Some practical cases
My phone is a OnePlus 8 Pro, nothing fancy. It has Spotify installed and I am part of a Family subscription, or however it is called. Open Spotify, select your album or track, click the TV/speaker icon on the bottom left, select iFi Streamer… and done. That easy.
The same goes for the desktop app where you simply click on the same icon, this time in the bottom right corner.
And the same basically goes for Tidal. Click on the little speaker icon, select iFi’s Streamer and you’re good to go. It can’t be more easy.
Can’t find you’re favorite album on any streaming service? No problem. Just get out your phone, go to the iFi interface, find the album on your NAS, click play. Done.
I can keep giving you examples of how incredibly easy it is to use the ZEN Stream, but just take my word for it. And then I haven’t even talked about using the ZEN Stream from any DLNA certified streaming app, Airplay, Chromecast and many others.
Sound Stream Quality
The iFi Audio ZEN Stream is a streamer “pure sang” and it doesn’t have an integrated DAC chip. That means you always need to connect it to an external DAC, which in the end will define the sound quality.
What is more important here is that the ZEN Stream delivers a top quality signal to the DAC, without cracks, without jitter or any additional noise that shouldn’t be there. We should really call it stream quality. After weeks of testing I can only say that my experience with the ZEN Stream in this regard has been nothing but perfect. No pops, cracks or streaming issues in any way. It’s not only been easy to set up and use, but it has proven to work flawlessly at any given time (no connection issues).
As you can clearly see, my experience with the ZEN Stream has been really good. I don’t have tons of streaming experience, but I do know that I have tried multiple streaming devices which I absolutely did not like and they are somewhere in the attic now, hoping to see a bit of sunlight again one day.
The ZEN Stream has been the first streamer I have used this much, and that says a lot. To sum up the ZEN Steamer:
- Great build quality
- Easy to set up and use
- Excellent streaming / consistency
- High versatility in regards to connections and sources
- Integrated iPurifier
The $/€/£399 price tag doesn’t scare me looking at how happy I am with the unit and seeing how versatile it is. The only down side for me is the lack of a screen on which I could see the bit rate/depth and maybe some cover art. But that’s probably asking too much for a streamer at this price level.
Soon we on HFN will be looking at a just released Mid-Fi streaming DAC with screen. So keep you’re eye out on that review as well.
Page 3: Usability Part 2, End Words