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.


@cagma7  Thanks. I implemented your suggestions except for the Google DNS address, which I didn't know how to do. No drop offs yet after about 1/2 hour. Fingers crossed. 

I found the procedure re ZS issue / Google DNS. Like you, I am not an expert. I just follow this procedure and it solves my issues. Hope it will work for you as the ZS sounds very good for the price and you have to spend much more to... PS : A better power supply (I use a SBooster) makes a significant improvement with the ZS. Good luck. Procedure (it was for a Cambridge streamer but it also works for the ZS): This is caused by an incompatibility with the Internet Service Provider's DNS servers. This is a known issue with Fastweb ISP in Italy. Resolution: Manually assign Google's Public DNS server IP addresses to the Cambridge Audio network device. Steps: Configure your router to reserve a local IP address to be used by the Streamer or choose an IP that is outside of the range of your DHCP scope This will stop the chosen IP address from being used by another device on your network. Streamer after the latest iOS update. How to connect your CXN (V2) manually using the IP address Configure your Streamer to use a Static IP address and Google DNS: On the front of the Streamer navigate to Home -> Settings -> Network -> Edit Config Use DHCP? NO IP address: Enter the reserved IP address Network Mask: Enter your networks subnet mask Gateway Address Enter the IP address of your router DNS Server 1: Enter DNS Server 2: Enter Choose no to "Enter DNS Server 3"

Check out the Primare NP5 Prisma MK2 - $750 Retail (recently offered by Roon Store for $600 on sale). Great sounding streamer when paired with a quality DAC.  Sounds even better with an upgraded power supply.  I use and recommend the Topping P50 power supply ($100 to $129 retail).

i would concur with the advice for zenstream owners to do what they can to make the unit work in their internet setup, its is well worth the trouble -- once working, the unit provides really excellent sound quality

too bad it can often be a pain to get going, but for the very low cost of the unit, the setup pains are part of the ’actual’ cost, so to speak

i am fortunate that as a roon user, the zs has been 100% useable and reliable right out of the box for me, and the sonic capability of the unit is truly impressive

This is an update. I finally figured out that the problem was not with the Zen Stream at my summer location. It was with the ethernet switch. Once I replaced it, no drop-offs.

In the course of trying to solve the problem, I bought a used Ultrarendu. The purchase was not wasted since, to my ear, it is a definite improvement over the Zen Stream. That’s not surprising since it costs over twice as much new. While I am still a fan of the excellent neutrality and resolution of the Zen Stream, the Ultrarendu has a lower noise floor making details and decay better. It also has a stronger bass which is arguably more accurate. To my ear the added warmth is welcome.