Author Topic: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream  (Read 618 times)

Offline Nick B

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thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« on: April 29, 2022, 12:28:32 AM »
Iíve only used three streamers over the years. The first was the SqueezeboxÖ the SB 2, then the Auralic Aries Mini and now the iFi Zen Stream. Iíve used dedicated linear power supplies on each. I started streaming in about 2007 with the SB 2. It had decent SQ and was fairly reliable. In 2016, I took a chance on the Auralic Mini based on reviews and was quite pleased with the sound. It would lose connection often and the last few months that became a very big problem. Itís tough to listen to tunes for an extended period on my iPad. So I started looking at what was available for a reasonable price. Iím not a diy guy and wanted a finished product. I had thought about the Innuos Mini, but itís about $1,300. Then Jack suggested the iFi streamer and I bought it from Music Direct with a nice 60 day return policy. Iíve had it for 10 days or so and itís quite an improvement over the Auralic Mini. It has more detail, more air, a slightly deeper soundstage and a fuller, richer midrange. Instruments are more natural sounding and have better timbre. Decay of notes is improved. The placement of instruments within the soundstage is more precise and pronounced. As the iFi will accommodate a range of 9-15v, I was able to use the 15v Mojo Audio lps that Iíd 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 Iíve sorted thru things and bookmarked a number of webpages.

Iím very happy with the change and thanks to Jack for his recommendation of this wonderful product. It performs way above its $399 price. It it very well built, albeit a bit quirky in itís look. One guy said it looks like the head of a robot and he may be right. Too bad I gave away my lava lamps a few years agoÖ. they would have been very complimentary.

I have some Silver speaker cables from Wywires cooking on the Hagerman and Iíll report on those in 4 days when the current burn is completed.
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Supratek Chardonnay preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
iFi Zen Stream & Mojo Audio lps
Wywires Silver cables & Audio Envy power cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline mdconnelly

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Re: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2022, 10:15:06 AM »
Nick, is the ifi now fully Roon Ready?   Sounds interesting.

Offline Nick B

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Re: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2022, 11:11:36 AM »
Nick, is the ifi now fully Roon Ready?   Sounds interesting.

Mike,
iFi is listed on the Roon website as being Roon Ready and Roon Tested.
https://roonlabs.com/partners
In my set up, it integrates perfectly with Roon. The Zen Stream also has two LEDs on the front panel that give me a status on Network Status and Audio Format which is very helpful. The Auralic only had a small LED in the rear and it was difficult to see as it was on a lower shelf on my rack.
Nick
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Supratek Chardonnay preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
iFi Zen Stream & Mojo Audio lps
Wywires Silver cables & Audio Envy power cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline malloy

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Re: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2022, 09:53:33 PM »
Iíve only used three streamers over the years. The first was the SqueezeboxÖ the SB 2, then the Auralic Aries Mini and now the iFi Zen Stream. Iíve used dedicated linear power supplies on each. I started streaming in about 2007 with the SB 2. It had decent SQ and was fairly reliable. In 2016, I took a chance on the Auralic Mini based on reviews and was quite pleased with the sound. It would lose connection often and the last few months that became a very big problem. Itís tough to listen to tunes for an extended period on my iPad. So I started looking at what was available for a reasonable price. Iím not a diy guy and wanted a finished product. I had thought about the Innuos Mini, but itís about $1,300. Then Jack suggested the iFi streamer and I bought it from Music Direct with a nice 60 day return policy. Iíve had it for 10 days or so and itís quite an improvement over the Auralic Mini. It has more detail, more air, a slightly deeper soundstage and a fuller, richer midrange. Instruments are more natural sounding and have better timbre. Decay of notes is improved. The placement of instruments within the soundstage is more precise and pronounced. As the iFi will accommodate a range of 9-15v, I was able to use the 15v Mojo Audio lps that Iíd 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 Iíve sorted thru things and bookmarked a number of webpages.

Iím very happy with the change and thanks to Jack for his recommendation of this wonderful product. It performs way above its $399 price. It it very well built, albeit a bit quirky in itís look. One guy said it looks like the head of a robot and he may be right. Too bad I gave away my lava lamps a few years agoÖ. they would have been very complimentary.

I have some Silver speaker cables from Wywires cooking on the Hagerman and Iíll report on those in 4 days when the current burn is completed.

This looks like a winner, Nick.

I thought this unit was much more expensive? Or the has the price dropped? Coincidentally, the Audiolab 6000N is now the exact same price.

