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 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.


A question for my personal info (re comparison with the Ultrarendu) : Did you use a better power supply with your ZS or did you use the OEM one?