Innuos zenith mk3 or aries G2.1

I am thinking of buying a innuos zenith mk3 or auralic aries G2.1 to go with a direct stream dac and a matrix Xspdif2 . has anyone done a comparison between these 2 items sound quality ect, is it worth spending the extra amount for the G 2.1 ?. many thanks for any help

I heard the Innous at a friends place. It’s a great “one stop shop”, especially for folks Computer Challenged and just want it to “work”. Myself, I can’t get my head around why somone would pay north of $2k for a COMPUTER ! I built a HTPC/Music Server with no fans or fancy video cards with an Intel i7 CPU on a ASUS Gaming Motherboard, and 8GB of RAM and a total of 8TB across 3 spinning hard drives along with a fanless power supply and it sounds great. I use a cheap ass 8 port Netgear Router and absolutely none of that Raspberry Pi crap anywhere !

Again, it’s just my 1 cent opinion and I’m happy.

These sound and function clearly better than any computer-based rig you make yourself, and that includes those made with pi. They are optimized for sound rather than spreadsheets. These manufacturers are several generations in on their designs and are successful at it. There are reasons for that.

I’m also curious if anyone has this particular comparison experience, as I’ve heard very good things about the Zenith, and own the G1. Didn’t realize the 2.1 had doubled the price of the 1, and so competes with it.

Innuos’s two box Statement was seemingly everywhere at the last RMAF.


The Innuos is not a regular computer, it’s a purpose build device with superior damping, isolation, and multiple linear power supplies. I built custom Linux machine with all the bells and whistles, Apacer RAM, LPS, fanless, Optane, it’s really nice. I decided to buy a Zenith III anyway and it was way better than my nice custom build.

Despite this I couldn’t get comfortable having the Zenith with all it’s components next to the rest of my equipment so I bought a Sonore Signature Rendu SE, the optical one with all the upgrades. Having the Sonore in the listening room and the (in my case) Roon server several rooms away blew away anything I’d heard before.

I really liked the Innuos but separating server and streamer was a major uptick in SQ for me so I sold the Innuos and now use my nice custom build as a Roon server running Euphony OS. There’s no comparison for me.

Sorry, I haven’t heard the Aries G2.1 but I personally think if you use it solely as a streamer with a remote server it’ll better the Innuos, at least I think it would in my system.


If you don’t need the ripper/storage/server functions of the Zenith then either one of the Aries G models will do the job and as just a streamer may do a better job.


Thanks very much for all the replies, i need a ripper and storage, the streamer will be 8 feet away from the Hi-Fi , i will try and obtain a home demo, Many Thanks again for all the info.


So this article from a while back is about the ZEN rather than the ZENith, but listen to the interview (partway down in the article) with Nuno Vitorino, Innuos’ software guy. Explains a lot of the issues with moving bits around. Really interesting - yet commonsense - that a cleaner source with a decent DAC can sound better than a worse source with a better DAC.

It is an odd set of tradeoffs with the two units - with the Zenith, you HAVE to buy it with disc drive and internal HD, and it is only USB out. Auralic doesn’t have to have an internal HD, but accepts external drives and can use external shiny disc drives for playback and/or ripping (the G1 now does this as well - though I’m not endorsing it quality-wise) and has a lot of output options.

In both Brian’s and my case we have the X-SPDIF though, so are using USB anyway. Although I’d be happy to find a setup that wasn’t improved by hanging extra boxes and cables on it. That’s partly why I moved from a Mini-with-a-chain-of-crap to the Auralic in the first place, as the Mini rig was about the same cost and far less elegant sonically and functionally. Now I have crap on both the input and output of the Auralic… :man_shrugging:t2:

I recently bought the Zen Mini and the user interface is so simple.
It just works, nothing more nothing less. Sounds pretty good, i am
sure it gets better when you move up the model ladder. I held back
on purchasing a server all this time because I was waiting for a
product like the Innuos, I am not computer savvy at all.

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Interesting how this can border on the territory of vinyl playback in terms of how arcane it can get functionally. So many possible “moving parts” so to speak. Some are attracted to that aspect, some not.

It is just as easy to be beguiled by one as the other, making a strictly sonic comparison difficult.

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I am doing the same thing except I use the Euphony server which is in the next room… Wonderful sound!

You guys are talking significantly more money however.

I think it is less money than a Zenith 3. My server costs $1,799.95 with a 4TB USB drive inside. It needs a power supply so add $700 for that. The Signature Rendu is $4500. I thought the Zenith III was more expensive than this.

ZENith mk. 3 is $4,250 direct from Innuos. So the Rendu alone is more than that.

I guess it is $5649 with a 4tb ssd.

Ever since I saw that Darko video a few months back, I’ve been making plans to get the Innuos Zen Mk3. I do a lot of streaming through Sonos, bypassing the Sonos DAC and using my Stellar Gain Cell DAC instead, but I need to upgrade my streaming set-up soon. The Zenith looks even better than the Zen, but it costs more and I’ve spent a lot of money lately on the BHK Pre and cable upgrades. I like the Innuos approach to preserving a clean digital signal, and Innuos even allows simple integration with my Sonos system. I probably won’t mess with Roon right away, but that decision could change.

As part of the streamer/server discussion, I hear a lot of people recommending that a streamer or server be separated physically from the rest of the system, possibly in a separate room or closet. Is this an important issue with the Innuos gear? I’ve been planning to place the Innuos Zen on a shelf between my CD player and my DAC, but the comments in this thread make me wonder if this is a good option.

Auralic G2.1 puts stuff in an inner copper-walled enclosure for this reason. Innuos may as well.

Regarding the cost issue, the Innuos Zen Mk3 is $2,750 with a 2TB HDD (which is what I need). You have to move up to the Zenith if you want a SSD, and getting a 4TB SSD does increase the cost significantly. Even if you just buy the cheaper Zen, though, the drive is not used during playback or streaming, so there are no added noise or vibration problems under those conditions.

The G1 was sans HD, and that was fine with me. I had my external drive hooked up to it for months before I realized I was almost never accessing it anymore. I would sorta like a good current ripper, as my rips are mostly 15-17 years old at this point - and I want to get rid of my shiny disc collection in any case.

How does that work if you’re playing back music ripped to the internal HD?

Anybody know if Innuos devices see DSDacs via an X-SPDIF via i2s?