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iFi Zen Stream

Streaming music player with Wi-Fi® and Apple AirPlay®

Item # 246ZSTREAM

iFi's Zen Stream is a great way to get your music going wirelessly, with an interface that gives you total control.

iFi's Zen Stream is a great way to get your music going wirelessly, with an interface that gives you total control.

In stock
$399.00

Hands-on research

We double check the details on each item.

60-day returns

If you don't love it, send it back.

Since 1974

Years of experience making people happy.

About the iFi Zen Stream

Stream away

Say you've got an older stereo or headphone amplifier, and you're using a DAC to get your digital tunes going — why not add wireless streaming to the system while you're at it? iFi's Zen Stream is a versatile network streamer that gives you lots of great ways to enjoy your music. It connects up to your network (either wirelessly or via Ethernet) and lets you cast music from lots of different streaming apps, like TIDAL, Spotify, Qobuz, and more.

Stream away

Say you've got an older stereo or headphone amplifier, and you're using a DAC to get your digital tunes going — why not add wireless streaming to the system while you're at it? iFi's Zen Stream is a versatile network streamer that gives you lots of great ways to enjoy your music. It connects up to your network (either wirelessly or via Ethernet) and lets you cast music from lots of different streaming apps, like TIDAL, Spotify, Qobuz, and more.

If you'd like to play music stored on a USB or networked hard drive, the Zen Stream has you covered there too. You can select either source with iFi's sleek web interface, which is accessible on both computers and smartphones.

Connect the Zen Stream to your DAC using either a coaxial digital cable or a USB cable, depending on what type of input your equipment has.

Hands-on with iFi's intuitive streamer

I was excited to try iFi's newest offering, the Zen Stream. It was made to consolidate music sources and make the streaming process simpler. The all-metal chassis felt good in my hands, and it visually blended well with my Jamo DS7 powered speakers and sub combo. The Zen Stream doesn't have an onboard DAC, so I plugged my AudioQuest DragonFly® Black into its USB output to handle the conversion. I ran an AudioQuest Evergreen 3.5mm-to-RCA stereo cable from the DAC to the DS7's input.

After taking care of those physical connections, I worked on getting the iFi connected to my home network. It took less than five minutes, thanks to the company's user-friendly web interface. The front panel network indicator helped me make sure the Zen Stream was connected to the internet.

Speaking of the interface, it was nice being able to access it on both my smartphone and my computer. I appreciated that I didn't have to be rooted to a single spot to change sources. I had fun tweaking the UI layout and enjoyed all the little things that could be done to tailor the experience to my liking.

I streamed some tunes from TIDAL with no problem. I also hooked up an external hard drive with a couple Tool and Rammstein albums on it. The folders were easy to navigate using the web interface, and the Zen Stream passed the FLAC signals along to my DAC. The songs I played sounded wonderful and had plenty of depth and detail. Altogether, it was a seamless, customizable experience that integrated well with my existing gear. 

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Product highlights:

  • streaming music player
  • access music from networked storage devices, USB drives, or streaming music services
  • connects to your network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet
  • native streaming from TIDAL, Spotify, Qobuz, YouTube Music, and QQ Music
  • Apple AirPlay for streaming music from compatible devices
  • compatible with DLNA music servers, including JRiver, Audiovana, nPlayer, MediaMonkey, and more
  • web-based user interface allows for source selection, playback options, network options, NAS/DLNA configuration, and UI layout changes
  • manually selectable system modes for improved performance and stability
    • All-in-one, Roon, TIDAL, NAA (network audio adapter), or DLNA
  • two front-panel indicators show sampling rate and network status
  • back-panel connections:
    • S/PDIF coaxial digital output for connecting receiver or DAC (max sample rate: 24-bit/192kHz)
    • USB Type-A input for USB hard drives and flash drives up to 6TB
    • USB Type-A output for connecting to an outboard DAC (max sample rate: DSD512)
    • Ethernet port for hardwired network connection
    • USB-C port for system upgrades only
  • dimensions (measured by Crutchfield): 6-1/4"W x 1-3/8"H x 5-3/16"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # Zen Stream

What's in the box:

  • Digital music streamer
  • AC adapter with attached 80" DC output cord (DC output: 12V 1.8A)
  • US 2-pronged plug adapter
  • 4" Wi-Fi antenna
  • 21" Ethernet cable (RJ-45 plugs at each end)
  • Plastic screwdriver
  • User Manual
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty card

Customer reviews

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iFi Zen Stream reviews

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More details on the iFi Zen Stream

Stacey B.

