Best Budget Music Streamer

A dedicated music streamer is essential if you enjoy high-quality audio. It has the potential to become the epicenter of your hi-fi universe, enhancing the enjoyment of every listening session.  Experts refer to a music streamer as a gadget that can play audio from a remote location. This place can be on the Internet, via a streaming service such as Spotify or Tidal, or on an external hard drive.

The finest music streamers should be able to play a wide range of hi-res music formats and have Wi-Fi and USB ports. Users will, of course, want internet radio and other fun choices to play with. The following top music streamer reviews will point you in the right direction.

Even for those who prefer physical music formats, streaming now accounts for a significant portion of our daily listening habits. A devoted streamer is a must-have for your digital hi-fi needs if you want to make sure your music sounds the best it can. Choosing one of the best music streamers is the best way to do them justice, whether you’re wanting to play locally saved lossless files or access CD-quality tracks from top-tier music subscription services.

Most hi-res music formats are supported by the majority of the options below. AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, UPnP compatibility, and USB connections are all available on some models. Internet radio, as well as smartphone and/or tablet control apps, are standard in the twenty-first century. Most of the music streamers on our list are five-star products.

WHY DO YOU NEED A MUSIC STREAMER?

The simple fact is that streaming music does not necessitate the use of a particular piece of gear. All you need is a phone or computer with an internet connection. However, that may not be doing your streaming experience or your audiophile hearing justice.

Let’s define what a music streamer, also known as a streaming media player or streaming music player, is before we go any further. A streamer, simply described, is a piece of hardware that lets you to access and play music across a network or the internet. This can include music from a streaming service like Spotify or TIDAL, as well as music from locally saved files. Your streaming device is also a server if it has internal storage. A streamer can still play music from a NAS or external hard drive if it lacks internal storage. For our purposes, we’ll refer to both streamers and streamers/servers as “streamers.”

Let’s see how a dedicated streaming device may improve and enrich your music-streaming experience.

If you have a physical media collection, you’re well aware of how cumbersome it can be: heaps of vinyl, stacks of CDs. Have you ever spent 30 minutes searching your house for a specific album? Or perhaps you have a lot of high-resolution audio files but no decent way to organize them. A streaming device has the advantage of putting a world of music at your fingertips, all in one spot.

As previously indicated, you may easily stream high-resolution music from your computer, phone, or tablet. Is the sound going to be perfect? Probably not. A streamer is intended specifically to handle audio files in a way that other devices are not.

At the end of the day, a computer can do a lot of things effectively, but it was never intended to be used as an audio player. Computers are loud; they were not built to be silent not only acoustically, but also electrically. Is the difference between a computer and a streamer night and day? Most likely not. Is there a distinction? Definitely. A streamer is also the way to go if you’re looking to squeeze out every last percentage point of performance.

LIST OF  BEST MUSIC STREAMERS ON BUDGET

Bluesound Node (2021) Review

On a budget, the third-generation Node is a great option for streaming music to your hi-fi system. Bluesound has gone back to the old ‘Node’ title for its third-generation music streamer, after its second-gen model was labeled with the indicative ‘Node 2i’ appellation. However, no one who is familiar with the multiroom audio expert will be surprised to learn that the Canadian brand has eschewed such austerity in terms of feature set and value.

The new Node for 2021, like the two Nodes that came before it in 2014 and 2018, enters the surprisingly sparse budget music streamer market with lots of up-to-date, all-around appeal – and that much is obvious even before you plug it in and hear what it can do.

Pros

  • Good beats
  • Effortlessly expressive
  • Effortlessly expressive connectivity

Cons

  • No remote included.

FEATURES

When we first turn on the Node, connect it to our network via an Ethernet wire, and launch the BluOS software on our iPad, the Node is quickly identified as a ‘device,’ ready to begin.  BluOS  aka is, Bluesound’s proprietary multi-room wireless streaming platform  is a given for networked Bluesound gear.

Local and networked libraries, streaming services, and internet radio stations may all be accessed for playback from here, as well as multi-room partnerships with up to 63 other BluOS-compatible products and presets for quick access to your favorite sources and music.

Those who don’t have music on their network or subscribe to a streaming service can still take advantage of the Node’s wireless capabilities, thanks to its compatibility for Apple AirPlay 2 and aptX HD Bluetooth (which is two-way, meaning it can wirelessly receive Bluetooth files for playback and also send whatever it is playing to Bluetooth headphones or speakers).

