iFi Zen Streamer vs. NUC as Library drive host?

I can only find the post were it is using the usb from ZS but not with Roon

Information from the iFi Zen Streamer manual is conspicuous only in its absence! The manual says:

“Input - Connect to HDD, USB DISK etc
These USB ports have ANC technology built-in.”

I looked up ANC and it is “active noise cancelling.” This would have nothing to do with whether or not Roon will be able to see a drive plugged into the endpoint.

My gut feeling is that @Traian_Boldea is right: “I was suspecting that the core needs the files so having the files on ZS it is going to double the distance data travels.” If that’s the case, then it makes sense to leave the USB Library drive directly connected to the NUC.

Not bearing on what the OP is asking about, but it does show that the device is ‘Roon Ready’.

Does “Roon Ready” include implementation of RAAT over Ethernet?

Yes, but that is not going to have anything to do with Roon seeing a Zen attached USB drive.

Once you get the device and find that what you want to do in that regard doesn’t work, come back and say so or say otherwise.

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Yes Roon ready is Roon bridge that has rat sdk… I’ll search if I have the screen shot

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That was my only point actually, but since you mentioned it…………

Seems counterintuitive to plug your library into the zen unless you plan to use the player in mode one, if you intend to use mode two ( roon exclusive) I’m doubtful it will even see it. Again Glenn as I mentioned earlier I’m new to the Zen and Roon so that topic I sent you earlier has a lot of little tricks.

With RAAT, I’m less concerned with data sluggishness over Ethernet. UPNP over Ethernet can be the Wild, Wild West in terms of protocols. But if the iFi Zen has RAAT (as @Traian_Boldea says), then there’s no reason to even consider the USB HDD input on the endpoint. I’ll just leave the Library connected to the NUC and let RAAT manage the Ethernet transfer.

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The ONLY reason I was asking about using the iFi Zen endpoint as a Library drive connection is that the USB ports of my NUC are already noisy. Should they fail entirely, I could continue using the NUC sans USB ports using one of two options:

  1. Connect the library drive to the endpoint (if Roon can see it) and run that way or

  2. Create a NAS drive connected to the NUC via Ethernet and run that way

Should I need to use option 2, are there any NAS drives that support RAAT?

I do not think you need that. NAS just delivers the files to the Roon Core… If you want to use the NAS as a endpoint that is something different. But I think you can do that also if the right kind of NAS

No, I’d not want or need to use a NAS as an endpoint. But without RAAT, we’re back to the UPNP mess of Ethernet protocols. I have no doubt that it would work, but it would likely not be as optimum as having RAAT all the way through - Core to NAS - NAS back to core - Core to Endpoint. That’s a lot of real-time transferring.

I now understand why you were thinking of this, the USB from ZS is supposed to be better. I think we can find on volumio help files how to share the attaches usb drive but I guess it will only work on AIO mode of the Zen Stream so you loose the benefits of the Roon Mode. But you can try and compare.

I was under the impression that RAAT is only for audio not also for files, but I might be wrong

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No, you’re not wrong. RAAT is an acronym for Roon Advanced Audio Transport. It’s the protocol rooon uses to stream audio from the core to the endpoint(s). File transfer from whatever storage device has nothing to do with RAAT.

see here


I use a router with a USB connected drive which is exposed as a share name. Roon can see that.

There are NAS units which will do the same. RAAT has nothing to do with that aspect.



So there is no use for a NAS to have RAAT if used as a file storage


Excellent information, folks - thank you SO much - I appreciate it.

Happy Holidays to you & yours!



@Traian_Boldea , What are your thoughts on the difference between mode one AIO and mode two Roon exclusively? I haven’t done a full A/B testing analysis properly yet. I would like to hear your opinion, it sounds like you have much more experience and knowledge of this device. Thanks :+1:t2:

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Enjoy your ZS
Happy Holidays


I have not done the comparing of the sound. I just opted for that as I do use the ZS only with Roon and read in some threads here that is better. Also if iFi it is showing off this, and build the knob, than I though it must be better. Or it would not make sense to invest in building it.
I had also questions if using the dial in the back of the ZS it is the same as disabling features from the ZS software. But when you use the dial you do not have access to the volumio software installed on ZS just to a port giving access to the Roon bridge options. But I do not know if the usual volumio software gets shut down and all that remains is a Roon bridge SDK.

Depends on if you use other options (tidal, Spotify, etc) or just Roon. My plan is to try the ZS as NAA, but after I’ll buy a licence for HQ player

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