Paul

Offline Nick B

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Re: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2022, 10:22:05 PM »
Iíve only used three streamers over the years. The first was the SqueezeboxÖ the SB 2, then the Auralic Aries Mini and now the iFi Zen Stream. Iíve used dedicated linear power supplies on each. I started streaming in about 2007 with the SB 2. It had decent SQ and was fairly reliable. In 2016, I took a chance on the Auralic Mini based on reviews and was quite pleased with the sound. It would lose connection often and the last few months that became a very big problem. Itís tough to listen to tunes for an extended period on my iPad. So I started looking at what was available for a reasonable price. Iím not a diy guy and wanted a finished product. I had thought about the Innuos Mini, but itís about $1,300. Then Jack suggested the iFi streamer and I bought it from Music Direct with a nice 60 day return policy. Iíve had it for 10 days or so and itís quite an improvement over the Auralic Mini. It has more detail, more air, a slightly deeper soundstage and a fuller, richer midrange. Instruments are more natural sounding and have better timbre. Decay of notes is improved. The placement of instruments within the soundstage is more precise and pronounced. As the iFi will accommodate a range of 9-15v, I was able to use the 15v Mojo Audio lps that Iíd 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 Iíve sorted thru things and bookmarked a number of webpages.

Iím very happy with the change and thanks to Jack for his recommendation of this wonderful product. It performs way above its $399 price. It it very well built, albeit a bit quirky in itís look. One guy said it looks like the head of a robot and he may be right. Too bad I gave away my lava lamps a few years agoÖ. they would have been very complimentary.

I have some Silver speaker cables from Wywires cooking on the Hagerman and Iíll report on those in 4 days when the current burn is completed.

This looks like a winner, Nick.

I thought this unit was much more expensive? Or the has the price dropped? Coincidentally, the Audiolab 6000N is now the exact same price.

Paul

Paul,

Itís really a great little unit. It is superior to the Auralic Mini in so many ways. So glad I got the recommendation and took a chance. I really knew very little about this unit previously and then Jack suggested it. So that piqued my interest. Iíve got those two big LED lights on the unit staring back at me, so maybe it is time for me to get another lava lamp 😄

Nick
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Supratek Chardonnay preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
iFi Zen Stream & Mojo Audio lps
Wywires Silver cables & Audio Envy power cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline malloy

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Re: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2022, 03:51:37 PM »
While I am not surprised that it eclipsed the Auralic's performance, I wouldn't have thought it would do it at this price point. But I guess the Auralic was showing its age, being already 6 (or 7 years old)?

I guess what this Zen model does not have is an internal dac, correct? I see a partner model that looks identical to it.

Maybe this lamp will complement it?  :thumb:



Paul

Offline Nick B

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Re: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2022, 05:15:07 PM »
While I am not surprised that it eclipsed the Auralic's performance, I wouldn't have thought it would do it at this price point. But I guess the Auralic was showing its age, being already 6 (or 7 years old)?

I guess what this Zen model does not have is an internal dac, correct? I see a partner model that looks identical to it.

Maybe this lamp will complement it?  :thumb:



Paul

The Auralic Mini is indeed about 6 years old, so I think better parts now is part of the equation. My unit is a streamer only and itís hooked up to my Border Patrol SEi dac. The fit and finish on the iFi is very good and it incorporates their active noise cancellation and a femto clock and TDK COG ceramic capacitors and inductors from Taiyo Yuden and Murata. I have only heard of TDK, so if someone wants to comment on the quality of these parts, Iíd be interested to know.

As to that lava lamp, the Zen Stream has an LED to indicate when streaming is occurring. The color, amazingly, is that same green  :lol: So your choice of lava lamp colors is spot on! Please do me a favor and send me a link where you found it.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2022, 05:17:40 PM by Nick B »
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Supratek Chardonnay preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
iFi Zen Stream & Mojo Audio lps
Wywires Silver cables & Audio Envy power cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline malloy

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Offline Nick B

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Re: thoughts on my iFi Zen Stream
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2022, 11:18:20 PM »
Here you go, Nick: https://www.amazon.com/My-Groovy-Light-Tabletop-Green/dp/B01MYMK33E/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1NLWTNH3ZTFLZ&keywords=my+groovy+light+green&qid=1651471699&s=hi&sprefix=my+groovy+light+green%2Ctools%2C118&sr=1-1

Search for My Groovy Light on Amazon.

Paul

Thanks, Paul. Groovy huhÖ what a cool word 😳.  Groovy, lava lamps. Time to buy some bell bottoms againÖ Not  :rofl:
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Supratek Chardonnay preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
iFi Zen Stream & Mojo Audio lps
Wywires Silver cables & Audio Envy power cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS