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Innuos Zenith mk2 or Zenith mk3


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I own the zenith mk2 and have been contemplating upgrading to the mk3. 

Has anyone had the opportunity to compare the two? Any thoughts as to the sound differences? Are the differences substantial? 

TIA

Baj55

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This is what the Zenith Mk2 looks like on the inside:

 

132ACDDA-DB7C-4B51-AEE8-DDF398B7F2DE.jpeg.f7b8bffe6c4c3761f2c0bcbd520ce561.jpeg

 

And now this is the Zenith SE

 

36B392DB-FDE5-4DEC-BC0C-37E986A25267.thumb.jpeg.99e0f2eb460accfdf9412f946ca509e9.jpeg

 

I don’t have a pic of the Zenith Mk3, but what follows is actually the less expensive Zen Mk3.  The Zenith has the same power supply board, but those empty spaces are filled so that there are three supplies in the Zenith vs two in the Zen.

 

7BCD2673-0490-497F-B8E1-B886896D1C53.thumb.jpeg.d3c3fea35c68a0b7c22ccbf9a8e9ce66.jpeg

 

To my eyes it appears that Sean Jacobs certainly had a hand in designing the Mk3’s power supplies.  

 

Darko reviewed the Zen Mk3.  You should check it out.  I can’t recall the exact wording, but he concluded that the Zen came awfully close to the SE.

 

https://darko.audio/2019/02/a-short-film-about-the-innuos-zen-mk3/

 

I own a Zenith Mk2, but plan to someday move to a Zenith Mk3.

 

 

Digital:  Innuos Zenith Mk3 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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  • 2 weeks later...

Would jump on MK3 ...seems original MK2 magic just got improved with MK3.

 

When I did buy my ZEN Mk2, I listen first to ZENhit Mk2, playing my own FLAC files, it sounded good on a system and in a room that do not correspond to my home setups.
Saying crude, I was not impressed by the sound, it was not best listening of those very files, but was amazed by the easiness of use that Innuos offered. Therefore, I took ZEN Mk2 without even listening to it ...I was pretty convinced that this cannot sound bad at home.

 

Back home after 2h settling time, I connected the ZEN MK2 to my living room setup and it was clear after 20s that we have a winner ...never those files sounded so good in that room. And I was only using the Innuos as server to my streamer - DAC, through RJ-45 (Monster Cable) so nothing fancy.
In the meantime this unit moved down to my basement setup and brought significant improvement to my main system. I did also enjoy USB out direct to my DAC, which sound even more vivid than RJ-45 to streamer and then S/PDIF to my DAC - I sometimes prefer this more lay back presentation over the very analytic USB delivery.

 

End of last year I went to compare ZEN Mk3 to ZENhit MK3, again on a system and room that do not match my own. Both unit run same FLAC files from their own storage, same good USB cable was run sequentially during the comparison. Also both unit enjoy same good power cords, so a very fair comparison. Sound with ZEN was excellent, nothing evident was missing, however once we plug ZENhit it was clear that this guy is a level above. Bass fundament and detail just stepped up ...so I decided for a ZENhit MK3.

After baking in, I did obviously compare my good old ZEN Mk2 to ZENhit MK3, difference is evident in favor of the newcomer. Also I had opportunity to compare at my home with the ZEN MK3 of a friend of mine, but again ZENhit MK3 wins. We did also compare to my "old" ZEN Mk2 with new MK3 and there was no discussion, the new ZEN sounds better.

 

So in summary my experience is that order of arrival and price hierarchy is respected:

  • The new beat the old and the uper range beat the lower one. Still ZEN is boxing above his range, I mean price difference between ZEN and ZENhit is not reflecting the sound gap size.
  • Main problem at the moment seems to get Innuos units as it took three months between my MK3 order and delivery. So if you see one unit available in a store, just buy it...
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  • 9 months later...

Has anyone any experience with upgrading the PSU in the Zenith mk2? Mine is emitting a small but hearable hum and I get annoyed by it. To swap the transformer with a higher specced model could do the trick.