Features & specs

Connections
Ethernet Port Yes
USB Port Yes
3.5mm Input No
RCA Input
XLR Input No
Phono Input No
Digital Input No
HDMI Input No
Headphone Jack No
Subwoofer Output No
Wireless Features
Bluetooth N/A
Wi-Fi Y
Wi-Fi Bands 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Audio Specs
Max. Digital Audio Bit Depth Not given
Max. Digital Audio Sample Rate Not given
Ecosystems
Apple AirPlay Yes
DTS Play-Fi No
Chromecast built-in No
Roon Yes
Sonos No
HEOS No
MusicCast No
SoundTouch No
Bose Home Speaker No
WiSA No
BluOS No
Klipsch Stream No
KEF Stream No
Music Services
Amazon Music No
Apple Music No
iHeart Radio No
Pandora No
Qobuz Yes
SiriusXM No
Spotify Yes
Tidal Yes
TuneIn No
YouTube Music Yes
Control
Handheld Remote
Control by app N/A
Amazon Alexa No
Google Assistant No
Other Specs
Width (Inches) 6.217
Height (Inches) 1.381
Depth (Inches) 5.184
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

Overview: The Zen Stream from iFi Audio lets you stream high-resolution digital audio from the leading streaming platforms available. It has USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi inputs, and Coaxial SPDIF and USB outputs to an outboard DAC, such as the new matching Zen DAC 2. You can choose from several streaming modes that fully optimize the particular platform you're streaming, or an "all-in-one" mode that covers them all. The compact Zen Stream is 6-1/4" wide, 1-3/8" high, and 5-3/16" deep, and weighs 1-1/4 pounds.

Hi-Res Audio Device: The Zen Stream supports PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It also supports DSD up to 11.2 MHz (DSD256). Note: Zen Stream does not have an onboard DAC.

Streaming Sources: The Zen Stream is an open source device, making it compatible with many of the leading platforms and apps. You can easily stream from Apple and Android devices. Zen Stream also lets you connect to the following sources: Qobuz, Spotify, Tidal, QQ Music, Roon, YouTube Music, nPlayer, MediaMonkey, JRiver, AirPlay, Audirvana, VLC, and DLNA. With Over-the-Air (OTA) or USB-C updates, the unit is future proofed for adding new features, functions, and compatibility with other platforms, including Chromecast.

Wi-Fi/Ethernet: The Zen Stream can connect to your router or modem via an Ethernet connection (RJ-45 on back panel) or through Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac - 2.4 GHz/5 GHz). A Wi-Fi antenna is included. You can also connect to a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot from your phone or other portable device. If your router/modem is nearby, connecting via Ethernet may provide a more secure connection to your internet service. You'll need to use your smartphone to pair connect Zen Stream to your local Wi-Fi network.

USB 3.0 Ports: On the back panel are two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type A ports. One can be used to connect a USB storage device for playing music files. The other can be used to output the digital stream to your DAC. The USB ports are equipped with Active Noise Cancellation II which cancels out noise by adding a second (and opposite) sound wave. If the USB output is being used, the coaxial output switches off. If your DAC can be run from USB power, you can use the USB output port to power the DAC with noise-free 5-volt USB power.

Coaxial Output: In addition to the USB output, Zen Stream also has a Coaxial S/PDIF output. The coax output's maximum output frequency is 192kHz. You can also play DSD files up to DSD128 through the coaxial output, which converts them to PCM 192kHz. The S/PDIF output features built-in iPurifier technology to reduce jitter.

Front Panel: The brushed aluminum front panel has two simple controls and two large LED indicators. The controls include a power switch and the Hotspot switch, which connects the Zen Stream to an available Wi-Fi network. The LEDs indicate the Network Status and Audio Format as follows:

Network Status LED   Audio Format LED
Color Network Status Speed   Color Audio Format
White Internet Fast   Green PCM 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz
Cyan Slow   Yellow PCM 176.4, 192, 352.8, 384 kHz
Green Local Network (no Internet) Fast   Cyan DSD 64, DSD 128
Yellow Local Network (no Internet) Slow   Blue DSD 256
Red No Connection ---   Off No streaming

Mode Selector: Zen Stream offers five "exclusive" play modes to optimize the streamer for specific platforms to deliver the purest possible performance. To set the desired Exclusive Mode, you'll need to turn the recessed dial on the back panel with a screwdriver. A small plastic screwdriver is included. The Exclusive Modes are numbered as follows:

  1. All-in-One: This mode is non-specific to any platform, this mode can be used for all platforms, audio formats, or devices.
  2. Roon Bridge streaming: This mode should be used when using the unit with Roon.
  3. Tidal streaming: This mode is optimized for streaming from Tidal.
  4. NAA streaming: The NAA streaming mode is for using the Zen Stream as a Network Audio Adapter in conjunction with Signalyst HQPlayer software.
  5. DLNA streaming: When using DLNA-compatible apps and devices, select this mode for optimum performance.

