iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 2513 times.

whell

iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« on: 3 Nov 2021, 08:41 pm »
Now that the Stream has been "out in the wild" for a while, can anyone offer some real-world user feedback?  Sound quality?  Ease of use?  Software interface (which sounds like it was, maybe still is a sore spot for some)?  Any other strong attributes or nits to pick with the product?

Thanks!

iFi David

  • Facilitator
  • Posts: 214
  • iFi audio xDSD Gryphon is here!
    • iFi audio
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #1 on: 4 Nov 2021, 09:24 pm »
Although I look forward to impressions of others, this vid might be of help how ZEN Stream operates:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7RMblioXuY

whell

Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jan 2022, 01:41 pm »
Bumping this for visibility.  Really interested in any real-world feedback on this product. 

Les Lammers

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 206
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #3 on: 29 Jan 2022, 12:16 pm »
From reading other forums, the software needs tweaking B4 it's ready for prime time.

jandrews

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #4 on: 1 Feb 2022, 09:02 pm »
I picked one up in late November and I've had at least 3 firmware updates...so Ifi is definitely focused on this product.
Mine has been perfect.  The only issues I've had I think are more related to Tidal than to the device itself.
Every now and then I have some momentary trouble between my phone, my wifi, tidal and tidal connect and the zen stream itself....but I really don't think it's been an issue with the streamer.  I'm using the wifi connection for now...it's 99% great.  I do plan on hard connecting it to my router at some point the future...and getting the better power supply for the streamer too.
I'm currently feeding an old tube buffered DAC from the late '90s.  (CAL sigma ii). It sounds very good but it's got an audible relay in it, so it clicks when switching tracks when using Tidal Connect.   I'm planning to replace it ...perhaps with an Ifi DAC with the same footprint as the Zen Stream

jjss49

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 597
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #5 on: 2 Feb 2022, 04:02 pm »
i use my wired with ethernet in, not wifi, as a roon endpoint, it has been terrific, no issues

ajzepp

Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #6 on: 2 Feb 2022, 05:54 pm »
I was having a very difficult time getting it set up, but then I realized the vendor sent me a used one that had already been set up by someone else. So after I did a factory reset and updated the firmware, its worked perfectly. I do think its ugly as hell, but the sound is very good. I dont like it as much as the BluOS software and app, but sonically its quite nice.

iFi David

  • Facilitator
  • Posts: 214
  • iFi audio xDSD Gryphon is here!
    • iFi audio
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #7 on: 6 Feb 2022, 04:46 pm »
I was having a very difficult time getting it set up, but then I realized the vendor sent me a used one that had already been set up by someone else. So after I did a factory reset and updated the firmware, its worked perfectly. I do think its ugly as hell, but the sound is very good. I dont like it as much as the BluOS software and app, but sonically its quite nice.

Yes, the way how our entire ZEN range looks like some folks love and others hate, but it's cool knowing that you like how ZEN Stream does where it matters the most. Thanks for sharing!

Les Lammers

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 206
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #8 on: 8 Feb 2022, 11:39 am »
Now that the Stream has been "out in the wild" for a while, can anyone offer some real-world user feedback?  Sound quality?  Ease of use?  Software interface (which sounds like it was, maybe still is a sore spot for some)?  Any other strong attributes or nits to pick with the product?

Thanks!

I like the concept of the Zen streamer but it can't be used with Amazon HD and Qobuz is accessed with additional software. *I* would like to see the Zen Stream have a software similar to Blue OS. The streaming industry is molded in jello and who knows which services will survive.

rpf

Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #9 on: 8 Feb 2022, 08:52 pm »
I like the concept of the Zen streamer but it can't be used with Amazon HD and Qobuz is accessed with additional software. *I* would like to see the Zen Stream have a software similar to Blue OS. The streaming industry is molded in jello and who knows which services will survive.

I second this. I'm about to cancel Spotify and move to Amazon HD or, perhaps, Apple Music.

Catharus

Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #10 on: 8 Feb 2022, 09:56 pm »
My experience is comparing a tricked out Bluesound Node2i with an SBooster to a Zen Stream powered by a 15V iPower Elite.

Initially, the Zen sounded fuller and more 3D going into a Chord TT2, mscaler, or Dave compared to the Node2i. All tests of the Zen used a Curious Cables USB cable. After a few firmware updates, I noticed that songs started skipping or just stopping when fed from Roon. (Roon and AirPlay only activated).

At that point I switched back to my Node2i. I had originally given up on it since switching between AirPlay and Roon was slow or forced me to reboot the Node2i to accomplish a switch. I took the latest firmware update on the Node2i as I set it up again. Since then, switching between AirPlay and Roon has been pain free and quick. Similarly, Roon behaves correctly without skips and stops. Sound quality is fine.