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/5/2019 at 11:28 AM, your momo said:

Would jump on MK3 ...seems original MK2 magic just got improved with MK3.

 

When I did buy my ZEN Mk2, I listen first to ZENhit Mk2, playing my own FLAC files, it sounded good on a system and in a room that do not correspond to my home setups.
Saying crude, I was not impressed by the sound, it was not best listening of those very files, but was amazed by the easiness of use that Innuos offered. Therefore, I took ZEN Mk2 without even listening to it ...I was pretty convinced that this cannot sound bad at home.

 

Back home after 2h settling time, I connected the ZEN MK2 to my living room setup and it was clear after 20s that we have a winner ...never those files sounded so good in that room. And I was only using the Innuos as server to my streamer - DAC, through RJ-45 (Monster Cable) so nothing fancy.
In the meantime this unit moved down to my basement setup and brought significant improvement to my main system. I did also enjoy USB out direct to my DAC, which sound even more vivid than RJ-45 to streamer and then S/PDIF to my DAC - I sometimes prefer this more lay back presentation over the very analytic USB delivery.

 

End of last year I went to compare ZEN Mk3 to ZENhit MK3, again on a system and room that do not match my own. Both unit run same FLAC files from their own storage, same good USB cable was run sequentially during the comparison. Also both unit enjoy same good power cords, so a very fair comparison. Sound with ZEN was excellent, nothing evident was missing, however once we plug ZENhit it was clear that this guy is a level above. Bass fundament and detail just stepped up ...so I decided for a ZENhit MK3.

After baking in, I did obviously compare my good old ZEN Mk2 to ZENhit MK3, difference is evident in favor of the newcomer. Also I had opportunity to compare at my home with the ZEN MK3 of a friend of mine, but again ZENhit MK3 wins. We did also compare to my "old" ZEN Mk2 with new MK3 and there was no discussion, the new ZEN sounds better.

 

So in summary my experience is that order of arrival and price hierarchy is respected:

  • The new beat the old and the uper range beat the lower one. Still ZEN is boxing above his range, I mean price difference between ZEN and ZENhit is not reflecting the sound gap size.
  • Main problem at the moment seems to get Innuos units as it took three months between my MK3 order and delivery. So if you see one unit available in a store, just buy it...

 

Hi your momo, do you think a Zen MkIII would sound as good as a Zenith MkII. I am currently in the market for a server and debating buying a used Zenith MkII from my dealer or ordering a new Zen MkIII.

 

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It's hard to state as I didn't compare Zenhit mk2 vs Zen mk3 on same system.

However I was pretty impressed by the Zen mk3 when listened on my home setup against my good old Zen mk2. The gap is significant, for me Zen mk3 is excellent value, it use same power supply as Zenhit mk3 minus one rail due to no SSD. For me SSD is not worth the extra cost up as Zen is inaudible 2m away when in use.

So it's your money and ears to decide, I wouldn't be surprised Zenhit mk2 still has a tinny edge over Zen mk3 that could be heard in a revealing system...

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Thanks momo

7 minutes ago, your momo said:

It's hard to state as I didn't compare Zenhit mk2 vs Zen mk3 on same system.

However I was pretty impressed by the Zen mk3 when listened on my home setup against my good old Zen mk2. The gap is significant, for me Zen mk3 is excellent value, it use same power supply as Zenhit mk3 minus one rail due to no SSD. For me SSD is not worth the extra cost up as Zen is inaudible 2m away when in use.

So it's your money and ears to decide, I wouldn't be surprised Zenhit mk2 still has a tinny edge over Zen mk3 that could be heard in a revealing system...

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/26/2019 at 12:51 AM, kennyb123 said:

This is what the Zenith Mk2 looks like on the inside:

 

132ACDDA-DB7C-4B51-AEE8-DDF398B7F2DE.jpeg.f7b8bffe6c4c3761f2c0bcbd520ce561.jpeg

 

And now this is the Zenith SE

 

36B392DB-FDE5-4DEC-BC0C-37E986A25267.thumb.jpeg.99e0f2eb460accfdf9412f946ca509e9.jpeg

 

I don’t have a pic of the Zenith Mk3, but what follows is actually the less expensive Zen Mk3.  The Zenith has the same power supply board, but those empty spaces are filled so that there are three supplies in the Zenith vs two in the Zen.

