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Best music streamers 2021: upgrade to a wireless system

Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best music streamers for every budget. If you're looking to add wireless music to your hi-fi, then you've come to the right place.

We've come around to the idea that a streamer is a must-have for your digital hi-fi needs. Whether you're looking to play locally stored lossless files or access CD-quality tracks from top-tier music subscription services, choosing one of the best music streamers is the best way to do them justice. 

Whether you get your tunes from Spotify or Tidal, or have them stored on a hard drive, we've found the best music streamers to take the hassle out of the hunt.

Most of the selection below support the vast majority of hi-res music formats. Some also boast AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, UPnP compatibility and USB connections. This being the 21st century, internet radio comes as standard – as do smartphone and/or tablet control apps. All the music streamers on this list are five-star products and many are What Hi-Fi? Award-winners, some with more than one to their names.

Even the cheapest budget models now boast excellent performance, so the question is: can you really afford not to add streaming to your system?

Best music streamers 2021: Audiolab 6000N Play

(Image credit: Audiolab)

1. Audiolab 6000N Play

Proof that great sounding streaming solutions needn’t cost a lot.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Optical, coaxial, RCA | Hi-res support: 24-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 7 x 45 x 31cm | Weight: 4.9kg

Reasons to Buy

Clear, articulate performance
Well equipped streaming platform
Intuitive app

Reasons to Avoid

No display
Imperfect presets integration

Audiolab's first standalone music streamer is the third component in the company's mid-range 6000 Series, following the 6000A integrated amplifier and the 6000CDT CD transport. And it borrows tech and features from both. With the same DAC chip from the amp and circuit design from the transport, it presents a capable and composed sound with an inviting openness and a good honest, down-the-middle tonal balance.

The Play can access services such as Spotify Connect, Tidal, HDtracks, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Napster, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM, and it can stream at up to 24-bit/192kHz from networked servers. So even the most discerning listeners should find plenty to love.

The lack of a display is a bit of a bugbear, and the presets integration could do with some work. But those minor quibbles aside, this is a superb and affordable way to implement streaming into your system without compromising on sonic quality.

Read the full review: Audiolab 6000N Play

Best music streamers 2021: Cambridge Audio Evo 75

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

2. Cambridge Audio Evo 75

This premium just-add-speakers streaming system is a beauty

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: 3.5mm, preamp, sub | Inputs: Coaxial, optical, RCA, USB, HDMI ARC, ethernet | Hi-res support: 32-bit / 384kHz (PCM) | File formats: Most, including MQA, Tidal Masters | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 9 x 32 x 35cm | Weight: 5kg

Reasons to Buy

Open, articulate, punchy performance
Exhaustively featured
Seamless operation

Reasons to Avoid

Awkward remote buttons
No phono input

Whether your taste veers towards classic traditionalism or sleek modernity, the Evo deserves to be seen and not just heard. We’re particularly fond of the 6.8in LCD panel, which prioritises album artwork – a design element reminiscent of the company’s flagship Edge products. Cambridge has a rich history in stereo amplification, as well as an established streaming platform on which its successful line of music streamers are based, and the stars align when the two come together in this one machine. 

The Evo 75 is determined not to be out-featured at this level. Cambridge’s StreamMagic platform is an inviting gateway into streaming from TidalQobuz and, via DLNA, any network-stored music drives. Spotify Connect and the new Tidal Connect (complete with MQA support for streaming hi-res Tidal Masters) are onboard to allow subscribers to play and control those services’ libraries from the native apps, while Google Chromecast offers native app playback for the likes of DeezerYouTube MusicApple Music and TuneIn Radio, too. AirPlay 2 allows one-touch casting from Apple devices, aptX HD Bluetooth offers an ‘offline’ streaming method, while support for Roon Ready completes a comprehensive streaming connectivity list. 

Turntable owners take note: there is no built-in phono stage here. For that, you'll need the step-up Evo 150, which also bags you double the power output, a different ESS Sabre DAC chip, asynchronous USB and balanced XLR inputs, a second optical input, plus two sets of speaker terminals for running two pairs of speakers simultaneously. Vinyl-loving Evo 75 owners will have to connect a deck with a phono stage to the RCA input or buy a separate phono stage.

