Let's make a list: Audio Network "Bridges" without DACs...?

I think this is a relevant topic for many, like me, who have a good standalone DAC and seek to keep it that way. Yet, we search for a very high quality Network "bridge" to get files from streaming services to our DAC in the highest quality, most cost-effective way.


So, thought to make a list and have you guys help us all so that others may benefit.

We all know about these:

1. Bluesound Node (has a DAC, yes, but many use it just as a bridge.) $600

2. iFi Zen Stream @ $400

3. Google Chromecat or old Apple TV - $30-$75.00

4. Project Stream Box Ultra

5. Stack Audio Link II - $900 + LPS


What's next?





4. Pro-Ject makes many different, with and without.

Metrum Baby A +.

Allo USBridge Sig.

miniDSP SHD Studio.       AES/EBU

Magna Mano Ultra      i2s

Sonore - many.


Raspberry Pi


Is there a point?

You looking for cheap?


Plug and Play?

The Zen is the newest and with forthcoming software and is probably the current best buy I have no experience with it


















The point: A guide for all as it is a very common search item.

Me? I aint looking for cheap. I',m looking for cost effective/hi-quality.

For any new to the topic, "Network Bridge" is also often referred to as "Network Player" or "Renderer", providing the ability to play any digital file on a network or local drive and send the digital output to a DAC. 

"Streamer" is often mentioned interchangably, but streaming more specifically is taking the digital file from an internet-based service like Spotify, Qobuz or Tidal. All streamers don't have connectivity to networked drives of your own library. Some have internal drives built-in, optional or can be connected directly via cables. 

@ianrmack for cost effective/high-quality, one vote here for Sonore products. If budget is very tight and you're DIY-inclined, Raspberry Pi is a sub-hobby into itself. For easy/peasy on modest budget, Blusound Node variants seem to be the "Toyota Corolla" of the category.; proven/functional/decent. Cheers,


If it were my money, these would be my choices:


Solid performers under 2k ...

-Sonore opticalRendu

-Lumin U1 Mini

Over 2k...

-Innuos Zen MK2

-Innuos Zenith MK3


Over 5k ...

-Lumin U1

-Aurender N10