The BluOS app also provides general playback controls for people who don’t wish to spend £49, $59, or AU$99 on the optional Bluesound RC1 remote control, or use the Alexa and Google Assistant BluVoice capabilities. Naturally, the app also allows you to switch between wifi and physical sources.

For connecting audio sources or a TV, the latter has tiny optical/3.5mm combo and HDMI eARC inputs, as well as RCA, coaxial, optical, and subwoofer outputs. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack in the centre of the front panel, just below the Bluesound logo.

The digital connections are fed by a brand-new DAC that can handle both hi-res 24-bit/192kHz and MQA files, which is useful for Tidal Hi-Fi customers who have access to MQA-powered hi-res Tidal Masters streams. Bluesound has also upgraded the Node to the third generation by including more powerful processors, which are an integral element of the internal architecture for such a complex digital product.

SPECS

  • Dimensions 22 x 4.6 x 14.6cm
  • Weight 1.1kg
  • Bluetooth aptX HD
  • AirPlay 2 Yes
  • Outputs RCA, coaxial, optical, subwoofer, 3.5mm
  • Inputs Mini TOSLINK/3.5mm Stereo combo, HDMI eARC

DESIGN

Because of their multi-tasking and software based nature, networked gadgets require a robust platform and app to operate inside and Bluesound’s offering is among the best. The Node does, however, have some on-unit control, which could be useful if it’s placed in a room where it’s easily accessible.

The Node’s housing, which is about the size of a wireless router or a hardback book and contains a touch-capacitive top panel, is diminutively yet undeniably ‘Bluesound’ in design.  You can also adjust the volume by swiping across a slider, skip tracks, or by tapping small dot and arrow symbols, which, thanks to a proximity sensor, only light up on the otherwise-inconspicuous touch panel when you approach it, then fade away after 10 seconds or so. They’ll suffice for the small percentage of people who would use them on a regular basis, but our main wish – whether reasonable or not for a streamer at this price point – is for a proper screen display.

SOUND PERFORMANCE

The Audiolab 6000N Play, the Node’s closest opponent. However, as we place the two in our test room next to one another, we notice that there are fewer parallels between their sonic personalities – even though they definitely share talent as extremely capable performers at this level. The Audiolab has a larger, more wide sonic canvas on which it communicates music with elegance and appealing even-handedness, whereas the Bluesound is more direct, slightly warmer in tone, and has an insatiable desire for rhythms.

It has the Bluesound character we’ve come to expect from Burmester in recent years, and it’s audible whether we listen through our reference Burmester 088/911 Mk3 pre/power combo and ATC SCM50 speakers, or the more budget-friendly Marantz PM6007 amplifier and KEF Meta speakers.

But – and this is a major but – the Node is capable of providing a convincing counterpoint to the Audiolab’s capabilities. The subtle strokes of Einaudi are more shapely, rounded out, and have a sense of warmth to them. Greater dynamic inspection, especially at low levels, shows more information about the notes being played as well as the way they are played. And it’s the piece’s ability to communicate this that makes it enjoyable to listen to.

Switch to Joni Mitchell’s River (With French Horns) [Blue Sessions] on her 50 Blue (Demos & Outtakes) anniversary album, and while the Bluesound can’t capture every lilt we know is behind Mitchell’s wholesome delivery (as is to be expected at this level), it convincingly soars with her vocals, better capturing the recording’s bare-bones production as well.

When you give the Node a rhythm, like we do with Nas’ The Message, the Bluesound leaps into action, uninhibitedly embracing the lucid beat and firmly weaving it together with the guitar pattern. His rap is open and expressive in the mix, and the accompanying music has a natural feeling of free-flowing dynamics. The Audiolab is musically dynamic and far from uninteresting, although it does sound polite in comparison.

VERDICT

Bluesound has had this engaging sonic character since the beginning – not just in the Node, but also in its Powernode (basically an amplified Node) and wireless speakers – but it’s presented with more precision and depth in this iteration than in earlier versions. While we believe there is a big price difference between this level and the class-leading Cambridge Audio CXN V2 in the mid-range, the latest, third-gen Node is pushing affordable music streamers in the right direction.

It represents one of the most enjoyable and robust methods to add music streaming to your hi-fi system for this price – which is why we’ve chosen it as one of the best streamers.

ARCAM ST60 $1500

After experimenting with network streaming with its small Solo Uno and more serious SA30 just-add-speakers systems in recent years, it was only a matter of time before Arcam released a dedicated music streamer.

