iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?

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Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #40 on: 28 Dec 2022, 06:46 pm »
I am eagerly awaiting my Zen stream coming in January. Is there any truth that if you upgrade to latest firmware Spotify connect won't work? Let's see if Stream can defeat my my long time trusted companion Bluesound node N130 usb out!


Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #41 on: 4 Dec 2023, 03:27 am »
When using Todal Connect with ZS - do you still need to control the volume via software slider in the Stream Ifi app or can you change and controlvolume in the Tidal app?


Re: iFi Zenn Stream - User Feedback?
« Reply #42 on: 4 Dec 2023, 06:09 pm »
The Zen Stream is the most unreliable and poorly performing piece of equipment that I own, and iFi tech support is useless. The software is atrocious. For example, the Zen Stream is advertised as having a Roon exclusive mode. This was the reason I bought it. I knew from experience that using an operating system dedicated to Roon sounds better, and the Stream has, supposedly, quiet USB outputs. I even got an upgraded iFi power supply to optimize this.

What iFi doesn't tell you is that the USB output is disabled when you use Roon exclusive mode. It is nowhere in their long, detailed web page or manual. It also makes no sense since even the free Ropieee software on a Raspberry Pi fully supports USB digital output. After multiple attempts, iFi confirmed the undocumented bug. In March 2022 they said a future software update would fix it. More than a year and a half later, none of the software updates have fixed it, and they no longer respond to questions about it.

And good luck getting it to run via ethernet. WiFi anywhere near digital sources destroys sound quality and introduces instability and dropouts, so the second reason I bought the Zen Stream was that it supported direct ethernet connection. However, getting the Zen Stream to shut off the WiFi transceiver is extremely difficult. If you shut off the WiFi and save the setting, it still displays the list of available networks, meaning that the WiFi is still on. So you have to restart the Zen Stream. But the Zen Stream automatically turns on WiFi when it's restarted. After about half an hour and for no good reason, I got the Zen Stream to turn on with WiFi off and using only ethernet. This was with the currently most recent firmware. I wrote to iFi about this and have had no response in the month since I contacted them.

So, I decided to try it in the general-purpose mode, where Roon works via USB but the system is also running other services and running a web server that interferes with the audio stream. I connected the $300 iFi power supply to lower the noise as much as possible, and it was running my headphone setup. However, I was getting dropouts at the beginning of tracks. I went into Roon and tried all of the settings for buffering and delay time when switching sampling rates. Even giving it the maximum buffer and delay between switching sample rates, there were still clicks about 1/4 of the time at the beginning of a track.

Finally, I took the Zen Stream out of the system altogether. I ran a USB cable from my USB hub directly to my DAC. Everything sounded better, and I have not had a single click or dropout.

In short, the Zen Stream degraded the sound quality, does not work as advertised, and has terrible customer support.