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'd agree with other posters, point of diminishing returns with streaming setups in general is pretty high dollar. The potential is likely higher than most assume.

I can't understand why you are using a computer.  I stream by using a BlueSound Node 2i and stream Tidal.  I just sit on my sofa using my iPhone and select music to listen to.  I do want to hear the more expensive streamers to find out if they really sound better,

@larry5729 Larry........did you read my response to your earlier "I can't understand" comment? Just look above please and you will find it

I don't care what audiophile reviewers say or what ASR type of fanatic websites "measure". I trust my years, so this is my personal take, based on my gear. 

I heard a very clear upgrade in sound going from Bluesound Node (2021... which I think was Bluesound Node 3.. they dropped the "2i" etc) to Limetree Bridge II. Smaller device, no nonsense, and in over-sampling mode it's super sharp. 

Didn't take too long for me to become curious about the upgrade I'd get from moving to Lumin UI Mini, which gets raves here and on every website I've seen. So I spent 2.5 times the money I'd spent on Bridge II. Realized it only works with a LAN cable... so moved all my stuff around to do that. I heard very little upgrade from Bridge II to UI Mini. 

YMMV. For me, Bridge II is  a sweet spot. I use Tidal, and from streamer it goes into my RME ADEII DAC, then into my Dynaudio powered speakers. I'd hear more of a sound difference upgrading the DAC or even the speakers than from upgrading the streamer. Schitt Modius to RME was a whole different world. 


“I’d hear more of a sound difference upgrading the DAC or even the speakers than from upgrading the streamer”


Exactly! Given your rest of your system, I am not at all surprised by the very small improvement from U1 Mini. You may find the preamp in your DAC good enough but I bet adding a good preamp between your existing DAC and powered speakers should yield a better sound experience than the U1 Mini upgrade. If its me, that’s where I focus on before attempting to change out DAC or Speakers.