The Arcam ST60 is the first of its kind, and it uses the streaming architecture of its premium amplified sibling (while omitting the amplification stage), giving owners access to AirPlay 2, Google Cast, uPnP playback, and internet radio, as well as analogue and digital connections and MQA and Roon support.

That’s a broad offering in today’s music streaming industry – one that includes all of the top streaming platforms that support a wide range of music services and devices, as well as the increasing habits of this generation’s eager streamers.

However, as such compatibility becomes more common, it’s becoming more difficult for streaming solutions to differentiate themselves just on the basis of their spec sheets, thus performance remains a critical differentiator. Arcam knows this because he’s been in the hi-fi business for a long time.

Pros

  • The sound is clear
  • Detailed and expressive in a dynamic way
  • Support for streaming video is excellent.

Cons

  • Not a well-developed app

Features

The majority of our music comes from our NAS drive (through DLNA), our local iPad library (via AirPlay 2), and Tidal (via Google Cast and from within Arcam’s MusicLife app), all of which operate well and sound similar.

Arcam has improved the usability of its MusicLife app (which provides access to streaming services like Tidal and Qobuz as well as internet radio), and we think it’s basically OK and useful, but not seamless. The software and machine both tripped up a few times throughout our testing when moving from Google Cast to built-in Tidal or internet radio.

We prefer to use the free Bubble uPnP app when browsing our networked library because its interface isn’t as sophisticated as those of the Linn or Naim apps – maybe unsurprisingly given the more comprehensive ecosystem of streaming goods those brands have compared to Arcam. That’s hardly the end of the world, especially as there are free alternatives, and many people will likely prefer to utilize native music service apps supported by Apple and Google’s wireless multi-room systems anyhow. However, as Arcam’s streaming offering expands, we expect its software to improve.

SPECS

  • Dimensions (hwd) 102 x 43.3 x 306mm
  • Weight 5.5kg
  • Playback GoogleCast, Airplay2, uPnP; Roon Ready certified; MQA
  • Inputs 4 x digital inputs (coax, optical, USB)
  • Outputs Balanced XLR and RCA analogue; optical and coaxial

DESIGN

Arcam taking physical design inspiration from the contemporary-looking Cambridge Evo 150 and Naim Uniti Atom, we believe, has a better chance of happening. We admire the modern stylistic flourishes that such newcomers have brought to the hi-fi market, but we also like the ST60’s no-nonsense, conventional design, which could pass for any source from any decade and complements every other component in Arcam’s HDA line.

The ST60 isn’t only a streaming device; it also accepts external sources via its twin coaxial and optical ports. A USB drive can be inserted into the USB port on the device, which is also used for software updates. Of course, the outputs of a music streamer are far more important, and the Arcam provides a good assortment – coaxial, optical, RCA, and balanced XLR. Those who want to control the Arcam remotely from a third-party home automation system can use an RS232 connection.

Last but not least (given the ST60’s streaming prowess), there’s an ethernet connector, which we’d recommend using if at all possible, for the most stable connection. Two antennas that screw onto the back of the ST60 to grant the ST60 wi-fi connection (and, aesthetically, a pair of pointy ears) are included in the box for convenience, as is a full-sized remote control that is utilitarian over fancy.

VERDICT

Arcam has smoothly integrated its generations of audio knowledge into the streaming area, offering both amplified and non-amplified version in a single box. Its proprietary software isn’t perfect, and its chassis design isn’t perfect, but if you can get past that, you’ll be rewarded with the best-sounding performer available for this price.

The Arcam ST60 is a good choice if you’re content with your hi-fi system but want to upgrade it by adding a streamer next to your separates.

Audiolab 6000N Play $600

This new standalone music streamer from Audiolab joins the 6000 Series integrated amplifier and CD transport in the company’s mid-range price range. It also incorporates technology and features from both. It offers a capable and composed sound with an attractive openness and a nice honest, down-the-middle tonal balance, thanks to the same DAC chip from the amp and circuit design from the transport.

The 6000N Play, Audiolab’s first standalone music streamer, would have fit Einstein’s philosophy that a “simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone” – aesthetically, the 6000N Play is as unassuming as hi-fi streamers come, with a screen-less, largely unadorned chassis that hides its vast network abilities.

The 6000N Play, on the other hand, has every right to emanate a serene confidence beneath that simple exterior. It follows the five-star 6000A integrated amplifier and the 6000CDT CD transport as the third component in the mid-range 6000 Series, taking technology and features from both of its slightly older siblings.

