iFi ZEN Stream

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello I am new here. I recently did an upgrade of my Node 2i replacing the internal ps with a Fidelity Audio Reference interface at about £140 It was easy to do and produced very noticeable improvements probably thanks to the introduction of the iFi Power X ps. Now I'm wondering if anybody has compared the upgraded node with the Zen Stream? It will have to be very good indeed to better the improved resolution and separation I am getting with the ref interface/ipower x combo. I am so impressed with the power x I am already planning on getting the elite asap.
If no-one has done a comparative test I would happily volunteer if iFi would be kind enough to send me a Zen Stream to test.View attachment 1623719
@agamatic666 I am happy to hear iFi iPowerX noticeably improved the sound of your system. Send me a DM with some more details and we will see how to go about your request.
 

spirosgon

Member
I bought this damn thing yesterday and I m about to collapse.

I use my Android phone, wifi , for playing with Spotify Connect and Qobuz through bubbleUPnP . I use the USB out to my Kef ls50 wireless.

Somehow and after 100 trials I managed to set the wifi up.

My bigger problem is that volume setting, no matter what I choose in settings ( hardware, software, none and then on scales of volume ( set it to 100 with 5 as step) is behaving without any logic. Either is , without any reason, screamingly high, or impossible low, cannot be adjusted but phone controls, neither by KEF remote, the two app ( Spotify and Bubble ) give inconsistent volume behavior, etc. etc.

This product should not be released with such software issues. I also read the tidal problems, etc..

It is a pitty, since hardware is promising .
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
I’m returning mine today and going with the CXN v2. I found the ifi very frustrating. Coming from BluOS was probably always going to be a challenge but it was poor connectivity in WiFi and Ethernet. Many of the radio stations didn’t work. The sound quality was good but I want something that just works and I don’t have to mess about with all the time. It was slow to get a connection within the app after the unit was powered off although that may be unfair as the node was always in standby.
Could be a good device at that price as well but for me, heavily let down by its convenience. Streaming is about convenience amongst other things and this didn’t feel like it. Airplay quality was good but again, suffers the same connectivity issues albeit not quite so frustrating.
So how do you like your CXN v2? I am in the market for a new streamer but £700 is a bit steep. I like the form factor of this but I don't think I need the screen. I'm looking at Denon dnp 800ne or Marantz na6006
 

rc789

Active Member
I didn’t think I’d like the screen and wouldn’t really be able to see it through the unit however it turns out I can make out the radio station logos and the screen can be turned off so win win all round. I control it from the app or with the harmony elite so can’t comment on the remote. It’s worked flawlessly so far. I have the coax out connected to qutest then to SA30. I also have the analogue out from the v2 connected to an analogue in on the SA30. The clear difference is the qutest has a bigger soundstage but v2 holds it own in most of the other areas. I don’t miss BluOS so much like I did with the zen stream. I can recommend it on par with the node 2i, better DAC (s) and has a screen plus it’s full size if that makes a difference. It’s light, maybe same ballpark as the Node even. If you can get for £700 vs the node at £500 then I’d say it’s worth it. Not essential as you may use an external DAC but if you want to a/b test you can. There are many more connections which I haven’t used. I am connected via Ethernet.
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
I didn’t think I’d like the screen and wouldn’t really be able to see it through the unit however it turns out I can make out the radio station logos and the screen can be turned off so win win all round. I control it from the app or with the harmony elite so can’t comment on the remote. It’s worked flawlessly so far. I have the coax out connected to qutest then to SA30. I also have the analogue out from the v2 connected to an analogue in on the SA30. The clear difference is the qutest has a bigger soundstage but v2 holds it own in most of the other areas. I don’t miss BluOS so much like I did with the zen stream. I can recommend it on par with the node 2i, better DAC (s) and has a screen plus it’s full size if that makes a difference. It’s light, maybe same ballpark as the Node even. If you can get for £700 vs the node at £500 then I’d say it’s worth it. Not essential as you may use an external DAC but if you want to a/b test you can. There are many more connections which I haven’t used. I am connected via Ethernet.
Well I think I would go for the Denon which would match with the rest of my system. I like the full size form factor and I think it would have same functionality as your CXN but cheaper.
 

rc789

Active Member
 

rc789

Active Member
I think the Denon has an optical and analogue out only. In my experience optical can sound a bit harsh compared to coax.
Have you considered the node even if it’s 2i?
The zen stream was very good for sound quality, I’d say better than the Denon will be (guessing of course) but the user interface and reliability was the deciding factor for me. If you’re not in a rush may be worth keeping an eye on the thread in case they make improvements. I only used the all in one setting as well so if you were specifically looking at Spotify or tidal perhaps then that could be a different experience.
 

rc789

Active Member

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
I bought this damn thing yesterday and I m about to collapse.