But the Evo 75 is emphatically the sonic success its spec sheet deserves. Clarity and breadth are instantly apparent. In the premium one-box streaming system market, nothing has before come this close to Naim’s Uniti range in offering the complete package.

Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Evo 75

Best music streamers 2021: Cambridge Audio CXN (V2)

3. Cambridge Audio CXN (V2)

The CXN (V2) is the best music streamer out there at this price point.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: XLR and RCA analogue, digital coaxial and optical | Hi-res support: 24-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 9 x 43 x 31cm | Weight: 3.5kg

Reasons to Buy

Impressive, enjoyable sound quality
Sleek design and high quality build
Excellent features and file support

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

If you want a stylish way to stream your music wirelessly, then the Cambridge Audio CXN could be for you with its brushed metal finish and intuitive menus. 

But it's not just a looker - it has it where it counts, too. The sound quality is fantastic, with an enthusiastic, driven delivery that combines snappy timing with subtle levels of detail. We described the original CXN as "wonderfully entertaining", and it's heartening to see this second-generation model retaining that character.

So what sets it apart from its predecessor? The main new skill is Chromecast Built-In, which lets you stream content from compatible apps. It works very well - we were up and running in a matter of moments.

But that's far from the only feature available. It also boasts Apple AirPlay, Tidal and Spotify Connect. All of these can be controlled through Cambridge's Connect app for iOS and Android.

So, the same winning sound quality as the original with even more features to play with. What's not to like?

Read the full review: Cambridge Audio CXN (V2)

Best music streamers 2021: NAD C 658

(Image credit: NAD)

4. NAD C 658

Ticks most of the boxes that a good music streamer should.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Unbalanced and balanced RCA outputs | Hi-res support: 32-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 10 x 44 x 41cm | Weight: 10.1kg

Reasons to Buy

Musical, transparent performer
Complete streaming solution
Effective room correction
Intuitive, robust app

Reasons to Avoid

Looks don’t match the price tag

A streamer, DAC and preamplifier combination, this NAD is a real Swiss Army knife of a hi-fi component. It uses Bluesound's BluOS streaming platform and app, which brings access to Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, HDTracks and more, as well as local and networked music. It supports files up to 32-bit/192kHz, including MQA, of which over 250,000 tracks can be indexed, and there's Bluetooth aptX HD and Apple AirPlay 2.

Phew. So as you can see, you get plenty of music source options, and they stream at a high bitrate, which is exactly what we like to see.

So how does it sound? Very good indeed. It's impressively expressive and really involves you in the music, while dynamics have a natural fluidity. As the hub of a system, it's all-encompassing.

All in all, it's one of the most fully furnished, future-proofed and intuitive streamers we’ve come across—first class.

Read the full review: NAD C 658

Best music streamers 2021: Naim ND 555/555 PS DR

(Image credit: Naim)

5. Naim ND 555/555 PS DR

It’s expensive, but this music streamer sets new sonic standards.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: 1 x RCA pair, 1 x 5-pin DIN | Hi-res support: 32-bit/384kHz and DSD128 streams | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 8.7 x 43 x 31.4cm | Weight: 12.25kg

Reasons to Buy

Impressive clarity and dynamics
Exceptional rhythmic coherence
Fine build

Reasons to Avoid

Price out of reach for most

The ND 555/555 PS combination isn’t cheap, but it is the best-sounding digital streaming source we’ve heard. Its presentation is direct, punchy and organised with a musical cohesion few rivals can match.

But it's not just impressive sonically - it's packed with features, too. It’ll happily handle up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM files and play up to DSD128 streams. Bluetooth in higher quality aptX HD form is included, as is Chromecast. Tidal and Spotify Connect are embedded, and Apple Airplay, Roon compatibility and the ability to work as part of a Naim-based multiroom set-up are also on the menu.

Just remember - you'll need a separate power supply, which will cost you another few thousand. So it'll certainly cost you a pretty penny. But then you're paying for quality - everything from the structural design to the sophisticated power supply arrangement and purist analogue audio circuitry helps to get the very best sound possible.

