Play All The Best Music Streaming Services On This Stellar Budget Audiophile System!

Here at HI-FI Trends, we believe that high-end audio doesn’t necessarily mean high-priced audio. We say high-end audio is a function of design not price. Today, you can find a lot of capable budget components that are designed to satisfy audiophile sensibilities. Also with the current global economies of scale you can get more for your money than ever before!

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Today we have a system comprised of sensational affordable gear, able to play music from all the major music streaming services including Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, and many more! It can also play music from your local network drives, Bluetooth, plus your laptop via USB. Keep in mind, It’s a compact system that will work best in small to average-sized rooms. That said, the whole system comes in under $800! Check it out!

The Setup:

Total: $777

The Amplifier: SMSL AO200 Digital Power Amplifier w/ Bluetooth 5.0 ($279.00)

While I wish it had better specs when it comes to Bluetooth codecs and physical connections, at the end of the day the SMSL AO200 Digital Power Amplifier has the goods where it counts. That would be sound quality and output power.

If you want a capable amp that can form the heart of a budget hi-fi for your apartment or large bedroom, this one plays big and clean with a remarkable tonal balance. Don’t let its small size fool you, I have driven some notoriously inefficient speakers with this amp, and it didn’t break a sweat.


  • Product Model: S.M.S.L AO200
  • Inputs: XLR, RCA, BT, USB
  • THD+N: 0.003%
  • SNR: 110dB
  • Channel Separation: 98dB
  • Input Sensitivity/Impedance: 280mV/47kΩ
  • Standby Power: 0.5W
  • Size: 187.5×40×154mm(W×H×D)
  • Weight: 0.96kg
  • Output Power: 150W × 150W (2Ω), 90W × 90W (4Ω), 50W × 50W (8Ω)
  • Accessories: AC cable, Paper manual, Infrared remote control

Read Our Full Review

Buy: Amazon

The Speakers: KLH Albany II 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers ($349.00)

With the Albany II, we find KLH clearly makes good on their promise to provide a beautifully designed speaker with natural sound and clarity. Its only real drawback is the lack of deep Bass extension. Many will crave a subwoofer, pushing out the budget.

But in a inexpensive system meant for smaller spaces, the Albany II should provide enough bass weight to satisfy most. Add to that a natural timbre for vocals and instrumentals, along with remarkable imaging, and you have a winner. By the way, if you need some extra bass down the road, you can always add a sub .


  • 5.25” Kevlar bass driver
  • 1” Anodized aluminum tweeter
  • Custom multi-element crossover
  • 3/4” Low resonance MDF cabinet construction
  • Custom honeycomb designed magnetic grille
  • Bass-reflex design for superior bass performance
  • Power handling: 200 watts
  • Frequency response: 35Hz-23KHz +/- 3dB
  • Sensitivity: 92dBe

Read Our Full Review

Buy: Amazon and Crutchfield

The Source: Andover Audio Songbird Plug-and-Play Hi-Res Internet Streamer ($149.00)

The $149 Songbird Music Streamer was initially marketed as a source for the excellent SpinBase turntable speaker, but it’s actually a great budget Wi-Fi streamer for anyone who wants to bring high-quality network audio to their hi-fi system.

This compact, affordable device has both digital and analog outputs to connect any component, plus it streams all the major music services (TIDAL, Qobuz, Spotify). It also streams files from a network drive (DLNA), Apple Airplay, or Bluetooth. It also sounds fantastic for the price. This is a an excellent cherry to put on top of your hi-fi sundae!


  • Analog 3.5mm stereo input
  • Toslink optical digital input
  • Ethernet port
  • Analog 3.5mm stereo out
  • Optical digital out
  • Songbird Control app (LinkPlay)
  • Bluetooth, DLNA & Apple AirPlay
  • Amazon, Spotify, Qobuz, TIDAL

Read Our Full Review

Buy: Amazon and Andover Audio

In the final analysis:

This affordable little system packs quite a punch, especially in smaller to average sized rooms (we think it’s perfect for offices and bedrooms). You’ll be suprised at the soundstage and dynamics this system produces.

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