 

7BCD2673-0490-497F-B8E1-B886896D1C53.thumb.jpeg.d3c3fea35c68a0b7c22ccbf9a8e9ce66.jpeg

 

To my eyes it appears that Sean Jacobs certainly had a hand in designing the Mk3’s power supplies.  

 

Darko reviewed the Zen Mk3.  You should check it out.  I can’t recall the exact wording, but he concluded that the Zen came awfully close to the SE.

 

https://darko.audio/2019/02/a-short-film-about-the-innuos-zen-mk3/

 

I own a Zenith Mk2, but plan to someday move to a Zenith Mk3.

 

 

Hello all,

Apparently the Zenith MK3 also has higher class capacitors on the power supply.

See Hans Beekhuyzen's review: 

 

 

I had an email exchange with INNUOS in the beginning of the year, in which they mention that a Zen MK3 can be upgraded to Zenith MK3 spec.  What exactly is replaced/upgraded, I don't know.  Based on HB's description of the difference between the 2 models (@ 5 min into the review), my guess is the power supply will be upgraded/replaced.

 

John Darko compares the Zen MK3 to the Zenith MK2 SE.  These models are also listed in his "Digital Transport" index (only accessible to Patreon supporters (*)).  The MK2 SE sits near the top and class above the Zen MK3.  

 

Anyway, I am trying to find out how much better the Zenith MK3 is than the Zenith MK2 SE, to help me decide if I should spend an extra € 1300.- for the Zenit MK3 vs the Zen MK3.

 

Any further input?

 

(*) https://darko.audio/the-2020-darko-dac-and-digital-transport-index/ (This page is privileged content for Patreon supporters. It contains a quite detailed index of DACs and Digital Transports.)

 

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On 4/8/2020 at 12:18 AM, your momo said:

It's hard to state as I didn't compare Zenhit mk2 vs Zen mk3 on same system.

However I was pretty impressed by the Zen mk3 when listened on my home setup against my good old Zen mk2. The gap is significant, for me Zen mk3 is excellent value, it use same power supply as Zenhit mk3 minus one rail due to no SSD. For me SSD is not worth the extra cost up as Zen is inaudible 2m away when in use.

So it's your money and ears to decide, I wouldn't be surprised Zenhit mk2 still has a tinny edge over Zen mk3 that could be heard in a revealing system...

The difference between Zen MK3 and Zenith MK3 as stated above is not entirely correct... See the review by Hans Beekhuyzen (my post just above).

 

Thanks

 

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I had this recent exchange regarding SE upgrades with Nuno. I thought his comments were interesting especially on the Statement level PS:

 

Regarding the upgrades on the SE, the SE already has a Statement-level power supply - it was inspired on that design that the Statement came to life. As for software, even Mk.I with innuOS will be updated with new software never mind the SE. We do support our products in the long run. The PhoenixUSB is an upgrade per se for our MkI and MkII users, this is why we decided on an external box rather than launching a new ZEN series server with the reclocker built-in...

 

 

SYSTEM: Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > EtherRegen/Farad Super 3 > Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > Zenith MKII SE > Phasure Lush 2 > Innuos Phoenix > Phasure Lush 2 > PS Audio Directstream Sr DAC > Ayre K-5xe MP Preamplifier > Conrad Johnson MF-2500a > Vandersteen Quatro Woods

POWER: AQ (Niagara 5000/Tornado/Hurricane)/Audience AU24 SE LP/Triode Wire Labs/Shunyata (Python/Venom 3)/Nordost Blue Heaven/Audio Sensibilities Sig Silver DC 

CABLING: AQ (Earth/Go-4 Dbl Bi-Wire)

ISOLATION: IsoAcoustics/Herbie's/BDR/PS Audio Powerbase

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7 hours ago, RedDogCo said:

The difference between Zen MK3 and Zenith MK3 as stated above is not entirely correct... See the review by Hans Beekhuyzen (my post just above).