If this happens to be within your budget, then don't hesitate to bag this historic double.

Read the full review: Naim ND 555/555 PS DR

Best music streamers 2021: Bluesound Node 2i

6. Bluesound Node 2i

Extensive specs and excellent sound at a fantastic price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: RAC, coaxial, optical | Hi-res support: 32-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 4.6 x 22 x 14.6cm | Weight: 1.72kg

Reasons to Buy

Superb sense of scale
Impressive timing and dynamics
32-bit/192kHz support

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

If your budget is a little (read: a lot) tighter than the Naim above, maybe the Node 2i is more up your street. In fact, at this price, you'll be hard-pressed to find a wireless music streamer with the same amount of talent. 

It boasts a strong set of features, like Apple AirPlay 2, two-way Bluetooth, dual-band Wi-Fi, 32-bit/192kHz DAC and a raft of analogue and digital outputs. And when it comes to sound quality, the Node 2i shows plenty of skill, from impressive detail to slick timing. It's an enthusiastic-sounding piece of kit, capable of breathing life into any audio you send its way. 

It is in the subtleties of a composition that the Node 2i really thrives, showing its ability to pick out the varying intensities of a fingerpicked guitar, arpeggiated piano line or call-and-answer arrangement that may provide rhythm as much as hold a melody.

As far as music streamers go, you won't find many that offer such amazing value for money.

Read the full review: Bluesound Node 2i

Best music streamers 2021: Melco N100

(Image credit: Melco)

7. Melco N100

A high-quality music server from a network computer specialist

SPECIFICATIONS

Inputs: USB x 3, Ethernet x 2 | Hi-res support: up to 32-bit 384kHz PCM/DSD512 | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: No. Tidal & Qoboz | Storage: 2TB | Dimensions: 6.1 x 21.5 x 27cm | Weight: 3kg

Reasons to Buy

Slick operation
Clean, precise and expressive sound
Plenty of storage

Reasons to Avoid

Needs external DAC for streaming

The Melco N100 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high-quality streamer with storage built-in and already have a capable DAC. Essentially the hi-fi wing of Buffalo, Melco has the slickest music filing software we've used with a brilliance in categorisation through file metadata.

It packs 2TB worth of storage (around 3000 CDs, less with higher-res recordings) and includes both the MinimServer and TwonkyMedia server software. Connectivity is limited but it covers all the essentials.

The files from the Melco are crisp and clean. There’s plenty of detail, the sound is well organised and there's a good amount of drive to basslines. Leading edges are precise and the overall presentation is nice and stable. There's also enough dynamic expression, punch and drive to prevent things sounding too analytical, while tonally it's even and open, with a satisfying level of natural warmth. 

Overall it sounds very well refined, and never veers towards undue aggression or harshness. Highly recommended.

Read the full review: Melco N100

Best music streamers 2021: Cambridge Audio Edge NQ

8. Cambridge Audio Edge NQ

A truly fantastic streaming preamp.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: USB, optical, balanced XLR, unbalanced RCA, HDMI, Ethernet | Hi-res support: up to 32-bit 384kHz PCM/DSD256 | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 12 x 46 x 40.5 | Weight: 10.2kg

Reasons to Buy

Clear, bold, spacious sound
Character unchanged across sources
Attractive design

Reasons to Avoid

Volume dial could be tauter

The Edge NQ performs as well as hi-fi separates, costing the same amount, which is high praise indeed. It handles any digital content up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256 via its USB Audio Class 2.0 input or up to 24-bit/192kHz via S/PDIF. And there's Chromecast compatibility for streaming services such as Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz, adding to the already included Spotify Connect, AirPlay and internet radio.

By any measure, that's an impressive feature list.

Sonically, it sounds insightful and impressively clean. You can run your finger over textures, and instruments are well organised with plenty of space between them to let them breathe and express themselves. 

So what about the downsides? Just about the only niggle we have is that the volume dial could be a little tauter. But that's about it.

If you want a serious one-box system replacement, look no further.

Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Edge NQ

Best music streamers 2021: Naim ND5 XS 2

9. Naim ND5 XS 2

Not the prettiest of music streamers, but you can't argue with the class-leading sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Coaxial digital, stereo analogue, 5-pin DIN | Hi-res support: 32-bit/384kHz | File formats: Most | Storage: 2 x USB | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: N/A

Reasons to Buy

Extracts loads of detail
Awesome timing and dynamic
Wide range of features/connections

Reasons to Avoid

No display

Although the ND5 XS 2 might be entry-level by Naim's standards, the sound it produces most definitely isn't. Given a decent amount of time to bed in (Naim products can take a couple of months to really hit their stride), its expressive, detailed and honest delivery makes it a joy to listen to. 

But it's not all sound, sound, sound. It's packed with features and functionality, too, to cater for all your streaming needs. These include Chromecast, Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect and Tidal. It also supports files up to 32-bit/384kHz stored on an outboard NAS or computer. 

The only thing missing is a display, but it's not vital - you use Naim's own control app to navigate your way around on your smartphone. Doing so is a breeze - the app really is as straightforward a piece of software as you could hope for, which is quite a feat, given the vast array of features it puts at your fingertips.

Read the full review: Naim ND5 XS 2

Best music streamers 2021: Cambridge Audio Evo 150

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

10. Cambridge Audio Evo 150

A well-equipped top-of-the-line streaming system

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: 3.5mm, preamp, sub | Inputs : phono, coaxial, optical, RCA, USB, HDMI ARC | Max power : 150W per channel | Bluetooth : aptX HD | AirPlay 2 : Yes | Google Chromecast : Yes | MQA : Yes | Dimensions : (hwd) 9 x 32 x 35cm

Reasons to Buy

Beautifully open and articulate
Exhaustively featured
Pleasant to use

Reasons to Avoid

Up against some tough competition

While streamers often offer a few inputs to serve physical formats, there’s little you can't plug into the Evo 150. Like the entry-level Evo 75, it packs line-level RCA, USB, coaxial, optical and HDMI ARC connections, but also expands on that with phono (MM), asynchronous USB and balanced XLR inputs, a second optical input, plus two sets of speaker terminals for running two pairs simultaneously. 

The built-in phono stage makes it ideal for vinyl junkies, and because of its high output (150W per channel) and superior ESS Sabre DAC chip,  it’s also perfect for anyone with demanding speakers, a second pair in a nearby room, or a laptop full of music they wish to hook up.

But what about the actual streaming? The Evo 150 has Cambridge's built-in StreamMagic platform, which comes with its StreamMagic control app, hosts TidalQobuz and any network-stored music drives (via DLNA). There's also Google Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect on board, as is aptX HD Bluetooth for ‘offline’ wireless playback.

Sonically it's beautifully open and articulate, with a wide soundstage and a broad canvas on which dynamic peaks can bask in. While it's pricey, the Evo 150 makes a compelling case for choosing a simple, convenient system over a set-up of separates.

Read the full review Cambridge Audio Evo 150

Best music streamers 2021: Naim NDX 2

11. Naim NDX 2

Another superb music streamer from Naim.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Optical and two coaxial | Hi-res support: 24-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Storage: 2 x USB | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 9 x 43 x 31 cm | Weight: 10kg

Reasons to Buy

Cohesive and entertaining sound
Expressive dynamics
Upgrade potential

Reasons to Avoid

Upgrades aren’t cheap

The NDX 2 sits in the middle of the company’s three-strong hi-fi streamer line-up and is about as well equipped as they come. There are no obvious holes in file compatibility and it can play up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD128. There’s aptX HD Bluetooth alongside Apple Airplay, Spotify Connect and Chromecast. Tidal is also embedded and, as is increasingly common, it’s Roon-ready.

Sonically, it's as impressive as you would expect from a company that's so dominant in the streaming space. This is an organised, entertaining sound, that moves seamlessly between feeds - it's very responsive, with changes of source made without issue or delay. 

For most, a stand-alone Naim NDX 2 will be all the streamer they could ever want. It is well made, carefully conceived and sounds excellent for the money. If your budget stretches to it, we recommend it without hesitation.

