The Audioengine B-Fi digital streamer comes to market. If you want a music streamer under $200 (outside of Amazon’s voice activated devices), the pickens are usually pretty thin. While the Jeff’s products have widened out to some more audiophile-thoughtful options, more dedicated devices often arrive around $500 or more. Audioengine is known for hitting that sweet spot around the “computer audio” market on more than one occasion. The newest product announced today addresses a growing need in the digital space, and does so with a competitive price and very small footprint. Enter, the B-Fi Digital Streamer.
While Amazon’s inexpensive products rely on voice commands (and therefore don’t demand another phone app for control) most other full sized products have to get the job done with either Airplay/DLNA, their own custom app or rely on someone else’s UPnP app, like the Chord Mojo/Poly. The B-Fi Streamer launches with its own custom software, which if done correctly, is usually the easiest way to get the best sound. One other big point of differentiation, the B-Fi app currently accommodates Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Napster, Tidal and Qobuz, of which the latter is notably still absent from Amazon’s capabilities.
Outputs include your standard RCA analog outs and a digital optical option for connecting to an external DAC. In the case of the RCAs, a ES9023 chipset handles the digital decoding. The case is roughly the same size as Audioengine’s bluetooth streamer, the B1 – and also the same price. That is to say, it is incredibly small. Looking at the back panel, things are just barely larger than the output connectors and two screws holding everything together.
Resolutions run up to 24/192 kHz and the Audioengine streamer can also handle multi room and multiple users. While not the stuff of audiophile pursuits, having the same song play simultaneously across the house at high volumes is an oddly satisfying experience, I highly recommend it. As for the hifi playback software Roon, Audioengine representative Brady Bargenquast said the option is not currently available on the B-Fi – but it is something that the company is looking at.
The Audioengine B-Fi digital streamer is priced at $189 and is available today via the company’s direct-to-consumer site.
More info: Audioengine B-Fi Digital Streamer