Best music streamers

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Most of the selections below support the majority of hi-res music formats. Some also boast AirPlay, Bluetooth or UPnP compatibility, built-in DACs or USB connections.

This being the 21st century, internet radio comes as standard - as do smartphone and/or tablet control apps. With the cheapest budget model coming in at just £30, the question is: can you really afford not to add a music streamer?

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Under £100

Google Chromecast Audio

One of Google's most successful forays into hardware, the Chromecast Audio handles music from any Cast-compatible app and beams it to your amp and speakers. For just £30, it's a bargain.

SPECIFICATIONS

USB power | Optical output | 3.5mm output

Reasons to Buy
Brings online streaming to offline devices
Easy to use
Lovely design
Reasons to Avoid
No multi-room audio yet

Under £500

Arcam rPlay

The rPlay is a simple, affordable way to introduce streaming into your hi-fi system - and seems to be getting even more affordable. 

SPECIFICATIONS

DTS PlayFi support | 24bit/192kHz support | Coaxial digital output

Reasons to Buy
Insightful, solid and articulate sound
Vast streaming service support
24-bit/192kHz support
Multi-room
Capable and stable app
Compact design
Reasons to Avoid
No Bluetooth
Rather confined presentation

Under £1000

Cambridge Audio CXN

Take Cambridge Audio's Award-winning Stream Magic 6 v2, refresh the design and improve the sound quality - you've got the CXN.

SPECIFICATIONS

24-bit/192kHz support | Optical input | Analogue outputs

Reasons to Buy
Impressive and enjoyable sound quality
Sleek design and high quality build
Excellent features and file support
Lovely to use
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

Under £1500

Cambridge Azur 851N

The Azur 851N integrates with most systems, thanks to great file support and an excellent selection of connections. The sound is expressive and dynamic, as you'd expect from our 2016 Product of the Year.

SPECIFICATIONS

24-bit/192kHz support | Spotify Connect | Asynchronous USB input

Reasons to Buy
Full-bodied, balanced and rhythmic
Open and spacious
Vast file support
Intuitive control app
Reasons to Avoid
Bluetooth only optional
No analogue inputs

Under £2000

Sony HAP-Z1ES

Smart design, super sound - this Sony's on its way to becoming a classic.

Reasons to Buy
Excellent build quality
Large, bright display
Slick control app
Produces a hugely enjoyable and beautifully balanced sound
Smooth, refined mids and highs
Weighty lows
Reasons to Avoid
Remote feels cheap
Isn’t DLNA enabled so won’t stream from network attached storage

Under £3000

Naim ND5 XS

If you're happy to spend significant money, the 2016 Award-winning Naim ND5 XS - thanks to its brilliant sonic performance and stacked feature set - is a great choice.

SPECIFICATIONS

24-bit/192kHz support | Tidal, Spotify Connect | aptX Buetooth

Reasons to Buy
Stunningly clear, precise and insightful sound quality
Sturdy build and design
Excellent specification
Easy to use
Reasons to Avoid
Power supply upgrades aren’t cheap

Under £5000

Naim NAC-N 272

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

Reasons to Buy
Combines a terrific streamer with hugely capable preamp
Feature count
Insightful and organised sound
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing