Problems with the IFI Zen Stream.. What's a better Alternative?

I own two Zen Streams  and use them in different systems. I have used them for approximately two years. On the positive side they both deliver excellent sound quality. The problem is, as of the last few months, they both drop the network signal frequently for seconds to minutes. The red light comes on, then goes back to green. They are both running through ethernet cable, not wirelessly. After hours of trouble shooting, I have concluded that the problem is with the streamer, not something else. I suspect they might be failing due to the heat they generate. That's just a guess. 

My question is: what produces of similar or better sound quality with better reliability new or used? I would like to stay under $1,000.


I have a Zen stream and I’ve been planning to purchase another "higher end" streamer for months ... But I haven’t yet because it just sounds so good. I’ve certainly had some frustrating moments with it but once it settled into it’s role that it’s been in for the past year, it just has performed very well.

Obviously the frustrating things are the Volumio software which I don’t use, the customer support and the fact that in order to play Qobuz either Room or a Upnp must be employed.

I’ve been using the JPLAY app to stream Qobuz via my IFi Zen Stream with all the functions turned off except for Upnp in the Source Selection settings. It sounds amazing. (I also have it powered by a 12V linear supply from LHY). It’s also being fed ethernet from an EtherRegen which connects to my router.

Every now and then I have some hang-ups where I can’t send songs to the renderer and I have to close the app and re-open it.... but I think that issue is the JPLAY software rather than the Zen

Thanks to all for the suggestions of alternatives. I would welcome more suggestions to research. I’m also curious about the ultrarendu.

I appreciate the thoughts from those of you who suggest or imply that finding other solutions to preventing the drop offs by continued troubleshooting may work. I wish this was so as I used both Zen Streams in different locations with no problems for months and was thrilled with the quality, especially when adding a network switch and fiber optic cable. It is certainly possible that I missed something. However, after weeks of annoyance and attempts to fix the problem, I am ready to throw in the towel and just buy something that I have more confidence in.

Forgot to mention that the unit I’m looking to "upgrade" to , if and when I do it, is the Innuos PulseMini.

It’s not stratospherically priced at about $1200. Has a built in DAC incase you need to use that but certainly can feed whatever DAC you already have and most importantly brings the Sense software to the table.

Seems like a rational upgrade from the Zen

@dbb, I suggest you not give up and schedule an appointment with your ISP to check your Internet equipment, etc.

I was also having streaming issues so I recently had my ISP check all my devices, signal performance, frequency in range, etc. He replaced my inside connector/cables, replaced the connectors at my outside distribution cable box and the connectors at the cable box outside my home. He performed speed tests at each point (inside modem, cable box outside home and distribution box at the street) to ensure everything was working. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your ISP to check everything including your router and modem.

BTW, I have issues with routers dropping packets and having other issues that corrupted the cable signal. I suggest you get everything checked before you replace any equipment. I hope this helps. 

During one ISP visit, he deterred my cable signal was out of its normal range so he adjusted it.  


@j_andrews  I'll look into the Innuos PulseMini. I already have a high quality DAC so I would like to avoid paying for something I don't need. Still, sometimes you have to pay more to get what you need. Thanks for your input.