My Aurender N10 bites the dust

I come from an iMac running iTunes with BitPerfect via USB on the Stellar Gaine Cell DAC. I can’t hear a difference between CD into optical input and the ripped copies playing from my iMac. Mind you I have only bookshelf monitors to tell me.

Since I have no high end system in my living room yet I am able to set it up from scratch and my current pick is the Innuos ZENith MKIII with SSD internal storage and Ethernet (and USB) output. It also has a slot CD drive (TEAC) buit in such that I don’t need a separate CD drive to rip my CD’s anymore, although I trust that my old rugged drawer lading external DVD drive connected to my iMAC might rip in the same quality.

I like the Innuos a lot.

I have added the Phoenix to my Zenith Mk III and now like it more than a lot. A worthy addition. Data cables are WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7.


To me it is a perfect marriage in that Lumin makes money selling it’s intellectual streaming property and software rights to Esoteric/Teac and they don’t have to go through the growing pains associated with developing and supporting software. Their own branded streaming products reflect each companies individual thoughts on casework, power supplies, inputs/outputs, DAC chipsets if any and pricing structure. In the end the customer gets to chose a reliable software package and streaming platform based on a price point and aesthetic that appeals to them.

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If you already own a good DAC, that is a sensible thing to do.

I am in the position to set the system up from scratch, thus am looking for a good Streamer/DAC and connect the Innuos through Ethernet cable. I want to limit the amount of boxes. @stevensegal has very positive experience with the Innuos that way.

Do you have listening experience through the Ethernet output to compare to the USB output, with and without Phoenix?

USB only into the PSA Perfect Wave DSD or the Metrum Onyx. I have not tried the ethernet option.

I am not hung up about USB or Ethernet quite frankly as the server would be placed close to the Streamer/DAC.

What I find more important is that I am not limited by my system to listen to any music.

What I mean, I have really good vinyl, CD’s, DSD files and some high resolution PCM. Generally the DSD and high resolution PCM files are also the best recordings. I am talking about MA Recordings and Blue Coast Music and about Gus Skinas. I have not come across MQA yet as I don’t stream from providers such as Qobuz and Tidal. MQA CD’s are more common in Japan.

But from a 20k+ stereo system (including speakers) I expect that it plays all formats. As I love exploring (new) music. The Innuos server can deliver all formats.

With it’s internal storage options and built in ripper it is simply the best proposition regarding sleek looks, integration of components, limitation of cables and budget.

Yes the Innuos is very nice sounding and convenient. I listened to quite a few and it came down to Aurrender N10 or the Innuos Zenith III. The Innuos Statement was a “Bridge Too Far”. Ultimately the Innuos won out as a value choice over the Aurrender. Early on with the Innuos I was committed to USB, for no particular reason. I have stuck with it, and after adding the Phoenix there is no going back for me. I am loathe to add additional boxes, but found the Phoenix to be a worthy exception.

My preference remains vinyl; digital for its convenience and to sample pieces of interest for inclusion in my vinyl library.

I like vinyl a lot too. Call it nostalgia or anything else, but having the time and nerve to take that vinyl disc out of it’s unique sleeve, carefully lower the needle on it, see it spin calmly and hear exactly what you are doing is a complete different experience than a tap on my iPhone or click with the mouse in the iTunes library. And we can discuss all day long, but the SQ of vinyl is still very good.

The disc itself, the sleeve, the cover art, the music: all pieces of art that come together at that moment.

To me vinyl is a ritual, digital a convenience, each having their place. Vinyl is special to me as it is a collection I have acquired over 50 years, so to an extent it is autobiographical.

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For me, vinyl is a more organic, fuller, and more dynamic sound. Digital is cleaner, more forward, and more detailed sound.

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That’s what I like about this time, with the revival of vinyl we can enjoy it both at very high quality.

That said my Thorens TD 105 is 40 years old and spinning fine. The idea is to update to the TD1601.

I run with a 40+ year old Linn Sondek LP 12. I have kept it for sentimental reasons as well as the sound. Forty plus years never sounded so good. Of course it does have a “few” upgrades as well as recent service and tuning by Ken Christianson of Pro Musica in Chicago. I also run a couple of more contemporary turntables including a VPI Prime and a recently acquired Rega P8.

Not to derail this thread I started a topic:
Linn vs Thorens

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I just made another discovery!! Now that I’m waiting for my new server to arrive, Im listening to vinyl again. I got a Symposium Ultra to replace the 4" thick slab of paving stone I had under the turntable and I was floored!!! I think the slab of stone was over damping and sucking the energy out of the music. Now, I never heard my system with so much dense complexity!! So much palpable three dimensional separate images!! So much uncompressed dynamic energy!! So much increase in the soundstage!! Even the Aurender at it’s best could not even come close!! I hope my upcoming Esoteric server can do better.


I can see why you went for the Esoteric, complements the rest of your system.

That’s REGA’s philosophy: less mass => better sound. From a distance and new the REGA Planar 8 and 10 look good.

Till you have it 4 months and come close to it.

The cellular foam plinth that looks like industrial porous thermal insulation without cladding and too many gaps seems a nightmare for housekeeping and dust collects everywhere including the black open cell structure of the plinth. All for the purpose of cutting any mass.

I trust that other turntables sound also good but their simplistic (admittedly old fashion) square plinth and convenient Plexiglas cover most efficiently keep the dust from accumulating on a device that should be kept free of dust.

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