 

Thanks

 

The point is, now I'm lucky enough to own both Zen and Zenhit in mk3 version. Sound wise the Zenhit is above, no debate. Is it worth de extra money this is up to everyones priority ?

 

Regarding the HW differences I would still stick on, aside one rail and an SSD, there is no extra. The reviewer is a good talker, but I already had to open my Zenhit and I have seen the caps, to me based on Zen mk3 picture they are same brand and spec.

I might open my Zen too if this becomes a must...

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14 hours ago, kennyb123 said:

"Do take into consideration that the SE is superior to the ZENith MK3 so it will be closer to the Statement than the ZENith."

 

John D. mentions in his review of the ZEN MK3 when he compares it to the SE, that the SE is a limited series.  So that would make sense then.  The ZEN MK3 is an upgrade of the MK2 but not of the SE. The SE is in a class of its own.

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9 hours ago, your momo said:

The reviewer is a good talker, but I already had to open my Zenhit and I have seen the caps, to me based on Zen mk3 picture they are same brand and spec.

I might open my Zen too if this becomes a must...

 

I trust that reviewer. Hans B. is a long time professional tech journalist who wrote for several respected publications before starting his Youtube channel.  So I would be really grateful, if you would check if indeed the caps on the Zenith are higher class than the Zen or not.  Thanks in advance.

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Probably no need to open my Zen mk3, just looking again at John Darko's Zen mk3 review video where we see internal and the famous caps.

My conclusion is Zen mk3 has no Mundorf MLytic like Zenhit mk3, so yes - caps are different.

 

However the above Zen mk3 inside top picture is kind of cheating since this one use the Mundorf MLytic as my Zenhit mk3 top picture shows - probably a marketing leak 😉

 

Attached, my Zenhit mk3 inside & cap as well as John D, Zen mk3 cap view from his video

ZHmk3.jpg

ZHmk3Caps.jpg

Zmk3Caps.jpg

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Great feedback. Thanks for the effort your momo

So you also hear a clear difference between the Zen MK3 and the Zenith MK3?

One last question: approximately how much disk space is taken up the system software? Do you have Roon Core installed?

 

Thanks again.

 

 

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On 6/26/2020 at 3:13 PM, your momo said:

Probably no need to open my Zen mk3, just looking again at John Darko's Zen mk3 review video where we see internal and the famous caps.

My conclusion is Zen mk3 has no Mundorf MLytic like Zenhit mk3, so yes - caps are different.

 

However the above Zen mk3 inside top picture is kind of cheating since this one use the Mundorf MLytic as my Zenhit mk3 top picture shows - probably a marketing leak 😉

 

 

I want to make sure I understand this correctly.  It sounds like you have concluded that:

  • The Zenith has better capacitors than the Zen
  • Some marketing photos showed the Zen as having the better capacitors as well, but those photos aren’t accurate 

Did I get that right?  
 

If so, it might be that the Zen Mk3 is using the same capacitors as the Zen Mk2, but it gets twice as many.  I think the photo that follows is the Zen Mk2.  Those two capacitors may represent a single power supply rail, while the Zen Mk3 gets two rails.  Both the Zenith Mk2 and Mk3 have three rails.  The Zenith Mk2 appears to have the same caps as in the Zen Mk2, but 6 instead of 2. As such, I will guess that with Mk3, the Zen gained an additional rail, while the Zenith gained better caps.  The Mk3 power supplies have clearly gained some additional improvements as well.

 

I just purchased a Zenith Mk3 to replace my Zenith Mk2.  I won’t have it until next week, but will be sure to share my impressions.

