Wireless music Streamers are the modern solution for hi-fi music lovers. Streaming services like Tidal, Deezer, and Spotify are the best choice to enjoy billion of songs anytime & anywhere. Once a music Streamer has connected with your network, you can stream music from a wide range of sources remotely. Streaming service subscription charges may have been very affordable but a good music streaming device is not. A readymade device is more convenient but could cost a lot, so the majority of streaming devices are designed over single-board computers like Raspberry Pi by enthusiasts. Today in this article I have tried to make a list of some such readymade and DIY best budget hi-fi music Streamers from 50 to 200 $ price point.
Please note that all the best budget hi-fi music Streamers mentioned here are not tested by me physically. I have tried to gather details online and even I had contacted brands to acquire information on the products.
Dayton Audio WBA31
The most affordable Wi-Fi, hi-fi audio steamer was Google Chrome cast audio but as it’s not available anymore, so I have to mention the name of Dayton Audio WBA31 as the most affordable streamer. For just 50$ it’s almost impossible to think of a product like WBA31. It has both Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth 4.0 support and can stream music from Tidal, Spotify, and other streaming services. WBA31 also has features like a micro SD card slot (32GB max), remote control, dedicated app control, DLNA, and Airplay.
Product Link – Here.
Raspberry Pi Zero W with Allo MiniBoss DAC
There are enormous possibilities of a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and PI Zero W is a miniature version of it. Raspberry Pi Zero W comes with wireless function and ultra-low price so for this project I have chosen it. With Pi Zero we need another thing I.e. Allo MiniBoss DAC. MiniBoss DAC, because it matches the form factor. Using this combination, you have a limitless option to stream your favorite music from NAS, phone, streaming services, etc. This two-board combination costs almost 70$.
Raspberry Pi 3B+ With HiFiBerry Digi+
The price of these two combined boards is around 80$ but what you getting is truly powerful and customizable. The DAC part is not present in this setup but you can get a clean digital signal from both Spdif and Optical out. So by adding this setup with your existing DAC/AMP or speakers, you can stream whatever you want.
Raspberry Pi 3B+ With Allo DigiOne
This setup’s working principle is almost similar to the above 80$ setup. But this setup would cost you 150$ without a case, micro SD card, and power supply. The only difference is no optical out in Allo DigiOne but instead, you get more refined high-quality digital audio via BNC and Coaxial.
N.B In the above raspberry Pi-based DIY steamers, Pi itself can do the streaming job by itself but due to noisy USB bass, we prefer to use HAT boards ( hardware attached on top) like Allo boss DAC. A good power supply, case, and some basic computer knowledge also required to DIY these type of setups. For internal OS, I highly recommend Volumio or Moode Audio.
Audiophonics RaspDac Mini Kit
Audiophonics RaspDac Mini Kit is only 179$ but defeats all the other devices mentioned in this article in terms of sound. The kit comes with a high-quality ESS9038Q2M board which is almost rare at this price point. Audiophonics have highly modified the kit with the mini display, modified OS, and mounting case. The only drawback is you have to buy a separate power supply and assemble it by yourself. This kit doesn’t have a remote or dedicated app but using apps like BubbleUPNP you can do almost all desired functions.
Product Links – Here.
Audioengine B-Fi is almost similar to Dayton Audio WBA31 but costs 130$ plus. The price is for better build quality and a high-quality ESS DAC chip inside. B-Fi doesn’t have a remote control but the dedicated app is better than what Dayton Audio is offering.
Product Links – Here.
Arylic S50 Pro+
Arylic just updated their old S50 Pro and now its name is Arylic S50 Pro +. For just 199$ it is a fantastic and flagship product. Arylic designed a completely new board for S50 Pro + and it has all the desired features someone wants in a flagship streaming device. It has 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, 100M Ethernet, USB host, Bluetooth 5.0 apteX HD, optical + coaxial output, analog input-output, and IR remote control. For the good sound, Arylic has used ESS9023 DAC, cirrus logic ADC for apteX HD. So basically it is a streamer plus preamp. S50 Pro + also has a dedicated app to control the unit and the app lets you stream music from famous streaming services like Tidal, Spotify, Deezer, etc. Using S50 Pro+ you can also set multi-room set-up in your house. The best thing is, S50 Pro+ comes with all the accessories you need to use this steamer, the app is also very user friendly.
Product Links – Here.
Among all the mentioned streamers above; I am using Dayton Audio WBA31 and also using Raspberry Pi 3B+ with Allo DigiOne. The budget readymade solutions are good only when you don’t want to involve in DIY. But if you have any interest in DIY then Pi-based streamers are more flexible than any other. So anyone who wants to step into the streaming devices for the first time should try these best budget hi-fi music Streamers.