Audiophile Bliss on a Budget: Top Hi-Fi Streamers Under $500 (2024)

Looking for high-quality audio streaming on a budget? Check out our list of top hi-fi streamers under $500 in 2024. Experience audiophile bliss without breaking the bank.

The world of hi-fi audio can be intimidating, especially for those new to the scene. But fear not, budding audiophiles! You don’t need to break the bank to experience exceptional sound quality. In fact, there are several fantastic hi-fi streamers under $500 that can deliver a truly immersive listening experience. Here are some top contenders, each with their own strengths and considerations:

Best Splurge Option: Bluesound NODE ($499)

Hi-Fi Streamers Under $500

Pros: Feature-packed with multi-room capabilities, supports a wide range of streaming services and high-resolution audio formats including MQA, robust app, powerful DAC for transparent sound, AptX HD Bluetooth, 2-Way Bluetooth, and a Headphone Jack

Cons: Price might be a stretch for some budgets.

Mini-review: The Bluesound NODE is a well-built and versatile option, making it a popular choice for many. Its extensive connectivity options and impressive audio quality are hard to beat, especially for those already invested in the Bluesound ecosystem (includes amps, speakers, etc.) (Full Review)


Best Option Without DAC: iFi ZEN Stream ($399)

Hi-Fi Streamers Under $500

Pros: Excellent sound quality thanks to high-quality components, supports Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect, multiple digital outputs for flexible connectivity, allows you to use your own high-quality DAC.

Cons: Requires separate DAC for analog output.

Mini-review: The iFi ZEN Stream prioritizes audio fidelity above all else. Its minimalist design, based on a Raspberry Pi single-board computer build, hides a powerful engine delivering pristine sound for discerning listeners. However, those needing analog outputs will need to factor in the cost of an additional DAC. That said, this is a good thing if you already have a great DAC and only need a pristine digital signal to feed into it. (Full Review)


The Best Option For Most People: WiiM Pro Plus ($219)

Hi-Fi Streamers Under $500

Pros: Excellent value for money, built-in high-quality AKM DAC, supports AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, and more, multi-room capabilities, analog input and output, gapless playback, high-resolution audio support.

Cons: Might not be as feature-rich as some competitors, No headphone jack and No Bluetooth for example.

Mini-review: The WiiM Pro Plus is a significant upgrade from the WiiM Pro we previously had on our best-of lists, offering premium features and audio quality at a competitive price. The built-in DAC delivers fantastic sound, and the extensive connectivity options cater to various streaming needs. While some competitors might offer more features, the Pro Plus packs a powerful punch for its price tag.


The Cheapest We Recommend: Andover Audio Songbird: ($85)

Pros: Incredibly affordable, compact design, supports a bunch of music services along with AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth (SBC), surprisingly good sound quality for the price.

Cons: Limited features, basic DAC, requires an external app for control.

Mini-review: The Andover Audio Songbird is a tiny powerhouse, offering basic streaming functionality at a remarkable price. While it may not have all the bells and whistles, it’s a fantastic option for casual listeners or those dipping their toes into hi-fi audio. (Full Review)


What to Consider When Buying a Hi-Fi Streamer:

  • Sound quality: This is paramount! Prioritize streamers with good DACs and support for high-resolution audio formats.
  • Features: Consider what you need. Do you need multi-room capabilities, analog outputs, or specific app integration?
  • Budget: Set a realistic budget and stick to it. There’s a great streamer out there for every price point.
  • Ease of use: A user-friendly interface can significantly enhance your experience, especially if you’re new to hi-fi.

Remember: The best streamer is the one that fits your needs and budget. Do your research, read reviews, and don’t hesitate to ask for help on audio forums. Happy listening!

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