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 suggest and use a Bricasti M5 Network streamer. Really nice product and sound is excellent.  It has high quality build including LPS.  I experienced a significant sound improvement over using my Macbook connected to my DAC.  Since M5 is a NAS you can continue using your MAC as long as it’s connected to the same network by ethernet cable. I switched from my macbook to a PC laptop since PC can connect wirelessly. It works with Roon without issue.  I recently bought mine used $1400 but is easily worth msrp.  

Out with the ifi zen, in with the new bluesound NODE since it is supposedly a shoe-in fit with android. Just ordered it! And the journey goes on.

@larry5729 I had the Node 2 for a year it was great although the internal Dac was fair compared to my Pro-Ject Pre Box s2 digital dac. As a streamer, I would probably still be using it, however, it does not pass thru DSD file without conversion. I have my entire SACD collection ripped to my server. 

@gerrie I too like the Lindemann products. I recently bought a Limetree Bridge 2, and it has worked flawlessly since day one, and sounds very good running into my LinnenberG Telemann DAC-Pre. 

The nice thing too, looking ahead at where my system may be located, using wireless, the Limetree in my testing has worked better and more stable than my three times more expensive Naim ND5XS2. As far as sound, well, it is a lot closer to my ears than one might think, and I do really love the Naim streamer. 

+1 for the Bricasti M5. Picked up one 3 months ago to use as Roon endpoint in my main rig.  Big jump in SQ over using my Roon Nucleus as a Server/Streamer.