Music streamers come in many forms. They can be built into wireless speakers or single-box systems with amplification or simply be a stand-alone component of a dedicated hi-fi set-up.
But while other hi-fi separates such as a turntable or CD player just have a simple job to do, a music streamer (or network audio streamer) has to manage many different wireless sources as well as be able to play music files from local storage on your network.
Most of the selections support the vast majority of hi-res music formats, though the upper limit can vary between 24-bit/96kHz PCM files for more basic products up to 32-bit/768kHz for those that aim to push the boundary.
Connectivity-wise, streamers can boast AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, UPnP compatibility and USB ports. Regardless of the model, you’ll be able to play local music files from a connected NAS drive and play thousands of internet radio stations. You'll also be able to play from your favourite music streaming services – higher audiophile quality alternatives such as Tidal or Qobuz are built-in.