Does your IFi Zen Steam have Low Gain?

Any IFI Zen Stream owners notice a very low gain on this streamer? Mine has approximately 30db+ lower gain than other input devices. Not sure if mine has an issue or this is its normal performance. I tried reaching out to iFi on line support and their response was “thank you for notifying us we will pass it on to our development team for future enhancement consideration”.


30 dB is a lot.  I don't have one but I would be sure that there is a problem.  What DAC are you using and what type digital interconnect?

I assume you set the maximum volume at 100?  You can set the max volume, the start volume and the db per steps.

@ricevs yes I do have the max volume set at 100.  I didn’t see the start volume setting.  I’ll look into that setting.  That might be my issue.  I use the Roon setting and control my volume with my amp volume controls and don’t use the iFi ap.

If you are using roon, go through all the options and make sure you don't have a DSP option enabled and turned way down. for this streamer.  Roon saves different settings for each device.

@carlsbad  @ricevs thanks for your suggestions…I got it solved…it was an oversight in the iFi software.  I had the settings set at 100%  volume but didn’t realize you have to go into the actual play app and also set the volume to 100% even if you are using roon as your control app. Live and learn!

It's the glitchy software. I had that issue with USB digital out with non-iFi DACs. I had to go into the setting and manually adjust the output to !00% but it would often change next time around.

It seemed to work fine with the matching iFi DAC.

I ended up returning it.

I do not have access to individual product reviews or user experiences. However, I can provide some general information that may be helpful.

Firstly, the IFI Zen Stream is designed as a digital audio transport, which means that it is not intended to have an analog input or gain control. Instead, it relies on the output level of the connected source device, such as a computer or smartphone, to provide the signal level to the downstream audio system. Therefore, it is possible that the lower gain you are experiencing may be due to the output level of your source device rather than an issue with the IFI Zen Stream itself.

If you have tested the IFI Zen Stream with multiple source devices and still notice a significantly lower gain compared to other input devices, it is possible that there may be an issue with your unit. In this case, you may want to contact IFI customer support again to request a warranty repair or replacement. MyAARPMedicare

It is also worth noting that different audio systems and devices may have different gain levels and output impedances, which can affect the overall volume and sound quality. It may be helpful to consult with an audio expert or technician to optimize your system for the best possible performance.

@jamesgoff Thanks for your input…I was able to identify the problem and it was related to the iFi app.  The app is where you have to set your device settings each time you use the device.  I have to go into the app settings and select my audio output device which I choose my dac.  Then I have to select my Audio Volume Output which I select “hardware” then I can ensure or set my volume to 100. The iFi stream does allow for volume control which is good but I wish it would save settings last used. Kind of annoying to set them each time it’s used.

Once you set the output volume in the iFi app and save it you don’t have to set it again. Mine has not moved in almost nine months. If your volume issue is when using a streaming source you might want to check for a volume setting in it. With the iFi app you have to hit the save button for each separate category you make a change in not just for the overall app. That should stay unless you change it.

@jackd thanks for the interesting input.  When I turn my Stream off it reverts back to the output  volume setting of “none” which lowers the fixed volume by about 50%.  It also reverts the output device to spdif which I don’t use, I use USB with my Dac.  So each time I use the stream I have to go in and change those two settings to my Dac and the volume to hardware so I can set volume to 100.  I do save each one after setting them. The only other volume control is my Integrated Amp. I use a sonic transporter as my roon core network player.



Try going to this thread on Head Fi and following the factory re-set procedure and see if that clears your unusual problem off.  Also not sure why you turn the Zen Stream off everytime you stop playing it. 



@jackd  Ok well I did a reset to factory settings (actually multiple times) and it now saves the DAC setting and the volume setting but it will not show up in roon as an output device no matter what is done.  It’s a nice paperweight now about to become a hockey puck.  This streamer is so glitchy, not intuitive with horrible instructions.  It does sound good when you can get it set up.  My Bricasti M5 set up on my main system is the complete opposite. Time to go back to my Macbook Pro and start shopping for another streamer.


After getting the factory reset to work and fix your original issue have you tried doing a complete reset of the entire chain to see if Roon will see the Zen Stream.  Shut everything down all the way to the router and then bring everything back up one at a time starting with the router and this includes the control point. I'm pretty sure it's something as simple as Roon losing sight of the Zen during the factory reset process and now needs to start over to find it.  Not all that unusual in a digital chain when you "change" a component which doing a factory reset qualifies as. There are are "power users" on the Zen Stream thread at Head-Fi using Roon that may be able to help you too.  

Well I opened a ticket with iFi and they continue to demonstrate they have no tech support. They only reply with a referral to their set up instructions which are no help.  I have opened 2 separate tickets since i purchased the stream and this is their pat response to tickets.

”Thank you for reaching out to us about the ZEN Stream. We appreciate your feedback and will pass it along to our development team for consideration in a future software/firmware update. While we cannot provide an estimated time of arrival for such an update at this time, please know that we take customer suggestions seriously and will do our best to incorporate them in future updates. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

They should just admit it and say “Sorry we are unable to help in any way”

@jackd Thanks for your input.  Yes I did complete a full reset each time.  I somehow was able to reinstall, for a third time, the most current software and my Zen is again seen by roon and I am able to stream.  Back to my DAC and volume having to be reset each time either one is turned off.  Full circle! The reason I turn them off is that I don’t use this system every day, my DAC uses tubes and my LPS powers my Stream and 2 optical FMC’s and gets warm. Just gonna live with it as is.


If you haven't yet reach out on the two Zen Stream threads on Head-Fi.  In addition to the power users there using Roon an iFi employee participates there. Maybe someone there can help you.  I have no knowledge of Roon and never heard of anyone with the volume control issue. 

Thanks but I am done with it all  and will set the volume and Dac during each use.  Not worth the time and frustration for the end benefit.