I use my Android phone, wifi , for playing with Spotify Connect and Qobuz through bubbleUPnP . I use the USB out to my Kef ls50 wireless.

Somehow and after 100 trials I managed to set the wifi up.

My bigger problem is that volume setting, no matter what I choose in settings ( hardware, software, none and then on scales of volume ( set it to 100 with 5 as step) is behaving without any logic. Either is , without any reason, screamingly high, or impossible low, cannot be adjusted but phone controls, neither by KEF remote, the two app ( Spotify and Bubble ) give inconsistent volume behavior, etc. etc.

This product should not be released with such software issues. I also read the tidal problems, etc..

It is a pitty, since hardware is promising .
Sorry to hear you had an issue with wi-fi connection and volume settings.
Drop me an explanation of the problem in a message and I am sure we can find a solution.
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
I think the Denon has an optical and analogue out only. In my experience optical can sound a bit harsh compared to coax.
Have you considered the node even if it’s 2i?
The zen stream was very good for sound quality, I’d say better than the Denon will be (guessing of course) but the user interface and reliability was the deciding factor for me. If you’re not in a rush may be worth keeping an eye on the thread in case they make improvements. I only used the all in one setting as well so if you were specifically looking at Spotify or tidal perhaps then that could be a different experience.
I wouldn't go for the Zen stream because I want a streamer with a built-in DAC. I don't really like the form factor of the Bluesound node either.
I have the Denon pma 800ne amp which is excellent and I think that if the matching streamer is at or near the same quality then it should be pretty good.
 

jag1

Standard Member
i sent my Zen Stream back to TREOO after struggling with 2 units that they sent me for months. heard from them yesterday after they tested it and determined that the PSU was defective. round and round, still not sure if i will ever get my money back? unlike the Node 2i and perhaps others, the Zen Stream was not well sorted out from it's launch. it is not robust in the sense that it can perform well in a broad variety of network environments. it needs a complete redesign. since so far the firmware updates have not resolved its flaws. iFi should have issued a recall long ago and save us from a lot of grief, or offered us an exchange free of charge for a fully developed product. what the rush? especially since other products at the time had been sorted.
 
Last edited:

Verx

Novice Member
Hey @larkone We publish white papers and articles with specs, in-depth analysis and measurements. You can even find some measurements on this very forum. If you need any measurements, you ask for it and we deliver.


Comparison of the iFi power supplies. (Ignore 50Hz lump, that’s a measurement artifact.)
View attachment 1599964
Yellow - measurement noise floor. Magenta - iPower Mk2. Blue - iPower X. Cyan - SMPS from Zen Blue. Green - computer USB bus.


With DC iPurifier.
View attachment 1599963
Red - iPower Mk2. Yellow - iPower X. Green - iPower Elite. Magenta - measurement noise floor.


At 150mA, the current the Zen Dac draws.
View attachment 1599966
Red - USB bus. Yellow - USB bus with DC iPurifier 2. Magenta - iPower X by itself.
@iFi audio, Hi, I see two things in the first plot you posted that puzzle me. The first thing is that the blue curve (iPower X) is noisier than the magenta one (iPower mk2). I thought that the iPower X would outperform the iPower mk2. Second thing, which worries me, is the presence of high noise spikes in the magenta curve at N*2kHz (N=1,2,3,...,10). How it could be? do they affect the sound quality? Thank you in advance.
 

proux

Active Member
I was very excited about this, got it on 30 December, but it seems buggy / defective, unless I am being repeatedly stupid- unlikely. I haven't contacted the company or dealer yet, I know the company may also respond here, but any user feedback welcome!

I bought it to replace the amazing ancient Squeezebox, fed into a Chord DAC. My aim is to stream Qobuz (from iPhone app) and use my ripped CD collection- either through attached SSD, or from Mac mini on wireless network.
I have three main problems:
1. generally unstable. Was very hard to get wifi setup to work. When it is turned off, to at some other apparently random times, it needs to be configured again, including selecting digital output although I dont even have a USB DAC connected).
2. cannot connect airplay from either of my Macs. One sees it but doesn't connect, then I can't actually see if with the Qobuz app, so have to reset it.
3. I cannot get 192/24, I have tried streaming from iPhone or downloading the file, It plays as 192/24 on Qobuz iPhone, but shows as 44.1/16 on iFi app (and the color of the relevant LED remains green).

I have upgraded it to the latest firmware, restored to factory, upgraded again, etc, to no avail.