 

193E5487-D0BD-486D-BE3E-F392644611D2.thumb.jpeg.4ce741190975b96029dfac90682a8a59.jpeg

Digital:  Innuos Zenith Mk3 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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@RedDogCoI don't run Roon, just use the LMS as provided by Innuos - so I can also enjoy my old SlimDevices/Logitech products.

Most of time in my main setup (Zenhit) I use USB out direct to my DAC, this provides best sound - Just it requires the use of a smartphone, tablet or PC to control the music.

The old gen Logitech stuff has less crisp sound but can be run with an IR remote, so cool, so simple, so obvious.

 

I don't know about system size but my 2TB SSD version is offering 1'700GB for music storage.

 

@kennyb123 Yes that's right Zen mk3 looks to use same caps as mk2. However mk3 use exact same PWA and BOM (diode, regs, ..etc) bar the 4x big Electrolyte that are not the Mundorf used in Zenhit mk3 only.

Zen mk3 also has only two rails due to no 5V SSD, so MCU has one specific rail and HDD/CD, ..etc get another rail.

 

Mk3 line went one step over mk2, so you made a good move ...enjoy !

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, your momo said:

The old gen Logitech stuff has less crisp sound but can be run with an IR remote, so cool, so simple, so obvious.

 


I am able to use an IR remote to control Roon.  I have an old Mac set up to accept IR commands from one of those small aluminum Apple remotes.  The application Remote Buddy then controls Roon running on that Mac.   There is occasionally a delay but it gets the job done.  Nice for pausing playback or advancing to the next track. Roon on that Mac is acting only as a control app.  

 

Digital:  Innuos Zenith Mk3 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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Great feedback  momo.

My plan is also to connect via USB to my DAC (PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell Preamp)

 

The system software then takes about 300 GB.

Perfect that's what I wanted to know. 

 

Thanks again.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi,

 

I recently tested both the Zenith Mk2 and Mk3.  Currently using a modern Dell laptop as source.  The Mk2 was a bit better, richer sound, but not a huge difference, say 5%.  Not enough to buy one.  The Mk3 - OMG! miles better.  The Mk2 I wouldn't consider a hifi product, the Mk3 definitely is.  I played Jean Michel Jarre Equinox V on it, and for the first time it felt not like hifi, but a more emotional experience.  It had life, and made me really feel I was there.    I now have one on order....

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Hello Hifinewbiw - Welcome to the community and thanks for your feedback.

I am still waiting to listen to the Zen MK3 and Zenith MK3 at my local dealer.  Innuos are a bit back-ordered apparently.

 

I have a couple questions about the configuration you tested:

  • Dell laptop as a source: do you mean the media files were stored on the Dell and the Zenith used the Dell harddisk as the media source?
  • Did you test the different ROON integrations on the Zenith?:
    • Use as Roon Core
    • Use as Roon Player
    • Use as Roon Core with Squeezelite Player

Thanks

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On 7/27/2020 at 3:48 PM, kennyb123 said:

 

I recently swapped a Zenith Mk3 for the Mk2.  I'm not sure I'd characterize the differences the way you did. 

 

I have owned both a Zenith MK2 & a Zenith MK2 SE and there is no way I would characterize the MK2 not a hi-fi product. It is a very good server. The SE is better and more on par with the MK3 but it is not 2x better than a MK2. 10-15% better. The MK2 is a fine unit

SYSTEM: Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > EtherRegen/Farad Super 3 > Ghent JSSG360 Cat6a > Zenith MKII SE > Phasure Lush 2 > Innuos Phoenix > Phasure Lush 2 > PS Audio Directstream Sr DAC > Ayre K-5xe MP Preamplifier > Conrad Johnson MF-2500a > Vandersteen Quatro Woods

POWER: AQ (Niagara 5000/Tornado/Hurricane)/Audience AU24 SE LP/Triode Wire Labs/Shunyata (Python/Venom 3)/Nordost Blue Heaven/Audio Sensibilities Sig Silver DC 

CABLING: AQ (Earth/Go-4 Dbl Bi-Wire)

ISOLATION: IsoAcoustics/Herbie's/BDR/PS Audio Powerbase

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