Streaming audio is now first choice – Here are the amps to elevate it to audiophile quality
Best Streaming Amplifiers
There was a time when stereo amplifiers were minimalist and very simple. But that has changed. Today’s stereo amplifiers have a range of features that makes them more sophisticated and with the rise of streaming services like Spotify and Tidal, not to mention peoples own digital files, the need for decent streaming amplifiers has never been greater.
Cambridge Audio EVO 75
While it lacks a Phono input everthing else about the Cambridge Audio Evo 75 is outstanding. From it’s punchy sound to it’s visual display. If streaming is your focus then you won’t get a better streaming amp this year than the Evo 75.
You just had to equip amplifiers with analog outputs and inputs together with speaker terminals. But things are now very different, for you can now connect a vast array of modern digital devices.
Since smartphones, laptops, and other streaming devices have become sources of streaming music; amplifiers continue to evolve. As a result, many of the best amplifiers today have Bluetooth streaming, USB connectivity for smartphones and laptops, phono stages for turntables, and built-in DACs.
Here are the best amplifiers for streaming music.
1: Cambridge Audio Evo 75 Streaming Amplifier
Wow. The Cambridge Audio Evo 75 is an incredible example of how great it can be living in a constantly improving digital music age.
This Evo 75 is all you need with the addition of a set of decent speakers to match its solid performance.
From the moment the digital interface comes to life you feel like this is going to be good times ahead. The screen display helps you to visually connect your album list or streaming music with the controls. This modern take on the face of this streaming amp just elevates the whole experience.
This unit was voted a 5 star winner from What HiFi but it doesn’t come cheap.
If you have the money, your looking for a solid streaming amp that includes a great display, this is a great choice. However, if you’re looking for an amp to stream from but also connect to your Phono set-up, this isn’t for you as there is no phono input.
2: Yamaha WXA-50 MusicCast Wireless Streaming Amplifier
The Yamaha WXA-50 is a new model that lets you make a system based on the integrated stereo amplifier. You can also use it to give wireless and streaming capability to your existing system.
The WXA-50 has support for MusicCast, which is the multiroom system of Yamaha. You can listen to multiple music sources in different locations and add to your home network with this system.
You can control the unit with the MusicCast app and the remote control that comes with it.
The unit has a high-end finish that makes it look impressive. The smooth texture and curved edges look very nice with their grey metallic finish. The model has solid construction and is quite compact.
The front panels sport a large volume dial towards the right. Towards the left, there are buttons like play/pause, input, and power. You can use the play/pause button to establish a MusicCast network.
In the middle of the front panel, you will find 3 indicator lights. One of these shows the unit status, another indicates wireless connectivity, while the last light indicates Bluetooth pairing.
Despite its compact dimensions, the WXA-50 is very well constructed and designed.
Connections are all located towards the back. There is also a detachable antenna that you can use for wireless connectivity and Bluetooth. There are enough connection ports to fulfill almost all of your needs. There is a port for Ethernet if a wired connection is what you prefer in place of a wireless one. There is also a switch that lets you turn wireless connectivity off. You can control your WiFi and Bluetooth using this button. You will also find an output for the subwoofer (if you have one), stereo analog output, stereo analog input, USB port, and digital optical input.
The remote control that comes with it is quite small. In addition to the remote, you can use the MusicCast app to control the amplifier. If you choose to use the remote control provided, you will find that it has all the necessary buttons to control the amplifier. You can select mute, raise or lower the volume and select your input choice. You can use the skip and play/pause buttons for listening to your favorite tracks.
There are 6 preset buttons that you can press for setting up your favorite USB source or network. You can press these buttons to listen to your favorite songs, albums, or internet radio stations. The remote control may be small, but it does its job quite nicely.
The WXA-50 has sound processing technologies built into it so that you can enjoy a good audio experience irrespective of the speaker or source quality. If you listen to audio from your smartphone, the Compressed Music Enhancer can boost sound quality at ll frequencies. The EQ is volume-adaptive and will hence modify the treble/bass balance as per the volume. The Advanced Bass Extension gives you a richer and deeper bass sound.
3: Dan D’Agostino Progression Integrated Amp with Streaming
The Dan D’Agostino Progression Integrated may have a hefty price tag, but it is one of the best systems you will get to hear. The modular nature of the unit, its superb construction details, and above all, its wonderful audio quality and detail are all plus points to consider.
The integrated amplifier can also connect with an optional digital module to provide network streaming features and digital inputs.
It also plays records too. But for that, you will have to buy the phono stage module. There are also several cartridge loading options. You can fit the vinyl and digital modules simultaneously.
Although it is referred to as an amplifier, it really is a comprehensive music streaming system thanks to its wealth of features. You just have to add speakers to this integrated system, and it starts playing music.
It can supply 200W per channel, making it quite a powerhouse. Another impressive fact is that when the load impedance is halved, the power will double. This means that the system can drive any kind of speaker without too many problems.
As far as construction quality is concerned, the D’Agostino is immaculately built. The surface finish is beautiful, and the dials turn with great smoothness.
4: Marantz PM7000N Streaming Amplifier (inc. HEOS)
The Marantz PM7000N combines several modules into one compact package and has made other lists here. It gives you access to several music streaming services, and it has network modules, a DAC, and amplification of 60W per channel. You have pretty much everything you will need with this unit.
Marantz has gone for a more contemporary style than the conventional full-width design compared to previous models.
