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Any experiences with Innuos Zenith Server?


matthias
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Hi,

the Innuos Zenith Server has gained a very good reputation.

It offers a very good USB output and a very good direct output to devices like SMS-200 and Microrendu.

Any experiences with this server?

Thanks

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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  • 1 year later...

did you look through these threads?

 

 

 

sources:  intel nuc8i7 (audiolinux, roon core) (server) | simaudio moon mind 2 (renderer)
headphone rig:  chord qutest > bryston bha-1 > audeze lcd-3
main rig:  chord dave > parasound jc5 > kef reference 1
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Received an Innuos Zenith SE early in January. Sounded wonderful. So much so I eventually sold my analog front end (Michell, SME, Ortofon Cadenza Black MC) because the Zenith sounded better. Not just on local files either. A good feed streaming Qobuz sounds absolutely wonderful. 

I use the Innuos OS and iPeng as UI and I’m really happy with the ease of use, ease of ripping, ease of back-up, library management and the ability to convert random play into playlists and Quboz playlists into my favourites. 

Pay attention to the Ethernet feed, get a decent USB cable to your DAC and you’ll be delighted with the way Innuos products play music. Personally I’ve never heard 16/44.1 sound so good. I had no idea those CDs contained so much information, despite playing them through some SOTA CDPs over the years. 

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Hello, as a long time observer of this forum, I decided to create an account and do my very first CA post in this topic.

 
As short introduction, I'm longtime audio geek. I say geek and avoid to say phile, due to I'm from skeptical nature and usually don't fall in love prior to hear evidences. Geek also reflect well tremendous amount of time I spent messing around with my audio gears in the last decades. On the flip side once convinced I'm kind to change my mind - and can even become an advocate of something I was doubtful about.
 
For same reason I don't count me as early adopter of computer audio (streaming), I was spinning CDs till late 2007 and still now buy my music on CDs. So I rip them and store on NAS - no Tidal, Quobuz, ...etc
 
I fall into audio streaming when first acquiring a Slim Device Squeezbox3 - such a cute display - and then move to Transporter - double display = double the fun. I have to admit those audio streaming products made me enjoy music like never before, so many tunes just at the fingertip. 
 
So I play with about 1.5GB of FLAC from HDD of a Qnap HS-251 NAS running LMS and use Transporter (mostly IR remote) as digital (SPDIF) source to feed DAC, then Amp and finally 3 way floorstanders. My LAN is mostly very basic wiring with server and streamer directly connected and use of static IP. In my living room setup, I also have access to WAN - for web radio - so I can add LAN switch powered by improved supply to sort of equal sound quality of direct NAS to Transporter connection ...but still tide better when direct.
 
So far never believed in USB for standalone audio, mostly due to it requires a PC to feed and control the DAC and also I did not had USB input on my best DAC. Nevertheless I recently acquired a modern DAC with USB input as well as native DSD handling, so I wanted to give USB a try...
 
This brought me to Innuos music server, those products were among some I put my eyes on, mainly thanks to this forum. After having visited a local dealer I put my choice on a ZEN mkii with 2GB HDD.
I decided for this unit over ZENith mkii as it was enjoying all Innuos bang, like: - use of LMS, - 2GB music buffer, - double LAN, - linear supply, - CD ripping/tagging, a nice and solid build, also offered at a fairly reasonable price. Could not catch why ZENhit using 80% same parts should cost twice more, ...to be fair could not compare both side by side on my setup, so opted to spend less.
 
-- If I would have to rate this purchase out of 10, I would give it a 9 --

My only grip is that Innuos products do require a DHCP server to get an IP, so no way to run LAN direct from ZEN to Transporter and simply keep using IR remote to enjoy music. There is a mandatory need of a DHCP router in the loop ...which I agree is also needed to connect a control tablet in order to rip, tag and also play music from USB out.
 
Asid of that I have only praise about ZEN, the device is fast, plug and play, so simple to setup and use. Ripping, tagging is nice and easy and last but not least sound is superior to all my former NAS or PC running LMS. Presentation is tighter, whole soundstage feels more live, this is just about LAN connection.
 
When it comes to USB out I have no comparison point, except LAN, and here again there is a step up, noise floor is deeper, details a revealed, all is just more crisp and vivid... I already try several USB cables (basic from my USB printer, Oyade Neo A and S, Wireworld Platinium Starlight 7, Absolute Creations TIM, ...) , funny wise all sounded very different - I ended up using Oyade Continental 5S, very pleasant and natural ...Absolute Creation was a tide more natural, but price factor 3 was just too much.
 
So what's next, I will probably buy another Innuos server as I have two audio systems, so keep ZEN and possibly pick a mkiii once available - just need to choose which one...
SE could have been on my wishlist - superbe build, premium supply and nice silver front plate, but it's Sold Out and also price was probably already at outer rim I can accept to put on "a computer".
 
What made me choose Innuos over other single box server solutions was clearly the ability to keep using LMS and my legacy streamer (Transporter) for convenient IR remote based operations.
If I want the more serious audio session, I take my tablet for control and listen to USB direct into my DAC - sound is a tide more real, also I can enjoy DSD native.
Now I really wonder what if I start to mess around my USB path, there are multiple feedback here giving impression that such effort get rewarded ...but then bye bye to simple clean single box server ?
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