard of it before. And don't see any reviews of it.  The price is certainly right.
^^^I would stay away from components with wall warts. A linear power supply is a must for digital components. If you plan on stacking ‘boxes’ and cables then you may consider SoTM.
If there is a Lumin that doesn't charge you for a DAC that you explicitly do not want to pay for, I am ignorant.

Soul Of the Music.
Start with the player like the Rendu family.
Then upgrade to the LPS and netswtch if desired.
You might like it as is OR be piqued.

You’ve got some good recommendations already so I’d just add the Innuos Zen Mk3, which is also a server and has a disc drive so you can rip any discs you have directly into it.  Gets very good reviews, and there’s one available here now for $2785.  Best of luck in whatever you decide. 
Magna Mano
$745 delivered via DHL air.
With built-in PS and i2s out.


I got the Ultra for $860. Sweet.
The app is another $5..
Or you can flash the included Volumio.
Email Rob and/or Jos.

Just posting to keep the thread up at the top. Would love to hear more opinions...
If you are considering dropping $2K on a Lumin Mini most reviewers think that the money is better spent on the Innous Zen.

Let me get this straight. First you weren’t aware of the Lumin Mini (or at least that it is streamer only). Then you make a statement that "most reviewers" think something else is better. Is that link that you posted supposed to support that?

The U1 Mini would be at the top of my list of units to audition in this price range if I wanted a streamer only.
Luminous sounds like crap try the Simaudio Moon MiND2 great streamer and Roon ready! And it is not from China!
Luminous sounds like crap try the Simaudio Moon MiND2 great streamer and Roon ready! And it is not from China!

As you can see from above many posts, the selection of a music server is NOT an easy decision or process. It seems, everyone has a DIFFERENT server recommendation. I suggest you make a list of the important features your music server needs and your questions. For example, please review:

1) What is your price range for a music server?

2) What features does your server need? For example, I wanted my CD albums stored in the same box, wanted Tidal, Qobuz Streaming Services and also Internet radio stations. And, also the ability to add more additional streaming services when they become available.

3) Do you want a DAC built into the streamer or a separate DAC? For maximum flexibility, I decided on an EXTERNAL DAC.

4) What digital outputs do you need? I decided on a Music streamer with BOTH USB and AES/EBU digital outputs to my DAC. In most cases, I prefer the AEB/EBU connection (a high priority for me). Some servers offer an Ethernet audio connection for output.

5) Is a Roon interface important to you? If needed, you need a Roon enabled server. I decided that Roon is not required. In my case, the Aurender Conductor App DOES exactly what I need. However, several of my friends purchased a Roon enabled server and likes it very much. Another friend purchased the Roonlabs Nucleus by Roon Music Server and recommends it.

6) Your server needs a controlling App that runs on an iPad or something similar. You need to review the App to ensure it supports your needs to easily find and manage your music selections.

7) Does your server offer Remote Internet Technical Support? The Aurender does. I used this once and they solved my user operational issue very quickly (my error).

8) Sound quality is the MOST important. In my case, I asked many questions, talked to many people, read many reviews and auditioned various servers to help me make the right decision. I selected the Aurender N10 Music Server for its sound quality.

9) If possible, audition different music servers at different price ranges to narrow down the range you can afford and sounds the best (to you). Please do NOT rush this process. Take your time and listen.

I hope the above helps you make a decision. Thanks....

Best imho in order:
1) lumin u1 mini
2) innuous zen mkiii mini

those are the only 2 you need to know. 
+1 for Innuos. I have the mini and runs Tidal and Roon on it. Very satisfied. 
Haven’t tried most of the suggested items but I own an Yggy and used it primarily for the last 2 years with an Aurender N100H, I was satisfied until I tried it with a DCS network bridge with the AES connexion...
I was floored... Never heard the Yggy before... so much so that I decided to buy buy a DCS Bartok and move my Yggy to a secondary system, sold the Aurender and bought a Melco streamer, N1AH2/EX,  significant improvement over the Aurender IMO although not as  good as the DCS network bridge, but it fits your budget and deserves an audition.
 If you don’t have the new USB card from Schitt already go ahead and buy it it is a major improvement over the old one...

Now you have some good brands to consider.
But first you need to determine which features
really matter. Roon ready makes sense for ease
of use, finding new music. Do you want Tidal, Qobuz?
-no one mentions Amazon as it is apparently somewhat
inferior currently but I think that will change.
No one has mentioned Bryston BDA3.  Sounds superb and has great connectivity and Customer Service.  The weak point is the App, but if you are streaming or using Internet Radio that isn’t as important.
The Lindemann Bridge is very capable and gives you Bang! Roon ready.

The Innous mentioned above with Roon is fantastic. Make yourself comfortable with the Roon eq. and have a big sound upgrade.

My personal experience with the Lumin D2 is unfortunately a dark and boring sound. Thought it was broke compared to a Lindemann + RME ADI2 combo.

djones51 +1

Backing up djones51, Allo Digione, Digione Signature or Volumio streamer are really outstanding for the price. Digione could use an aftermarket LPS. Not sure, but I think they sell their own as well?
Have everything with the exception of MQA, and Digione has been touted to surpass the Aurelic line. I’ve got the Allo Digione and do not see the need to move up at this point. Every thing else I do to my system just keeps revealing just how good it is.
But if you’re Looking for next level, some of what was mentioned above should be outstanding. My point is that the RPi4 or relatively cheap mini computers with galvanic isolation are often overlooked while providing directly comparable results - if you’re willing to tweak a bit.
Anyone using the Lumin U1 mini (streamer only) with external DAC and notice a worthy improvement over their previous streamer (using same DAC)?

if so, was it worth the $2k for the Lumin U1 mini? If not worth it, was the improvement similar to a cable upgrade, or was it not even noticeable?
I have been using cocktail audio X-10 streamer  which is old.  I have been ripping my CDs on it thru  a  1 TB hard drive which can be replaced when full.  I can access all my music anywhere in my house wirelessly.  In my bedroom where it is located its connected to an old Wadia digital DAC.  Sounds pretty good.

