Point of diminishing returns for a Network Streamers?

You have super cheap Pi streamers (build yourself), $399 IfI Zen, $500 Bluesound Node (no DSD), $700+ Pro-Ject Stream box, then $1k -$2k for Lumins, and others.

I'm running an old iMac as my Roon Core and running a super long, active USB cable to my Dac. I probably do not have to pay much for any improvement since my setup is not ideal. 

I'm really fascinated by the Pro-Ject stream box...however...would it be a major improvement over the IFI Zen? I need DSD so the NODE is out of the question .

I could save and go with the new Lumin U2 mini, however....would it be a huge jump over the Pro-Ject?


I went from streaming Tidal on an iPad to an Innuos Zen MkIII with Roon.


it was like going from a $100 MM cartridge to a $2000 MC cartridge.

I’ve read to where a nice higher end streamer will even make one’s mid tier Dac sound much more improved. The Lumin may be the way to go


 I’m using a Node N130 and it does everything I want so far, but I am still mostly a physical media type. The Ifi Zen is supposed to sound great when it works. There have been a lot of complaints about it being wonky. If you buy one, buy from somewhere that has a good return policy.

All the best.


My only contribution to this discussion is, if you try to connect android to ifi zen streamer, be ready for a mountain of aggravation. My experiment lasted 3 days. Endless attempts of connectivity and android developper settings resulted in a big fat zero signal passing through the zen to my Gustard x26 pro. Luckily I bought the zen from crutch field and, upon request they immediately issued a return label for full refund. Hats off to them. I understand that connecting the zen to iPhone is a much more pleasurable experience. Bottom line, going to all that trouble to connect android to zen is not worth it to me since android to Gustard through bluetooth is a piece of cake and probably not much worse than through the zen since the signal originates from android. My sanity is slowly returning, what a nightmare that was!