iFi Zen Stream (No USB output in Roon exclusive mode)

I recently purchased an iFi Zen Steam. The Zen Stream is connected via Audioquest Diamond USB to a Chord Cutest DAC. I was able to set the output to USB (Chord Cutest), but as soon as I turn on the Roon Exclusive mode it automatically switches to the default SPDIF. The GUI can not be accessed while in exclusive mode so I can change to usb output or used the Roon exclusive mode that is suppose to enhance sounds quality. What am I doing wrong? I also tried to change the output in Roon to USB, but it won’t let me. Thank you in advance for any help! Thank you! 

Roon Core is a MacBook Pro with Tidal & Qobuz

Ethernet to switch then splits to MacBook Pro & Zen Stream


I just bought a zen stream as well and have had a lot of challenges setting it up as well with roon.  I use a Black Ice DAC with USB and every time I turn my DAC off I have to go into the iFi app to change it from coax spdif to my DAC so I have to use the All in one setting.  Also, the volume setting also drops most of the time and I have to reset that to hardware otherwise the gain is very low and I have to turn my amp way up.  I have tried opening ticket's with iFi support and they are absolutely worthless and a waste of time.  I have heard that the iFi DACs work well with usb but other brands are glitchy.
I started a thread on low volume with the zen stream as well.  I have decided to live with my zen stream in AIO  mode reseting my DAC/volume with each use.  It does sound very good especially for its price.


Unfortunate to hear that Ifi does not provide better customer support. Have you tried using the exclusive mode with your Zen Stream DAC combo? My Zen Stream app is set to USB out/Chord DAC. Then moment I switch from AIO to Roon exclusive mode, it immediately switches to SPDIF. I read somewhere that the exclusive mode does not work if the Zen Stream is in bridge mode. I don’t quite understand how all that works. I have looked at several threads on this topic, but no real solution that I can find to keep the Zen Stream in USB out. 

Just FYI, my Pi 4 works great as a USB Roon endpoint with Ubuntu.

Recently upgraded to iFi X 5V supply.

Install Ubuntu core and the Bzlib and then follow directions for automatic setup of Roon. 20 minutes.

@rick_hilton same here…when I go from AIO to Roon setting my DAC and volume drop off. When I switch back to AIO from Roon the DAC and volume were connected again. I have given up and will only use it in AIO mode and set the DAC and volume each time I use the Zen Stream.

@erik_squires Pi 4 sounds intriguing. Might try one that is returnable.  Can you provide more info?  The operating system sounds like an alien language.   What Pi4 memory is needed for roon?  Can you explain the loading software requirements and how to details?  Is the cooling fan noisy?  Thanks

No help for those with IFI but for the same price, I have an allo USBridge signature that is very friendly and sounds great for the price range.  I use Shanti power supply.


@tksteingraber Too much for here and too much for me to type, but I’ll explain a little.

  • Memory: 2 GB should be sufficient but Roon recommends 4 GB for Linux
  • The cooling fans vary a lot, but you can get cases which are fanless which perform well. The end point doesn’t stress the CPU at all so it stays pretty chill anyway.
  • You flash Ubuntu server on a microSD card. 16 GB is plenty. Look online for those instructions. Stick the card into you Pi and go through the initial installation process.  Then install bzip. Then add the requirements and follow the Easy Installer instructions from Roon.

Make sure you use Ubuntu for Arm64 and get the Roon for Arm64 as well. Intel/AMD binaries won’t work here.

Fanless cases:


@erik_squires Thanks that is perfect.  I was able to look up the install instructions for Ubuntu and they explained it well.  Just s couple more questions for you:

Wanted to confirm the Pi4 a roon core and a streamer all in one?
Ubuntu has several software choices for different uses and wanted to make sure the one for Core is the best one?

How does the SQ level rate with an LPS?

Much appreciated.  Thanks again, Tom



@tksteingraber  Unfortunately Roon does not support the Pi 4 except as a stream end point. You'll notice there is no Core for Arm64

I use an ifi Power X for the Pi but can't say it's made a huge difference.

@erik_squires Thanks for your patience with me getting up to speed , it’ been very helpful.  Being a stream end point makes more sense.  I have a sonic transporter that I us as my roon core for 2 systems so another is not needed.  

@carlsbad I came across this in doing research on the Raspberry Pi sound quality vs my ifi zen stream one review did comparisons.  Interesting but just one review and everyone’s system has many variables.

“:Allo USBridge Signature and Allo DigiOne both sound smooth and natural, but are no match to Zen which is more revealing, more precise, and has a bigger soundstage with a darker background. That said, Allo DigiOne still presents a good value at its price whereas USBridge is much more debatable. If you need a USB out, I suggest saving a bit and going for Zen Stream instead.”

@carlsbad HaHa certainly not here….I take all audio reviews as just another source of research no different than Audiogon input…some is good and much is bunk and you have weed through it all.  I have no doubt the Allo sounds good…my iFi does as well.