I attended the XFI Premium show in Holland last year where Aurender and dCS were sharing a room. Being interested in the dCS Network Bridge I waited for a turn to speak to the rep. and whilst chatting the Aurender rep joined us and to my astonishment agreed that dCS was better. To be fair, it was busy in the room and I am not sure which Aurender unit was being considered.

My interest was turned into resolution when visiting some of the very hi-end rooms and noticed the dCS NB being used in 2 of them. Speaking to one of the owners, he said he has tried all the others. Still waiting for a used one at a good price. Not many around though!
Auralic Aries G1 = Transparent sounding (High resolution, not much bass, perfect for tube amp.

Intel nuc i7 with Roon rock = Close to Aries G1 but you get more options doing DSP and upsampling.

Innuos Zen MK3 = Best of them all, the tonal balance is great with the right amount of bass region. However, there's no official app for Innuos. You will have to buy roon or others anyway.

I owned 3 of them (already sold the G1). At this price point, Zen mk is the best.

I did try Aurender but it cannot use with Roon. Very disappointed about this. People may say its Conductor app is better than roon in sound quality but we all know ROON UI AND EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY.
I have had good experiences with with Pro-Ject Stream box S2 Ultra. 

It works well with Roon and sounds nicer than running the core to your DAC direct.

After using a home-built PC with various tweaks to the OS and USB cards and a linear power supply, I’m happy with the exaSound Sigma streamer connected via Ethernet and with the same 12v LPS. 


It does MQA, DSD, Roon, etc, and has a couple of USB ports to hook up a disk drive for ripping, or an external  or  flash drive or storage.
After turning many streamers I got the Aurender W20. Blows everything else out of the water.

W20 is an outstanding streamer but I am afraid it’s out of OP’s budget :-)
Thank you for your feedback! 
I'm on a similar hunt but looking up to 5k

I'm looking purely for a renderer - so roon end point to stream tidal, qobuz etc. 

The one that's caught my eye the most is the new Sonore Signature Rendu SE with the optical input.
I use QoBuz exclusively for streaming. In setting up a two channel system, the max I can get, resolution wise, is 24-bit / 192 KHz. I think DAC’s can be overrated - - and if you had a blind test, I’m not sure how much of a difference your ears could hear. That being said, the one thing that isn’t mentioned often in these posts is the interface/software you will be using. I’ve tried DTS Play-Fi and can’t stand the lack of gapless playing. By far, the easiest and most intuitive interface for me is BluOS. I think the interface is a critical decision in any streamer decision.  Ease of use, features and benefits in accessing your music plays a big part in your enjoyment of streaming content.
I enjoy and recommend Roon. With that said, the best bang for the buck would be a Small Green Computer sonicTransporter i5, Sonore's optialRendu Lite for Roon only along with SGC's linear power supplies. A Roon lifetime subscription and the above will keep you under $3k.

In order to keep one's dedicated AC line as clean as possible, I'd recommend putting the computer (i5) on a separate AC circuit with the modem/router and run a fiber optic line to the opticalRendu that would reside in your audio system with the DAC. Unlike an ethernet cable, the fiber completely isolates your audio system from the noisy computer/modem/router environment.

None of the other solutions suggested, often at higher cost, offer these advantages.
You can save thousands by buying a small, fanless, NUC with a decent processor including wifi, a small amount of RAM, and a small internal HD for the software. For software you have lots of options. My personal preference is Room Rock, which works great. Of course, a Roon lifetime license will cost you $600, which is more than you'd spend on the computer. The final result would be a high-quality, whole-house streamer for around $1000.
Roon lifetime is $699.

The sonicTransporter i5 is a "small, fanless, NUC with a decent processor including wifi, a small amount of RAM, and a small internal HD for the software."

For the non-DIY hobbyist, it's put together, configured, optimized and with Roon software installed for a couple hundred bucks more.
I realize the OP is asking for something under $3k but, in general, the best streamer cost no object is the Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical. The Innuous and SoTM are cheaper and still sound very good.

But more on topic, I think the best value is the Sonore opticalRendu Lite for Roon. It sounds better than the Innuous and SoTM and is lower cost. It's also the only streamer in that price range with optical networking.
If you go with a Roon server get a NUC with an i5 , 256G M.2 SSD and 8G of ram. It will be about $300 cheaper than the Small Green Computer. Don't worry about assembly and installing ROCK Roons OS a trained Chimp could do it. Just follow the directions. 
If sound quality is more important to you than feature set and interface, you could could consider making your decision based on synergy instead.  

The Auralic streamers as well as many of the popular Chinese streamers are known to be neutral to bright (in a good way).  So they would pair well if you have a tube amp or tube pre to create a more balanced sound.  

The Innuos and Lumin products are known to be slightly on the warm and refined side.  I have a Lumin D1 with Sbooster and I can confirm this to be true.  These product are more likely to pair well with solid state gear.  Although I have found the Lumin D1 to sound great with both McGary amp and MicroZOTL pre combo, as well as all my solid state pass amps
Thank You @hgeifman  for your concise notes . It will help me to as I am going through the same process as the OP . I also do not believe I  need to spend as much. The other interesting post was @rockenator referencing the interface . Also I plan on using Qobuz for the my more critical listening when streaming.