Pros 

  • Clear sound
  • Organized user-friendly app
  • Equipped streaming platform

Cons

  • No display
  • Hard navigation

Features

The DAC chip in the 6000N Play (ES9018 Sabre32 Reference) is the same as in the 6000A amplifier (and the company’s award-winning M-DAC), which we’ve previously lauded for its ability to present a capable and composed sound.

It includes the Time Domain Jitter Eliminator from ESS Technology, which analyzes and algorithmically corrects the input signal to enhance timing. In its isolated power supply and toroidal transformer, the 6000N Play borrows from the 6000CDT.

With the 6000 Series siblings’ abilities falling short of network streaming prowess, the 6000N Play is forced to forge its own identity. However, the cornerstone of its streaming experience is DTS’s Play-Fi hi-res, multi-room platform, which was created by someone else.

Because the 6000N Play has Play-Fi as its software core, it can access services like Spotify Connect, Tidal, HDtracks, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Napster, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and SiriusXM when connected to a network through ethernet or dual-band wi-fi.

Thanks to DLNA and UPnP compliance, it can also broadcast hi-res music files up to 24-bit/192kHz from networked servers. For a multi-room setup, it can link wirelessly with up to 32 additional Play-Fi-enabled devices.

The DTS Play-Fi control app is the hub for all of these features. We’ve used this platform before with the award-winning Arcam rPlay, and we can confidently claim that its well-equipped streaming smarts are backed with a simple, stable experience.

From the home screen, you may access your music services, adjust volume, and operate a multi-room environment. Pressing the DTS logo returns you to the home screen, while another press returns you to your last point of in-app navigation.

There’s also a Hi-Res logo, which activates the Critical Listening Mode, which is required for high-resolution music listening. Because Play-Fi is a worldwide multi-room platform capable of connecting rooms full of Play-Fi products, the software by default downsamples hi-res files to CD quality (16-bit/48kHz) to preserve stream and bandwidth performance.

Critical Listening Mode eliminates the downsampling process, allowing the complete transmission of every bit and sample frequency, for people with a single DTS Play-Fi product, or just a few connected, who are naturally prioritizing optimum sound quality above bandwidth juggling.

SPECS

  • Wi-fi Yes
  • RCA
  • Ethernet yes
  • Hi-res 24-bit/192kHz
  • Multi-room Yes
  • Spotify Connect Yes
  • Outputs Optical, coaxial,

DESIGN

This isn’t the same as using a third-party platform, but Audiolab and DTS have worked together to make a 6000N Play feature that’s unique for each person. There are six on-unit presets that you can choose from.

Simply hold down one of the six preset buttons on the unit’s facade to apply a preset to whatever is now playing. It’s lot faster and easier than using the app to navigate, and it means you can come home from a long day at work, put on your stereo, and listen to Radio 6 Music with just one button click.

So far, so good, however selecting a preset frequently breaks app synchrony, forcing you to restart when you want to change songs or sources. It’s an example of how hardware (presets) and software (app control) might work better together, but it’s more of a hiccup than a crisis.

‘Works with Alexa’ capability has been added to a recent software update, allowing audio playback to be managed using voice commands on an Amazon Echo speaker or Alexa-enabled device.

SOUND

But, as Paul McCartney might remark, when you’re engrossed in a radio station, playlist, or record, all those problems seem so far away. When we play Big Thief’s Cattails, the Audiolab displays a wide-open canvas, richly colored with well-imaged detail and a welcome sense of delicacy and space.

Adrianne Lenker’s distinct singing is carried with stark clarity, acoustic finger-picking is palpable, and there’s the dynamic interest to depict the song’s inexorable development as it crawls slowly towards a dense, frantic climax.

The 6000N Play uses its articulacy and transparency to lay down the flaws in Lenker’s quivering delivery as we play Orange with her honest, vulnerable voice as the centerpiece.

The Audiolab doesn’t quite tie music threads together as tightly as the 2018-Award-winning Bluesound Node 2i, nor does it have the warmth we were drawn to with its opponent, but it provides the more informative and fascinating listen with greater clarity, openness, and a down-the-middle tonal balance.

It’s not like the 6000N Play is late or musically off the mark. The New Pornographers’ Champions Of Red Wine is driven with pace and accuracy as the percussion thrums along and the melodic electronica cascades as we bring our listening to an exuberant close. Consider us pleasantly amused.

