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Innuos Zenith Mk3 vs. Roon NUC + Roon endpoint


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I am trying to find out if buying the Innuos Zenith Mk3 will give me better sound than my current setup

My current setup are this

  • ROON NUC server
  • miniDSP HD Studio as a RAAT endpoint, connected to an ER, using Supra CAT8
  • Tidal HIFI are my only source, but if I get a DAC with DSD I would like to try that
  • Orchid DAC
  • Primaluna HP integrated
  • Tekton Design Double Impact
  • Well treated room
  • Good power to my system

 

So is it better to split the roon server and roon endpoint or have one product for them?

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9 hours ago, Martin Herløv Andersen said:

So is it better to split the roon server and roon endpoint or have one product for them?


That’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many variables.  I own a Zenith Mk3 and yet I’m inclined to believe that there are better ways to spend the amount one would pay for a new Zenith.  I prefer a single box to reduce clutter and also didn’t want to build my own.  I purchased a demo Mk3 at a great price and couldn’t be happier.
 

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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I use an 8i7BEH NUC with Euphony Stylus/Roon powered by an Uptone Audio JS-2. I've used microRendu, RPI3b+, Pentium NUC and i3 NUC

as  Roon endpoints, in the end I went back to the standalone i7 NUC as better sound. My only quibble with the NUC approach is its "off the shelf"

USB out ports, would prefer a solution that allowed better USB out cards like the JCAT USB Femto. Given your existing investment the most cost effective improvement  would be to buy a good LPS to power the NUC, something like a Paul Hynes supply  at the requisite voltage and amps.

The stock NUC SMPS supplies don't do detail resolution any favors.


Have heard the ZEN MK III at CAF 2019, it was one of the best streamer players used. The Innuos servers have a lot of thought behind

electronic noise suppression and power supply quality. 

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Innuos is great if you're connecting directly to your DAC or Endpoint via USB or Ethernet. If you're simply serving files over network, I don't feel it sounds any better than a Roon NUC or Nucleus. So it depends on your setup. Just my two cents after owning the Zenith Mk3 for a couple months. 

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+1 for the comments from mrkoven.

It's a great one box option which, by the way, will benefit from a vastly updated Operating System shortly, to integrate better with the Music Apps on offer such as Qobuz and Tidal.

Like yourself, who is running a Primaluna, I have a Zenith MK3 going in to a LampizatOr Amber 3 DAC through a Primaluna EVO 400 Integrated and out through Klipsch Forte III's. A fabulous match.

 

20201004_131807.jpg

Amplifier: Primaluna EVO 400 Integrated 

Digital: Innuos Zenith MK3 > LampizatOr Amber 3, Pioneer PD-S904

Analogue: Rega Planar 2 > Rega Fono MM MK3, Pioneer CT-W806DR 

Cables: Phasure Lush ^2, AQ Coffee, AQ Ruby, Cable Talk 2, QED Silver Anniversary

Speakers: Klipsch Forte III

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  • 2 weeks later...

Innuos settings has 2 options for keeping the Core and Endpoint on the server.  The Experimental mode option definitely improves Roon sound quality. 

However I prefer to upsample to DSD 512 in Roon and found moving the Core off the Innuos was better.  The processor in Innous servers was chosen to be quiet not powerful I think it is better suited to fill the role as an endpoint.  The quality of your network switch and cables and power supplies will likely be a factor as that can add noise.  I have invested a bit in the network gear.

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