Internal Components: iFi utilizes many high-end technologies and components to make Zen Streamer a true audiophile device. The device includes:

  • A 64-bit, quad-core ARM Cortex microprocessor
  • iFi's femto-precision GMT (Global Master Timing) circuitry to eliminate jitter from the digital audio signal output by the USB 3.0 port and the Coaxial S/PDIF and sent to your external DAC.
  • A high-performance Ethernet switch with a low-power integrated 5-port Giga-PHY.
  • A synchronous 1.5 MHz high-speed power supply controller that reduces noise and distortion.

USB-C: The Zen Stream is future-proof through system firmware updates when they become available. Firmware updates can be downloaded through Wi-Fi (OTA), or through the USB-C port on the rear panel.

Specifications:

  • Input Voltage: DC 9V/1.8A to 15V/0.8A; AC adapter: 100-240V 50/60Hz
  • Input: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB Disc, HDD, etc.
  • Formats: PCM 44.1 kHz to 384 kHz, DSD64 to DSD256 (MQA fully compatible)
  • Output: Two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type A ports, Coaxial S/PDIF
  • Power Consumption: No Signal ~6W, Max Signal ~10W
  • Dimensions: Width 6.217", Height 1.381", Depth 5.184"
  • Weight: 1.258 pounds

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Customer Q&A

8 questions already asked

Q
Does the iFi Zen Streamer play Pandora?
[ Cryda  Jul 08, 2022 ]
1 answer
A
No, the iFi Zen Stream does not support Pandora. The Zen Stream also lets you connect to the following sources: Qobuz, Spotify, Tidal, QQ Music, Roon, YouTube Music, nPlayer, MediaMonkey, JRiver, AirPlay, Audirvana, VLC, and DLNA.
[ Andy  Jul 09, 2022 ]  Staff
Q
Is the ifi zen streamer compatible with QOBUZ?
[ Michael  May 05, 2022 ]
5 answers
A
Not really. Only via Roon for acceptable sound quality. Or using AirPlay which greatly reduces sound quality. There is no qoboz connect as it has for Spotify and tidal. IFi tech support is absolutely the worst so don't expect anything there. Overall the iFi software is very buggy.
[ Gxg  May 08, 2022 ]
A
Yes you can stream QOBUZ. I checked during a free 30 day trial period. However, the trial did net access the premium sound quality. The normal quality was very good. I canceled prior to trial completion. QOBUZ streaming was through Apple Airplay. With Tidal direct stream goes directly from your Wi-Fi router to the Zen stream without using Apple Airplay. I'm not an Apple Music subscriber so I don't have access to their new hires CODEC. If you want to maximize sound quality from the Zen Stream choose a subscription that supports FLAC and/or MQA CODECS and consider a IFI DAC V2 if your computer, or amp does not have a DAC built in. Hope this helps, happy transport streaming.
[ WILLIAM  May 06, 2022 ]
A
Oh yes it's the only service I use. I found Tidal didn't have as high quality files. I have the unit set to the 1 position on the back. I did recently change to an iPhone from an android and it seems to mesh better with the Zen.
[ Randy  May 06, 2022 ]
A
Yes iFi even references Qobuz on the website. I don't use it but I love my Zen Streamer.
[ MICHAEL  May 05, 2022 ]
A
Qobuz does not have a Connect feature like Tidal or Spotify. So if you want hi-def, you have to use the iFi app, or something like MConnect HD. Or Roon.
[ JOHN  May 05, 2022 ]
Q
I've heard that the True Bass on the Zen DAC v2 is audible through the RCAs and that it sounds great. The only reason I like Audirvana is because of the SonEQ Plugin. Would anyone know if true bass is similar to the aforementioned plugin? TIA
[ Jay  Mar 24, 2022 ]
1 answer
A
We have not received any answers from other customers on your question. I would recommend reaching out to an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. They should be able to help answer your question.
[ Calvin  Mar 29, 2022 ]  Staff
Q
I'm overseas. There aren't any ifi dealers on my island. The only way to get the Zen Stream is through Lazada. It's similar to Amazon. The sellers will not allow auditions nor will they allow returns. They can't answer simple questions on the unit. My questions are:My MacBook Pro is 12 yrs old. The WiFi card is dead.Can I set up the Zen Stream using the LAN Cable?I understand Audirvana can be used. Is that their dedicated app or their new subscription streaming service?If it's the dedicated app, how is it set up?Thank you very much. I hope someone can try to answer.
[ Jay  Mar 20, 2022 ]
4 answers
A