Read the full review: Naim NDX 2

Best music streamers 2021: Cambridge Azur 851N

12. Cambridge Azur 851N

A premium music streamer with the performance to match.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: XLR, RCA analogue, digital optical, coaxial | Inputs: Digital, coaxial, optical, AES/EBU, USB | Hi-res support: 24-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 43 x 36 x 11.5 cm | Weight: 8.1kg

Reasons to Buy

Full-bodied, balanced and rhythmic
Open and spacious
Vast file support

Reasons to Avoid

Bluetooth only optional
No analogue inputs

The Award-winning Cambridge Azur 851N is Cambridge's top-of-the-range model and the ideal premium music server if you want a machine that doubles as a digital pre-amp or you want something to slot straight into your system. 

The sound is full-bodied and muscular, with punchy bass and a great sense of dynamic reach. It has Cambridge's typical bone-rattling punch and class-leading insight, but with extra helpings of expression and dynamic skill. There's also a great sense of space and openness that really gives instruments room to breathe.

The Cambridge connects to your network via ethernet or by plugging in the supplied USB adapter. File support extends all the way up to 24-bit/192kHz, and the Cambridge upsamples this to 24-bit/384kHz.

It looks and feels suitably premium, too, with a chunky design aesthetic that screams quality. And you can control it either with the on-unit dial, the remote, or the Cambridge Connect smartphone app.

Read the full review: Cambridge Azur 851N

Best music streamers 2021: Linn Selekt DSM

(Image credit: Future)

13. Linn Selekt DSM

A modular approach to high quality sound

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: SPDIF, Exakt Link, RCA, Balanced XLR | Hi-res support: 24-bit/1924kHz | File formats: Most | Storage: USB | Features: Spotify Connect, Tidal, Qobuz, AirPlay, Internet radio | Dimensions: 11 x 35 x 35 cm | Weight: 7.2kg

Reasons to Buy

Crisp, agile presentation
Fine MM/MC phonostage
Room equalisation software

Reasons to Avoid

USB input could sound better

Selekt DSM is Linn's modular product that can be tailored to taste. The basic version is a high-end steamer and digital preamp in a single box. Features include embedded SpotifyTidal and Qobuz streaming services, and even the option of Apple AirPlay. It’s compatible with Roon, too, and a more recent update has added Bluetooth and wi-fi since we last tested it.

There are five digital inputs – including an HDMI ARC for connection to a television and USB for a computer – and analogue too with a single line-level input and dedicated sockets for both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges.

Physically, it's a very smart unit; well made and neatly finished. It's very easy to use as well with the Kazoo app to control it or the physical remote if you prefer.

Sonically, its presentation is crisp and taut, trading the last ounce of sonic richness for an enviable sense of control. It's agile and can track complex musical strands with ease and composure. There’s plenty of punch too. The USB input and Apple AirPlay audio quality isn't quite to that same high level, but there's no denying that this is a great sounding, top-end integrated box of electronics with plenty of scope for upgrade fun too.

Read the full review: Linn Selekt DSM

Best music streamers 2021: Technics SL-G700

(Image credit: Technics)

14. Technics SL-G700

A high quality streamer and CD player in one.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Coaxial, optical, 6.3mm headphones, RCA, XLR | Hi-res support: 32-bit/384kHz | File formats: Most | Storage: 2 x USB | Features: Spotify Connect, Chromecast, Tidal, AirPlay, DLNA, MQA, Internet radio | CD player: CD & SACD | Dimensions: 19.8 x 43 x 40.7 cm | Weight: 12.2kg

Reasons to Buy

Excellent sound with disc and streaming
Impressive connectivity
Lovely build and finish

Reasons to Avoid

Can be clunky in use
Streaming app could be slicker
Headphone output not as good

CDs, SACDs, Bluetooth and music streamed over a network - this is a player for the 21st century. It's both Chromecast and AirPlay-enabled for easy connectivity and goes high quality on the wireless, too, thanks to MQA support.

