Innuos Zenith mk3

Right now I stream from an old laptop running Roon into Bridge 2 through Ethernet and via usb into the Matrix.
My Roon library now exceeds 100 000 albums and 160 000 tracks, so I need to replace the old laptop.
I am looking at an Innuos Zenith Mk3 (and a Nucleus +).
Does anyone have that server ?
Feedback on it ?
Comparison with Bridge 2 and/or the Matrix ?
Thanks for your input.

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You and I are on the same quest! Good luck.

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Yes, streaming is the future !
I will have a demo Nucleus + tomorrow, and hopefully some Innuos, Lumin and Auralic stuff later.
Let’s keep in touch.

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I don’t have much in the way of hands on time with Innuos’ gear, though I’ve met their team at shows and they’re all very friendly and willing to take the time to nerd out, which I appreciate.

I know a couple folks on the forum have had good results with the Nucleus, too.

Keep us posted on how the demos go!

Thanks @Schroedster.
I hope it will have good synergy with my P5, P20, dsd snr and dmp !

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I own an Innuos Zenith MK 2. With that big library I would be worried that the processor of the Innuos is capable of delivering a good browsing experience. I’d go for the Nucleus+

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Thank you @Philipp_Schaefer

Most welcome. The Innuos is great (when you need the ripping capability) and you can also use it as player (which I don’t do), but the processor - when in the MK3 - is not as powerful as in the Innuos. For a clean and performant setup a Nucleus+ with an additional network player (e.g. Auralic, SOtM) is a great choice.

Thank you @Philipp_Schaefer

I’m the proud owner of an Innuos Zen Mk3. I went through this whole process of checking it out against the Nucleus and SonicOrbiter.

I previously owned a Full Aries and still own an Aries Mini. These are excellent devices and can be run with an external USB drive designated as a network drive, or will index any other appropriate network drive that it can see. The software is fantastic and it seemed to work just as well wired as wirelessly. However, plugging in a USB drive, which you can do on the Zen, is not the optimal solution.

My need for a new device arose because I mainly using Qobuz, which appeared in Roon a few months ago, and Roon really is fantastic. Unfortunately the server I have at home is not designed for audio, certainly not Roon, and my theory is that the best digital audio is as much dependent upon having an ultra-low noise environment as having high quality equipment.

Innuos have been at it for 10 years and are successful, so they know what they’re doing. The Zen is very much focused on Roon, because that’s what a lot of their customers use it for, but you can also load other apps to run your favourite uPnP software. If you use Roon, that is a non-issue.

The CD drive is a legacy from older models and I was told that they found there was no significant saving in removing it, so they decided to leave it there. I imported my FLAC library, but I have reripped in wav some discs and the software handily helps you find duplicates and delete old versions if that’s your plan.

The Nucleus and Zen are similarly designed in terms of splitting the processor so that different cores run the operating system to the core that caches music.

Roon decided to make two models for light and heavy users, essentially because the i3 chip is cheaper than the i7. The Innuos would probably blow up if you try to run it at Roon’s maximum capacity of eight endpoints doing multiple layers of filtering and DSD upscaling etcetera. If that’s what you want, you will need a Nucleus+. The problem was that is that the processor generates a lot of heat and electrical noise and that can start degrading the sound.

Innuos decided on a processor that is slightly less powerful than the i3, but more efficient so runs cool with the least amount of noise. It was a decision for performance rather than cost. I run three endpoints and don’t bother with any upsampling lark and have never had any problems with processing speed.

The Roon comes with, or has an optional low noise external power supply. The Zen Mk2 has a single internal linear power supply, the Zen Mk3 has two internal linear power supplies and the Zenith Mk3 has three. The Statement has eight separate linear power supplies in a separate box. This tells you how important Innuos consider clean power and low noise to the performance of the unit.

In the Zen Mk3 the internal linear power supplies feed the motherboard and the USB/ethernet outputs respectively. From what I understand, this is the same as in the Aries G1.

Another big difference is that the Roon Nucleus allows you to slot in your own USB drive. With Innuos you specify the size of drive you want and it is factory installed with a special format that takes several days to process, which explains why they charge quite a lot of money for their hard drives. I have a 4 TB hard drive, which is far more than I need, but better safe than sorry.

Using SSD is pointless. Innuos told me that. Data is stored in cache before being played and the drive speed is not an issue. Their formatting helps in various ways compared to standard formatting.

The Zen has a direct ethernet output that I plug straight into my Devialet ethernet input. I’ve tried the USB and its seems to be substantially cleaner than the USB fed from the Aries (both versions).

Innuos have even taken the trouble to install three asymmetrically configured rubber feet as a basic but worthwhile element of vibration control. There are other optimisation elements, including a heavy plate inserted into the top case.

I therefore chose the Innuos because I felt the Nucleus was really just a Roon server that someone with the requisite skills could put together themselves, as many do, whereas Innuos have taken the game forward in a number of directions and the result is simply spectacular.

I don’t know about the Roon software for setup etcetera, but the Innuos is very simple and straightforward. It is accessed from a web browser. You can import your library from usb or the network.

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Thank you @stevensegal.
Impressive, I will try to check it out in my system.

I am also considering the Zenith Mk III.
From talking to them at Axpona 2019 understand there will be an update available for it in the early fall of 2019.

I just got a Zen Mk III ($2599) replacing an iMac and Bridge and it is phenomenal. All of the usual improvements with a huge soundstage.

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Another big thumbs up from me for the Innuos Zen MKIII. Been using mine for a couple months straight without one single hiccup. Highly recommended!

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What wireless controller software do you all use? If I’m correct this box is not wirelessly enabled…

Have either of you done any direct comparisons with the Auralic Aries G1? I know the Aries doesn’t have a CD ripper but it does have an option for a hard drive.

Only the G2 has the option of a hard drive. All Innuos streamers are wired just like the Bridge II. If you need wireless just use an extender. For now they use the iPeng software.

Thanks! You plug the Zen into the Ethernet port in the extender?

Yes, just like the Bridge II, Lumin or Aurender. Auralic is the only one of the quality streamer companies still offering WiFi capability. Leads to a lot of CS problems due to owners network issues as the WiFi boards are usually third party. Auralic was buying theirs from Intel.

I heard their were issues with the Zen mini. Have they continued with current models?