Gist of this story: Functionality is more important than sound quality. It might pay off to have two different streamers as firmware development ebbs and flows between good and bad. 

ajzepp

Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #11 on: 18 Feb 2022, 11:10 am »
Yes, the way how our entire ZEN range looks like some folks love and others hate, but it's cool knowing that you like how ZEN Stream does where it matters the most. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks David. And yes, I am definitely keeping it. The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

jandrews

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #12 on: 18 Feb 2022, 01:21 pm »
More experience from me...Even when using the Zen Stream wirelessly, the difference between using it as the transport directly and , say..playing audio via Airplay 2 from a phone to the Zen Stream is a big difference.
The Zen Stream via Tidal Connect (and I assume Spotify Connect) has a weight and dimensionality that is instantly heard and felt compared to just using it as destination for Airplay 2.  Also, I find that using it this way with a fixed volume output sounds better than variable.

Markhh2

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #13 on: 18 Feb 2022, 01:42 pm »
I’ve only had one a few days, but it works and sounds good.  We’ll see how it sounds after a few days. Replaced an Allo USB Bridge with the Shanti Power Supply.  I was having trouble dealing with Linux etc on the Allo and wanted something more plug and play.  Using it wired with Roon and with the supplied power cube.  I love the looks, would love to be able to dim the lights.  Didn’t set up the wireless but it looks like I need that to update the software etc.  Haven’t been able to access the Zen via web browser on my IPad.  Will check my PC today. 

jandrews

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #14 on: 18 Feb 2022, 04:52 pm »
You can turn the lights off
Can’t remember if it’s one press of the left or right button but once it’s running, one press will turn off the big glowing circles

Nick B

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 785
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #15 on: 24 Apr 2022, 06:25 am »
Got my Zen Stream from Music Direct within the last week. It’s quite a bargain for the price and is a very  nice improvement over the Auralic Mini I’ve been using. It has more detail, more air, a slightly deeper soundstage and a fuller, richer midrange. Instruments have better timbre. Decay of notes is improved. Was able to use the 15v Mojo Audio lps that I’d been using for the Auralic.

Setup is easier than with the Auralic Mini and it works flawlessly with Roon. There are paper and online instructions and it gets a bit confusing how to do things. But I’ve sorted thru things and bookmarked a number of webpages. One thing I can’t do is check for updates. The iFi app ota function just doesn’t connect and I don’t have a USB C connector/adapter to use with my iPad’s cable. If anyone has updated their firmware, pls tell me how you did it.

Nick

jjss49

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 597
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #16 on: 24 Apr 2022, 06:46 pm »
if connected as a roon endpoint, roon will seek updates and apply them to this and other endpoints with available manufacturer firmware updates over the net

this is how i avoided going to the ifi direct software page at all (though it is not hard to do so)

i agree this is a very very high performance value for $ item... really outstanding in this respect, albeit a little arcane to get started for some, and of course the looks are decidedly a lil goofy

Nick B

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 785
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #17 on: 24 Apr 2022, 08:20 pm »
if connected as a roon endpoint, roon will seek updates and apply them to this and other endpoints with available manufacturer firmware updates over the net

this is how i avoided going to the ifi direct software page at all (though it is not hard to do so)

i agree this is a very very high performance value for $ item... really outstanding in this respect, albeit a little arcane to get started for some, and of course the looks are decidedly a lil goofy

Thank you! Just updated iFi firmware by going to the Roon core. Currently, I’m using the #1 All In One setting on the back. Have yet to try the dedicated #2 setting for Roon only. Do you have knowledge of or experience with the Roon setting?

jandrews

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #18 on: 25 Apr 2022, 03:26 am »
you can update the firmware from the Ifi Stream app...which you likely have from initially installing the device.
Open it, got to Settings, then go to System, then halfway down is a tab for System Updates.  There's a "Check Updates" button right there and if there's a newer version of the software available, the app will auto install it after pressing that "Check Updates" button .
I've done it a few times since I purchased the unit in November 2021.  Probably have run 6 software updates since then.
Jason

Nick B

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 785
Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #19 on: 25 Apr 2022, 04:29 am »
you can update the firmware from the Ifi Stream app...which you likely have from initially installing the device.
Open it, got to Settings, then go to System, then halfway down is a tab for System Updates.  There's a "Check Updates" button right there and if there's a newer version of the software available, the app will auto install it after pressing that "Check Updates" button .
I've done it a few times since I purchased the unit in November 2021.  Probably have run 6 software updates since then.
Jason

Jason,
I have tried to update from the app a number of times, but I get a grey pop up box that says “please wait”…. It doesn’t appear to connect to the web and the app still shows the same last update of August 12. 2021. Looking at the Roon core again just now, it appears what I updated last night was the Roon bridge.
Nick