Ergonomically, you can't argue with it. The precision controls and the silky smooth disc drawer feel top-notch, even if it's a little squished up to one side for aesthetics. Likewise, the software for the streaming control isn't the best we've seen, but it definitely gets the job done.

Fortunately, the functionality is rock solid, whether from a disc or over the air, and its sound is superb. It's nuanced enough to deliver the full emotional impact of vocals and strings and comes with enough weight in the bass to keep your tracks feeling big.

Punchy and tuneful, feature-packed and fun: if you’re looking to buy a high-quality digital source that covers all bases, the Technics SL-G700 is a brilliant option.

Read the full review: Technics SL-G700

Best music streamers 2021:Pioneer N-70AE

15. Pioneer N-70AE

This capable music streamer ticks almost all of the right boxes.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Optical, coaxial, 2 x analogue, headphones | Hi-res support: 32-bit/384kHz | File formats: Most | Storage: 2 x USB | Features: Spotify Connect, Chromecast, AirPlay, DLNA, Internet radio | Dimensions: 12 x 44 x 36 cm | Weight: 11.4kg

Reasons to Buy

Solid, spacious, detailed sound
Well equipped
Easy to use

Reasons to Avoid

Better sounding rivals
Teething issues in app

This Pioneer is a well-specified, high-performance music streamer that ticks a lot of the streaming world’s many boxes. Everything on its spec-sheet suggests it is more than up to meeting the (very stiff) competition.

The Tidal, Deezer and TuneIn streaming services are all accessible from Pioneer's Remote app on your smartphone, while Google Chromecast support extends that invitation to Google Play Music. Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay come built-in, and you can play tunes over DLNA from your laptop or NAS drive.

It's not choosy when it comes to playing file types, either. Its Sabre32 Ultra32 DACs can handle PCM files (such as FLAC, WAV and AIFF) up to 24bit/192kHz, as well as 11.2MHz DSD files. And using the USB type B input, PCM file support is expanded to include 32bit/384kHz.

Fire it up, and it doesn't disappoint. Its sound is big and spacious, yet precise at the same time, with an impressive level of detail. It might not quite scale some of the heights of pricier rivals, but it’s still among the most complete streamers we’ve seen at this price.

Read the full review: Pioneer N-70AE

Best music streamers 2021: Naim NAC-N 272

16. Naim NAC-N 272

Top-class sound and extensive features makes for an outstanding streamer.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Optical and two coaxial | Hi-res support: 24-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 59 x 50 x 20 cm | Weight: 10.3kg

Reasons to Buy

Terrific streamer-cum-preamp
Feature count
Insightful, organised sound

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing

The Naim NAC-N 272 delivers on two fronts - it's a feature-packed streaming preamp and it sounds superb. 

Connectivity options include digital inputs, optical and coaxial connections along with Bluetooth for offline streaming. There's also 24-bit/192kHz support with all the main file formats covered, from FLAC to AIFF to Apple Lossless, with native support for Tidal and Spotify Connect. And if you're a fan of old-fashioned radio, there's an optional DAB/DAB+/FM module available too.

Build quality is suitably solid, while sound quality is stunning at the money. We're huge fans of the Naim's communicative, balanced sound and it's a master of dynamics. And its preamp section is as good as any rival we've heard in this price range.

Naim has taken precautions to ensure that the 272's range of connections doesn't count against it: the digital and analogue sections communicate through optical isolation chips to minimise any interference. And it shows - this is a well-made, great-sounding unit that will do you proud.

Read the full review: Naim NAC-N 272

Best music streamers 2021:Moon Neo MiND

17. Moon Neo MiND

Class leading audio performance at this price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Digital coaxial, optical, AES/EBU | Hi-res support: 24-bit/192kHz | File formats: Most | Spotify Connect: Yes | Dimensions: 17.8 x 7.6 x 28.0 cm | Weight: 3.1kg

Reasons to Buy

Instruments well organised
Great timing and dynamics
Musical delivery

Reasons to Avoid

No built-in DAC

MiND stands for ‘MOON intelligent Network Device’. This basically means it does everything you would expect from a streamer, drawing from all your mobile devices, NAS drives and streaming services via its control app to collate one whopping great music library.

It offers a stunningly musical and brilliantly balanced sound, whether you're streaming from a NAS drive or a streaming service. It also supports 24-bit/192kHz files, which is useful for compatible services like Tidal.

Its design is a little no-frills, but we quite like that - it's understated and shows a confidence sadly lacking from some of its flashier rivals. Its confidence is deserved, as it delivers on the sound front, too: audio quality is fantastic with near-perfect dynamics, timings and musicality. Quality isn't even lost when you stream over Bluetooth. 

You will need to factor in the cost of an external DAC, though. Can't stretch to that? Never MiND.

Read the full review: Moon Neo MiND

Best music streamers 2021: Amazon Echo Input

18. Amazon Echo Input

A great way to bring streaming and Alexa voice control to your existing speakers.

SPECIFICATIONS

Outputs: Bluetooth | Inputs: Micro USB and 3.5mm | Hi-res support: n/a | File formats: Most | Dimensions: 1.4 x 8 x 8 cm | Weight: 79g

Reasons to Buy

Sensitive microphones
Low cost
Solid sound quality

Reasons to Avoid

No phono or optical connectors

Something different from the hi-fi products on this list, the Echo Input is effectively an Echo Dot without the speaker, letting you try out digital living via a smart assistant for less money. 

A Bluetooth speaker seems the most likely pairing, and the Input connects to one much like a phone. This is done through the Alexa app, which is a stand-in for the visual interface an Input lacks. This being Amazon, it's a doddle to connect, and the connection stays stable throughout testing.

There's also a 3.5mm input. This wired connection places responsibility for sound quality onto the Input's DAC, and other than slightly low volume output, we have no complaints about audio quality, considering the price. That makes it an attractive prospect and the most affordable way to try out Alexa or multi-room music streaming. Give it a whirl - what have you got to lose?

Read the full review: Amazon Echo Input

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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  • londonguy
    the prices of streamers are ridiculous. Logitech did it brilliantly at a fraction of the prices these are going for.
    Reply
  • Dan Sung
    I think the Audiolab at the top of this list is a very reasonable price for what is a really solid piece of hi-fi kit.
    Reply
  • LeighHughes
    londonguy said:
    the prices of streamers are ridiculous. Logitech did it brilliantly at a fraction of the prices these are going for.
    Seven grand for a mandatory power supply is simply taking your customers for a ride. It's a lump of iron, wrapped in copper winding, together with other not overly sophisticated componentry, in a plain box. Ridiculous indeed, Naim!
    Reply
  • Mr HiFi
    What! No Linn Streamers. Have the What HiFi reviewers gone deaf or fallen out with Linn? Surely the Selekt, Akurate or Klimax deserves a place in this list. I have a Majik DSi Network Streamer. It is at least as good if not better than half the ones on this list and it has a superb power amplifier built in, for free!
    Reply
  • Sverker
    Mr HiFi said:
    What! No Linn Streamers.
    Since the heading says ”wireless streamers”, I think only Selekt (and the brand new Majik DSM/4) qualifies. But I totally agree re your verdict on the Majik DS-I. It's great!
    Reply
  • theo23rd
    londonguy said:
    the prices of streamers are ridiculous. Logitech did it brilliantly at a fraction of the prices these are going for.
    What product by Logitech are you referring to?
    Reply
  • theo23rd
    Mr HiFi said:
    What! No Linn Streamers. Have the What HiFi reviewers gone deaf or fallen out with Linn? Surely the Selekt, Akurate or Klimax deserves a place in this list. I have a Majik DSi Network Streamer. It is at least as good if not better than half the ones on this list and it has a superb power amplifier built in, for free!
    The list I see includes the Selekt.
    Reply
  • danielbower
    Does anyone know (or is it possible to update the post) which of these streamers are compatible with Tidal Connect?

    I am in the market for a streamer, but keen to keep using the Tidal app as the controller.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • danielbower
    I meant Tidal Connect specifically. Apologies for the initial typo.
    Reply
  • londonguy
    theo23rd said:
    What product by Logitech are you referring to?
    Squeezebox touch for example
    Reply