Thoughts on the iFi Zen Streamer

I am looking for input from those who have knowledge on this streamer. I have been considering the latest Bluesound Node. I have a quality DAC. 


I don't have one but the Zen looks like the winner. Why pay for a meh DAC if you already have one that you like?

I am happy with every piece of iFi I have acquired. Their R&D looks superior, on a par with Pro-Ject.

@fuzztone Thanks for the quick response. Exactly what i was thinking, I already have a couple of DACs and the price seems right for getting familiar with a streaming service. I am now trying out Qobuz using my computer. Good to hear your opinion on iFi. 

I picked up the iFi Zen Stream as I have a DAC I quite enjoy, so why get a combo only to bipass an internal DAC? In addition, I read and watched more than one review of the iFi vs the Bluesound Node going into a common DAC, and just about every review stated the iFi was a better sounding as a streamer straight-up.

Thus, I bought the iFi.

Digital is not my primary from end, right now, so it was a good deal, for me. Should I find a need to get something better in the future, I think the Innuos Zen MK III would be a good unit to consider, but, by then, there will probably be something else ‘better’.



How is the player app with the iFI?

Gapless and defeatable queue?

The player app is fine. A bit basic, but all I need or require. In terms of gapless, yes, in Tidal and Spotify, is has both ‘Connect’ options for those (I use Tidal). It is also Roon ready. I don’t have Roon, but assume anything through Roon would be gapless as well. It is also gapless with my attached USB hard drive, and also my remote drive via DLNA. It also accepts DSD, including 2&4x, as does my Denafrips DAC.

@bkeske  @fuzztone Thanks for your comments. Just  the info I was looking for. I believe I will be just fine with the basic aspect to the app. Will just be getting into streaming. If that becomes a major music access I will likely one day move the Zen to a secondary system and purchase a more high end streamer. As some will know, and fuzz may recall from a past thread, I have been considering this move for over a year. 

I will purchase the iFi Zen.  Will be hooked up to my router via Cat8 ethernet cable. I recently got a Qobuz subscription and also have AIFF files on a hard drive. 

I bought the Zen Stream last summer. It was my first and only streamer which I use with a very good dac, the Musetec 005. I use it with JRiver to access local files from my server and stream internet files from Qobuz using an android app called Mconnect. The Ifi app, which is just access an internet, address/portal is limited.

Pros: very good to excellent sound quality. It has responded well to eithernet tweaking.

Cons: for novice streamers like me their is a learning curve. It took some time and struggle to set it up for Jriver. Now that I have it running it has been stable and easy.. You can get support on a Head-fi forum.

@dbb Thanks for the additional info. I am anticipating the curve, both with the device and the streaming service.

I have had the zen streamer for over a month running "Roon Exclusive" mode. FANTASTIC. Much more quiet vs direct USB out from imac (room core)

To all, I am about to move into a home which I have been working on over the last year. Have held off on getting a streamer until I move in and have internet installed. Not yet sure which unit I will purchase.

I remain thankful for all advise provided.


Roon is a music lovers delight. I run a Nucleus+ but most will do just fine with a Nucleus. Many other options to host Roon.

Currently running four endpoints, each with a Zen Stream, two with wired ethernet, two with wireless. Stable and excellent sound quality in "Roon  Exclusive" mode.