VERDICT

While music streaming has cemented its place in the music industry and, as a result, has become ubiquitous in hi-fi catalogs, not everyone is ready to throw away their other source components. With its low price, unassuming look, and streaming capabilities, the Audiolab 6000N Play doesn’t expect you to.

The Play is a terrific, low-cost method to add streaming to your system without sacrificing sonic quality  with the added benefit of being able to hide it in your hi-fi rack. To be honest, it’s the most cost-effective budget option we’ve encountered.

CAMBRIDGE AUDIO EVO 75 $2250

After spending more time with the Cambridge Audio Evo 75 in recent weeks than our colleagues did in the previous year, one thing stands out: this streaming system with just-add-speakers is excellent company. It doesn’t talk to us like a lot of products nowadays, and it doesn’t make us laugh (unless we’re watching “Weird Al” Yankovich through it). It is, however, comfortable to be around, and this is due to its well-thought-out design.

Its name is the first indication of this. The name ‘Evo’ is appropriate for a product in such a forward-thinking hi-fi sector, while the ’75’ reflects its wattage-per-channel output. The Evo 75 is one side of Cambridge’s new Evo system lineup, which also includes a more feature-rich, 150W-per-channel variant dubbed – you got it – the Evo 150.

Cambridge’s entry into a developing industry of premium amplified streaming devices that simply require a set of speakers to complete a system. It isn’t quite a late launch, but it follows in the footsteps of Arcam, Linn, NAD, and Naim, among others.

PROS 

  • Upbeat performance
  • Well featured
  • Smooth operation

CONS

  • No phono input
  • Not well positioned buttons

FEATURES

The Evo 75 is determined not to be out featured at this level, as today’s streamers are supposed to be as fully furnished as an IKEA store. The StreamMagic platform from Cambridge provides an enticing entry point for streaming music from Tidal, Qobuz, and any network-stored music drives via DLNA.

Spotify Connect and the new Tidal Connect (which includes MQA support for streaming hi-res Tidal Masters) are on board, allowing subscribers to listen and control their collections from the native apps, while Google Chromecast also supports Deezer, YouTube Music, Apple Music, and TuneIn Radio. AirPlay 2 provides for one-touch casting from Apple devices, aptX HD Bluetooth allows for ‘offline’ streaming, and Roon Ready support rounds out the range of streaming options.

The multiple methods to stream music from your phone or tablet these days may seem daunting, but the Cambridge will play your music regardless of which path you choose. The Evo 75’s RCA, USB, coaxial, optical, and HDMI ARC connections can also be used to connect other sources, such as a TV, CD player (Cambridge hopes to release an Evo CD transport later this year), or storage drive.

Turntable owners will observe that there is no mention of a built-in phono stage — this isn’t our fault. The step-up Evo 150’s selling point is the inclusion of phono, asynchronous USB, and balanced XLR inputs, a second optical input, and two sets of speaker terminals for running two pairs of speakers at the same time, in addition to a new ESS Sabre DAC processor. Owners of the Evo 75 who want to listen to vinyl will need to connect a deck with a phono stage to the RCA input or purchase a separate phono stage.

SPECS

  • Dimensions 9 x 32 x 35cm
  • Max power 75W
  • Airplay 2 available
  • Google Chromecast Yes
  • MQA Yes
  • Outputs 3.5mm, preamp, sub
  • Inputs Coaxial, optical, RCA, USB, HDMI ARC, ethernet

DESIGN

Because of the one-box convenience of systems like these, a more current ‘lifestyle’ design mentality has emerged, and Cambridge has created a work of art in the Evo 75 (and its aesthetically identical sister).

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, thus Cambridge has managed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and living room styles. The black anodised aluminium chassis, which measures 31.7cm wide and about as deep as a full-width chassis, includes magnetically attached side panels that may be swapped out at the owner’s option. The included panels are walnut wood (a homage to Cambridge’s first product, the P40 amplifier, which was debuted in 1968) and an elegantly corrugated material produced mostly from recycled paper called Richlite.

Whether you choose classic traditionalism or sleek modernism, the Evo deservingly deserves to be seen as well as heard. The 6.8in LCD panel on the exterior, as well as the dual-concentric rotary dial, are design elements that are evocative of the company’s flagship Edge devices.

The colorful panel prioritizes album artwork, and the accompanying playing information (including file size and type) and menu choices are easy to view if you’re near to the box. The dial is divided into two sections: an outer wheel for browsing and navigating menus, which includes a mechanical click and allows you to be more precise with your selections, and a smooth and responsive inner volume wheel.