A general usage question: it doesn't have the Qobuz app, so my only option is to stream via DLNA from iPhone- correct? This seems inherently more complex than a native app. I knew this before I bought it, but want to check I am not missing something obvious.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
@iFi audio, Hi, I see two things in the first plot you posted that puzzle me. The first thing is that the blue curve (iPower X) is noisier than the magenta one (iPower mk2). I thought that the iPower X would outperform the iPower mk2. Second thing, which worries me, is the presence of high noise spikes in the magenta curve at N*2kHz (N=1,2,3,...,10). How it could be? do they affect the sound quality? Thank you in advance.
Will look into it.
 

proux

Active Member
I was very excited about this, got it on 30 December, but it seems buggy / defective, unless I am being repeatedly stupid- unlikely. I haven't contacted the company or dealer yet, I know the company may also respond here, but any user feedback welcome!

I bought it to replace the amazing ancient Squeezebox, fed into a Chord DAC. My aim is to stream Qobuz (from iPhone app) and use my ripped CD collection- either through attached SSD, or from Mac mini on wireless network.
I have three main problems:
1. generally unstable. Was very hard to get wifi setup to work. When it is turned off, to at some other apparently random times, it needs to be configured again, including selecting digital output although I dont even have a USB DAC connected).
2. cannot connect airplay from either of my Macs. One sees it but doesn't connect, then I can't actually see if with the Qobuz app, so have to reset it.
3. I cannot get 192/24, I have tried streaming from iPhone or downloading the file, It plays as 192/24 on Qobuz iPhone, but shows as 44.1/16 on iFi app (and the color of the relevant LED remains green).

I have upgraded it to the latest firmware, restored to factory, upgraded again, etc, to no avail.

A general usage question: it doesn't have the Qobuz app, so my only option is to stream via DLNA from iPhone- correct? This seems inherently more complex than a native app. I knew this before I bought it, but want to check I am not missing something obvious.
an update- not good. Keeps having bugs, not putting out audio, need reconfinguring, etc

I can't find a way to use Qobuz hires. I realised that the iPhone streams via airplay, which can't do Hires if i understand correctly, so DLNA is irrelevant. I tried to stream from the Qobuz app from two macs, which should be DLNA so should give me 192/24- right? It wouldn't be convenient, but it doesn't even work- one mac doesn't see it in the qobuz app, the other does but can't output sound from it. I then thought- aha, Roon will solve this, even if i have to pay- as I am not actually streaming from the iPhone. But Qobuz on Roon still does not give me a hires stream on the iFi. Rather worryingly, on the Qobuz site, iFI is not mentioned in the long list of hi-res compatible hardware...

On the plus side, Tidal masters does sound amazing, but it is way too expensive, i prefer the Qobuz environment, and it was still buggy - although to be fair i didn't bother to switch it to the Tidal-only mode.
 

KalahariLion

Standard Member
I am using mconnect/Qobuz on my iphone. My ZS is on ethernet. ZS go thru USB to my Denaflips Pontus II. ZS firmware 2.29.9
AIO mode. Power adapter is ifi ipower (12v/1.8A). Been running very stable for couple of months. I usually keep the ZS poweron constantly. Couple of times ZS disappeared from mconnect upnp list. I just reboot my iphone and everything works again.
 

proux

Active Member
Yup! I had just discovered the mconnect app, seems to do the trick! THANK YOU!!!
 

jag1

Standard Member
I am using mconnect/Qobuz on my iphone. My ZS is on ethernet. ZS go thru USB to my Denaflips Pontus II. ZS firmware 2.29.9
AIO mode. Power adapter is ifi ipower (12v/1.8A). Been running very stable for couple of months. I usually keep the ZS poweron constantly. Couple of times ZS disappeared from mconnect upnp list. I just reboot my iphone and everything works again.
are you using a fiber network?
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
@iFi audio, Hi, I see two things in the first plot you posted that puzzle me. The first thing is that the blue curve (iPower X) is noisier than the magenta one (iPower mk2). I thought that the iPower X would outperform the iPower mk2. Second thing, which worries me, is the presence of high noise spikes in the magenta curve at N*2kHz (N=1,2,3,...,10). How it could be? do they affect the sound quality? Thank you in advance.
It seems that you have a keen eye for detail.

The iPower X has much lower noise at 500mA than the iPower Mk2. But at 150mA the iPower Mk2 is quieter than the iPower X.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
@proux There are many HD players with DLNA capabilities, such as Jirver, Tidal, HQplayer, roon.

MacOS and Airplay. Airplay1 is the version that was applied before macOS 10.14, and now more recent mac products run on Airplay2. We would suggest to use the newest version of Airplay and our software, as they fix many bugs and update the content of the old version.
 
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

Maverick UK Premiere IMAX Review + Top Gun, Tom Cruise, Tony Scott and 4K + Movie/TV News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

LG announces new CineBeam HU915QE 4K laser projector
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
Movies Podcast | Maverick IMAX Review, 4K Disc News and More
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom