iFi Audio ZEN Stream Review & Comments

Ed Gayton

Standard Member
Ok, but how does it compare with the (much simpler and cheaper) option of a Chromecast Audio outputting via digital?
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Nice review, thanks. I am potentially interested in this to plug into my Lyngdorf amp. Predominantly to use as a Roon endpoint, but having the facility for the occasional bit of airplay would be very handy. The coaxial output means I wouldn’t have to fork out £400 for the USB module for my amp which most of the competitors would necessitate. Plus I can tuck it away somewhere so it doesn’t take up a shelf.

Bit concerning that it couldn’t be set up via the iOS app though.
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
is their anything that sounds this good at 3X the price?

It doesn't really 'sound;' it's a front end so it simply enables the decoding of what it is connected to. If you are exclusively using Roon, I prefer the SOtM because it's bulletproof but there's no arguing how much more flexible the iFi is if you aren't a Roon user.

Bit concerning that it couldn’t be set up via the iOS app though.

There was a recent app update to iOS. I reset the test sample and this time, it connected correctly. As noted in the review, iFi is really pushing the software on the Stream and sweeping bugs as quickly as they can.
 

jag1

Novice Member
i just returned mine to TREO in Singapore after spending 2 months trying resolve connection and power down issues though various firmware upgrades. i have asked TREO to send me a new unit, but they want to "replicate" the issues after months of exchanges between them before they will ship a new one. frustrating.
 

Zozo

Novice Member
I find it rather weird that in an audio related review there isn't a single word on sound quality, including the final score board. I have the same SOtM and would have been interested in some detailed description of the sound quality differences, not functionality which I can read myself in the specs.
 

jag1

Novice Member
I find it rather weird that in an audio related review there isn't a single word on sound quality, including the final score board. I have the same SOtM and would have been interested in some detailed description of the sound quality differences, not functionality which I can read myself in the specs.
the sound quality is very very good, however i think it is still in beta development. i would gladly trade some of its features to that of the SOtM stability
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
I have the same SOtM and would have been interested in some detailed description of the sound quality differences

Into the same USB sources. There are no differences sonically. None. Zip, zilch, nada etc. The error correction on the various USB sources I tested is far beyond any output differences the two devices might have between them. The most I will say for any of these devices (and why I like them) is that they are quieter than most computer based USB sources which can sometimes manifest as an audible improvement in some situations as well as offering useful flexibility in terms of system setup.

If you already have an SOtM and you don't need the extra features of the ZEN Stream, it will in no way change the performance of your existing system.
 

Zozo

Novice Member
Into the same USB sources. There are no differences sonically. None. Zip, zilch, nada etc. The error correction on the various USB sources I tested is far beyond any output differences the two devices might have between them. The most I will say for any of these devices (and why I like them) is that they are quieter than most computer based USB sources which can sometimes manifest as an audible improvement in some situations as well as offering useful flexibility in terms of system setup.

If you already have an SOtM and you don't need the extra features of the ZEN Stream, it will in no way change the performance of your existing system.
Thanks for the reply. I'm not quite sure what your mean by "into the same USB sources". Do you mean the same USB DAC? The source I use is exclusively network based from my PC server running Roon Core and HQPlayer. On the SOtM I use either Roon Ready end-point or HQPlayer NAA. Anyway, if you hear no difference, that answers my question.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
The Zen Stream,
DSCF6737.jpg
 
Last edited:

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
@Cebolla , Was supposed to edit the post, but other things got in the way and it got deleted. Anyway, I was saying that the Zen Stream's main purpose is transport/passing the signal through, that it is not a decoder per se. It receives and streams the signal without any degradation, which is often the case if you are using a different audio configuration. You rightly pointed out that a DAC receives a signal not a file. I think that was it.
 

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