Yes, LAN cable can be used to setup the Zen Stream. I recomment the tidal app for your music service to take full advantage of the Hi resolution audio it is capable of. If you use a 12 year old laptop as your DAC, don't! I recommend getting the Ifi DAC V 2 or the Zen Air DAC. Those can be used as a headphone amp or to via RCA or USB 2.0 connectors to an amp. The chipset in the Zen Stream is powerful and the laptop is not likely as capable. Your laptop likely also will be a bit noisy as the chips are not dedicated to just streaming music. Ifi products are. The Ifi products also allow you to stream via WiFi direct from your router to the zen stream skipping past your laptop once setup as instructed. Note: If the Zen Stream is setup properly you wont be able to adjust volume with the laptop. The DAC can do that. Hope this helped. Enjoy!
[ WILLIAM  Mar 22, 2022 ]
A
Yes, a LAN cable will work very well with a super clean signal-- that's how I'm using mine now. I use TIDAL to stream (although Spotify would work also), with an iFi app on my smart phone simply allowing be to use the phone at a remote controller. You do not need any subscription service from iFi. The ethernet (vs WiFi) set up is quite easy and quick, and there are good short instructional videos for the set up.
[ Joseph  Mar 22, 2022 ]
A
Yes, you can set up the Zen Stream with an Ethernet cable connection. The dedicated Stream-iFi app can be downloaded from iFi-Audio but it not as sophisticated as some of the other control apps listed on the iFi website. I have no experience using Audirvana as a controller but there is an online Audirvana Community Forum that offers help in setting up a Zen Stream.
[ Thomas  Mar 22, 2022 ]
A
Yes you can set up the Zen with a LAN (ethernet) cable, that is how I am using it with an iMac. I'm also using Audirvana, which is an App that you can use to control playback of music files from your hard drive and can control streaming services such as Tidal and Qobuz. I'm actually subscribed to both Tidal and Qobuz. Keep in mind that Audirvana, Tidal, and Qobuz are all monthly (or yearly) subscription services. An alternate choice is a Bluesound Node which has its own software (BluOS) which is a bit simpler to use and eliminates the need for an Audirvana subscription. The Node is more expensive, but it has a built in DAC.
[ Kurt Heydle  Mar 21, 2022 ]
Q
I have had significant problems setting up, leading to a few questions. How to access the iFi.local interface, as I can no longer get in? If I successfully setup using ethernet connection, can I still unplug and use WiFi? Does having a home WiFi extender create connection or set up problems? Any reasons for or against setting up through the Stream-iFi app?
[ Joseph  Jan 19, 2022 ]
1 answer
A
We have not received any answers from other customers on your question. If you purchased the product from Crutchfield, feel free to contact our Tech Support team. They can walk you through the settings on the product and see if there may be a fix. Our toll-free Tech Support number is printed on your invoice, and is also available under the "My Orders" tab in the "My Account" section of our website. If you did not purchase the unit from Crutchfield, then you may want to contact the manufacturer.
[ Kenny  Jan 22, 2022 ]  Staff
Q
Would this work with a DragonFly Red?
[ Stephen  Jan 05, 2022 ]
1 answer
A
Compatibility concerns should be addressed directly with Ifi to ensure proper function. That said, the Ifi Zen DAC V2 is compatible and cheaper. It also works with both headphones and home stereo systems. The Zen Stream's digital output is clean, strong and bright. Many artist's recordings have minimal bass and that fact is emphasized by the ZEN Stream.The Zen DAC does a great job of adding bass and warmth to poorly produced recordings without overdoing it. Additionally, the Ifi ZEN DAC can use power from the ZEN Stream or a plug in supply. I would recommend getting an Ifi power source to further improve sound depth and fullness.
[ WILLIAM  Jan 06, 2022 ]
Q
Do you sell the optional power supply as well ?
[ John  Dec 14, 2021 ]
1 answer
A
This unit comes with the AC power adapter, this is listed in the "What's in the box" section on the main product page. To answer the question though, we do not carry the adapter separately. Hope this helps.
[ Kenny  Dec 15, 2021 ]  Staff
Q
Is the IFI Zen Stream compatible with Amazon HD music?
[ Mark  Nov 21, 2021 ]
3 answers
A
Works great! Apple play is how i connect.
[ JONATHON  Nov 23, 2021 ]
A
I'm unable to answer that, I didn't use that service.
[ JOHN  Nov 22, 2021 ]
A
You can stream Amazon HD music. Note this is a music streamer only. You need some kind of a DAC to use this streamer
[ WILLIE  Nov 21, 2021 ]
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