The streaming system is nothing new for the brand. Marantz has a long history of making stereo amps. Network players are now standard for its two-channel models. You will find the best in Marantz proprietary technology in this unit.
The phono and pre-amplifier circuit both leverage the Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module system that has been standard in the Marantz lineup since the 90s.
To bring down the component count and to facilitate the signal path, the brand has used a FET (field effect transistor) at the input stage for the phono design. Marantz has chosen to go along with a toroidal transformer rather than an EI core. This is due to the low vibration and higher efficiency that is inherent to the toroidal design. The speaker terminals are also upgraded.
You can activate the analog mode to disable digital sections that are not currently in use for improved performance.
You have several analog inputs as well as digital connections, due to which you can connect music playing components like a turntable, CD player, or USB stick. The device itself can play music from different sources, including internet radio and networked music servers. The integrated amplifier can play from various music streaming services such as Amazon, Deezer, Tidal, and Spotify using Wi-Fi and ethernet.
To enjoy one-touch streaming using an Apple device, you can take advantage of the built-in AirPlay 2. You can get the same offline convenience that you get with Bluetooth.
If voice control is important to you, then you will be glad to know that there is support for Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
5: NAD C 700 Streaming Amplifier
The NAD C 700 is a streaming amplifier developed for those who desire an exceptional listening experience. The device offers great value for money.
The BluOS interface lets users stream various online radio stations and music streaming services like Qobuz, Tidal, Amazon Music HD, and Spotify.
The unit is constructed from premium materials and thus has an elegant look. The aluminum housing contains the HybridDigital UcD amplifier. The smooth glass is used in the front panel, which features a 5 inch HD color display that displays system settings, track status, and album artwork.
No matter what type of loudspeaker load, the UcD amplifier generates very little noise and distortion throughout its frequency range.
You can stream Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, and AirPlay 2 quite easily with this device for streaming your favorite music. Using the Bluetooth connection, you can stream audio to the NAD and listen to the NAD using wireless headphones.
Those who use voice control should know that the NAD can provide voice control capability for Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa.
Those in search of an easy-to-use music device will find much value in this exceptionally user-friendly product.
NAD has been a pioneer in technology ever since it developed the 3020 integrated amplifiers back in 1978. The C 700 BluOS is the latest streaming device that marks the latest innovation of the brand.
6: Echo Link – HiFi Streaming Amp
The Echo Link can make streaming music sound better. You can connect its wirelessly with an Echo device and then plug it with your speakers. The Echo Link is what you need for a robust audio system that plays streaming music.
With the Echo Link, you do not have to Echo Dot’s analog connection. With the echo link, you can listen to high-quality audio using a digital connection. It makes a substantial difference to the sound quality that justifies the price tag.
You should think of plugging in the Echo Link with your audio system since this is the model that is just right for your Echo device.
The Echo Link can improve the quality of the 320 kbps Spotify music stream. A wider soundstage is created, and the music sounds fuller and expansive. The bass is a bit harder, while the highs sound crisper.
With the Echo Link, the lyrics are now more distinct and easier to understand. These subtle differences make a profound difference to your audio experience. The 3.5 mm output of the Echo Dot improves just about all aspects of audio quality.
7: Denon PMA-150H Integrated Streaming Amplifier
The Denon PMA-150H Integrated Network Amplifier sports plenty of power, a discrete headphone circuit, built-in HEOS, wireless connectivity, and an OLED display that is fully functional.
Everyone knows I am a big Denon fan. I like their power and drive, especially in the Home Theatre space. Their HEOS technology shared with sister brands Marantz is good and the PMA-150H is an excellent streaming amplifier with a stunning display.
The device has compact dimensions so that it can easily fit into the most available spaces. You thus have the freedom to place it where you prefer. The physical design of the unit makes it stand out from the crowd.
You can enjoy audio with its wireless connectivity and wired option as well. You can also connect it to your TV so that it delivers audio playback using an optical connection.
Overall, the Denon PMA-150H gives a good all-around performance. The sound quality if splendid. But the model has a lot more to it besides great sound. Since it is very user-friendly, those who feel challenged by technology will have an easier time using it for listening to music. This is a high-end product that is meant for beginners and experienced users alike.
8: Sony STR-DN1080 Integrated Amplifier with Streaming
This bad boy makes more than one of our lists as an integrated amp (with streaming) that punches hard for its lower price tag. It’s a great unit even though it’s not as young as some. If you can get a deal on it, it’s still a valuable player.
The Sony STR-DN1080 has all the necessary functions and features that you could ask for from a sophisticated receiver. It has an array of 4K compatible inputs, Dolby Atmos, AirPlay, Chromecast streaming and multiroom music ability. The audio quality is exceptional which will make for a terrific movie experience. It comes with a user-friendly remote control and interface that is easy to navigate.
However, the sound quality is not as robust as its previous model. Hence, it is not as forgiving for certain kinds of speakers.
But overall, the AV receiver sounds very good. It is easy to use and has the full set of features that you will need. These qualities make it one of the best AV receivers at its price point.
With the continuing popularity of soundbars, it might appear that AV receivers may be phased out. Home theater enthusiasts will not agree with this. But for many buyers, soundbars are much easier to use than AV receivers.
However, this Sony model manages to bring down the complexity of AV receivers quite nicely. It has an array of user-friendly features and all necessary inputs so that new users will not be intimidated.
The best amplifiers for streaming music listed above are a good buy for any audiophile. You can choose from one of the models listed above to vastly improve your streaming music experience.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-06 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.