The playback buttons on the right-hand side of the screen (for power, play/pause, track skip, changing the display format, and toggling between speaker and headphone output) are thin’strip’ keys that aren’t especially comfortable to use. That’s not a big deal because we don’t use on-unit controls very often, but it’s worth noting that they’re also on the remote.

That remote is a big tool – not the little credit-card design we sometimes see included with current components – with a finger ridge on the back, demonstrating Cambridge’s attention to detail. Its buttons are identical to those on the unit, with the addition of additional buttons for display brightness adjustment and presets. However, its operating angle is fairly narrow, so it doesn’t work consistently if we’re too far away from the Evo 75’s front panel.

Presets make it simple to access some of your favorite music sources, such as an online radio station, and they can be assigned and selected via the remote or Cambridge’s StreamMagic app. Note, however, that not every music may be assigned; for example, we couldn’t ‘preset’ a Tidal album.

The specialized app is also handy for navigating your local, USB, or NAS libraries (it shows stable and fast for viewing multi-thousand-track libraries, albeit only in list format) as well as Tidal and Qobuz. You may also choose which sources to display and hide, which will be mirrored on the Evo 75’s display menu to save you from browsing through sources you don’t need.

You may not need the StreamMagic app if you usually stream from native music streaming apps (through Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, or AirPlay 2), or if you use Roon, but it’s there if you do.

SOUND

Cambridge’s efforts to check boxes and produce a positive user experience were not in vain. The Evo 75 is the sonic success that its specifications demand. It’s driven by Hypex NCore Class D amplifiers from third parties, rather than the architecture Cambridge produces for its standalone amps, but it sounds no less ‘Cambridge’ for it — insightful, open, and musical.

The Evo’s soundstage is immediately noticeable for its clarity and breadth. We begin with an instrumental version of Penguin Cafe’s At The Top Of The Hill, They Stood, and the Evo’s performance is exquisite at every turn. The beautiful piano and sad strings have a lovely fluidity and warmth to them, giving us our first taste of the Cambridge’s midrange articulacy.

There’s no lack of space or attention prohibiting either instrument from expressing itself dynamically – essential for keeping you interested and involved in the piece – and once the soaring melodica enters, the Evo’s part has no scale constraints.

Paak’s Come Home (feat. André 3000) has a strong sense of rhythm, with the Evo being precise and forceful in its treatment of the buoyantly bluesy accompaniment. Detail resolution is also generous and well distributed across the frequency range. André 3000’s rap moves fluidly across tuneful bass notes and slashing cymbals, his cadence clearly expressed. While the Evo’s voice delivery isn’t the most natural, it does have a luscious and solid character that’s difficult to dislike.

The Evo 75’s interpretation, like Kate Bush’s Babooshka, has the punch and dynamic inspection to transmit the production’s jauntiness, as well as the transparency to get under both the delicate and emotional moments of her varied delivery.

While the Grado SR325e and Meze Audio 99 Classics are plugged into the Evo’s front-panel 3.5mm output, the volume is automatically reduced (it returns to the previous speakers’ output level when they’re unplugged), and while it’s a rougher listen – there’s a slight loss of clarity and refinement – it’s still informative and entertainingly forthcoming.

We start with our reference ATC SCM50 speakers and then move on to the more affordable, award-winning KEF LS50 Meta, which also play to the Evo’s strengths. Their combined investment isn’t insignificant – we’re talking approximately £2800 ($3750, AU$5500) – but the degree of performance they give for a system of this price, space, and convenience is astonishing. Even a collaboration with the less expensive Bowers & Wilkins 607 S2 is enjoyable: the presentation is more constrained and lacking in the resolution and dynamic insight that the KEFs can achieve, but it’s still quick, energetic, and ultimately appealing.

The multi-Award-winning Naim Uniti Atom costs more than the Evo 75, but the increased punch and rhythmic precision, as well as the ability to dig out a little more detail and deliver it in a little better soundstage, make up for the price difference.

VERDICT

There are a lot of streaming hi-fi products out there that sound amazing, look fantastic, and are easy to use, but few of them manage to do all three as well as the Cambridge Audio Evo 75. Nothing has come close to Naim’s Uniti line in giving the whole package in the premium one-box streaming system market.

The Evo 75 is simply the greatest system of its sort to spend quality time with if you’re seeking for the maximum convenience in a superb-sounding, well-featured bundle and can’t stretch your budget to the Uniti Atom.