The best low budget streaming bridge?

Hi - the topic says it all - whats the best from 100 to 1000 EUR and how big is the influence of a pure bridge on the SQ (also compared to high-end bridges) - all it does is fill the gap between the Roon source and the DAC - right? Just being curious…

Your definition of budget differs from mine … EUR1,000?

I think you’d be nuts to spend that much on a Bridge. From my experience, Raspberry Pi can perform better than proprietary kit costing 5+ times more.

If there are issues streaming with a ‘budget’ Raspberry Pi I’d look to the DAC as the weak link not the Bridge.

The Bridge should be transparent and not influence sound. And that’s my experience.

… well - I‘ve owned the Auralic Aries G1 and the Lindemann Limetree - both as pure bridges into my DAC and to be honest, there was little difference. As said, from what I understand, all the Bridge does is transport the signal from tue source to the DAC - so I was wondering why one can spend 10k or a few 100 and if there are huge differences - because I would nit think so. Different thing with the DAC - that‘s obvious. Also CD wise I do make out differences with high-end transports… but a bridge - here I do not understand why it would have a major impact on SQ… thus my asking for experience…

Christoph as Martin said the Pi is a great place to start with USB, and then add a Digital or Analogue Hat if you are not taken with that.

There is a lot of fun there and there are great places to start with Ropieee, VitOS, DietPi and others where you can literally get started for $60 all in with a working streamer.

Then you can extend it as needed or replace it if you prefer having learned a lot.

I have a total of 4 Pis covering pure USB, Digital Hat, Analogue Hat and Roon extension manager, and while not all are in use all the time, it got me to where I wanted to be at the total cost of a couple of hundred dollars (or pounds in my case)

Full disclosure I am now also using a Matrix Audio mini-I pro 3 in my living room, but that was more to tidy things up and give me an all in one solution. It’s great but not drastically better than the Pi with digital hat that was previously connected to the Fiio K5 Pro headphone DAC/Amp that cost about 30% of what it did. Spousal acceptance factor is far higher though.
But in my study and conservatory I am using Pis to drive my music.

A good plug and play solution which cost more than a RPI and less than 1000 EUR would be the Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra. It’s Roon Ready and paired with a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital would make a very nice Bridge + DAC combo for just your upper limit. Also the Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 would be a very nice choice. I have both on order so will be able to compare them in a couple of weeks :wink:


Don’t discount the 2nd hand market either, Lumin has the u1 mini which might sell in the higher end of €1000 and I’m sure there are others.

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You can find great deals on used Auralic gear, heck a used Altair which is actually an all in one so you could see what you think of it’s dac, can be found for just under $1000.
Used original Aries less than $500.


And there is also Aries Mini, for about $500 when shows up on eBay… (I own one, though too would recommend a RPi 4, for under $100.)